If you’re looking for an active, fun-loving dog that’s loyal and highly protective of you and your family, look no further than the Boxer. Though considered medium-sized, Boxers have a tall, regal stature that’s accentuated by their short, smooth coat and “proud” chest.
Their prominent personality traits also embody this faithful attitude. They rank high on the affectionate scale and are especially good with young children. That protective nature really comes out around kids, and they take their duties to keep little ones safe from harm very seriously!
For this reason, owners of Boxers should take extra time and care to properly introduce new people, guests, and anyone stopping by to their devoted Boxer so that this dog knows that the “strangers” are friends and not foes. If formal introductions aren’t made, watch out!
This watchdog and family guardian will not back down from a perceived threat and will proceed to protect the household fearlessly, which could spell trouble. We recommend that throughout your Boxer’s 8-month puppyhood you expose him to a lot of people and other animals. This way, he’ll get used to the process of dealing with new faces, and he’ll reserve his fierce watchdog tactics for when a real-life intruder is on the prowl.
A LITTLE BOXER HISTORY
This lovable breed came onto the scene in Germany in the mid 1800s when an Old English Bulldog was bred with the now-extinct Bullenbeisser breed. You can really see the physical traits of the Old English Bulldog’s breed in the Boxers distinct muzzle and slight underbite. By 1985, the first Boxer club was established in Germany, and the very next year, the first Boxer dog show occurred in Munich.
Ethical regard for Boxers has greatly improved in the last fifty years. It might shock you to learn that for at least 100 years, this trustworthy breed was subjected to specific cruelties, the most common of which was “docking and cropping.”
The term “docking” refers to chopping off the Boxer’s long tail so that all that remains is a stump. And “cropping” refers to cutting off the tips of the ears. While cropping the ears inflicts far less pain on the dog and is often still done today, docking is another story.
But soon ethical breeding standards emerged that compelled breeders to develop the Boxer breed to have a naturally stumpy tail. They accomplished this by only breeding Boxers that had the shortest tails, and eventually the tail length became a stump.
Despite this, today you will find most if not all Boxers have a substantial tail.
But “docking and cropping” were only one aspect of cruelty towards Boxers. A far worse practice also occurred during the hundred-year period. We’re talking about puppy euthanization.
Boxers come in a variety of colors, from sable to brown to very dark brown, and they can also be white. Very unfortunately, white Boxers are prone to deafness in either one or both ears. It’s not completely understood why this ailment occurs in white Boxers and not the other shades. But it was due to this propensity for deafness that caused breeders to euthanize white puppies immediately after birth!
If your blood is boiling right now, you aren’t alone! White puppies matter! Though the sentiment never caught on as a political movement in support of the fair treatment of white pups, luckily animal rights activists did get involved, and today this practice of euthanization has been banned.
Instead, white puppies are typically homed via adoption, not sold. And the adoption process includes transparency about the likely deafness that will develop in one or both of the puppy’s ears. Interestingly, for this reason, the one and only puppy breed that’s easy to find to adopt is the white Boxer. Generally speaking, it’s only adult-aged dogs and older dogs that are available for adoption at animal shelters. So, if you’re considering adopting but really want a puppy, then you’ll find a lot of love with a white Boxer! Just be prepared that raising a dog with special needs can be a challenge.
Now that you know a little Boxer history, here’s everything else you need to know if you’re thinking about getting a purebred Boxer.
As a medium-sized breed, Boxers have a tall, proud physique, as we mentioned. The males stand at 23 – 25 inches from paw to shoulder and weigh between 65 – 80 lbs, while the females are about 3 inches shorter and 15 lbs lighter.
All Boxers have a short, smooth coat, but the colors can really range. Most Boxers are fawn and brindle colored with a white underbelly and white feet. These distinct white markings are called “flash,” and so Boxers with these markings are referred to as “flashy”! The term “fawn” gets complicated, though, since it denotes a range of colors from light tan to yellow to reddish brown to honey-blonde, and the color range goes on. Not to mention that some Boxers are white, which we covered a moment ago.
Aside from their beautifully colored coat, the next physical features to mention are their square-shaped heads, short snout, folded muzzle, and slight underbite, which causes their lower teeth and jaw to protrude beyond the upper teeth ever so slightly.
These dogs shed minimally thanks to their short coat, which means they only require monthly grooming, as opposed to daily like some of the high maintenance breeds. Where they lack in shedding, however, they make up for in drooling. According to the American Kennel Club, Boxer drooling lands in the middle of the scale. In other words, you won’t always have to have a towel handy, but this breed isn’t drool-free.
Here’s what separates the Boxer lovers from the Boxer survivors… Boxers are high-energy dogs. They need a significant amount of daily exercise, and if you don’t give it to them, they will take it anyway in the form of bouncing off the walls of your home.
For this reason, we recommend Boxers to people with active lifestyles who are prepared to bring their Boxers on walks, jogs, hikes, and just about everywhere. But you must also be prepared to manage and command your Boxer, and it’s a good idea to keep him on a leash unless you’re at a dog park.
Boxers are natural chasers and have been categorized in the “working” group of dogs. They like to run, leap, jump, and otherwise play. You may find you are constantly commanding your Boxer to “stay down” if and when he’s in the wrong setting, i.e. one that stimulates him too much.
As we touched upon in the last section, Boxers are high-energy dogs and they like to leap and bound, especially when outdoors. While this is their nature and nothing will change that, you can establish and retain a great deal of control over your Boxer by properly training him throughout puppyhood.
Puppyhood only lasts about 8 months, and this is a critical time for all dogs. But for Boxers specifically, it’s important to never miss a moment of training during this crucial stage of life. By remaining firm, consistent, and faithful to instructing your Boxer how to behave, and what to do versus what not to do, you will end up with an obedient, loyal dog who enjoys your communication and respects your commands.