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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The Boxer is a medium-sized, muscular dog whose appearance suggests a balance between athleticism and grace. Well-proportioned, he looks capable of acting in many capacities, as companion, guardian, and working dog. He has a distinctive head and an alert, expressive face.
The Boxer is brachycephalic (has a broad, short skull); the size, shape, and proportion of the head is the breed’s hallmark. The muzzle is blunt. It is one-third the length of the skull and two-thirds the width of it. The muzzle neither slants down nor is concave. The lower jaw protrudes slightly beyond the upper jaw. The cheeks are flat. Wrinkles show on the forehead when the ears are perked. Ears sit at the sides of the skull at the highest point and can be cropped (customary) or uncropped. Dark brown eyes are frontally set, alert, and expressive.
Males stand 23-25 inches at the shoulder and weigh 65-70 pounds and females stand 21½ - 23½ inches at the shoulder and weigh 55-60 pounds. The neck is muscular, arched, and meets the withers smoothly. Chest is well-formed and moderately wide. Shoulders are long and lie close. Front legs are straight, muscular, and parallel from the front. The hindquarters are muscular and balanced with the forequarters. Back is short and straight and the topline slopes gently when the dog is standing at attention. There is a slight abdominal tuck. Pelvis is long and broad, particularly in females.
The tail is docked, set high, and carried upward. An undocked tail is considered a fault by the AKC.
The coat is short, sleek, and lies close the body. Standard coat colors are brindle, fawn, or white, and acceptable markings include: black mask, black mask with white markings, white markings, brindle markings, and fawn markings. White markings must not exceed one-third of the coat.
The Boxer is alert, intelligent, and confident. Around his family, he is playful and animated. He is good with children and is a natural protector. He can be wary around strangers, but he is never cowardly. Courageous, dignified, and loyal, he is a wonderful companion and watchdog.
Although they are generally very healthy dogs, Boxers can experience some health issues, including cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism, gastrointestinal issues, and cancer.
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In-Story image: vetstreet.com