Since the early 1900’s, the Boxer has been a favorite among dog fanciers. Handsome and athletic, this breed always seems to land in the top ten as one of the most popular dogs.
Some dogs require a bit of human effort to help preserve their legacy. However, the Boxer can literally stand on their own two hinds to make their own introduction.
Bred to be the consummate hunting dog, Boxers have come a long way from their bull baiting and dog fighting days.
So what is it that makes this breed such a popular choice with dog lovers?
Here is what you need to know about the Boxer.
One of the great things about this breed is how clear and simple their history is. Some breeds have such a quarrelsome story. Troubles with their ancestry or dates can have an effect in how people learn about that dog.
Boxers are rather simple. We know the breed is from Germany and their development began in the 1800’s. In fact, you can point to one breed of dog responsible for today’s Boxer. The Bullenbeisser. This breed is now extinct, yet the smaller version had many similar features of the modern Boxer.
As a matter of fact, this breed belongs to the Molosser family, where their ancestors can be traced as far back as 2500 BC. Moreover, historians can trace their relatives back to the 16th century, where these dogs would battle large animals, boars and stags. Furthermore, the breed would also serve the use of fighting against other dogs during the 17th and 18th century.
Boxers weren’t strictly fighting or hunting dogs. In fact, as other breeds became extinct, Boxers found a new role as guard and family dogs with butchers and cattle dealers.
Things began to happen quickly for the breed in Germany. Although the breed seems to have links to northeast Belgium, most of their development took place in Germany during the 1800’s.
As a matter of fact, the breed would get their very first club and a standard was written in Munich in 1895. Uniquely, the standard written then is more or less the same standard breeders use today.
Around the 1900’s, Boxers began making their way into the United States. It wouldn’t take long for the breed to catch on like fire with enthusiasts. In addition, the American Kennel Club took notice of the breed immediately. In 1904, the Boxer was now an official breed with the AKC.
Throughout the 20th century, the breed would undergo a few changes in occupation. From pack hunting and dog fighting to joining the military as a messenger dog, that could carry packages and attack enemies during the first World War.
Furthermore, it was soldiers after the second World War that would help the breed gain more popularity in the states and around the world. Soldiers took notice in how loving and affectionate the breed was and thought they would make a great family dog.
Of course, that is exactly the path this breed took and enjoys today. Boxers can also be hearing and sight dogs. However, their main role is a favorite among many American families and celebrities. According to the American Kennel Club, the Boxer is the tenth most popular breed.
The Boxer is a compact and muscular, medium size breed. Males range in heights from 23 to 25 inches, whiles females fluctuate between 21.5 to 23.5 inches.
According to the American Kennel Club, a male should weigh between 65 and 80 pounds. However, the AKC claims females should weigh about 15 pounds less than their male counterparts.
If you ask a Boxer owner the number one thing they love about their dog, you’ll likely hear “loyalty” as one of the traits on the list. Loving and affectionate would be high up there as well. That’s because the Boxer appears to be put on Earth to be the perfect companion. Boxers will greet you with excitement at the door each day after work.
Also, one of their leading qualities is being great with children. While they are strong and muscular, which means they can unintentionally hurt smaller kids by playing too hard, if you watch them around your kiddos, things should work out just fine. Again, this is a very playful and enthusiastic breed.
Yet, that enthusiasm seems to be put on hold with strangers and dogs. They may be a bit timid around both. However, a little bit of socialization can help take away that reservation. Smaller animals may experience a bit of prey drive from the Boxer. Again, this may have more to do about their social constructs more than anything.
A Boxer doesn’t like to be alone all day. Boredom is a prerequisite to bad things happening with most breeds. This breed does bore easily and may act out as a way of craving for attention.
This is a breed that needs a role in their family. A task or purpose. First, they are very energetic and most importantly, the Boxer will need regular exercise. Whether you provide that through a job or some mental and physical exercise.
Finally, a Boxer should be fine in most living conditions. They do adapt well and only bark when it is necessary.
The Boxer is a relatively healthy breed, which enjoys a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Some of the leading causes of death for this breed are cancer (38.5%), old age (21.5%), cardiac (6.9%) and gastrointestinal at 6.9%.
