Typically, boxers are an easy breed to train and extremely attentive to their owners. They are a fun, intelligent, and overall wonderful breed!
Boxers are an older breed that trace their roots to 19th century Germany. They descend from the Old English Bulldog and made their formal debut at a dog show in Munich in 1895. Now, more than one hundred years later, people still adore this breed. In 2011, Boxers were ranked in the top 10 most popular breeds!
From Predator to Pet
The name Boxer was thought to come from the breeds tendency to play by standing on their hind legs and boxing with their front paws. It also appropriately refers to their feistiness. Boxers are known to stick up for themselves and stand their ground.
Boxers were originally bred to hunt. Their primary duty was to catch prey and bring their prize back to their masters. Bred smaller than their ancestor the Old English Bulldog, their smaller size made them extremely speedy and agile - valuable tools for hunting dogs!
Today, these dogs are used in many different roles. They make excellent guide and service dogs, as well as therapy and police/military dogs. Occasionally, they are even used for herding. And, of course, they are a great companion dog for families!
The most distinctive part of the Boxers body is their head, which is larger in comparison to their body. They also have a big square muzzle and a bit of an under-bite. Their color to be fawn or brindle, although their coat can range anywhere from a light-yellow tan to a dark-deer red. They also often have "mask, in which the muzzle is black surrounded by other hues. Sometimes, specks of white can be found throughout their face as well.
Strangely, there have been instances where Boxers are white in color! Sadly, breeders were not fond of the white color, because the white puppies possess a gene that potentially causes deafness in both ears. However, only 18% of white boxers were actually deaf. Despite this, they actually used to euthanize white puppies but are now required to be put on a spay and neuter contract instead. Also, their tails used to be docked or cropped, but this practice is now prohibited in many countries around the world.
Boxers are a medium to large size breed. Their height ranges from 21-25" and they usually weigh between 55-70 lbs.
The Adventurous Sort
Boxers are guardians and companions by nature. They enjoy protecting their family, and if provoked, they won't hesitate to do so. Also, they've got a lot of energy, so they're ideal for a family that loves to play! They adore children and are also good with smaller dogs and puppies. They do usually have trouble with large dogs, however, especially when they are the same sex.
Boxers possess a high activity level. They make wonderful hiking and walking partners, as they need to be walked two to three times a day. They thrive when joining in on any adventures you may embark. But be careful when jogging during extreme weather. Boxers have breathing problems, so they may need a little break if its too cold or hot out.
A Stubborn Streak
As for training, they are capable of listening and responding appropriately, but they are very independent. They like doing things their way and can be stubborn. Boxers are rather intelligent, so they definitely require mental stimulation. Early training is necessary to keep them from getting into trouble around the house, as is keeping a regular exercise routine.
Sadly, Boxers are susceptible to a wide range of health issues, including breathing problems, cancer, cardiac conditions, hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy (spinal cord disease), indolent corneal ulcers (aka Boxer Eye Ulcers), thyroid disease, epilepsy, bloating, and allergies. Also, they're extremely sensitive to the drug Acepromazine.
As with any breed, avoiding some of the nasty dog food on the shelves and selecting a high-quality food instead should elongated their life and decrease their chances of developing these problems. The typical lifespan of a Boxer is 10 to 12 years.
Consider looking for a Boxer through rescue organizations first. Every year, there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005