Breed Group:
Working Dogs

Middle Age: 5 years

Geriatric Age: 10 years

Life Span: 10 to 12 years

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History of the Boxer

Boxers, often referred to as the ‘Peter Pan’ of dog breeds—because of their tireless energy and loving rapport—have three ancestors. The Bullenbeisser, an extinct hunting dog used for big game over multiple centuries, is the first. Georg Alt, a German fellow who lived in the late 19th century, bred a female Bullenbeisser with another canine of unknown origin, and the litter borne a cute cream-white runt named Lechner’s Box. Lechner’s Box was the beginning of the Boxer breed we know today. As you can deduce, the second ancestor remains unknown. However, Lechner Box was then inbred within the

As you can deduce, the second ancestor remains unknown. However, Lechner Box was then inbred within the litter giving birth to a female pup later named Atl Shecken.  At the time, Alt Shecken’s breed was referred to as either a Modern Bullenbeisser, or a Bierboxer. Alt Schecken was then bred to an English Bulldog which paved the way for Flocki, the first ever Boxer registered in the German Stud Book. Shortly after in the late 19th century, one of Flocki’s sisters was bred to a grandson of Leckner’s Box, which produced a female named Meta von der Passage; this very female is coined as the ‘mother of the modern Boxer.’ Thus you have the three ancestors of the Boxer breed; a Bullenbeisser, a Bulldog, and a question mark.

A few years later, three German men decided to iron out and exhibit the breed. They succeeded. By 1895, in Munich, the first ever Boxer Club was founded. In the early 20th century, Boxers came to America, where they were registered by the AKC in 1904. The scarcity of Boxers in America during the early 20th century made them exclusive and hard-to-come-by. During World War I—due to the fact that Boxers were enlisted in the US military—soldiers would return from their tours with their canine companions. The soldier-imported dogs contributed to the ‘commercialization’ of Boxers (in America) which eventually led to the popularity and presence of the breed today.

 

Boxer Temperament & Personality

Boxers are a dynamic blend of the alert and hyper-attentive guard dog, and the playful, patient, energetic pup perfect for children. Although the temperament of a Boxer depends widely on early socialization and the personalities of their parents, they’re by in large polite and friendly to others. Being that the hunting dog is in their blood, they’re often independent and confident. That same blood also contributes to their aggression when they feel their family is in danger; this phenomenon is seen across most breeds with the ‘hunt’ instinct in them.

There are distinct differences between male and female Boxers, however. Males are often extroverted and abundantly loving, with no care to outgrow their immaturity until years later. Females can often be introverted, protective, and moody. This does not make them any less loyal or loving, but they will not wear their emotions on their sleeve as often as their counterpart. The general rule of thumb with Boxers is to overexpose them early on. Meaning, early socialization is a key to better personalities and stable temperaments.

Boxer Trainability

Boxers can be a handful. Simply put, in their youth they’re energetic, giddy, and often a bit mischievous. This means they will need to be trained with care, daily consistency, and most importantly patience, making the Boxer a poor fit for the owner that does not have ample time to spend with their dog (especially early on). They’re undoubtedly trainable, but the road to a trained Boxer is often met with resistance and takes time.

Early on, it’s important to set a standard with your Boxer and assert your role as the parent with constant engagement and firm routines. This means that from day one you must be known and respected as the alpha of the household. If this relationship is not initially solidified, behavioral and temperamental issues could surface in the future. When your Boxer behaves, use positive reinforcement in the form of treats, praise, and playfulness on the owner’s behalf. They respond best to a reward system.

Due to their athleticism, Boxers need abundant activity. A Boxer who has played, walked, and met his daily need for exercise is more prone to behave than one that receives the bare minimum. These dogs love running; they’ll need an avenue to release it. Stay on top of it, as Boxers are often known to push their limits when it comes to things they can get away with under the owner’s nose. Early-socialization, potty training, and puppy classes are a must. To drive the point home, patience is crucial; Boxers develop their training and behavior at their own speed.

Boxer Exercise Requirements

Boxers are naturally athletic in built. This is one of their most identifiable and coveted traits. They aren’t prone to obesity and are (generally) healthy canines. However, due to their surplus of energy and their need of muscular development, they must be kept on a balanced exercise routine in order to mature properly.

In a Boxer’s youth, it is important that they get two walks—amounting anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour—per day. Three days out of the week the Boxer pup should be allowed to run freely either in a large backyard, field, or a stabilized environment.

Due to their thin coats, they are best walked in mild weather conditions, rather than conditions lending themselves to any sort of extreme. They do not fare well in extreme heat or cold. Boxers are athletic, allowing you to be creative about the way you enforce exercise. They adore and long for games. Teach them how to fetch and they’ll be sprinting back and forth drooling with a ball in their mouth. Teach them Frisbee and enjoy the same outcome. Take them on hikes or leash them up on your bike ride to the store.

As they mature, Boxer’s will naturally be inclined to continue or even up their need for exercise. Pay close attention during the 4-22 month period of your boxer. If you notice they are developing a bit slower and skinnier than otherwise assumed, up their day-to-day exercise and make sure they’re consuming a nutrient-filled diet.