In addition to those reasons, you may need to consider the climate and weather conditions for your Boxer. Moreover, due to their nose’s unique shape, the Boxer has a hard time breathing in extreme weather conditions, and the breed isn’t the biggest fan of colder climates.
That said, your dog should be fine if you buy them from a reputable breeder. This breeder should be able to provide you with the proper documentation and health clearances. By the same token, you should schedule routine visits with the veterinarian and adhere to a feeding and health plan.
Some report that Boxers are prone to mast cell tumors, Lymphoma, tumors, deafness, allergies and Subaortic Stenosis.
According to a Michigan State University finding, this breed has the fifth highest occurrence rate for Hypothyroidism. Breeds like Danes, Irish Setters and Dobermans are just as prone. This disease affects how the organs function and the metabolic system operates. It may result in a dry coat or skin, hair loss, weight issues and lethargy.
Abnormal hip joint development, which leads to osteoarthritis, pain and discomfort is something to look out for with the Boxer. Moreover, this condition is known as Hip Dysplasia. Boxers along with Bloodhounds, Gold Retriever and Rottweilers are prone to this dysplasia.
Elbow Dysplasia is another concern that can affect your dog’s movement and activity. This is abnormal growth of cells, tissue and bone, and is one of the most common forms of elbow pain and discomfort known challenging breeds.
One of the biggies affecting this breed is a heart disease that affects mostly the Boxer, that can result in fainting, heart failure or sudden death. Boxer Cardiomyopathy or Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy is a fatty infiltrate of the right ventricular muscle.
Obviously with a breed of this magnitude the best thing to do is give them plenty of exercise. However you wish to go about that, whether it’s through a job or just a walk for up to an hour per day is fine. They do enjoy playing and could probably benefit from having a playmate like a child or female dog.
Again, this isn’t the best dog for harsh weather conditions. They do have short coats and their unique noses put them at a disadvantage for certain weather conditions. Basically, the Boxer should be an indoor dog and nothing else.
You don’t have to be someone with a ton of canine experience to own this breed. They do well with all levels of expertise. However, you’ll need some patience and consistency during your training and socialization. Early socialization always works best at helping transforming your dog into a personable pet.
You should trim their nails once a month and give them baths when it’s absolutely necessary. White coat Boxers may need extra assurances against the sun. They do tend to sunburn, so you may have to provide sunscreen or protection. You should brush their teeth daily, as they are subject to bad breath and issues with oral hygiene.
Boxers do like to eat and will do so at the expense of Bloat. This is something to consider and keep in mind. Of course, most food recommendations don’t account for your dog’s metabolism, age, or activity rate. These are all dynamics that affect how much and what your dog eats.
Most Boxer owners suggest feeding puppies four cups of food up until six months of age. After that, you can dip down to two to three cups of food per day. The best course of action is to break them up into two meals. This will help reduce the chances of your dog acquiring Bloat.
Avoid wheat, soy and corn products. Meat should be the first ingredient to their diet. Food with high quality calories, high in protein value and necessary fats should be first to the line. Items like chicken, turkey, lamb and fish should do just fine. Taurine and Omega fatty acids will help with the heart, cartilage and skin.
Of course, you should always provide your Boxer with fresh drinking water.
One of the great things about owning a Boxer is how easy it is to groom them. In fact, you should only have to worry about brushing them once or twice per week. You may have to bathe them once every other month but that’s all a rule of thumb.
Moreover, the Boxer has a short coat, that glistens and is smooth to the touch. The coat should run tight to their body.
According to the American Kennel Club, there are two colors in which their coats should be: Brindle and Fawn. However, you may see plenty of dogs with white coats. In fact, some reports indicate 25 percent of all Boxers have white coats.
Markings can be black mask, black mask with white markings and white markings.
The Boxer and its popularity is here to stay. That’s for good reason. This breed can literally do it all. From being the ultimate hunting dog, guard dog, police dog, messenger or athlete, the Boxer can fit into any role you ask it.
That said, there’s one role this breed outperforms better than others, and that is the role of being a devoted and loving companion that has unrelenting loyalty for his family.