The Boxer is a stocky, medium-sized German breed. It is the seventh most popular breed of dog in the United States based on 2006 AKC statistics. The Boxer is part of the Molosser group and was bred from the Bulldog and the extinct Bullenbeisser.
The head of the Boxer is its most distinctive feature. Its muzzle is square with a powerful under bite and very strong jaws. Its muzzle is 1/3 the length of the entire head, and its head should be in perfect proportion to the body. The Boxer has a short, shiny, smooth coat. It lies close to the body and is fawn or brindle, often with white markings. Boxers with white markings covering 1/3 of their coat are not rare, they simply have excessive white markings on top of a fawn or brindle coat. The Boxer weighs between 55 and 70 pounds and stands 21 to 25 inches tall.
The Boxer was developed in the late 1800s in Germany, and was registered with the AKC in 1904. There is much controversy as to how the Boxer got its name. Some believe the name was derived from the breed’s tendency to play by “boxing” with its front paws while standing on its rear legs. Others believe that some of the smaller Bullenbeisser, which Boxers were bred from, were also known as “Boxl” and that the name Boxer was derived from that.
The Boxer is energetic and not aggressive or vicious by nature. It can be slightly territorial and dominating, however those who have a reputation of being “headstrong” may have had inappropriate training.
The Boxer very much enjoys companionship, and is an active breed which requires a good deal of exercise. Conditioning is important to its health, however certain things such as temperature or humidity need to be taken into consideration when exercising a Boxer.
The Boxer makes a wonderful family pet and guard dog. It is also used as a service dog, guide dog for the blind, therapy dog, police dog, herding dog, or pack carrier.
The breed generally lives from 10 to 12 years of age. The Boxer has several breed-related health problems which include: heart conditions, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, GDV, intestinal problems, allergies, and spondylosis deformans.