BREED SPOTLIGHT: Boxer
The Boxer is a powerful dog with an intelligent and alert expression.
History of the Boxer
The boxer can be traced to the 16 th century from a line of dogs known throughout Europe as the old fighting dog of the high valleys of Tibet. Until dogfighting was taboo, the boxer, as with all dogs of his type , was used for this purpose.
The boxer is distantly related to practically all recognized breeds of the bulldog, and reached its greatest development in Germany. In fact, boxers were one of the first breeds selected for police training in Germany.
Originally used for hunting to run down and hold large game such as wild boar until the hunter arrived, boxers were first exhibited in 1895 at a dog show for St. Bernards in Munich. After being brought to America following World War I, the breed gained popularity in the late 1930's.
How the breed got its name, boxer, is highly debated. While a popular notion, not a great number of experts agree with the legend that boxers are known for standing up on their hind legs and batting opponents, appearing to box with its front paws.
On the other hand, a boxer does box with its head. For example, he will hit a cat with his nose hard enough to knock it out instead of biting it, and he will box a ball with his nose.
According to statistics from the American Kennel Club, boxers were the 7 th most popular breed of dog for three years in a row in 2012.
Traits of the Boxer
True guardians by nature, the boxer enjoys being with people and can become very attached to its family. As a result, they made excellent couriers during war time, and are often used as service dogs for the blind.
The boxer is not an aggressive or vicious breed by nature, but like other dog breeds, they require socialization with people and other dogs. While they generally interact pretty well with smaller dogs, conflicts with larger dogs of the same gender can occur.
Boxers are an intelligent, playful and active breed that does well with children. Belonging to the working dog family, boxers need lots of exercise. Without it, they are much more likely to become bored and may spend their time chewing and digging.
In accordance with their intelligence and working breed characteristics, training based on corrections often doesn't work.
Visual Characteristics of Boxers
The boxer's physique can be described as a medium-sized, stocky frame with short-hair. The boxer's coat is notable for its smoothness and tight fit around the dog's frame. Typically, their colors are fawn or brindled, with or without white markings, which can sometimes cover the entire body.
Boxers have wide, short skulls and a square face, an under-bite, very strong jaws, and a powerful bite. Weighing from 55 to 70 pounds, boxers present a commanding visual figure.
The head is the most distinctive feature of the boxer. Folds typically run from the nose downwards on both sides of the face. Their lower jaw protrudes past the upper jaw and bends slightly upward, giving them a one-tooth grin.
Their colorings are fawn and brindle, with many having a white underbelly and feet. These white markings, which are known as “flash,” will sometimes appear on the neck and face as well.
If these white markings cover more than 1/3 of their body, the animal is known as a “white” boxer, and comprises nearly a ¼ of all boxers. The reason they're not considered albino is because their skin does have pigment. An albino has zero pigment and absolutely no color on their entire body.
Boxers do not carry the gene for a solid black coat color and, thus, purebred black Boxers do not exist.
Medical Issues of Boxers
Boxers are prone to health issues such as cancers, heart conditions, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy and epilepsy.
Cancer accounts for 38.5% of boxer deaths, followed by old age (21.5%), cardiac (6.9%) and gastrointestinal (6.9%) related issues according to a Kennel Club health survey. Boxers have an average lifespan of 10 years.
The Breed for You?
Boxers are friendly, lively companions and popular as family dogs. They are also great guard dogs because of their alertness and mistrust of strangers. A full-grown boxer can look rather intimidating!
They learn easily, making them great show and performance dogs. Agility training is a popular dog sport for boxers.
As puppies, boxers are known for their charming disposition – many display a unique ability to combine “mood-mirroring” expressions with boundless curiosity and strong attention span.
When you purchase accessories for your boxer as a puppy, be sure to select a well-made dog collar with plenty of room to grow.
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