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Boxer dogs are cherished across the world as family pets due to their extremely playful and loyal nature. They are big, muscular dogs with square heads; who can look intimidating at first but once you get to know them; you will find that boxers have one of the best temperaments of all the big dog breeds.

Boxer dogs will not fully mature until they are around 3 years old; which means that they have an extremely long period of ‘puppyhood’ so you should prepare; for some mischief and a whole lot of fun.

Characteristically they are smart, loyal, fearless and friendly. They respond well to training but they can also be pretty headstrong when treated harshly. Boxers were bread as working dogs and originally employed to collect wild animals that had been shot.

They make fantastic family pets because of their friendly nature and patience with children. They need plenty of exercise but they are very adaptable; and can easily live in city apartments when cared for appropriately.

Many have speculated where the name comes from and different theories have circulated. Some believe that the name comes from the dogs Germanic origins where boxer loosely means prize-fighter.

History

The boxer can trace its roots to Europe; and specifically Germany in the 1800’s when breeders developed a dog from British bulldogs; and a descendant of the mastiff. The mastiff descendant, the Bullenbeisser; is now extinct but had been working for centuries as hunting dogs when German breeders decided to develop the breed. The job of the hunting dog at this time was to find small bears; boars and deer, then hold the animal down until the hunter found them.

Boxer dogs were bred from these out of a need to make a faster hunting dog; and they were officially introduced at a famous dog show in 1902. The modern-day Boxer is said to be almost identical to the animal at this exhibition. After the successful breeding program; the Boxer dog was exported from Europe to America; and other parts of the world and the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1904.

The Boxer proved to be invaluable during the First World War when the Allies; and Germany, used the animals in a variety of roles such as messenger dogs, carriers; and for guarding purposes. After the Second World War; the returning soldiers brought the dog’s home to their families; and they became extremely popular pets because of their loyal and loving nature.

Boxers are one of the most popular and sought-after breeds; because they have such amazing qualities and very few bad ones. They have a great history as a working dog; and they are now a family favorite due to their fantastic nature and their loyalty to their family.

Physical Characteristics

Boxers are generally considered medium sized dogs although they can often be on the larger side. Male boxers should stand between 22 and 25 inches at the shoulder; and a healthy weight should be around about 70 lbs. Females, as typical with most dog breeds are usually a little shorter and should weigh a little less.

The coat of a boxer is always short over tight skin. They have an athletic appearance and there should be very little loose skin on the body. There are 2 main colors, which are classified as fawn and bridle. They can have white markings but an all-white boxer is not desirable; as they are known to carry certain genetic conditions; which will lead to health problems. Fawn is said to range from light tan to mahogany; and the brindle color is usually a striped pattern of browns and blacks.

Boxers usually have some white markings on the belly and the paws; but the white should not cover more than a third of its body; according to the experts who evaluate pedigree dogs. Often the white marking will cover the face and neck and the owners refer to this coloring as flashy fawn and brindle.

The genes that deal with solid coloring do not exist in modern Boxer dogs; so you will never see an all-black Boxer dog. A genetic defect sometimes causes the all-white Boxers but they may be susceptible to deafness; and other conditions which is why they are disqualified from pedigree status and not allowed in competitions; that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t make great pets as they still have the loving nature of a Boxer.

Boxers are prized for their undershot jaw; which seems to be one of the most desirable features amongst breeders and owners. This means the lower canine teeth point directly upwards. Combined with a powerful jaw; this gives the boxer an extremely strong grip, which was perfect for the type of hunting they were bred for. The head of the Boxer sits atop a muscular neck and a sloped back.

Temperament

Some people will say that the Boxer is the Peter Pan of the dog world because they never fully grow up. They mature late and have stay in puppy mode for longer than most other breeds. They have boundless energy; and require at least a few hours of exercise every single day or they will get bored and unhappy.

If you are a lazy dog owner and want a dog that requires minimal attention; and work then the Boxer is probably not the best pet for you. Many dog breeds will require little work; and you can combine them with your busy life but this does not apply for Boxer dogs.

Boxer dogs are famed for their extreme loyalty to their owners and they are eager to please. They can be distrustful of strangers on an initial meeting; but usually do not behave in an aggressive manner unless they feel threatened or they feel that their family is in danger. In general, they are considered polite towards strangers; and will not jump up at children or adults when they see them. They do get excitable when they meet other dogs on walks; but this is normal behavior for almost all dog breeds. A boxer will only ever act in an aggressive manner when defending his family. They are very loving dogs and very family orientated so they will defend their families at any cost.

