Type: Working dog
Weight: Male dog – 30–32 kg
Female dog – 25–27 kg
Height: Male dog – 23-25 in / 57–63 cm
Female dog – 21.5-23.5 in / 53–60 cm
Appearance: The Boxer is a stocky, medium-sized dog with a short-haired, smooth, shiny, close-lying and tightfitting coat. Its colours are mostly fawn or brindled, with or without white markings covering the entire body, but also could be a black mask, with or without white markings, and white. Boxers have brachycephalic (broad and short) skulls, square muzzles and extremely strong jaws. The Boxer was bred from the Old English bulldog and the Bullenbeisser.
Temperament: The Boxer is an absolutely loyal dog, it shows great love and faithfulness to his master, it protects its territory and the household, but can be very distrustful and aggressive to strangers. This is only because Boxers are instinctive guardians, well-trained they’re absolutely harmless and very attached to their family. Their friendly temperament and cleanliness make Boxers a great choice as family pets. Around its owners, the dog is brave, smart, energetic and very playful.
Skills: Because of their strength and alertness, Boxers are very reliable guard dogs. They’re also used as service dogs, guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs, police dogs, for herding cattle or as sheepdogs. For military purposes, Boxers can play the role of messenger dogs, pack carriers, and attack and guard dogs.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Children: Boxers are very good and patient with children, and also very protective. They are extremely active and love to play with children of any age. Boxers are also tolerant and friendly to other animals, patient with smaller dog and puppies, but can become extremely aggressive to larger adult dogs of the same sex.
Common Health Problems: Cancer, aortic stenosis and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (the socalled “boxer cardiomyopathy”), hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy and epilepsy, gastric dilatation and torsion, intestinal problems, and allergies, entropion and dystocia.
Lifespan: Average 9-10 years.
- Start with the housebreaking from day one. Watch your puppy when he’s inside – walking around in circles and sniffing the floor are usually signs he’s about to relieve himself. Make sure to take him out immediately. If he eliminates outside, praise and reward him. If he does it inside, pick him up and say “No” in a loud firm voice. When you take him outside, use a cue word. If you repeat it from the beginning, he will learn to associate with it what he has to do outside.
- Assert yourself as the leader. Your pup will see your family as his pack and you have to show who the leader of the pack is. Make it clear that behaviour such as stealing food from plates, chewing, bothering you when you’re busy, jumping on people, urinating inside and barking when you’re training him is not tolerable. Teach your dog to respect you.
- Teach commands with repetition. Start with words such as “”No”, “Drop it”, “Come”, “Lie”, “Down”, and “Off”. Repeat them over and over in the same voice and manner to get your dog accustomed to them. Snap destructive behaviour If you don’t show your puppy who’s boss, he will start making his own decisions. Boxers are keen to please their owners and if you communicate in the right manner that he has to respect you and behave accordingly. Be consistent, using the right tone, expression, and body language.
- Socialise him with as many people and pets as possible. Teach your Boxer pup he can trust all members of the family. Watch him closely when he’s around strangers; reprimand bad behaviour such as jumping and growling, and praise those that are desirable.
Boxers are fast learners and training them will be a rewarding experience, making your bond with your dog stronger, and stimulating the Boxer’s mental and physical development. Boxers are responsive to positive reward based training methods which rely on encouragement, consistency, praise and repetition. The intelligent and obedient Boxers make excellent students that won’t take well harsh corrections or forceful methods. You can easily teach a Boxer the basic obedience commands, such as “Come”, “Sit”,”Stay”, “Fetch”, etc. Boxers do not take repetition well. Short training sessions are best for them and if you repeat a command he’s already done correctly, this might be a set-back rather than advancement.
Stop your dog from chewing by providing lots of soft toys and rawhide bones. Snap the barking issues by teaching him when to be silent and when to speak. Praise him for barking by saying the word “Speak” and giving him a treat. Later when the dog is barking, teach him the word “quiet”, and reinforce when he silences with a treat or a silent rub. Stop unwanted jumping on people by walking away or turning your back against him when he leaps, avoiding eye contact. When he sits, praise and reward him. When he has learned the basic commands, you can also teach him to sit when he’s being introduced to new people as an alternative to the jumping.
