Origins of the breed
It is thought that the Boxer originated in Germany, just over a hundred years ago, (a detailed history of the breed can be found in the recommended reading guide at the foot of this article). In 1896, the first Boxer club was formed in Munich, this is said to have marked the beginning of the breed we know today. The studbook was started, documenting the breed and making the history of the breed available to us boxer lovers and breeders - it's students. Many of the breed's ancestors were white or part coloured, hence the occasional white Boxers we still see today. The first Boxer Champion in the U.K. was a dog called Champion Horsa of Leith Hill, in 1939. By 1940, there were thirty three Boxers registered with the Kennel Club, today the Boxer is one of the most popular breeds of dog.
Characteristics of the Breed
The Boxer is a fun loving clown, who never really grows up. He is loyal and strong, mistrusting of strangers, yet sensitive enough to be able to read your moods. Always trustworthy with children, his natural tendency is to intimidate when faced with a threat, rather than to attack, although when sufficiently aroused he is said to be formidable indeed.he general appearance is that of substance combined with elegance, with well defined musculature, in clean and hard condition. A good looking dog with a lively, intelligent expression, always alert. The breed is customarily docked, with a short tight fitting coat. Colour variations are red with or without white markings, the red varies from deep deer red to a paler fawn, and brindle, again with or without white markings, the background colour can vary from golden to a mahogany colour, but the brindle markings must be clearly visible against the background colour. The mask is black and confined to the muzzle so the face does not look unfriendly or sombre. A medium sized breed - males standing at 22.5 to 25 inches at the withers, females 21 to 23.5 inches at the withers, any deviation from this is a fault and should not be encouraged. The Boxer should have a firm elastic gait with an effortless ground covering stride. The breed standard is very exacting and can be found in most breed books.
A growing Boxer puppy requires very little exercise, and too much exercise can have a detrimental effect on the finished animal. Short walks to get the puppy used to the lead is adequate for the first eight to twelve months, they get all the exercise they need tearing around the garden!! Socialisation is important in any breed,so the puppy needs to be exposed to as many different sights, sounds, and situations as possible during its early weeks and months.
The Boxer is an intelligent breed, very clean by nature, and house training is usually achieved very easily. Lead training is usually achieved quickly and easily as they are so inquisitive they tend to forget they are on a lead, they also tend to enjoy car travel, though they can be travel sick, as can all breeds, this is easily overcome by short frequent journeys. Boxes also live very happily alongside other animals, such as cats and other dogs.
The Boxer is an athletic dog, and is easy to care for. They require a good well balanced diet for their particular life stage, pet food companies spend thousands and thousands of pounds on nutritional science, to help us get the best for our dogs, there are many diets available from raw 'barf' diets to dry or complete feeds. Discuss with your breeder the most suitable for your dogs needs.
Boxers can be prone to lumps and bumps, and should any appear you should consult your veterinary surgeon.
Grooming your Boxer couldn't be easier, a rubber currycomb will remove dead hair and stimulate circulation of the skin, while a good bristle brush will help add lustre to the coat. A Boxer will enjoy a bath, use a mild shampoo especially formulated for dogs, either with or without insecticides added, and make sure you rinse him well afterwards. A good rub down with a towel, and he is dry.
Barking - The Boxer is not a naturally noisy dog and will usually only bark to issue a warning, or during excitable play, or if boredom has set in.
Bloat - This is a disturbing and potentially fatal condition that all deep chested breeds can be prone to. This is a very brief account of the condition. The affected dog will become restless, usually after feeding and drinking; they may try, but fail to vomit. The stomach fills with gas and as it becomes more distended the dog cannot relieve the pressure building up therein. He becomes short of breath and the abdomen can be seen to be growing rapidly. Veterinary attention should be sought immediately, as the stomach can twist on its self resulting in a very painful death. It is thought that feeding all adults twice a day, never exercising immediately after feeding, and not allowing access to drinking water immediately after feeding can help alleviate the problem.
Colitis -Inflammation of the colon, the dog will pass jelly like stools often with fresh blood, it can be very alarming to see. Good husbandry is important, as it is often caused by bacteria, but should always be investigated by a vet.
Heart conditions - There is concern within the breed about the incidence of heart conditions, namely aortic stenosis, and cardiomyopathy. it is advised that, new puppy owners discuss these conditions with their breeder who should be able to offer comprehensive advice on the matter.
Boxers An Owners Companion by Ivor Ward-Davies ISBN 1 85223 263 3
The Complete Boxer by Tim Hutchins ISBN 1 86054 054 6
Boxers Today by Jo Royle ISBN 0 948955 08 2