Lifespan & Longevity of a Boxer

A Boxer’s lifespan is typically anywhere from 10-12 years

Are Boxers a Popular Breed?

As of 2017, the Boxer ranks #10 in popularity on the AKC’s list of 155 registered dog breeds. While the dog reached its height in popularity in the late 20th century and early 21st, it remains to be one of the most popular breeds in America. Their homey-tendencies, loyalty, fondness of children, and dominate athletic prowess make them a desirable companion. Being both stubborn and loyal, playful and indoor-oriented, they make for a family’s perfect addition.

Boxer Feeding Requirements

It’s beneficial to remember that dogs, like humans, are dynamic and different. No two dogs in the world are the same. Meaning one Boxer’s appetite and standard of food consumption will often be different than another. This is dependent on the Boxer’s weight, age, build, metabolism, and exercise rate.

Generally, an adult Boxer requires two cups of dry food a day. This quantity should be divided into a breakfast and early-dinner, as feeding a Boxer immediately before they enter their sleep cycle is poor for their digestive system. This particular breed will need more than your average indoor dog, being that the Boxer is highly active.

As puppies, Boxers will often be prone to eating twice the amount as they will during adulthood. This should be monitored carefully by the owner and the amount of food administered should directly correlate with the amount of activity the puppy is getting.

Lastly, being that these dogs burn a lot of energy, the higher-quality the food the better. Certainly, that goes for every canine, but the fact of that matter is Boxers, like athletes, need their nutrients. Be aware of this.

Grooming a Boxer

Boxers come with sleek coats pressed tightly over their muscular bodies. Colored fawn or brindle—white markings or not—Boxers require little grooming. They’re low maintenance on the aesthetic front and are even known to be cleanly to the point they clean themselves. Once a week brushing—using a bristle brush or a hard-rubber grooming mitt—should mitigate a Boxer’s shedding problem. Being that their coats are thin, be careful not to cut them if using a shedding blade. Bathe when needed, but veterinarians say to focus more on paw care and dental hygiene. Brush their teeth multiple times a week to avoid tartar or bacteria buildups. Trim their nails monthly if needed. Administer a

Bathe when needed, but veterinarians say to focus more on paw care and dental hygiene. Brush their teeth multiple times a week to avoid tartar or bacteria buildups. Trim their nails monthly if needed. Administer a weekly checkup in which you assess the inside of their mouth, ears, nose, and sweep through their fur. Expose the Boxer to these cleanings and checkups at an early age and use them as a form of obedience training. This will make it easier to maintain the hygiene of your Boxer in its later ages.

Are Boxers Good with Kids?

Boxers are fantastic with children. Often found on dog lists specified specifically for children, they are playful, loyal, and patient in the presence of youngsters. Often best when paired with younger children, the Boxer will become an astounding companion and protector of the little ones. The boxer can match a child’s energy and playfulness, and their intelligence allows them to adapt and maintain awareness of their environment.

Being that Boxers are often considered bouncy dogs—because of how much they love to jump and roll. In their puppy years, they often lack spatial and self-awareness. Meaning they don’t know how big or strong they are. This can be a problem, but with careful training and teaching of both the Boxer and the children, it no longer becomes an issue.

Boxer Health Problems

Being that Boxers are athletic and supposed to be treated as such, they’re often healthy. But as with any dog, they can be affected by illness and disease. A good tip here to avoid health issues later in life is to ensure your potential puppy’s parents are healthy, stable, and have received clearances from certified health establishments. Some of the health conditions which affect Boxers include:

Cancer: Boxers can develop lymphoma, brain tumors, and mast cell tumors. If they’re white-marked, they are often more prone to cancer. This could be for a variety of reasons, but it is generally said that the lighter colored the Boxer, the more often sunscreen should be applied to its coat if it’s to be directly in sunlight.

Boxer Cardiomyopathy (BCM): Although this specific condition often goes by different names (BAC, FVA, ARVC), they all stem from the same root; an inherited condition that causes the heart to beat in an entropic rhythm. Being that it’s affecting the cardiovascular system directly, the symptoms can be anything from abnormal weakness, feinting, or sudden death. Due to the difficulty in detecting this condition, often it is only diagnosed after the Boxer has been greatly affected by BCM.

Hip Dysplasia: this is a condition that directly affects the thighbone and the hip joint. Similar to the human anatomy, when there is a displacement between the bone and the joint, dysplasia ensues. Being that often a dog with Hip Dysplasia will not exhibit signs of the condition, it can later manifest into chronic arthritis.

Hypothyroidism: This condition is due to an impaired thyroid. Boxers that suffer from Hypothyroidism will often be infertile, obese, lethargic, and devoid of their usual brightness (intellectually speaking). The coat can also telegraph this condition, as the fur will fall out completely and the skin will grow darker and coarser.

Other Resources:

National Breed Website: American Boxer Club

Rescues: National Boxer Rescue

 

Health Issues Associated with this Breed: