Boxers are a German breed of dog, and were developed in the 1800’s from Mastiffs and Bulldogs. They were designed to be strong, versatile and hard working. The breed fulfilled several roles, from baiting bulls for the local butcher, to helping in the hunt for boar and bison. They were also used to pull carts and round up livestock.
The Boxer was taken to the United States in the early 20th century, and was registered by the AKC in 1904. They are now one of the most popular breeds in America.
The Boxer is a tall, deep chested and muscular animal, standing an impressive 25 inches (63cm) at the shoulder and weighing as much as 70lbs (32kg). They are brachycephalic, which means they have a short nose and a severe under bite.
They have a short coat, which is usually a solid red, fawn or brindle color, and it may or may not have patches of white. Some Boxers are pure white all over, although this isn’t acceptable under the breed standard, and these dogs may be born deaf. Even though they can’t be shown in a conformation ring, they make great companions. Take care of your white Boxer in the sun, because they have an increased risk of developing sun cancer.
In the United States, the Boxer tail is docked, and the ears may be cropped so they stand erect. However these procedures are banned in other parts of the world. In these countries, the Boxer’s thin whip like tail is carried arched over their back.
Boxers have been described as the clown of the dog world, and are always keen for a game. They are high spirited and boisterous, and their enthusiasm for life can literally knock you off your feet. These dogs aren’t aggressive as such, but are alert and watchful, and will let you know if there are intruders about.
This is an affectionate breed, and they want to be involved in all areas of your life. They do drool, which can make it less than pleasant if they want to snuggle up to you! Their fondness for people makes them particularly suitable as therapy dogs, providing their exuberance can be kept in check.
The Boxer was bred to work, and they have a very good brain. This means that without a job to do, they will find their own way of amusing themselves. They are particularly good at dog sports such as agility, and respond well to firm consistent training and leadership.
There are several health issues that occur in Boxers, and they can be debilitating.
If you look at the statistics for many of the cancers in dogs, the Boxer is often on the list of breeds that suffer from these diseases.
They can also have colitis, an inflammation of the large intestine that often leads to diarrhea and food intolerances. While we’re looking at the digestive tract, it’s important to remember that this breed’s deep chest can predispose them to bloat. This occurs when a dog has a big meal, which results in the stomach swelling and even twisting. The result is interference with blood flow, shock and collapse. Bloat is a life threatening emergency and needs immediate veterinary treatment. Smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding exercise after mealtimes can help prevent this condition.
Boxers can have heart disease including cardiomyopathy and irregularities of the heart rhythm. Sometimes there are no obvious symptoms, apart from the occasional fainting spell. Many owners of affected Boxers don’t know their dog has a heart condition, because their dogs appear to be in perfect health.
Hip dysplasia can be a problem in the Boxer, and can lead to painful arthritis. This is a difficult condition for a Boxer to endure, because they love being active, but it hurts.
A Boxer’s short nose can make it difficult for them to pant. Because this is the primary method that dogs use to keep themselves cool, it can mean that this breed is at greater risk of heat stroke than breeds with longer noses. Even though these dogs love to run and jump and play, keep a close eye on them in hot humid conditions.
The Boxer is a very easy dog to look after. Their short coat needs minimal attention. They don’t need bathing very often, and you can easily remove any dust and loose hair with a soft brush or grooming mitt.
These dogs need exercise and training to keep them physically and emotionally healthy. A bored Boxer can create havoc in your home and back yard. Take your dog for a long walk every day and you’ll both stay fit and well. Think seriously about taking them to obedience classes or even agility classes. They will thoroughly enjoy the mental challenge, and will have fun meeting other dogs and owners.
Make sure you have high fences around your yard. Boxers are very agile and are good jumpers. They will easily clear a low fence and wander the neighborhood looking for someone to play with.
The Boxer is a fantastic breed for active families with children. The dog will involve themselves in all family activities, and will thrive on the company. They may not be ideal if your children are very young; their bouncy nature might knock your young one right off their feet. Start your Boxer’s obedience training as soon as you bring them home, and they will grow up knowing how to behave around people.
If you live in an apartment, think twice before you bring a Boxer home. They are so exuberant and active, your décor may not survive as they run through your home, leaving chaos in their wake.
This breed needs company, so working families that are out all day may find that their Boxer gets up to mischief. This isn’t the best environment for this breed, so if you are in this situation, you may be better off choosing a more independent breed.
In spite of their numerous health issues, Boxers have a lifespan of up to 12 years.