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Origin of the Boxer Dog


Where did the Boxer breed originate from and what is his history? We need to start in Germany. This country is located in Europe and touches the North Sea.

The Boxer breed actually comes from the Bullenbeisser (a Mastiff type breed) which does not exist anymore.

So how did this Boxer, one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, come to exist and make its way into the hearts of people all over the world?

The breed had quite a journey.
map of Europe
Boxer dog ancestor
Sketching of a Bullenbeisser dog from 1738, the modern day Boxer's ancestor.

Why This Breed was Developed and Methods for Doing So

Throughout history, man has been looking to perfect the perfect hunting partner and this is what started the idea of developing a new dog breed.
The reason that the Boxer was even bred into existence, was that influential breeders of the time were looking to perfect a dog that would be: strong, able to hunt down prey and able to hold that prey as their human hunting counterparts caught up to the action.

The Boxer breed came into existence in the 1800's when a now extinct breed called the Bullenbeisser was bred with an English Bulldog. The Bullenbeisser breed was of the Mastiff family and was used for hunting. These massive dogs would chase and hold large prey such as deer and wild boar, until their owners came to claim it.

The very features that we love about this breed and the elements that "make" a Boxer each served a specific reason in regard to his purpose as hunter:
1. The wide undershot jaw was thought to allow the Boxer to lock onto his prey and to continue holding it until his master arrived. 

2. Facial side wrinkles were thought to aid a dog in acting as a guard that prevented excess blood from spraying into the eyes. While the actual validity of this is up to debate, the feature was bred into the Boxer line for this purpose.

3. The nose, large and with open nostrils, set back into the face, was thought to allow the dog to breath well, while using his mouth to hold onto quarry. 

We now know that flatter faced dogs (brachycephalic breeds) can have breathing problems., however at the time (back in the 1800's) this feature was thought to be very beneficial.
As you can see, the Boxer was carefully bred to be an exemplary hunting dog, with the strength and physical features that set him apart from all others. Even the coloring was given great thought. Brindling allowed the canine to blend into surroundings,acting as a sort of camouflage among tall grasses and trees.

It was in Germany that the breed was refined. The goal was to build its size and create a dog that was brave. As the bravery trait started to stand out, Boxers started to be used as guard dogs. Within just a few generations, the focus from hunting faded (more and more terrier type dogs were used for that) and the breed began to interact more with families as they stood guard at owner's homes.

It was a fast move from guard dog to companion, as the traits of loyalty and good temperament allowed this breed to be accepted as indoor, companion dogs and family pets.

Out of Europe and Gaining Popularity Around the World

The breed rapidly gained popularity and with almost record breaking speed, the first Boxer breed dog club was introduced in 1895 in Munich Germany. Word spread quickly and enthusiasm was high! By 1900, the Boxer breed was introduced into the United States. Knowing immediately the amazing bloodline of the Boxer, the AKC quickly stepped up and recognized the breed in 1904.

During World War 1, the Boxer joined the army. This breed was used extensively for carrying packs, as attack dogs and to carry messages.

It was World War II that actually catapulted the popularity of the Boxer breed. Soldiers from all over the world brought home Boxer dogs when returning home from the war. With a strong appearance, yet a charming personality, the Boxer soon became famous as both a guard dog and a family companion pet due to his alert yet family-friendly behavior.

There is quite a lot of debate over the origin of the Boxer's name. Some theorize that it gained this name by its ability and aptness to stand on its hind legs while playing; hence copying the stance of a human boxer.

Other theories suggest the name derived from a longer name, such as the Bullenbisser which over time was shortened down to Boxi and then finally the Boxer word that we know of today. There are no historical records of this, therefore we can only guess where this wonderful breed gained a name that seems to fit the dog perfectly.

The Boxer breed is has long held place in the top 10 most popular dogs. Boxer clubs have formed in almost every country around the world. This breed is used as police watch dogs, they are famous for their amazing athletic ability in dog performance events, their alertness makes them perfect guard dogs and loving personality makes them one of the most beloved family pets on Earth.
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