The Breed

Jett and Vander - Photo by Heather McIntosh

Jett and Vander - Photo by Heather McIntosh

History of the Boxer Breed

While there are many theories as to the origin of the boxer, the breed is said to have reached its perfection in Germany within the past century. Most believe that the boxer comes from European line of dogs that have been around since the 16th century. Some evidence suggests that the boxer is one of the many descendants of the old fighting dog found in the high valleys of Tibet. It is also accepted that this breed is a cousin to just about all breeds within the bulldog type.

It is generally believed that this favorite breed of Germany was developed to retain all of its older qualities with a more attractive look. Other sources claim that the boxer was derived from two breeds of dog found in central Europe that no longer exist: the Danziger bullenbaiser and the Brabenter bullenbaiser. In this account, it is believed that in the 1830s German hunters tried to create a new breed by crossing the bullenbaisers with mastiff-type dogs and bulldogs. This resulted in a tough yet agile dog that featured a streamlined body and a strong grip. This origin states that by 1895, the new breed, called the boxer, had been established. The exact origin of the name boxer is rather obscure, but it may have taken from the German boxl. In addition to being related to the Bulldog, it is said that the boxer is also influenced by a strain of terrier. Others think that there is reason to believe that English Bulldogs were imported into Germany at one time.

One of the first dogs to be used in military and police work, the boxer became better known as a family pet and show dog by the 1900s. The boxer was first registered with the AKC in 1904, but the first championship did not take place until 1915. It was about 1940 before Americans showed interest in this breed, a time when the boxer won in Group and Best in Show.

Boxer Temperament

Playful and inquisitive, the boxer is an attentive, exuberant companion for the family. It is a devoted and outgoing dog that tends to be very patient and gentle with children. While it may have a tendency towards being stubborn, this breed is sensitive and responsive to training. It has been known to be aggressive towards strange dogs, but usually the boxer is good with other family dogs and pets. This breed bonds closely with its family. The playful spirit of this dog is seen when it paws at food or water dishes when they are empty and by its love of jumping. Boxers need a lot of human companionship, and an active family is best. Firm and consistent training from a young age is highly recommended.

Boxer Recommended Maintenance

Easily groomed, the boxer's smooth, short coat should be occasionally brushed with a firm bristle brush or rubber slicker style brush. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary, because it removes the natural oils found in the skin of this breed. The boxer is considered to be an average shedder, and it is a very clean breed. Most will groom themselves as cats do. Daily mental and physical stimulation is important for the boxer breed. While this dog enjoys a good run, its exercise requirements can be met with a long walk on leash. Note that this breed does not do well in hot or cold weather. If provided with enough exercise, the boxer will do fine in an apartment dwelling. An average-sized yard is suggested. This dog is very social, and it should given plenty of time with the family.

Boxer Health

Life span: 8 - 12 years

Major concerns: cardiomyopathy, SAS (Sub-aeortic stenosis), DM (Degenerative Myopathy) Juvenile Kidney Disease, Cancers.

Minor concerns: benign tumors and cycts, intervertebral disc degeneration (spondylosis) , hypothyroidism, corneal erosion, colitis, gastric torsion, allergies. 

Suggested health testing: cardiac clearance including 24 hour holter monitor or echocardiogram, SAS, OFA hip, thyroid, DM (degenerative myelopathy) and ARVC DNA tests.


Note: sensitive to heat and anesthesia; *Boxers should never be given the drug acepromazine * ; white boxers have slightly higher incidence of deafnes , and are prone to sunburn

Boxer... The Early Years

Boxer as we know it today