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Boxer - Breed Profile


Boxers are big dogs yet they love to clown around. Highly energetic they make playful and loving family pets. Protective of their family, they are reliable watchdogs.

HISTORY

The Boxer's ancestors were the German Bullenbeisser (literally bull-biter, a dog that descended from Mastiffs) and the Olde English Bulldog. The Bullenbeisser was used as a hunting dog for centuries to hunt bear, wild boar, and deer. Its task was to catch and hold the prey until hunters arrived. Over time, they began to be used by farmers and butchers to guard and drive cattle.

The Boxer we know today was developed in the late 19th century in Germany. In 1894, three Germans decided to stabilise the breed and put it on exhibition at a dog show. This was done in Munich in 1895, and the next year they founded the first Boxer Club.

The breed became known in other parts of Europe in the late 1890s. Around 1903, the first Boxers were imported into the U.S. When World War I broke out, Boxers were enlisted into the military, serving as messenger dogs, carrying packs, and acting as attack and guard dogs.

Boxers started becoming popular in the U.S. in the 1940s when soldiers coming home from World War II brought their Boxer mascots with them. Through them, the breed was introduced to more people and soon became a favourite as a companion animal, show dog, and guard dog.

APPEARANCE

Boxers are the tallest member of the Brachycephalics: those breeds are distinguished by their short snouts and undershot jaws such as the Pugs and French Bulldogs. Breeders say the development of this undershot jaw was encouraged as it was believed to be better suited to holding its prey.

A medium sized dog, slightly taller than an Australian Cattle Dog, the Boxer has a smooth, sleek coat.
The Boxer is a sturdy dog of short square figure and strong limb. Boxers have a strong, well-muscled physique with a broad chest and barrel-like forequarter tapering to a narrow hindquarter. 

The recognised colours are fawn and brindle, frequently with a white underbelly and white on the feet. These white markings, called "flash", often extend onto the neck or face, and dogs that have these markings are known as "flashy".

Brindle is a striking tiger-striped pattern of black stripes on a fawn background. White markings usually appear on the belly or feet and shouldn't cover more than one-third of the coat.

Boxers with white markings covering more than one-third of their coat – conventionally called "white" Boxers – are neither albino nor rare; approximately 20–25% of all Boxers born are white. Genetically, these dogs are either fawn or brindle, with excessive white markings over the base coat color. Like fair-skinned humans, white Boxers have a higher risk of sunburn and associated skin cancers.

  • Height: Males 57-63 cms; Females 53-59 cms 
  • Weight: Males 30-35 Kgs; Females: 22-28 Kgs

For the full breed standard, visit the ANKC website.

TEMPERAMENT

Fearless and self-assured, the Boxer can cast a striking and imposing figure when alert and watchful. This is a lively dog, bouncy and energetic and be prepared for
 your Boxer to take up to two years to be fully mature.

Most Boxers make vigilant watchdogs - meaning they will bark when they see or hear something out of the ordinary. Their guarding and territorial instincts, though, vary a great deal. Most Boxers react to strangers with a joyous "Hi there! Come on in!" (often accompanied by enthusiastic jumping and tail-wagging). Other Boxers are sensible and polite with strangers, neither fawning over them nor threatening them.

Aggression in Boxer dogs is a common type of behaviour mostly seen in untrained dogs of misinformed owners.

Because Boxers are extremely loyal to their families and feel a deep attachment to their people, separation anxiety can develop. Proper levels of physical activity and mental activity can keep separation anxiety from becoming a problem.


TRAINING & EXERCISE

Boxers have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train.

Many Boxers are passively stubborn and will brace their legs and refuse to do what you want them to do. Some are dominant and will make you prove that you can make them do things. Boxers need obedience training early in life to curb their natural exuberance, but respond well to thoughtful training and continued positive reinforcement.

Exercise needs vary from long daily walks for more sedentary Boxers to vigorous daily romping for high-energy individuals. Play fetch, take him for long walks, or get him involved in dog sports such as agility or flyball.

They should not, however, be exercised too heavily in hot weather as they are prone to heatstroke.

HEALTH & LIFESPAN

The breed isn’t without its health concerns.


Cardiomyopathy (commonly characterised by an irregular heartbeat) is specific to the Boxer; however, similar symptoms have also been reported in English Bulldogs.

Fainting or even sudden heart failure can occur, and some patients can develop congestive heart failure. It tends to occur in dogs that are at least two years old, although symptoms in dogs as young as six months have been reported.


Unfortunately cancerous tumours are also common to the breed and any unusual lumps should be reported to the vet. Other health concerns include eye diseases (such as corneal ulcers), digestive diseases (such as ulcerative colitis), hypothyroidism, itchy allergies, and more.

These health issues cause the Boxer to have an average lifespan of only 10-12 years.

HOUSEPET POTENTIAL

A large backyard is ideal and high fences are a must as Boxers are notorious jumpers. Without daily exercise and mental stimulation, you may expect your Boxer to become bored, hyperactive and destructive in the yard.

He requires a warm place to sleep and prefers to sleep indoors. Your pool should be securely fenced as boxers are not natural swimmers — many swim well but others sink like stones!

MAINTENANCE

The short, close lying coat sheds little and requires minimal grooming. A wipe-over with a damp cloth once weekly will generally suffice and all-in-all, Boxers are very easy to care for. 


White patches on the face and paws can suffer weeping lesions if exposed to the sun for prolonged periods. Applications of sunblock to these sensitive areas may be required.

RECOMMENDED FOR

The excitable nature and strong physique of this breed makes it unsuitable around small children or those shy of dogs. However the Boxer is an ideal family dog for those with older children, bonding well with its family members and always up for a game or a walk. 


For more information on the breed, please contact

Boxer Club of NSW Inc
Western District Boxer Club of NSW 
Queensland Boxer Club Inc


If you're interested in re-homing a Boxer, please visit 

Boxer Rescue Network
Boxer Rescue Victoria
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