The Boxer breed has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. The breed was developed in Germany from the now extinct Bullenbeisser, a dog of Mastiff descent, and Bulldogs brought from Great Britain. The Bullenbeisser had been working as a hunting dog for centuries, employed in the pursuit of bear, wild boar, and deer. The goal in developing the Boxer breed was to create a medium-sized security dog that could also be used for herding. The breed was introduced to the United States in the early 20th century and was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1904. During World War II, Boxers were valuable messenger dogs, pack-carriers, attack dogs, and guard dogs.
Boxers do not tolerate extreme heat or cold. They may suffer from conditions including hypothyroidism, gastric torsion, colitis, corneal erosion, hip dysplasia, subvalvular aortic stenosis, Hemophilia A, Boxer cardiomyopathy, degenerative myelopathy, brain tumors, and deafness. Genetic testing can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.
Boxers are known for their energetic, playful, and friendly nature. They are excellent with children and enjoy being part of family activities. Despite their playful attitude, they can also be protective and take their roles as guardians very seriously.
They are highly intelligent and learn new commands quickly, but they can also be a bit stubborn. Early socialization and obedience training are essential for this breed. Boxers are generally good with other pets if they are raised with them from an early age.
However, they do require plenty of exercise to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. They are not suited to living in small apartments or homes without a yard, as they need space to run and play.
Boxer are a brachycephalic breed with a short muzzle and "pushed in" looking face, features that make them more susceptible to overheating and other breathing issues. Extra care must be taken to keep them cool and healthy in hot weather.
Ancestors included in the Boxer's lineage include ancient war dogs of the Assyrian Empire, dating back to 2,500 B.C. or more. However, the modern Boxer we know today traces back to Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The AKC states that the breed reached "its greatest perfection and development" in Germany.
The Boxer was one of the first breeds to be employed as a police and military dog in Germany. They were also among the earliest breeds to work as guide dogs for the blind. 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.
The Boxer is cousin to nearly all recognized Bulldog type breeds.