Boxers were first bred in Germany in the late 1800’s. They descend from Bullenbeisers (which are now extinct) and Bulldogs. The larger Bullenbeisers were hunting dogs, bred to grab hold of injured game until their masters arrived to claim it. A smaller kind of Bullenbeiser was bred in Belgium, which opened the doors for the Boxer to be born.
A Boxer was first shown at a show in 1895, and a few years later in 1902 a breed standard was created. For the most part this standard is still used today.
Boxers played a role in both World War I and II as messengers. Their use in World War II helped to spread the breed population around the world as many dogs were befriended and adopted by homeward-bound soldiers after the war. Today they are a beloved family pet and the sixth most popular breed of dog in the United States.
Boxers have hair that is short, shiny, and close to the body. This smooth coat is usually faun or brindle, running the gamut from a deep red to black on a brown background. Some boxers have more white in their coat than others.
Much emphasis is put on the boxer’s unique head shape and facial features. It’s hard not to recognize the short face and folds of skin near the mouth. The lower jaw of a boxer will stick out a little more than the upper jaw, which is known as being prognathous or under-bite.
Traditionally, the ears and tails of the boxer have been docked. Recently, however, this has become much less common.
Boxers are energetic and playful. They play well with children and make a great family pet. They require a reasonable level of exercise to keep them entertained. If kept in an environment without enough stimulation they may pick up some unwanted habits like chewing or digging.
Sadly, boxers are predisposed to getting cancer. 38% of all boxer deaths are a result of this disease, according to a UK Kennel Club health survey. They also are prone to heart conditions, stomach problems, and allergies.
Socialization is important for boxers. They are very social dogs, and enjoy both human and canine companionship. They aren’t aggressive naturally, but without the proper training they can have problems large, adult dogs. This is especially true with other boxers of the same gender.