Prevent him from stealing food or any other items by first doing an exchange. When your Boxer gives you what you want to take away, give him a treat. Gradually substitute food with praise until all it takes to get your dog to let go is a little praise. Crate your Boxer during housebreaking when you’re away. Make sure the dog considers the crate a place of safety and comfort. Make it a fun area; not a punishment. Get him to the pen with treats and use phrases such as “kennel” and “go to bed” to associate with kennelling.
Known as a German breed, the Boxer originates from a line of dogs known throughout the whole of Europe since the 16th century. Boxers are descendants of a German Bullenbeisser (a dog that descended from Mastiffs) and the Bulldog. The Boxer we know today was developed in the late 19th century by a Munich man named Georg Alt who bred a brindle-coloured female Bullenbeisser named Flora with a local dog of unknown origin. A fawn-and-white male puppy in the litter they produced is believed to be the start of the line that would become the Boxer we know today.
Three Germans named Roberth, Konig, and Hopner decided to stabilise the breed. In 1985, they showed the breed at a dog show in Munich and a year later, they founded the first Boxer Club. The breed spread throughout Europe in the late 1980s and in the early 1900s, the first Boxer dogs were imported into the USA. In 1904, the American Kennel Club registered the first Boxer dog and recognised the first Boxer champion in 1915. Boxers were listed as war dogs in WWI and were used to carry packs, serve as messenger dogs, and act like attack and guard dogs. It was WWII, however, that gained them recognition, as soldiers returning from war brought home their Boxer mascots. These strong dogs were soon favoured for their amiable character and became loyal companions, show dogs, and therapy dogs. Boxers can easily be acquitted as guard dogs but their personality is more predisposed for obedience work and agility. Boxers are invaluable as search and rescue dogs.
The etymology of the breed’s name is still subject to debate. A widespread theory attributes it to the dog’s ability to stand on his hind legs during playtime, reminiscing the stance of a boxer. Another speculation is that it’s a variation of Boxi – a shortened form of Bullenbisser but there are no historical evidence to support any of them and all theories regarding the etymology of the name are simply speculations.
The most common health concern among Boxers are hereditary, so make sure you buy your puppy from a breeder who can give you clearance. Take your Boxer to the vet for regular check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative Heartworm medication. You should also have him examined when you notice some kind of unusual behaviour – not eating as usual, not wanting to be touched, sleeping or resting excessively. Keep your Boxer healthy by following feeding guidelines; don’t leave out food for the dog, don’t let him eat your food and don’t overfeed him. Engage him in a variety of exercises, provide a clean and calm peaceful environment, and keep up with grooming; brushing teeth and cleaning ears daily will prevent dental diseases and ear infections. Never let your dog overheat by leaving him outside in hot weather.
Brisk walks, running, play sessions with you, other dogs, or toys – Boxers need to expend their energy every way possible to prevent destructive behaviour. A tired Boxer is a well-behaved Boxer. Young dogs under a year, whose bones are still growing, should not be allowed excessive jumping and running in order to prevent orthopedic problems.
Boxers are clean dogs, and require minimal grooming. Weekly brushing with a bristle brush or hard rubber grooming mitt will help keep shedding under control. Provide also vitamin supplements with Omega Fatty Acids, Flax Seed or Salmon Oil to prevent excessive shedding, since the breed is susceptible to seasonal flank alopecia.
Boxers need a high-protein diet to meet his basic nutritional needs. It should provide all essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, L-carnitine, and Taurine. Boxers suffer from allergies, both generic and food ones, so avoid foods which contain soy, wheat, and corn. You can prepare home-cooked meals, which is easy, safer, and in most cases less expensive than buying commercial food. Your Boxer needs meat – fresh, wholesome, real. 35-45% of his diet should be one or a combination of: lean, white breast chicken, turkey, lamb, veal, fish – tuna, mackerel. Vegetables are next, adding to 25-35% of the home-cooked meal: add raw or steamed carrots, sweet peas, broccoli, string beans, potatoes. Add starch – pasta and rice, and provide a good daily dog vitamin and mineral dog supplement whether you feed commercial or home-made food.