The Boxer is a medium to large, short-haired breed of dog, developed in Germany. The coat is smooth and tight-fitting; colors are fawn, brindled, or white, with or without white markings. Boxers are brachycephalic (they have broad, short skulls), have a square muzzle, mandibular prognathism (an underbite), very strong jaws, and a powerful bite ideal for hanging on to large prey. The Boxer was bred from the Old English Bulldog and the now extinct Bullenbeisser which became extinct by crossbreeding rather than by a decadence of the breed. The Boxer is part of the Molosser group. This group is a category of solidly built, large dog breeds that all descend from the same common ancestor, the large shepherd dog known as a Molossus. The Boxer is a member of the Working Group.

        The first Boxer club was founded in 1895, with Boxers being first exhibited in a dog show for St. Bernards in Munich the next year. Based on 2013 American Kennel Club statistics, Boxers held steady as the seventh-most popular breed of dog in the United States for the fourth consecutive year. However, according to the AKC’s website, the boxer is now the eighth-most popular dog breed in the United States. Boxers have white and black markings.

        HEALTH

        Leading health issues to which Boxers are prone include cancers, heart conditions such as aortic stenosis and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (the so-called “Boxer cardiomyopathy”), hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy and epilepsy; other conditions that may be seen are gastric dilatation volvulus (also known as bloat), intestinal problems, and allergies (although these may be more related to diet than breed). Entropion, a malformation of the eyelid requiring surgical correction, is occasionally seen, and some lines have a tendency toward spondylosis deformans, a fusing of the spine, or dystocia. Other conditions that are less common but occur more often in Boxers than other breeds are histiocytic ulcerative colitis (sometimes called Boxer colitis), an invasive E. coli infection, and indolent corneal ulcers, often called Boxer eye ulcers.

        About 22% of puppies die before reaching 7 weeks of age. Stillbirth is the most frequent cause of death, followed by infection. Mortality due to infection increases significantly with increases in inbreeding.

        According to a UK Kennel Club health survey, cancer accounts for 38.5% of Boxer deaths, followed by old age (21.5%), cardiac (6.9%) and gastrointestinal (6.9%) related issues. The breed is particularly predisposed to mast cell tumours, a cancer of the immune system. Median lifespan was 10.25 years. Responsible breeders use available tests to screen 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.

        Boxers are known to be very sensitive to the hypotensive and bradycardic effects of a commonly used veterinary sedative, acepromazine.
        It is recommended that the drug be avoided in the Boxer breed.

        As an athletic breed, proper exercise and conditioning is important for the continued health and longevity of the Boxer. Care must be taken not to over-exercise young dogs, as this may damage growing bones; however, once mature, Boxers can be excellent jogging or running companions. Because of their brachycephalic head, they do not do well with high heat or humidity, and common sense should prevail when exercising a Boxer in these conditions.

        HISTORY

        The Boxer is part of the Molosser dog group, developed in Germany in the late 19th century from the now extinct Bullenbeisser, a dog of Mastiff descent, and Bulldogs brought in from Great Britain. 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 a smaller Bullenbeisser was bred in Brabant, in northern Belgium. It is generally accepted that the Brabanter Bullenbeisser was a direct ancestor of today’s Boxer.

        In 1894, three Germans by the names of Friedrich Robert, Elard König, and R. Höpner decided to stabilize the breed and put it on exhibition at a dog show. This was done in Munich in 1896, and the year before they founded the first Boxer Club, the Deutscher Boxer Club. The Club went on to publish the first Boxer breed standard in 1904, a detailed document that has not been changed much to this day.