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Updated on April 4, 2011

Boxer, medium sized dog of German origin, but now very popular in Britain.

Of sturdy build, it is smooth-coated with strong muscular body and straight limbs.

The head shows a powerful muzzle, with the lower jaw extending slightly beyond the upper, but the lips should completely cover the teeth. The forehead forms a distinct stop with the muzzle. The length of the muzzle should be about one-third of the whole head.

The colour is brindle or fawn with a black mask. The weight is 27-30 kg and the height 53-59 cm for bitches, 57-63 cm for dogs. The boxer is a reliable guard dog and devoted companion.

The boxer is classified by the American Kennel Club as a "working" dog and many have been used by the Army Canine Corps and as guide dogs for the blind. However, in both these fields it has been overshadowed by the German shepherd.

Although the boxer's origin is traced back by some authorities to bulldog-type dogs which were used as bull baiters, the modern boxer is notable for a friendly, in fact affectionate, disposition; boxers rarely are vicious, even in old age. As a rule, boxers are excellent with children and will submit to ear-pulling and tail-snatching by a young child without resentment. The boxer is ideal for the city dweller who wants a larger dog that will adapt himself to apartment or small-house life. But the boxer is seldom a "showy" dog when walking on leash. Most boxers insist on walking along with head down and tail drooping. In fact the boxer's "street" appearance is one of his drawbacks. But he makes up for this by showing a high degree of intelligence in home living. He easily adapts himself to the routine of the family that owns him, is readily house-broken and trained. Even adult boxers spend long hours playing contentedly with their toys.

With a bit of training a grown boxer can be left alone in a house or apartment for as long as ten hours daily, with no fear of his doing any damage or annoying the neighbors by barking.

As a dog for the suburbs or country, the boxer must be accepted with some reservations. If allowed to run free, some boxers become cat killers and most fail to develop the road sense that keeps many mongrels alive on trafficked roads.

Unless specially trained for the job, most boxers fail miserably as watchdogs. They will run with tails wagging to greet the person who comes in through the window as avidly as they do one who comes in through the door.

On the credit side, the boxer is a naturally clean dog, seldom has a doggy odor, and his short coat requires a minimum of grooming except for an occasional brushing; many go through life without ever being bathed. The boxer responds to training in obedience and is always eager to play or to go out for a walk or a ride in the family car. He is not a noisy dog and gets along well with other dogs and other pets.

Although a sturdy dog, the boxer is prone to several ailments. Because of the shape of the jaw, many develop tumors on the jaw and they show a high inĀ­cidence of malignant skin and internal growths.

Some boxers, especially those with wider heads and long flews, drool saliva at certain times, and many boxers will sometimes throw up their meals for no apparent reason.

In colder climates the boxer should be protected with a sweater or coat durĀ­ing the winter months, especially if he is in and out of a heated apartment. The boxer is not one of the longer-lived breeds. At the age of eight or nine, he usually has grayed and gives the impression of being an old dog.

However, balancing his virtues and faults, the boxer is a highly desirable pet and there are many who, having once known his companionship, prefer him above all other dogs.


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