Breed profile: The Boxer

shutterstock_56137516The Boxer is a fun-loving, exuberant, affectionate, vigilant and loyal family dog, especially patient and accommodating with small children. The Boxer is part of the Molosser dog group, developed in Germany in the late 19th century from the now extinct Bullenbeisser, a dog of Mastiff descent, and Bulldogs brought in from England.

The Bullenbeisser were used as hunting dogs where their task was to seize game and hold it until the huntsmen arrived. It is generally thought that the smaller and faster Bullenbeisser bred in Brabant was a direct ancestor of today’s Boxer. The Boxer is classified as a working breed. Boxers are regularly seen at obedience trials and working competitions. Due to their versatility, strength and intelligence they have also been used as service dogs, therapy dogs and police dogs.

Temperament

Playful, intelligent, friendly, energetic, fearless, confident, honest, a great family companion, never false or treacherous even in old age. Distrustful of strangers.

Lifestyle

The Boxer enjoys close human companionship and is happiest when he is allowed to be part of the family. They make excellent watchdogs and are very protective of their territory. The Boxer is very adaptable – equally at home in a larger or smaller property.

Exercise and training

As an intelligent and athletic breed, the Boxer needs mental stimulation and exercise. This can be achieved by taking him for a walk or interactive play in the garden. Care must be taken not to over-exercise young dogs. Once mature (from 18 months upwards) the Boxer can be an excellent jogging companion and agility dog. As he has a brachycephalic head, he does not do well in very hot or humid conditions and should then be only moderately exercised. Puppy socialisation and training is very important. With regular conditioning they make superb working dogs.

Daily care

The Boxer has a short, glossy coat which is easily groomed. A weekly to fortnightly brush is sufficient. During shedding a twice-weekly brush will help to remove loose hair. Feet and nails should be checked and when required nails must be clipped. Dental check-ups should be carried out from time to time.

Health

Choose a puppy from a reputable breeder who is in good standing with the recognised breed society, The Federation of Boxer Clubs of SA. Before committing to a puppy do your homework on the breed. Visit the breeder, if possible, to see the dam, possibly the sire and also the litter. Feeding your Boxer the right diet is important, especially in puppies and older dogs. The Boxer may not be allowed to become obese.

Health issues that Boxers are prone to include cancer, heart conditions, hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism. Some lines have a tendency towards degenerative myelopathy and spondylosis deformans.

The full article appears in the September issue of Animaltalk.
Text: Monica Roos

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