There are so many reasons to fall in love with a Boxer. Consider that powerful body, expressive face, clownish sense of humor, innate intelligence, and intense attachment to his people. If you haven’t fallen in love yet, some of these interesting facts may do the trick. Even seasoned Boxer owners may learn a few surprising things about their beloved breed.
1. Boxers have a long, interesting history.
Along with their cousins, the Bulldog and Mastiff, Boxers have ancestors that can be traced to the ancient Assyrians, as long ago as 2000 B.C. They were powerful, brave dogs, often used in war. Centuries later, these dogs were named for the ancient city of Molossis, in what is now Albania.
For centuries, the Bullenbeisser, the Boxer’s more recent antecedent, was used as a hunting dog for wild boar, bear, and deer. The breed spread all over continental Europe and England and can be seen as early as the 16th century in Flemish tapestries. Most experts agree that this smaller Bullenbeisser, from northeast Belgium, is the direct ancestor of the modern Boxer. However, it was in Germany that the breed’s development reached a peak of development to become the remarkable dog we know today.
2. Boxers made relatively late arrivals in America.
The Boxer, as we know it today, was first imported to the U.S. after World War I, but didn’t reach any real degree of popularity until the late 1930s.
Four dogs, in particular, are considered the foundation of the American Boxer. They’ve even been nicknamed “The Four Horsemen of Boxerdom.” The first was Sigurd, born in Germany in 1929. Ten of his puppies were imported to America and became champions or were the progenitors of champions. The next two were Lustig and Utz, and each sired dozens of champions. Lustig sired 41 American champions, and Utz sired 35. The last of the four was Dorian, and he won the Working Group at Westminster in 1937.
According to AKC statistics, Boxers are now the 14th most popular breed in the country.
3. Boxers have excelled in dog shows.
The breed has won Best in Show at Westminster four times, in 1947, 1949, 1951, and 1970.
4. Your Boxer can succeed in dog sports like agility and rally, but you’ll have to work at it.
When he’s racing the agility course, performing in rally, or strutting his stuff in obedience trails, the Boxer can be absolutely glorious. But this extremely intelligent dog has a mind of his own. As his trainer, you must be patient, consistent, and creative. A Boxer becomes bored with repetition and may, given his sense of humor, invent his own idea of obedience or agility during training, and even during performance.
5. Boxers are lovers, not fighters.
In spite of their heritage as powerful and courageous hunters, one of the modern breed’s most appealing traits is a tremendous love for their humans and a need to be loved in return. A Boxer is happiest when he’s with his family, especially children. He’s protective and patient with kids and makes an ideal family dog.
6. Boxers have their own distinct antics that are both lovable and (sometimes) annoying.
When excited, which is every time they greet a beloved human, they are known for jumping up and down in exuberance and leaping about. “Down” may be the first command to teach them. And almost any lover of the breed can tell you about the “kidney bean” dance Boxers do. They twist their bodies into a sort of semicircle and, in their excitement, start turning in circles.
7. Boxers are excellent service dogs.
With their innate attachment to humans and their intelligence, Boxers are often used as guide dogs for the blind and even as alert dogs for people who suffer from epilepsy, alerting them to an imminent seizure.
8. The Boxer was the breed of choice for a pair of famous movie stars.
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were both dog lovers. They received their first Boxer, Harvey, as a wedding gift, and he appeared in many of their publicity photos. They acquired two more Boxers, Baby and George, as well.