Easily recognized by their characteristically flat square muzzle and a large forehead.
The Boxer Dog is more commonly referred to by the shortened term of “Boxer,” he is a medium-sized short-haired dog breed with a lean yet muscular build.
Commonly used as guard dogs, this breed is protective of his family and has a gregarious character, somewhat goofy as a puppy before settling down into a more calm companion as he ages.
History Of The Breed
This distinct breed hails from Germany, the result of crossing the popular English Bulldog with the now extinct German dog breed, the Bullenbeisser.
The Bullenbeisser was a dog of Mastiff descent, he looked somewhat similar in appearance to today’s Cane Corso.
Unfortunately, due to prolific crossbreeding, the purebred Bullenbeisser ultimately died out.
Boxer Dogs were so named due to the breeds tendency to play by standing on his hind legs and boxing with his front paws.
There is no mistaking the Boxer Dog; he’s one of the most unique looking dog breeds out there, and most commonly comes in either fawn or brindle.
He usually has white markings, commonly on the neck, face, and paws.
Boxers aren’t restricted to the two colors mentioned above, and white boxers are the third most common color.
Sometimes mistaken as albino, in fact, they are simply white in coloration, and white boxers make up about 25% of all Boxer Dogs.
In the past, some breeders would euthanize any white puppies at birth, and even the American Boxer Club notoriously used to unofficially recommend the destruction of these pups, with the reasoning that it was unethical to sell a dog with faults, which they deemed the white coloration to be.
Nowadays the practice is less common but does still exist.
An exuberant, playful and loyal pooch, the Boxer Dog has long been praised for his intense love for his family, and guarding instinct of those that he considers part of that family.
A great big goofball, they adore children but can be a little rambunctious so tend to be better with slightly older kids, or supervised when playing with little people that can get toppled over easily!
If you’re a couch potato, this is not the breed for you.
Boxer Dogs are high energy; they love nothing more than going for walks, and playing for hours on end.
For that reason, they usually do better with a canine playmate, or large human family to keep them entertained.
As an intelligent and high energy breed, it’s important to ensure that your dog has adequate mental stimulation to keep him from becoming destructive in an effort to entertain himself.
Many unfairly assume that Boxer Dogs are a difficult breed to train, but in fact, this is due to negative training methods that were previously used with the breed – and that did not go down well with such an intelligent dog.
Positive reinforcement methods have proven to work a treat, and when started with obedience training from a young age, the Boxer can be an incredibly responsive pooch.
The Boxer Dog is very patient with small animals, and smaller dogs but has shown to be slightly dog-aggressive with fellow large breed canines.
Of course, if you put the time and effort into socializing your Boxer and introducing him to all sorts of situations while he’s still a puppy, he will grow up to be an easy and laid back adult dog!
The Boxer Dog, sadly, is not one of the healthier breeds out there.
In fact, he may well be on the opposite side of the spectrum.
Some of the problems that he’s genetically predisposed to include:
The National Canine Cancer Association consider the Boxer to be a high-risk candidate of developing cancer, and when you consider the fact that one in three canines will develop cancer in their lifetime – that’s not the best news.
A responsible owner with a keen eye for changes in their dog’s health and behavior can spot problems and usually begin treatment quickly enough to ensure that their Boxer can lead a somewhat normal and happy life!
You’ve likely heard of Cardiomyopathy, a disease that affects the heart muscle, but did you know that the Boxer Dog is so prone to a type of this condition that it has been named after the breed?
Boxer Cardiomyopathy is a genetic disorder that presents as a disease of the heart muscle, the resulting weakening of the heart changes the electrical activity of the muscle and puts the dog at risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
Symptoms can be hard to spot and might not present at all, an examination of the heart, either by listening with a stethoscope or by conducting an echocardiogram may show an irregular heartbeat, in boxers, this is a pretty strong sign that they suffer from this condition.
The most common treatment for this condition is an oral medication that essentially forces the hearts beat to normalize, or somewhat normalize – this consistency that the medication provides reduces the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
As with many large breeds of dog, Hip Dysplasia is a problem that can occur, buying your Boxer puppy from a reputable breeder that has conducted successful hip scoring of both parents, and already has some mature litters is one of the best ways to avoid getting a dog with this problem.
Jumping around on their hind legs should always be discouraged to keep the hips as healthy as possible, having said that – as the Boxer was named due to his love of bouncing around on his hind legs – it can be difficult to eliminate!
Adopt or Shop
If you have your heart set on a Boxer Dog, you should know the risks associated with adopting a dog with unknown history.
As a breed that has his fair share of potential medical problems, you do run the risk of getting a dog with multiple health problems if you adopt, and you might prefer to buy for a well-known breeder with a breeding program known to produce happy and healthy dogs.
Having said that, if you’re in the position to adopt a dog, you always should – and taking out the best form of insurance possible is absolutely recommended for a Boxer Dog.
Some rescue organizations and centers even offer free healthcare for life for dogs with known medical problems!
The Boxer Dog is a cute scamp, he’s playful, goofy, trainable, and loves his family more than anything.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not this is the breed for you, it’s always possible to get in touch with a local Boxer Dog Rescue Organization and offer to foster a dog or two until you’re sure that the breed will fit your personality and lifestyle!