Boxer Dog – You’re Going to Be Knocked Out
Never judge a book by its cover.
I don’t know who first uttered this somewhat
cliched phrase, but there’s never been a
truer statement, especially as it applies
to our featured furball.
We’re shining the spotlight on a canine
that has a tough exterior, but a tender heart.
Come with us as we take a closer look at the
reasons why the Boxer is such a knockout.
The Boxer was originally developed in Germany
in the late 19th century from a descendant
of the Mastiff called the Bullenbeiser.
Bullenbeiser were used for hunting by aristocrats
on their expansive estates to catch and detain
big game such as wild boar, bear, deer, and
In the early 1800s, Germany saw a shift in
The nobility fell out of favor, their estates
were broken up, hunting expeditions came to
a halt, and the heyday of the Bullenbeiser
ended rather abruptly.
Eventually, butchers and farmers began to
use the breed for driving and guarding cattle.
The modern-day Boxer was created when a man
from Munich named Georg Alt, bred a Bullenbeiser
named Flora with a dog of unknown origin,
said to have been called “Boxer.”
From this litter came a pup named Lechner’s
Box, the sire of the line that has become
the Boxer we know today.
The American Kennel Club registered its first
Boxer in 1904.
With the onset of World War I, the Boxer took
on several roles in the military including
(but not limited to) guard dog, attack dog,
messenger, and pack-carrier.
They continued to serve in these capacities
during World War II, and many of these canine
troopers were brought to America by soldiers
returning home after the war ended, spurring
a surge in the Boxer’s popularity.
What’s in a name?
Well, apparently not a definitive answer.
There is much speculation on where the breed
got its name.
Some think it was passed down from its ancestors,
and others think the name refers to how the
breed balances on its hind legs and “spars”
with its front paws when playing or protecting
Whatever the case, the Boxer has ranked as
one of the top ten most popular breeds in
the U.S. since the 1950’s.
Furry fact: The Boxer solidified its popularity
in the U.S. in 1951, when a Boxer named Bang
Away won the Westminster Dog Show.
Size and Appearance
The solidly built, barrel-chested Boxer cuts
an imposing figure, standing 21 to 25 inches,
with a “fighting weight” (hey, give me
a break, we are talking about Boxers) between
55 and 75 pounds.
And although it has muscular physique that
can prove intimidating to both people and
other pets, the true nature of the Boxer can
be seen in its deep, soulful eyes.
Thought to be one of the more handsome canines,
it is a brachycephalic breed, which means
it has a short, wide skull.
This type of structure typically makes the
face appear flat, but the Boxer’s square
muzzle is a feature that sets it apart from
other dogs of this type.
A slight underbite rounds out the list of
characteristics that gives this dapper doggy
its dashing good looks.
The Boxer coat comes in shades of fawn (which
range from yellow, to honey blonde, to rusty
tan, and mahogany) and brindle (fawn stripes
on a black base color).
The chest, underbelly and feet are commonly
splotched with White “flash” markings,
which provides a nice contrast to the rest
of the body.
Roughly 20 to 25 percent of Boxers are white.
Over the years, many of them have been euthanized
because some breeders think it is unethical
to sell a dog with a “fault” and others
justify their actions by pointing out that
these Boxers have a greater risk of being
Furry Fact: The record for the longest “tongue
on a dog” is held by a Boxer named Brandy
whose tongue measured a whopping 17 inches
Temperament and Family Life
One would expect a dog called the Boxer to
be aggressive, but this super-sociable, clownish
canine is anything but.
The Boxer is a protective, incorrigible lover—not
a fighter…unless it needs to be.
Boxers make wonderful family members.
They’re playful and spirited, with just
the right amount of patience to deal with
kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens.
And while they respond in kind to friendly,
familiar faces, they tend to be leery of strangers
and protective of their homes and those closest
Most Boxers are so clingy that the breed has
earned a reputation as a Velcro dog.
Boxers love to love and be loved—they will
only become aggressive when they think their
family or territory is being threatened.
Early socialization is the best way to make
sure your puppy grows into an outgoing, affectionate,
Exposing your pup to different people, animals,
places and experiences is essential to their
Intelligence and Training
According to Stanley Coren’s, The Intelligence
of Dogs, which ranks dogs in terms of their
trainability, the Boxer ranks 90th out of
138 dog breeds.
Based on this ranking, it may seem as though
the Boxer is near the bottom of the barrel
when it comes to brains, but a dog’s trainability
is like “book smarts” in humans —it’s
only a portion of what makes up their overall
Trainability aside, the Boxer receives high
marks for instinctive intelligence and adaptability—what’s
known in humans as “street smarts.”
Because Boxers are big, strong dogs that are
completely unaware of their size and strength,
it is imperative that they are trained at
an early age.
Considered a “Peter Pan” breed, they don’t
reach maturity until about three years old,
which can add another degree of difficulty
when they’re being trained.
Young Boxers can be excitable, mischievous,
and slightly stubborn but these personality
traits are easily balanced by their desire
to please us.
To properly train your Boxer, you must be
firm, fair, consistent, and instead of punishing
your pup for bad behavior reward them with
treats, toys, or affection.
It is also a good idea to take your best friend
for a walk or let them have a little play
time to burn off some energy before each training
It’ll be easier for them to focus once they’ve
gotten it out of their system.
Furry Fact: Boxers were once popular as circus
Speaking of exercise…your Boxer will need
a lot of it.
They are a very muscular breed and don’t
handle boredom well, so they require what
we would call a “beast mode” workout.
There, I said it.
It is recommended that your canine companion
get at least two hours of activity each day.
Two half-hour walks, or a one hour hike supplemented
with free play, agility training, fetch, or
a good session of tug of war, should provide
your pup with the right amount of exercise
to keep them in excellent physical shape.
Because Boxers have compressed, flat faces,
it can be harder for them to breathe in hot,
humid weather, or when it’s cold and dry.
Be sure to watch for signs of heat exhaustion
and heat stroke, including heavy panting,
dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, fatigue,
agitation, rapid heartbeat, lack of coordination,
a dazed look, drooling, vomiting, retching,
diarrhea, lack of urination, muscle cramping,
tremors, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
To keep your Boxer mentally stimulated, you
can play scenting games, give them chew toys
(to release stress and endorphins) such as
the KONG Goodie Bone Dog Toy, link in the
description, or teach them new commands and
Health and Lifespan
Boxers live an average of 10 to 12 years and
are a generally healthy breed, but like any
other breed, they’re susceptible to certain
Hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, demodectic
mange (which is caused by a mite that is passed
on from a mother to pups), and corneal dystrophy
(a general reference to several eye diseases),
are non-life threatening conditions that can
be managed with treatment.
More serious conditions common in Boxers include
cancers like lymphoma, brain cancer and mast
Bloat and heart defects like cardiomyopathy,
aortic and sub-aortic stenosis are other potentially
fatal illnesses that Boxers are prone to.
White Boxers can get sunburn and are more
susceptible to skin cancer.
If your Boxer is white or light-colored, be
sure to apply sunscreen before they go outside.
IF you were knocked out by the Boxer, here
are a few more videos you’ll enjoy.
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And as always, catch ya next time.