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Family livestock dog, mastiff (bulldog)
Life Span 8-10 years
Avg Size of Male: Height: 22.5 - 25 inches, Weight: 65 - 80 pounds
Avg Size of Female: Height: 21 - 23.5 inches, Weight: 50 - 65 pounds
Original Function: bullbaiting, guardian
Overall Rating (out of 5)
Playful and inquisitive, the boxer is an attentive, exuberant companion for the family. Firm and consistent training from a young age is highly recommended.

Boxers are friendly, lively companions that are often used as family dogs. Their suspicion of strangers, alertness, agility, and strength make them formidable guard dogs. They also sometimes appear at dog agility trials and flyball events. Before dog fighting was made illegal, Boxers were often used in dog fights.[citation needed] These strong and intelligent animals have even been sometimes used as service dogs, guide dogs for the blind and police dogs in K9 units in place of the typical German Shepherd. The versatility of Boxers was recognized by the military, which used them as valuable messenger dogs, pack carriers, and attack and guard dogs in times of war. While it may have a tendency towards being stubborn, this breed is sensitive and responsive to training. It has been known to be aggressive towards strange dogs, but usually the boxer is good with other family dogs and pets. This breed bonds closely with its family. The playful spirit of this dog is seen when it paws at food or water dishes when they are empty and by its love of jumping. Boxers need a lot of human companionship, and an active family is best. Firm and consistent training from a young age is highly recommended.


The character of the Boxer is of the greatest importance and demands the most careful attention. He is renowned for his great love and faithfulness to his master and household, his alertness, and fearless courage as a defender and protector. The Boxer is docile but distrustful of strangers. He is bright and friendly in play but brave and determined when roused. His intelligence and willing tractability, his modesty, and cleanliness make him a highly desirable family dog and cheerful companion. He is the soul of honesty and loyalty. He is never false or treacherous even in his old age.

Boxers are a bright, energetic and playful breed and tend to be very good with children. It's best if obedience training is started early since they also have a strong personality and therefore can be harder to train when older. This plus their strength might present a challenge for a first-time dog owner. Boxers have earned a slight reputation of being "headstrong", which can be related to inappropriate obedience training. As a highly intelligent breed, Boxers tend to respond better to training which allows them to think for themselves, rather than learn by repetition. It is also true that Boxers have a very long puppyhood and adolescence, and are often called the "Peter Pan" of the dog world. They are not considered fully mature until age three, one of the longest times in dogdom, and thus need early training to keep their high energy from wearing out their owner.

The Boxer by nature is not an aggressive or vicious breed but needs socialization to tolerate other dogs well. His sometimes over-protective, territorial and dominating attitude, most intense in males, can be problematic. Boxers are generally patient with smaller dogs but can be dominant with larger dogs of the same sex. A poorly bred or trained dog is capable of seriously injuring or killing other animals.


Easily groomed, the boxer's smooth, short coat should be occasionally brushed with a firm bristle brush. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary, because it removes the natural oils found in the skin of this breed. The boxer is considered to be an average shedder, and it is a very clean breed. Most will groom themselves as cats do. Daily mental and physical stimulation is important for the boxer breed. While this dog enjoys a good run, its exercise requirements can be met with a long walk on leash. Note that this breed does not do well in hot or cold weather. If provided with enough exercise, the boxer will do fine in an apartment dwelling. An average-sized yard is suggested. This dog is very social, and it should given plenty of time with the family.


Boxers are prone to develop cancers, heart conditions such as Aortic Stenosis and Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (the so-called "Boxer Cardiomyopathy"), hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy; other conditions that may be seen are torsion (bloat), intestinal problems, and allergies (although these last two may be more related to diet rather than breed). Poor breeding can also lead to entropion, a malformation of the eyelid requiring surgical correction. Responsible breeders test their breeding stock before breeding and in some cases throughout the life of the dog in an attempt to minimize the occurrence of these diseases in future generations.


While there are many theories as to the origin of the boxer, the breed is said to have reached its perfection in Germany within the past century. Most believe that the boxer comes from European line of dogs that have been around since the 16th century. Some evidence suggests that the boxer is one of the many descendants of the old fighting dog found in the high valleys of Tibet. It is also accepted that this breed is a cousin to just about all breeds within the bulldog type. The Dogue de Bordeaux of France is a breed that is similar in appearance and size to the old Tibetan Mastiff. The Bouldogue de Mida (found in the south of France) was apparently developed from the Dogue de Bordeaux, and it shares many of the same characteristics of the boxer. While it is generally believed that all the European breeds previously mentioned are in some way related to the boxer, this favorite breed of Germany was developed to retain all of its older qualities with a more attractive look. Other sources claim that the boxer was derived from two breeds of dog found in central Europe that no longer exist: the Danziger bullenbaiser and the Brabenter bullenbaiser. In this account, it is believed that in the 1830s German hunters tried to create a new breed by crossing the bullenbaisers with mastiff-type dogs and bulldogs. This resulted in a tough yet agile dog that featured a streamlined body and a strong grip. This origin states that by 1895, the new breed, called the boxer, had been established. The exact origin of the name boxer is rather obscure, but it may have taken from the German boxl. In addition to being related to the Bulldog, it is said that the boxer is also influenced by a strain of terrier. Others think that there is reason to believe that English Bulldogs were imported into Germany at one time, as evidenced by Reinagle's Bulldog, which was done in 1803. This work of art depicts a bulldog that is very similar in appearance to the boxer. One of the first dogs to be used in military and police work, the boxer became better known as a family pet and show dog by the 1900s. The boxer was first registered with the AKC in 1904, but the first championship did not take place until 1915. It was about 1940 before Americans showed interest in this breed, a time when the boxer won in Group and Best in Show.






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