Other names: German Boxer, Deutscher Boxer
The Boxer is a very energetic dog that, while naturally skilled in protecting and being a watchdog, is just as predisposed to being an excellent companion dog. Considered one of the best babysitters of his species, he loves children and can seamlessly integrate himself into family life. Active by nature, this molossian loves joining his owner in various activities, especially since he’s not too keen on solitude.
Key facts about the Boxer
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Origins and history
He is a descendant of the ancient ‘Bullenbeisser’ (‘bull-biter’), and particularly the Brabant variety, which is a less stocky, nimbler version of the Bullenbeisser. The Boxer is thus the result of a cross between the famous Bullenbeisser and the English Bulldog. The breed’s first club was created in Germany (his native country) at the end of the 19th century, in 1895- just before the publication of the breed’s first standards in 1902. Used by the army during the First World War in his capacity as a working dog, he took part in the first ever championships for police dogs in 1924. It is a few years later, in 1936, that the British Boxer Club saw the light of day.
Physical characteristics of the Boxer
Female : Between 21 and 23 in
Male : Between 22 and 25 in
Female : Between 53 and 71 lb
Male : Between 66 and 84 lb
The coat can be fawn or brindle. White patching is admissible on condition that they constitute less than a third of the overall base colour.
White Boxers- which have more substantial and dominating white patching- do exist. They are recognised by the FCI but are not recognised by the Kennel Club. There are also black Boxers, but more often than not, they quite simply are a very dark brindle.
Type of coat
The coat is very short.
The coat is coarse, shiny, and close-lying.
The eyes are very dark.
Of medium size, this dog is robust but also proportionately-built and elegant. The head is square-shaped with a muzzle that is short in comparison to the rest of the skull: the ratio is roughly 1:2. He is a prognathous dog, with the lower jaw delicately protruding beyond the upper jaw. This kind of ‘underbite’ is often considered a defect in most breeds, but it constitutes part of the official standard for this breed. The ears gently fold over forward. The tail is set high and is of medium length.
Good to know
Since it is a very popular breed, pups are easy to come by. Which means they aren’t always bred properly. It is therefore highly recommended to seek out a good breeder, as poorly bred dogs could be lacking in the breed’s wonderful, aforementioned personality traits.
This dog just loves to cuddle, and can actually be quite insistent when it comes to soliciting affection from his owners.
Lively, dynamic, and endlessly excitable, this dog is very playful. He takes a lot of pleasure in playing with children, who often constitute this dog’s favourite kind of human!
Calmness is not part of the ‘Deutscher Boxer’s’ (his foreign namesake) natural predispositions- he is, in fact, often considered to be ‘hyperactive’.
Be wary of the latter term, however, as it tends to be overused. One mustn’t forget that hyperactivity is a syndrome symptomatic of developmental disorders, which need to be diagnosed by a vet specialised in behaviour.
In truth, he is simply a dog with large stores of energy to spare, only calm whenever all of his needs for exercise have been met.
This molossoid’s intelligence is mainly evident in how versatile he is, since he is naturally predisposed to fulfilling the roles of companion, guardian, defense, and working dog all at once.
Rather brash by nature, this dog can take to pursuing a trail on a wim- be it in search of prey or simply to stretch his legs. Given this propensity, walks must take place in a fully secure environment.
Fearful / wary of strangers
While never dangerous towards his own family, the Boxer does remain rather wary of strangers, and can prove to be quite vicious if he feels that his adoptive family is in any kind of danger.
In order for this molossoid to accept the presence of a stranger on his turf, a proper introduction must take place in due time. Once this has been done, he becomes very friendly.
Being a guardian inevitably implies being very attached to one’s social group. The Boxer is anything but independent, and is known for being very loyal to his adoptive family.
Behaviour of the Boxer
Solitude is one of the worst imaginable situations for this dog who is remarkably attached and loyal to his family. Isolation and exclusion are both notions that do not comply with this dog at all, and in the midst of which he can develop serious behavioural problems related to boredom, frustration, and anxiety.
Easy to train / obedience
Being the exemplary molossoid that he is, the Boxer is not necessarily easy to train if he is placed in novice or overly lenient hands. If, however, he is handled by confident and experienced owners, or trained by an expert in canine behaviour, he can achieve very good results.
As long as the training methods consist of positive reinforcement, are respectful and coherent, and completely devoid of brutality- this dog will be very pleasant to train, not least because pleasing his master is of such importance to him.
Training must be started as early on as possible, especially given this dog’s rather strong character. Very alert, some disciplinary basics can start being implemented as soon as the Boxer pup integrates the home.
Given his strong watchdog instinct, he does bark a lot, but usually with good reason.
Tendency to run away
Very close to his social group and particularly faithful, he is not much of a runaway. He stays by his family’s side to be able protect them.
If he gets bored, has not had enough exercise, or stays on his own for too long without having gone through a positive habituation towards solitude, this ultimately sensitive dog can quickly turn the household upside down.
