The stocky, middleweight sportsman of dogdom, the boxer is known for its playful, energetic and intelligent temperament. Regarded as one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. They are great as both watchdogs and companion dogs, that love nothing more than pleasing their human family. Developed with the intent of dog fighting and hunting, these dogs are surprisingly gentle with humans and children, though not very tolerant of other animals. Full of personality and energy, the boxer is an amazing canine family member.
Read on to learn more about this excellent dog breed!
History of the breed
The boxer first originated in Germany in the early 1500’s. They are cousins to all types of bulldogs, and their distant ancestors are considered to be descendants of fighting dogs from Tibet. Initially bred for working and hunting watchdogs, boxers got developed by the crossing of extinct Bullen bai ser breeds with the mastiff, Great Dane, bulldog and possibly a terrier. They were earlier used as bull baiting dogs and butcher’s helpers, for protecting cattle in slaughterhouses.
They were first imported to the United States after the first world war. After the year 1940, the boxer emerged to become the most famous dog breed in America. Some historians believe that this breed got its name from ‘boxl’, a German word that refers to their slaughterhouse designation. Others think that the name comes from the unique manner in which they use their forepaws. They play that resembles the typical signature moves of the human boxer. As one of the first breeds to be employed as police dogs. Boxers are often used as seeing-eye dogs, though they are quite popular as companion dogs as well. This is perhaps because of their peculiar fondness for children.
Boxers may look like gruff and imposing figures from a distance. Up close, they are playful, affectionate and friendly family companions. Often touted as the ‘Peter Pan ‘of dog breeds, boxers are extremely energetic, just like children, and never lose the desire to play, explore and romp about even as they enter adulthood. Having a deep love for cozy, warm spots, boxers are essentially cuddle bugs. They love to wriggle into the smallest of spaces, in order to snuggle up to their owner.
They adore being in the spotlight and often make their need for attention quite clear. They have a unique “Woo Woo” sounds characteristic to their breed. Fiercely loyal and protective of their human family, boxers are reliable and alert watchdogs. They do not shy away from sounding loud alarms to notify the presence of approaching strangers. Moreover, their menacing, muscular body is enough to deter anyone whose intention is anything but good.
These dogs are quite compatible with other animals, provided they have been socialized well. However, they are also pretty infamous for attacking smaller neighborhood dogs and cats when left to their own devices. Hence, they should never be permitted to wander about without supervision.
Interestingly, their personality changes dramatically over time, and puppies have a different personality than adult dogs.
Since boxers were bred for their stamina and strength, they require a lot of strenuous exercise every day. Even though your boxer doesn’t feel the need to chase down every insect or hunt down wild boars. They still have a deep urge to indulge in the same kind of exercise on a regular basis to stay fit and healthy.
Long walks, brisk runs and a game of ‘Fetch’ or so are all crucial in keeping these dogs physically and mentally sound. However, they should not be exercised too vigorously in the hot weather, since they are susceptible to heatstroke. As long as there is a daily exercise regimen in their routine, they perform well in apartments or condos. These dogs detest sitting idle at home all day.
When they are not physically active, they prefer channelizing their energy in mentally stimulating activities, such as playing with chew toys. In the absence of sufficient mental and physical stimulation, boxers may resort to destructive ways to keep themselves entertained, like barking incessantly or nipping away at wires.
Suitability as a family pet
To summarize the suitability of boxers as family pets in a single line, it would be fair to say that these dogs are NOT meant for every family. If your home is empty for most of the time because everyone in your family is out for work, then these dogs are probably not the perfect choice for you. On the other hand, if you are looking to add a canine companion to a family that enjoys plenty of hiking, walks in the park, as well as other outdoor activities, then the boxer might just be the perfect pet.
Two boxers may differ greatly from each other, despite belonging to the same breed. Thus, boxers raised in a happy household full of kids are relatively more adaptable to a new family, than those that are grown in a starkly different environment.
In general, however, these dogs do get along with children due to their playfulness. Their goofy nature and child-like mannerisms make them perfect as playmates to kids. Sometimes, they can get a tad clumsy and bump into people in the midst of playing, though that is usually always accidental.
Known health issues
Boxers are robust, muscular dogs with a high capacity for physical activities. They are naturally very fit and have a high stamina. Their average lifespan is about 11-14 years. They are not particularly suited for places exposed to extremes of weather conditions. Common health concerns of this breed include sick sinus syndrome, bloat, cardiomyopathy, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, melanoma, cryptorchidism, sensory neuropathy, pyloric stenosis, insulinoma, and pododermatitis.
With an undeniably adorable demeanor and a regal face that is simply impossible to hate, the boxer is just about the sweetest canine friend you can possibly have, one that is bound to reward you with years of laughter and unconditional love.