The Boxer is currently America's 10th most popular dog breed.
The Boxer has been recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) since 1904, but its popularity did not gain a foothold with American public until the 1940s.
The Boxer's history stretches back to the 16th and 17th centuries, when its ancestors, descendants of a type of Tibetan fighting dog, hunted stag and boar throughout all of Europe. The Boxer itself is a cousin of the Bulldog breeds, all of which owe part of their lineage to the Molossus, a now-extinct, Mastiff-type dog popular in southern Europe during Greco-Roman antiquity.
There is some disagreement as to the specifics of the Boxer's heritage, but the modern-day Boxer was developed in Germany, where breeders combined Bulldog and Terrier strains. The Old English Bulldog, the Bullenbeisser (a now-extinct breed of Bulldog) are largely responsible for the breed as we know it today. Although descended from hunting dogs, the Boxer was also used for dogfighting and bullbaiting until both were outlawed.
The Boxer is described by the AKC as a dog with a fun-loving, bright, and active personality. They are desirable family dogs because they are patient with children, but also protective. Boxers are natural leapers, so it is important that they receive regular, ongoing training from an early age to prevent their jumping from getting out of control.
When training Boxers, owners need to be mindful that tedious, repetitious commands will fall on deaf ears; Boxers are smart, playful dogs with minds of their own. Training needs to be dynamic, and paired with plenty of exercise, as Boxers are high-energy. Many Boxer enthusiasts maintain that training with positive reinforcement methods tends to be more effective than correction-based training.
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This article was originally published July 16, 2016.