Greedy / Gluttony
He is a big glutton! You must be mindful not to leave leftovers lingering on the table, as this dog can be quite the ‘vacuum cleaner’.
A very good watchdog, this molossoid is brave and vigilant, and will not hesitate to show his dissuasive side if someone poses a threat to one of his own or to his home turf. In short: you really want to be on the Boxer’s good side!
Novice owners could experience some trouble in training this molossian given his strong temper, but it could be considered a wonderful challenge since, if properly trained and socialised, this dog could be the ideal day-to-day companion for the whole family.
For first-time owners especially, it is of utmost importance to select a good breeder, so as to secure a well-rounded specimen, endowed with all of the breed’s authentic predispositions.
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Boxer in a flat
Whether city or country-dwelling, residing indoors or outdoors, the Deutscher Boxer’s main priority is to be at his owners’ side. It is only in this way that he can feel fully at peace. Beware of frequent moves- this molossian is very sensitive to change, and will not tolerate them well.
If living in a flat, he should not be left alone throughout the day, at risk of bothering the neighbours with his ‘vocal performances’. This goes for gardens as well.
Need for exercise / Sporty
This extremely energetic dog needs an active owner in order to be fully content. Walking him ‘around the block’ on a short leash will not be enough for this dog bursting at the seams with vitality.
Walks lasting at least an hour must be provided daily, as well as the additional, regular practice of canine sports (which he excels in), such as cani-cross, bikejoring, trailing, musical freestyle, agility, etc.
Travelling / easy to transport
Despite his medium size, the Boxer can rapidly become an imposing dog. Car travel is to be avoided when the weather is too hot, as his extremely short nose renders him very vulnerable to the heat.
Having said this, if weather conditions allow it, and if the dog has been sufficiently trained and socialised, there should be no objections to taking him everywhere, inasmuch as the chosen destinations and means of transport can accommodate his presence.
Boxer and cats
He gets along very well with cats that he knows, and that are part of his family. In order to ensure a truly peaceful cohabitation, however, you should habituate the Boxer to their presence when still a pup.
Boxer and dogs
The female is more malleable than the male, but at any rate, individuals of the same sex do sometimes have trouble cohabitating serenely- especially if they haven’t grown up together.
It is advised to socialise this molossoid ahead of time, by exposing him to regular, positive and supervised encounters, so as to ensure that all prospective interactions will be enjoyable experiences.
Boxer and children
He is very gentle with children- in fact, he loves them so much that he could easily be dubbed ‘the best four-legged babysitter in the world’.
Do note, however, that this does not make you exempt from respecting the general security guidelines inherent in child/dog cohabitation, such as never leaving the children alone with the dog, or teaching the children to leave the dog be when he is resting in his bed, etc.
Boxer and the elderly
This molossian-type mastiff is not made for a sedentary lifestyle, but can live with the elderly if the latter are still fit enough to meet his needs. This would entail extensive daily walks as well as playful, educational, and even athletic activities.
It does nevertheless remain unadvisable for the elderly to adopt this breed.
The price of a Boxer varies depending on its origins, age, and sex. You have to count an average of £1130 for dogs subscribed to the Kennel Club.
With regards to the monthly budget required to meet the needs of a dog this size, you have to estimate an average of £50 per month.
This short-haired dog does not require much maintenance, but you are advised to brush him once a week to avoid any excessive hair loss.
What’s more, his eyes and ears must be closely monitored and cleaned on a regular basis.
Shedding is moderate, save for moulting seasons, during which brushes will have to be daily.
Nutrition of the Boxer
The Deutscher Boxer is very gluttonous, he should therefore be fed twice a day: a light meal in the morning, and a more substantial one in the evening, to encourage better digestion and avoid the risk of gastric torsion.
In order for the pup to develop correctly, it is advised to feed him 4 meals a day up until his fourth month, before eventually limiting them to three, and then two.
Otherwise, this dog is not difficult and can be satisfied with commercially available food, as long as it is high quality.
Health of the Boxer
Life expectancy is 10 years on average.
Strong / robust
He is an overall robust dog, but does have his own set of problems related to his size and constitution (the short nose, in particular).
As is the case of all dogs with short noses, the Boxer can suffer from respiratory problems when it gets too hot.
He can reside in the garden, even during the winter, provided he has some sort of suitable shelter at his disposal. He does, generally, prefer to live indoors, by his owners’ side, on account of his extremely sociable nature.
Tendency to put on weight
Since this dog is very greedy- ravenous, in fact- it is important to supervise his weight in order to avoid the risk of obesity. Regular, physical exercise will also allow him to shed weight and keep his intended shape.
- Spondylosis (form of arthrosis)
- Respiratory issues
- Hip dysplasia
- Aortic Stenosis
- Gastric Torsion Syndrome
- Deafness in white Boxers