The Boxer breed was developed in early 19th century Germany to be a bait and fighting dog, as well as a loyal guardian. The strong muscled and agile body of the Boxer was ideal for these jobs, until bull baiting and dog fighting were outlawed. Since, the Boxer has gained popularity throughout the world for its loyal, playful, and energetic nature that makes it an ideal family dog. Being a self-groomer, the Boxer is an easy dog to keep, needing minimal grooming. Just be sure to provide enough mental and physical stimulation, or it can develop some naughty habits.
There has been much debate over the early origins of the Boxer. Some believe that the Boxer is a descendent of the Tibetan Mastiff, a fighting dog prevalent in the 16th century. Others say it is of European origin, and might be related to the Dogue de Bordeaux of France. Most agree that the Boxer is a cousin of all Bulldog breeds, which are ancestors of the Molossoid breed bred by the Greco Romans for war. The hunting and fighting abilities were prized in these relatives of the Boxer, which are depicted in 16th and 17th century Flemish tapestries in scenes of boar and stag hunting. The Boxer that we know today was bred in Germany, possibly from two European breeds that are now extinct, the Danziger Bullenbeisser and the Brabanter Bullenbeisser. German hunters of the 1830s crossed the Bullenbeissers with Bulldogs and Mastiffs to create a tough and agile dog with a strong jaw to hunt game, fight, or bait. By 1895, the new breed earned the name of Boxer, possibly from the German boxl, and exhibited the dog’s characteristic trait of standing on its hind legs to “box” with its front paws. Eventually, dogfighting and bull baiting were outlawed, and by the 1900s, the Boxer became a family pet, a show dog, and were one of the first military and police dogs. The Boxer was registered with the AKC in 1904, and won its first championship in 1915. By 1940, the breed had won in the Best in Show and Group categories, and gained the interest of Americans.
Occasional grooming will help to keep your Boxer looking wonderful. While they tend to groom themselves, much like cats, a weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush can maintain a good coat. Baths should only be as needed, as they can remove the skin’s natural oils. Shedding is average, and can occur seasonally. General maintenance includes brushing teeth twice a week, trimming nails to prevent cracking and splitting, and cleaning ears of debris regularly. Overall, the Boxer is a clean breed who is not known to smell. The Boxer is a very energetic breed, and needs mental stimulation and physical exercise daily to keep boredom at bay. Running in a yard, or daily walks, can help to satisfy this need, but be sure to have a fence as the drive for prey is high in Boxers. With enough exercise, the Boxer can thrive even in an apartment setting. Extreme temperatures are not ideal for this short-coated breed, and prolonged exposures to very hot or cold weather can lead to bodily stress.