The Boxers’ ancestors are the Assyrian empire’s war dogs and trace as far back as 2500 B.C. Today’s Boxers can be traced back to late 1800’s Germany. German dog fanciers bred the breed down from a heavier breed known as the Bullenbeisser or the bull biter. The name Boxer has come from the unique way the dogs used their forepaws while playing. They would spur like a human boxer which was a unique characteristic of the breed.
In medieval times, the Bullenbeisser was a premier big-game hunter in Germany. Noblemen commonly used it to chase, catch and hold down opponents such as bear, bison, and wild boar on the vast estates. With a change in politics, the German nobles fell out of favor, and the new politicians stopped the tradition of boar hunts. By 1865, the Bullenbeisser was out of a job.
With breeding using a smaller mastiff-type breed from England, the big-game hunter didn’t become obsolete and instead got a new lease on life. The modern Boxer has come into focus by the late 1800s. In the 19th century, they were used in Germany as butcher’s helpers and bull baiting. They used to control cattle in slaughterhouses.
After World War I, Boxers began to be imported to the United States. They are among the very first breeds that were employed as police dogs. They have also been used as seeing-eyes dogs and are also bred as guard dogs and for companionship.
The heydays of the Boxer breed in the United States began in 1950. A Westminster-winning boxer known as Bang away became a national celebrity, causing the breed to gain popularity. From then onwards, Boxers have maintained their top-10 position for most popular breeds.
Dogs are resilient and have robust immune systems. They also possess hyper-athletic features and a massive tolerance for discomfort. They can also quickly bounce back from minor illnesses. A Boxer is a remarkable example of resilient dog breeds. However, it is prone to specific health problems you must know about to ensure your dog’s health.
Degenerative Myelopathy : The condition has an impact on the nervous system, including the lower spinal cord. It has known to lead to paralysis of the lower limbs. It starts with symptoms of clumsiness , and your Boxer will seem as if it has forgotten to walk. There is no cure for the condition, and rapid action will ensure that your Boxer is as healthy as possible. Whenever you notice clumsiness and temporary paralysis events in the hind legs, ensure that the Boxer is checked for degenerative myelopathy. Your veterinarian can assist with a proper diagnosis and a detailed treatment plan.
Boxer Cardiomyopathy : It is a heart condition that affects Boxers more than any other breed. They are at a higher risk of heart conditions owing to their genetic makeup. The condition prevents your dog’s heart from pumping blood properly to the rest of the body. An irregular heartbeat and fainting spells characterize it. Boxers that are affected by this condition are also at a greater risk of heart failure. The symptoms are evident at two years of age or even earlier. There are many treatment options, and once treated, your Boxer will be able to continue living normally.
Bloat : Also known as Gastric Dilation, the condition is hazardous and seriously affects your dog’s health. Overeating is the most common cause of bloat. Boxers are prone to overeating, and this causes their stomachs to be overfilled. Severe bloat cases can require surgery as the stomach muscle twist and prevent blood from flowing to the stomach and spleen.
One way you can keep your Boxer happy and healthy is through plenty of exercises and a good diet. Your dog is always full of natural energy. Their excitement and tendency to play and run will outlast your energy levels. However, it is essential to continuously play with your Boxer to satisfy their social attention needs.
As a breed, Boxers are very demanding. You should ensure that you have balanced their diet to provide them with all the nutrients they require. Boxers need diets that are calorie-rich and composed of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The balance ensures that their energy levels stay matched and their high metabolism is taken care of properly.
Your Boxer should start their training as a puppy. An early start ensures that their energy gets appropriately directed. They also establish good behavior habits early enough, and destructive behaviors like digging and chewing are eliminated. They are quick learners, and training them is not very difficult. They can also handle unique jobs like watchdogs.
Daily exercise is necessary to meet their high energy requirement and take care of their highly energetic nature. Also, ensure that you are getting your Boxer from a reputable, honest and responsible breeder who knows the breed’s diseases and health concerns. Doing so will prevent you from getting a dog that is likely to develop health complications later on in its life.
It is vital to keep the Boxer regularly brushed with a soft thistle brush as this will control shedding. Their ears can become infected, and you should periodically check them for debris build-up. It would be best if you regularly brushed the dog’s teeth to prevent dental problems.
- Boxers descend from a now-extinct breed known as the Bullenbeisser, which was used for hunting big game in Germany. With a reduction in boar hunting, smaller versions of this dog were bred in Belgium to help butchers and control cattle. These smaller dogs are the actual ancestors of the modern Boxer. Munich had its first boxer club in 1895, and this set the standard for future breeding.
- As the name suggests, Boxers do spur and have an impressive left hook. As they play, they will stand up on their back leg, kicking out their front paws very much like a human boxer. The behavior must have led to the moniker, but that doesn’t reference the origin of the name.
- Boxers are known to have an unusual shape of the head. The form is in line with the breed’s standard, whose snout should be about half their skull length. Together with strong teeth and an undershot jaw, the feature helps boxers bite and hold their prey. The boxers were bred to be able to hold animals in their mouth until their owners arrived. While they were keeping the animal in their mouth, their short snouts enabled them to breathe all this time comfortably.
- Boxers hold the dog’s record for the most extended tongue, with the longest spanning an impressive 17 inches. They also aided German soldiers during World War I. In World War II, they were employed by United States soldiers to carry supplies and messages while locating wounded soldiers on the battlefield.
- After the war, their popularity increased, and they were eventually accepted into the United Kennel Club in 1948. Boxers are severely underrepresented in movies and get very little face-time. The dogs also have the longest puppyhood globally, with typical boxers taking three years to reach maturity.