The modern day Boxer originates from a combination of a 19th German breed of dog, called the Bullenbeisser, and Bulldogs from Great Britain. The Bullenbeisser, originally used for hunting (bear, wild boar, and deer) was eventually bred to be both smaller and faster. The Brabanter Bullenbeisser of Brabant, Belgium is accepted as the direct ancestor of the modern day Boxer.
In 1894, the breed was stabilized in Germany and put on exhibition at a dog show. In the year 1896, the Deutscher Boxer Club, the first club for this breed, was founded. It was this club that published the first breed standard in 1902.
The Boxer spread throughout Europe during the late 19th century. It reached the United States during the turn of the 20th century. In 1904, the first Boxer was registered with the American Kennel Club.
During the first World War, the Boxer was trained for military purposes. These dogs were used as messenger dogs, pack carriers, attack dogs, and guard dogs. After World War II, Boxers were taken home by returning soldiers and made popular world wide. This dog was then used as a companion animal, show dog, and guard dog.
The Boxer’s head is probably one of its most distinguishing features. It should be within perfect proportion and heavier than most dog breeds. The muzzle is short and stocky, and also within proportion of its skull. The Boxer also has folds that run down its face, starting at the root of its nose, and an elongated lower jaw (in comparison to its upper jaw).
The Boxer’s body is very strong and muscular. Its shoulders in particular have very well defined muscles. There is also an upward angle towards its front. Males typically measure between 23 and 25 inches and weigh approximately 66 to 70 pounds. Females, being the smaller of the breed, usually measure about 21.5 to 23.5 inches and weigh between 55 and 60 pounds.
The Boxer’s tail is naturally long, although it was once docked in many areas of the world. Now, tail docking is banned, but a type of naturally bob-tailed Boxer was developed in the anticipation of tail docking bans. Ear docking is still common practice, though. Boxers naturally have droopy ears, but pointed and erect ones when docked.
Boxers are a short hair breed, with a very shiny and smooth coat that lies close to the body. Unlike mostly every other dog breed, the Boxer does carry a gene for a full black coat. Therefore, no purebred black Boxers exist. Colors that the Boxer can be, however, include various shades of fawn and brindle. Boxers have white underside, and in some cases, an all white coat. Some may have a white stripe between the eyes and around the muzzle. They also have black or dark markings on their face, mainly on the muzzle and around the eyes. White Boxers do not have these markings.
It should be noted that white Boxers are prohibited from breeding by many official Boxer clubs throughout the world, due to their increased risk of health problems, such as deafness.
Average litter size for the Boxer is between 6 and 8 puppies. Average life span for the Boxer is roughly 9 to 10 years.
Boxers are generally considered good dogs to have as pets, especially for those families with children. Boxers love children, as they are both protective and energetic. Boxers could play for hours and not get tired. Furthermore, while they are large,, muscular dogs, they do know their limits when it comes to playing with children, as long as they are properly trained. They are also non-aggressive, for the most part, and patient when it comes to children, smaller dogs, and puppies.
Boxers are very active, though. So, a dedicated and patient owner is essential. They need a lot of exercise and activity each day, in order to avoid behavioral issues associated with Boxer boredom. These behavioral issues could include, but are not limited to, chewing, digging, licking, etc.
Training is very important in owning a Boxer. They are bright, which could make training quite easy. However, they also have a tendency to be headstrong and disobedient. They do not do it out of spite or aggression; they just like to get their own way and follow their own activity wishes. Boxers respond best to positive reinforcement techniques, such as clicker training, rather than training based on corrections. Again, their intelligence can be both a blessing and a curse.
Lastly, Boxers require a great deal of socialization. Without it, they could become bored or very stressed out. Furthermore, while Boxers are naturally inclined to be protective of their owners, children, smaller dogs, and puppies, they do experience the same feelings towards adult dogs of their size. They are not overly aggressive, however difficulties arising from a need for dominance could occur, especially in the presence of a dog of the same sex. However, if they are properly socialized, and from an early age, they will adore companionship. It is not unusual to see families with more than one Boxer, since they are great at forming bonds with one another.
Boxers are no longer used in hunting or sport (typically). Of course, some dog owners still choose to take their pets along on the hunt. Boxers are still strong, agile, and athletic, so those who do still follow along on the hunt tend to do well.
However, the Boxer’s most common use in today’s society is simply as a companion animal. Again, while they do require a massive amount of training and socialization, the Boxer has the ability to make a wonderful family pet. Furthermore, some Boxer owners choose to enter their dogs in competitions, such as general dog shows, obedience trials, and agility trials, where they do tend to perform quite well.
Lastly, because of the Boxer’s nurturing and affectionate personality, they have established a very good reputation as service or therapy dogs. This does require an even higher amount of training, but it is well worth it.
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