About Boxer Dog - Breed characteristics
Developed in Germany, the Boxer is a breed of stocky, medium-sized, short-haired dog.
The coat is smooth and fawn or brindled, with or without white markings. Boxers are brachycephalic, and have a square muzzle, mandibular prognathism (an underbite), very strong jaws and a powerful bite ideal for hanging on to large prey.
The Boxer was bred from the English Bulldog and the now extinct Bullenbeisser and is part of the Molosser group.
An adult Boxer typically weighs between 55 and 70 lbs (25 and 32 kg). Adult male Boxers are between 22 and 25 inches (57 and 63 cm) tall at the withers; adult females are between 21 to 231 inches (53 and 60 cm). The head is the most distinctive feature of the Boxer. The breed standard dictates that it must be in perfect proportion to the body and above all it must never be too light. The greatest value is to be placed on the muzzle being of correct form and in absolute proportion to the skull. The length of the muzzle to the whole of the head should be a ratio of 1:3. Folds are always present from the root of the nose running downwards on both sides of the muzzle, and the tip of the nose should lie somewhat higher than the root of the muzzle. In addition a Boxer should be slightly prognathous, i.e., the lower jaw should protrude beyond the upper jaw and bend slightly upwards in what is commonly called an underbite or "undershot bite".
Boxers were originally a docked and cropped breed, and this tradition is still maintained in some countries. However, due to pressure from veterinary associations, animal rights groups and the general public, both cropping of the ears and docking of the tail have been prohibited in many countries around the world. There is a line of naturally short-tailed (bobtail) Boxers that was developed in the United Kingdom in anticipation of a tail docking ban there; after several generations of controlled breeding, these dogs were accepted in the Kennel Club (UK) registry in 1998, and today representatives of the bobtail line can be found in many countries around the world. In the United States and Canada as of 2008, cropped ears are still more common in show dogs. In March 2005 the AKC breed standard was changed to include a description of the uncropped ear, but to severely penalize an undocked tail.
Coat and colorsBoxers are either fawn or brindle, with or without white markings, which, when excessive are conventionally called "white" Boxers. The Boxer is a short-haired breed, with a shiny, smooth coat that lies tight to the body. The recognized colors are fawn and brindle, often with a white underbelly and white on the front or all four feet. These white markings, called flash, often extend onto the neck or face, and dogs that have these markings are known as "flashy". "Fawn" denotes a range of color, the tones of which may be described variously as light tan or yellow, reddish tan, mahogany or stag/deer red, and dark honey-blonde. In the UK, fawn Boxers are typically rich in color and are called "red". "Brindle" refers to a dog with black stripes on a fawn background. Some brindle Boxers are so heavily striped that they give the appearance of "reverse brindling", fawn stripes on a black body; these dogs are conventionally called "reverse brindles", but that is actually a misnomer - they are still fawn dogs with black stripes.
In addition, the breed standards state that the fawn background must clearly contrast with or show through the brindling, so a dog that is too heavily brindled may be disqualified by the breed standard. The Boxer does not carry the gene for a solid black coat color and therefore purebred black Boxers do not exist.
White BoxersBoxers with white markings covering more than one-third of their coat - conventionally called "white" Boxers - are neither albino nor rare; approximately 20-25% of all Boxers born are white.
Genetically, these dogs are either fawn or brindle, with excessive white markings overlying the base coat color. Like fair-skinned humans, white Boxers have a higher risk of sunburn and associated skin cancers than colored Boxers. The extreme piebald gene, which is responsible for white markings in Boxers, is linked to congenital sensorineural deafness in dogs. It is estimated that about 18% of white Boxers are deaf in one or both ears, though Boxer Rescue organizations see about double that number.
In the past, breeders often euthanized white puppies at birth; today, most breeders place white puppies in pet homes with spay/neuter agreements. White Boxers are disqualified from conformation showing by the breed standard, and are prohibited from breeding by every national Boxer club in the world. They can compete in non-conformation events such as obedience and agility, and like their colored counterparts do quite well as service and therapy dogs.
TemperamentThe character of the Boxer is of the greatest importance and demands the most solicitous attention. He is renowned from olden times for his great love and faithfulness to his master and household. He is harmless in the family, but distrustful of strangers, bright and friendly of temperament at play, but brave and determined when aroused. His intelligence and willing tractability, his modesty and cleanliness make him a highly desirable family dog and cheerful companion. He is the soul of honesty and loyalty, and is never false or treacherous even in his old age.
The Boxer by nature is not an aggressive or vicious breed, but it does need socialization. Boxers are generally patient with smaller dogs and puppies, but issues with larger adult dogs, especially those of the same sex, may occur. Boxers are generally more comfortable with companionship, in either human or canine form.
1938 AKC Boxer breed standard says:
"Boxers are a bright, energetic and playful breed and tend to be very good with children. They are active dogs and require adequate exercise to prevent boredom-associated behaviors such as chewing or digging. Boxers have earned a slight reputation of being "headstrong", which can be related to inappropriate obedience training. Owing to their intelligence and working breed characteristics, training based on corrections often has limited usefulness. Boxers often respond much better to positive reinforcement techniques such as clicker training, which affords the dog an opportunity to think independently and to problem-solve.""
HistoryThe Boxer is part of the Molosser group, developed in Germany in the late 1800s from the now extinct Bullenbeisser, a dog of Mastiff descent, and Bulldogs brought in from England. The Bullenbeisser had been working as a hunting dog for centuries, employed in the pursuit of bear, wild boar, and deer. Its task was to seize the prey and hold it until the hunters arrived. In later years, faster dogs were favored and a smaller Bullenbeisser was bred in Brabant, in northern Belgium. It is generally accepted that the Brabanter Bullenbeisser was a direct ancestor of today's Boxer.
In 1894, three Germans by the name of Roberth, Konig, and Hopner decided to stabilize the breed and put it on exhibition at a dog show. This was done in Munich in 1895, and the next year they founded the first Boxer Club, the Deutscher Boxer Club. The Club went on to publish the first Boxer breed standard in 1902, a detailed document that has not been changed much to this day.
The breed was introduced to other parts of Europe in the late 19th century and to the United States around the turn of the century. The American Kennel Club (AKC) registered the first Boxer in 1904, and recognized the first Boxer champion, Dampf vom Dom, in 1915. During World War I, the Boxer was co-opted for military work, acting as a valuable messenger dog, pack-carrier, attack dog, and guard dog. It was not until after World War II that the Boxer became popular around the world. Boxer mascots, taken home by returning soldiers, introduced the dog to a much wider audience and it soon became a favorite as a companion, a show dog, and a guard dog.
Boxers are friendly, lively companions that are popular as family dogs.
Their suspicion of strangers, alertness, agility, and strength make them formidable guard dogs.
They sometimes appear at dog agility or obedience trials and flyball events.
These strong and intelligent animals have also been used as service dogs, guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs, police dogs in K9 units, and occasionally herding cattle or sheep.
The versatility of Boxers was recognized early on by the military, which has used them as valuable messenger dogs, pack carriers, and attack and guard dogs in times of war.
Boxers have an average lifespan of 10-12 years.
Some other detailed Boxer breed info:
The Worldwide Boxer
A DETAILED GUIDE TO JUDGING THE BOXER
written by Judy Horton, All Breeds Judge from Melbourne
AKC Meet The Breed - Boxer
American Boxer Club
Illustrated Boxer Standard
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