Boxers are famed for their clowning around and they will try constantly to get attention from their owners. They will play for hours upon hours and require lots of chew toys and activities to keep themselves occupied. The temperament of your Boxer may be affected by various factors such as training, exposure to others and its heritage. They are eager to please their owner which makes them fairly easy to train. Training a Boxer correctly will mean; that they are not so boisterous and they will understand the limits of their playfulness.

A Boxer puppy with a good temperament should be curious about the world and not shy of human contact. If you have the luxury of choosing from a litter; you should consider taking the puppy that is in the middle of the range. The more aggressive pups may develop behavioral problems and the weaker ones may have health conditions.

Boxers make great family pets for a variety of factors. They have legendary patience with young children and bundles of energy. They will try to curl up next to you when you are relaxing; and they will try to play games and have fun. They do feel the need to be part of a social group so you should always; include your Boxer in the family activities wherever possible.

Exposure to as many sights and sounds as possible is a proven way to develop your young Boxers personality. Socialization will make the puppy more well-rounded and friendly towards others. Enrolling in training is also a good idea as it allows the dog to be around other pets.

Ultimately, the Boxer makes a fantastic family pet because of their playful and friendly nature. You can have a Boxer around children of all ages without any cause for concern; and the dog will defend you and your family valiantly. When he is not busy defending you; he will be a loyal and playful companion who will pine for you attention; and provide an endless amount of fun and laughter.

Your Boxer’s Energy Levels

Healthy and happy Boxers typically have a lot of energy; which is an adaptational attribute inherited from their breeding heritage as compact hunting dogs with lots of physical strength and power. They were also used as utility dogs and even as performing dogs in circus acts though.

If your Boxer isn’t particularly up for some child-like fun in the sun; that typically involves a lot of high-energy running around, you likely need to check for some health issues; some of which can be rectified with a better-planned diet. Since Boxers are a high-energy breed, the sheer amounts of energy they have needs an outlet. Preferably, your Boxer’s energy outlet should be something constructive, otherwise it’ll be redirected to destructive behavior; such as fighting with other pets, chewing objects like your furniture and other belongings, scratching doors, furniture; and even people (like the kids or your guests), or even aggression towards you and your guests or other family members.

Gauging your Boxer’s energy levels simply entails putting a rough estimate on timespan of the activities; he needs to engage in. To do away with his restlessness; and easily maintain a state of calmness; determine how long he should be allowed to engage in each particular activity. Ideally, you’ll want your canine to guide you by observing what he likes to spend his energy on. Play with him in whatever way that expends energy and time each session.

Boxers are surprisingly expressive; so he’ll let you know when he’s had enough, either through a noticeable drop in enthusiasm; yawning (and then showing signs of wanting to take a nap) or if he starts panting way too much. Boxers do have short attention spans however; so your particular canine may want to go through a range of different activities to let his energy out; in which case you want to take note of the overall time across all the activities.

What Your Boxer Loves

Taking further advantage of a Boxer’s expressiveness, you’ll also know when he’s engaged in something he loves doing. This could be a favorite activity (as explored above); a favorite treat, a favorite toy or even a special way in which you touch (stroke) him. The more things he loves that you can identify the better; even more so if you can rank his likes or pinpoint what he loves the most out of all of them. At the very least, try and identify two of his likes; and make a note of what he loves the absolute most.

What Your Boxer Hates

In the same way you identified what your Boxer loves; you’re also going to make a note of all the things he hates—his pet hates if you like. Again, the more hates you identify (ranking them according to the degree to which they’re pet hates) the better; because you’ll have a lot more to draw on in your arsenal for training and bringing out the best in your canine. You’ll obviously have to spend some quality time with your particular Boxer to identify some of the things he hates; but a good starting point is probably one; which draws on the Boxer breed’s general dislike of water. Boxers are not very good swimmers, which is possibly one of the reasons for their predisposed dislike of water.

While identifying your Boxer’s dislikes, pay special attention to those pet hates you have some measure of control over. Going back to their particular dislike of water for example; this is a pet hate you do have a measure of control over in that you can spray him with water with the use of a hose or a water cannon gun; when you want him not to do something and you need to reinforce it when you are training him.

Pet Care

With any pet, the right type of care is very important for their health and well-being.  Caring for your pet takes a great deal of time and patience; but the one thing that is most time consuming is brushing your pet’s hair.  Routine brushing keeps your pet's hair clean and tangle-free.  It also keeps his skin healthy by allowing his body to evacuate dead hair and disperse normal oils.  Brush your pup's hair no less than a few times each week using a slicker brush and a blend brush. 

Be especially gentle around the neck, mid-section and rear end; where the coat has a tendency to be fuller and accumulate more tangles.  Utilize a light spritz of detangling spray on your pooch's coat to help loosen up those stubborn knots and to give his coat a nice shine.  If brushing is done frequently and correctly, his coat should bob and bounce as he moves.  Another way to check if brushing is being done correctly; you should be able to comb through his coat with a wide-toothed brush easily. 

