The impressive looking Boxer is a large, muscular dog with a square head and a playful, joyful attitude with unlimited energy that originated in Germany. It has one of the longest periods of puppyhood at three years. An adult Boxer is either a fawn or a brindle with or without white markings with smooth, tight-fitting coat. It has a broad, blunt muzzle (brachycephalic) which is a distinctive feature of the breed, short back, strong legs, and well-developed muscles. It has frontally placed dark brown eyes, highly set thin ears that lay flat and close to the cheeks when at rest while falling forward with a definite crease when alert. The forehead has a slight indentation between the eyes, forming a distinct stop with the topline of the square muzzle. It has a broad black nose and an undershot bite (mandibular prognathism) but neither teeth nor tongue shows when the mouth is closed. The upper lip is padded which fills out the frontal space created by the undershot. The topline is slightly sloping when the dog is at full attention. The docked tail is set high and carried upward. The rest of the profile shows a dog with long, straight forelegs, curved and broad thighs, well-angulated hind legs with clearly defined hock joints. All feet are well-cushioned with thick pads. A male Boxer is between 56 – 64 cm and weighs between 25 - 32 kg. A female Boxer can be between 53 – 61 cm in height and can weigh between 25 – 32 kg.
The Boxer was developed in Germany in the late 19th century and is a descendant of the now extinct Bullenbeisser - a dog with Mastiff lineage, and the Bulldog. Originally, the Bullenbeisser was bred to hunt for large game but a subsequent need for a faster breed eventually lead to the development of a smaller Bullenbeisser in Brabant, Belgium which gave rise to the Brabanter Bullenbeisser, known to be the direct ancestor of the Boxer. The early genealogy of the Boxer can be traced through the efforts of a Munich resident named George Alt who mated a brindle-colored Bullenbeisser named Flora with a local dog of unknown origin named “Boxer”. In that litter was a mixed Bullenbeisser fawn-and-white male which was named “Lechner’s Box” who was bred to his dam Flora which produced a female named Alt’s Schecken and was registered as a Modern Bullenbeiser (Bierboxer). Schecken was bred to a Bulldog named Dr. Toneissen’s Tom which produced a male named Mühlbauer's Flocki and a female named Blanka von Angertor. Flocki became the first Boxer to be entered into the German Stud Book after winning at a dog show in Munich that had a special class specific for Boxers. Blanka was bred with Piccolo von Angertor and in the litter was a white female named Meta von der Passage, considered to be the mother of the modern-day Boxer.
The Boxer is a loving, gentle breed that loves being cuddled and highly affectionate and loyal with the family. It is a mix of an intelligent, alert, courageous but sociable breed. It is often suspicious of strangers but will not show aggression if it perceives the stranger is not a threat to its own safety or to the family. It is a very loving breed, sometimes even recognising itself as a lapdog who will try to lie as close to the owner’s lap as possible. This happy and energetic breed also has a clownish behaviour and will often get the owner’s attention with its antics. This breed has a canny ability to twist and dance into a semi-circle when excited as well as letting out a unique sound called a “woo-woo”. It also has a remarkable attitude of pawing at his toys or food bowls similar to what a cat does. When the Boxer gets excited, it can start jumping, twisting and even doing somersaults to get the owner’s attention.
The highly intelligent Boxer is quite easy to train and ranks high in trainability. It is an excellent watchdog which will restrain an intruder similar to a Mastiff. It excels in obedience, agility and schutzhund.
The short coat makes the Boxer an easy to groom breed that requires very little grooming time. Brushing the coat with a firm bristle brush is sufficient. Bathe only when necessary because a Boxer is a clean dog that grooms itself like a cat.
The Boxer is generally a healthy breed but is not without health issues. It is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, tumours, aortic stenosis/sub-aortic stenosis, Boxer Arrythmic Cardiomyopathy (BAC), and corneal dystrophy. It does not do well in extreme cold because of its short coat nor in hot weather conditions because its short nose does not cool hot air as efficient as other breeds with long muzzle. An ideal diet should be a premium Boxer dog food made of high-quality animal-based protein to help the breed build strong, lean muscles. Food rich in L-carnitine and natural taurine is also a good diet. The average lifespan of the Boxer is between 9 to 15 years.
The Boxer has a very high energy level that requires a tremendous amount of exercise. It can adapt well to an apartment living as well as to a rural setting especially if it’s given the right amount of mental and physical stimulation. If not properly exercised, this breed has a potential to gain weight very rapidly. Long brisk, daily walking coupled with a game of fetch will keep this breed occupied.
The Boxer is an incredibly kid-friendly dog with well-known patience and gentleness even with small children. It is also particularly good with other dogs and animals.