One of the most popular middleweight athletic dog breeds is the boxer. Always alert, the boxer is recognized for being an instinctive guardian that generally loves to be around people. With their muscular body, it is easy to see why they were used during wartime and have been known as seeing-eye dogs.
Boxers were developed in Germany in the 19th century. The two ancestors of the boxer are German mastiff-type dogs, the Bullenbeiszer and the Barenbeiszer. These two breeds were developed from bulldogs and mastiffs.
They were originally used for dog fighting or to run down large game animals like bison and boars. One of their most pronounced skills is their ability to stand on their hind legs and bat at their opponent like a boxer. This breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904 and is considered to be part of the working group.
The boxer became popular in the late 1930's after being introduced in America after WWI. Breeders categorize boxers under two types, American and German. The German boxer exhibits more of a broad head and a more muscular body.
The female boxer usually ranges from 55-60 pounds, and the male, 66-71 pounds. They have a life expectancy of about 9-10 years. The breed most often appears as a fawn, brindle, tan, mahogany, or black. Boxers are normally seen with an under bite, cropped or natural ears, and typically have removed dewclaws.
The boxer is known for its love of human affection and protective instinct. They require little grooming, but it is ideal that they are exercised daily.
Boxers can exhibit several health issues and it is important to be aware of them before adopting:
- This breed is prone to several cardiac problems, the major one being arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Aortic stenosis is another heart condition that is commonly seen in this working breed.
- Boxers are also prone to allergies (food, contact, etc.)
- Hip dysplasia, an arthritic condition, originates from looseness of the hip joint itself.
- Hypothyroidism is another condition that may be seen.
- Degenerative myelopathy and intestinal problems such as bloat and gastric dilation are also concerns.
- Entropion can occur, and this simply means that the eyelid is malformed and usually requires corrective surgical procedures.
- Some lines of boxers may develop spondylosis deformans and this is fusion of the spine.
- Boxers are also known for being prone to several types of cancers, especially mast cell tumors.
All in all, boxers are a very athletic breed so it is important to ensure that they are exercised adequately. It is also important not to overwork young dogs, which may run the risk of damaging growing bones.
Being a brachycephalic ("short-headed") breed, it is also imperative to be aware that high heat and humidity are not best for boxers.
Certified boxers can be more expensive but this is only because much care has been taken by the breeder to assure quality and health of the dog.
As always, be sure to research about a breed before investing. Learn more about the Boxer Dog Breed here.