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Boxer Books

Group: Working - Breed Standard


The ancestors of this breed were the German Bullenbeisser, a dog of Mastiff descent, and the English Bulldog. The Bullenbeisser had been working as a hunting dog for centuries, employed in the pursuit of bear, wild boar, and deer. Its task was to seize the prey and hold it until the hunters arrived. In later years, faster dogs were favored and the Bullenbeisser grew smaller and was then called the Brabanter. In the late 19th century, the Brabanter was crossed with an English Bulldog to start the line that would become the modern Boxer. In 1894, three Germans by the name of Roberth, Konig, and Hopner decided to stabilize 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 name "Boxer" is supposedly derived from this breed's tendency to begin a fight by standing on its hind legs and "boxing" with its front paws. According to Andrew H. Brace on his "Pet owner's guide to the Boxer" this theory is the least plausible explanation. He claims "it's unlikely that a nation so permeated with nationalism would give to one of its most famous breeds a name so obviously anglicised".


Height: dogs: 57-63 cms (22½-25 ins); bitches: 53-59 cms (21-23 ins).
Weight: dogs: approximately 30-32 kgs (66-70 lbs); bitches: approximately 25-27 kgs (55-60 lbs).

Boxers are a stocky, medium-sized, short-haired dog, with a smooth fawn or brindled coat and square-jawed muzzle. Boxers have very strong jaws and a powerful bite. The head is the most distinctive feature of the Boxer. The breed standard dictates that it must be in perfect proportion to his body and above all it must never be too light. The greatest value is to be placed on its muzzle being of correct form and in absolute proportion to the skull. The length of the muzzle to the whole of the head should be as 1:3. Folds are always indicated from the root of the nose running downwards on both sides of the muzzle and the tip of the nose should lie somewhat higher than the root of the muzzle. In addition a Boxer should have a slight underbite i.e. lower jaw should protrude beyond the upper jaw and bend slightly upwards.

Boxers are typically either fawn or brindle, often with a white underbelly and white on the front or all four feet. These white markings, called flash, often extend onto the neck or face. Some brindle Boxers are so dark that they give the appearance of "reverse brindle", fawn stripes on a black body, however the breed standards state that the fawn background must clearly contrast with or show through the brindling. The Boxer does not carry the gene for a solid black coat colour - purebred black Boxers do not exist. In the UK, fawn boxers are typically rich in colour and are called "red". Boxers with white markings covering more than one-third of their coat do not meet the Boxer breed standard. "White" Boxers are neither albino nor rare, and make up approximately 20-25% of the breed. Genetically, these dogs are either fawn or brindle, with excessive white markings overlying the base coat colour. White Boxers are disqualified from conformation showing by the breed standard, and are prohibited from breeding by every national Boxer club in the world. They can compete in non-conformation events such as obedience and agility, and like their coloured counterparts do quite well as service and therapy dogs.


The Boxer is renowned for his great love and faithfulness to his master and household, his alertness, and fearless courage as a defender and protector. Boxers are a bright, energetic and playful breed and tend to be very good with children.

Breed Health

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), 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.

The white Boxer is more prone to certain health conditions than their coloured counterparts. Like fair-skinned humans, white Boxers have a higher risk of sunburn and associated skin cancers than coloured Boxers. They are also more prone to congential deafness caused by lack of pigmentation in the inner ear. It is estimated that 18% of white Boxers are deaf in one or both ears, though shelters and rescue organizations see about double this number. In the past, breeders often euthanized white puppies at birth; today, most breeders place white puppies in pet homes with spay/neuter agreements. 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 very patient with smaller dogs but can be aggressive with larger dogs of the same sex.

Breed Care

Their short single coat is easy to keep clean, and requires a brush about once a week to remove loose hairs and keep in good condition.


An energetic dog they require a fair amount of regular daily exercise.


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. See our books on training

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Last link added: 12 Mar, 2008