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The name Boxer is, supposedly, derived from the manner in which a Boxer dog plays – stood on hind legs with its front legs ‘boxing’ with its front paws. Playful, exuberant and energetic yet loyal are all traits closely associated with the Boxer. In contrast, it can also be a strong willed dog that does not respond well to harsh training methods, but asked nicely, this is a breed that will do anything to please you.
A great intelligence lays behind the typical Boxer ‘look’ making this dog a great all rounder for many purposes. When this is mixed with the general fun temperament of a Boxer, you are guaranteed to have a great time with this sweetest natured of dogs.
The ancestors of Boxers can be traced back to a variety of dog breeds throughout Europe in the 16th century, but the breed was developed and perfected over the last several hundred years in Germany. The Boxer is part of the Molosser dog group, from Germany in the late 19th century and is specifically from the now extinct Bullenbeisser, a dog of Mastiff descent, and Bulldogs from the UK. As a result, Boxers are related to nearly all Bulldog-type breeds. They were historically used for dog fighting, but then developed into loyal, hard-working dogs that were used as protectors and hunters. Boxers began to gain popularity trough the 1930s. Boxers today are known as a loyal breed, playful companions as well as excellent guard dogs.
Average height to withers: 22-25 inches for males and between 21-23 inches for females.
Average weight: Males between 30-32kg with females between 25-27kg.
The most prominent feature of the Boxer is its undershot jaw – this is a desirable trait in the dog, with the lower canine teeth pointing straight up. This gives the Boxer an exceptionally strong jaw and grip. The head should be in perfect proportion to its muscular body and display a rather square muzzle. A few wrinkles of folds of skin are normal; however, it is undesirable that there should be too many or deep one. The head should sit atop a round, thick and well muscled neck, flowing into a sloped back when stood still and a straight back when moving. The chest, rib cage and shoulders are deep and broad.
The coat should be very short and shiny and will lie very close to the skin of the dog. The recognised colours are fawn and brindle with white markings under the belly, on the feet and on the face. A Boxer which displays over one third of its coat with white hair can be called a white Boxer, indeed it is sometimes seen that the white hair covers the majority of the body with an estimated 20-25% of Boxer pups being born completely white.
The jokers of the dog world, Boxers are synonymous with a fun, playful, energetic and late to mature nature while being loyal and eager to please. Boxers can be more than a handful if they are left unchecked, not socialised and untrained frequently jumping up at people. Due to their looks and size, when Boxers do this people who are unused to dogs may be intimidated, but Boxers are rarely aggressive especially with people known to them. They are generally fabulous dogs with children, given the correct guidance, and are extremely loyal and protective of its family pack.
If they are not given enough exercise and stimulation Boxers can get easily bored and display destructive and unruly behaviours such as digging nd chewing. Given their hyperactive personality, they are best suited to a family who like to spend a lot of time walking and playing with their dog – game of Frisbee anyone! They are generally quite intelligent dogs who will learn new things with relative ease and this the owner needs to make sure this intelligence is put to good use with a good training programme to bring the head strong nature into line and to ensure good manners with other dog and children.
As they can be wary of some strangers, Boxers also make good guard dogs and have also been successfully used as police dogs and herding dogs.
Leading health issues to which Boxers are prone include cancers, (according to a Kennel Club survey, cancer accounts for 38.5% of Boxer deaths). Heart conditions such as Aortic Stenosis and so-called "Boxer Cardiomyopathy" are also common which will require your vets advice.
Boxers are known to be very sensitive to some effects of a commonly used veterinary sedative, called acepromazine. It is recommended that the drug be avoided in the Boxer breed totally.
Also, because of their brachycephalic (flatter) head, they do not do well with high heat or humidity, and it is recommended to use caution when exercising a Boxer under these conditions.
With their short and low maintenance coat, Boxers require minimal grooming but because of this, especially in dogs with a large proportion of white on their coat, the owner needs to take precautions in the sun as sunburn can be a common occurrence in this breed. As a high energy breed, the Boxer will need at least two bouts of exercise a day – walking, playing, running –anything will suit this dog.