A common misconception is that larger dogs will live shorter lives. Whilst they may be susceptible to certain conditions that do not affect smaller dogs; Boxer can live well beyond the average life expectancy of around 12 years. If they are cared for correctly, fed well and given the exercise and healthcare that they need.

Diet

The recommendation is to feed your Boxer 2 cups of dry food per day and wet food as necessary. You should try to give your dog raw meat as often as possible; but stay away from processed meats and do not give them chicken bones as they are prone to splintering.

Dogs are similar to humans in how much food they need. We all have different metabolisms and activity levels meaning some of us will gain weight if we eat the same amount as someone else who has a busier lifestyle. This is also affected by age, size and how much activity they get. The quality of the food is also an important factor. Whilst we can’t all afford the expensive food on a regular basis; you should feed your pet the best possible food you can and you should know exactly what is in the food before you serve it.

Dog owners vary on feeding times but a good way to measure food intake is to feed your pet twice a day rather than leaving the food out all day. There are creation tests you can perform to check if your Boxer is overweight; you should be able to feel but not see the ribs when stroking him from the front. If you can see the ribs then the dog needs more food and if you can’t feel them, he needs more exercise.

Grooming

Boxers require minimal grooming as they have a low maintenance coat and they do not malt excessively as can happen with thick coated dogs. There is an increased risk of sunburn because of this so you should be careful when playing out in blistering heat for long periods of time. Sunburn amongst Boxers is surprisingly common, especially amongst dogs with more white fur so you should always watch out for this. Every boxer is different but they will require more than one period of activity per day and whilst they can adapt to apartment living in the city, depression and boredom can happen when they are stuck indoors all day. Exercise does not always have to be long walks and can include an hour or so of fetch or other games if you have a big enough home.

Also remember that grooming is a general term for caring for your dog. Many think grooming is confined to brushing the hair but it means much more than that. You should check your dog in all the places you can including teeth, ears and feet and consult with a vet if you find anything you think may be suspicious. The time spent grooming is also bonding time and if you do this once a week you will create a stronger relationship.

Water Intake

Water intake can be an indicator of health and you should monitor closely how much water your dog is taking on board. A dog will usually know how thirsty he is but they sometimes do not take on enough which can lead to dehydration. If they drink too much water it can also be a sign of other problems so you should consider seeking advice from a vet.

Neutering

Many countries around the world have varying attitudes towards neutering. Los Angeles has made it mandatory unless you have a breeding license and Norway has made it illegal unless you have serious health conditions. It means castration in male dogs and spaying of female dogs and whilst the methods are far more humane than they were in the past, the moral implications are still too much for some. Many do it in the hope that their dog will calm down and be less excitable and it often does not have the desired effect. It can reduce the risks of some diseases in later life but the behavioral aspects are not conclusive.

Disease

As with any dog breed, Boxers are more susceptible to certain conditions than others and have certain diseases that come though their breeding. Cancer is a big cause of fatalities among this breed and you should visit a doctor as soon as you find anything suspicious.

Training

Training should be started as early as possible as it will make it easier in the long run. Boxer puppies are known to be remarkable strong willed and extremely tenacious. They have boisterous and playful natures which mean they can be a handful. Puppy training will assist with getting through this difficult period and develop the dog into an upstanding member of dog society. When you establish good behavior patterns at a young age, it reduces the chance that the dog will have behavioral issues when they are older.

Boxers should be trained from an early age and they should be trained by someone who has experience with bigger dogs. They are fairly smart amongst the wide range of dog breeds and can be trained to a high level although their playful nature often gets the better of them. As with all do training, consistency is very important because if you let one rule slip, then they start to think that all of the rules are flexible.

Different breeds of dog respond differently to different types of training and this often depends on both the animal’s intelligence and its willingness to please its owner. Boxers are considered easy to train because they are extremely willing to please and they respond best to reward based training. This method requires lots of consistency, encouragement and repetition. It will also require a pocket full of little treats for the good Boxer. Fortunately, Boxers are not a breed that needs harsh corrective training and the punishments should be kept to an appropriate level and administered only when absolutely needed.

Training your own dog will improve and strengthen the bond you have with the animal as long as you can assert yourself as the dominant male and not the bully. If you punish your dog unnecessarily it can have detrimental effects on his mental health.

A common issue that should be trained out of Boxers is their tendency to jump up at people. They do this as an instinctive reaction and they are just showing their playful nature but not everybody will be happy so you should stop you Boxer doing this when they are young.

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