Table of Contents
Behavior and habitat
The Boxer has an exceptional innate courage and strength. Both qualities he inherited from his ancestor, the Bullenbeisser. Today he is no longer a fighting dog. From the early 20th century German breeders tried to soften his character and breed a dog that is fully adapted to our modern civilization. Today the animals are docile and socially, yet able to defend their master anywhere, anytime and in any situation. Although the Boxer a very pleasant companion animal, he can – if the situation requires it- become a fearsome guard dog. Elizabeth Sommerfield cites the case of a Boxer that was exported to Kenya to be usedthere as a guard dog. As he defended his boss, he got stabbed by the assailants and was seriously injured. Yet he remained in battle until his death, which clearly illustrates the character of this dog. In everyday life it is fortunately very rare that the Boxer in a similar situation. Yet it is good and reassuring to know that he is capable of such courage. His athletic build, his powerful muscles and his unfriendly facial expressions should make the mostreckless daredevil stop and think it over. The Boxer is very attached to his owner and enjoys playing with children. He is exuberant and sometimes even has trouble sitting still. That is one reason why he is not the appropriate dog for the elderly, though his impetuosity is rather pleasant than really anoying. if the animal is well educated at a very young age, and his owner clearly shows him who’s boss, you should not expect major difficulties. Boxers are very affectionate and loving if they are raised properly. Because of their intelligence and their will to please if they have a good relationship with their owner, it is easy to work with these dogs. Boxers are also quite capable of following a testing program called IPO(International Prufungsordnung). These are tests which should show how well a dog functions in the role of a guard dog. The Boxer is one of the six official German working breeds, but in the Netherlands and Belgium he is mainly a companion dog. A Boxer is not really the best dog to stay on a flat all day long. Especially the young boxer is very active and benefits the most from long walks and playtimes. He needs room to move, such as a garden where he can be in all day, before coming back home in the evening. The owner of such a dog should take out the dog every day for long walks so he can run and run and lose its energy. Boxers are playful and curious. If they encounter other dogs while walking they want to play with them. Boxers can be dominant and other dogs may not like that. When the Boxer is too intrusive, his owner should correct him. This is possible if his dog is taught to follow commands at a young age. A Boxer is certainly a civilized dog, but it remains a dog with initiative! Fortunately, this animal is easy to train because he is intelligent.
The boxer needs little care because of his short hair. Regular combing is sufficient. This is done with a damp cloth or a rubber glove. Clean out any folds regularly and look for debris in the ears.
The Boxer is, in line with its origin, a fighting dog. This is reflected in its very form and nature. He can best be compared with a strong finely built athlete, who combines a high degree of strength and speed. The short, stiff hair that does not require special care, his calm nature and an innate love for children, make him a pleasant companion. He is also a born guard and service dog. His great nose makes him ideal as a working dog (such as military and police work). The Boxer is one of the large breeds and it is a sturdy dog with a short, square figure, and strong limbs. The muscles must be strongly developed and must emerge from under the skin. The movements of the Boxer are lively, the state is firm, yet elastic. The pass is free and long and he has a proud and noble attitude. As a guard dog he must have a certain mass and strength, and as a guide dog (walking next to horse or bike) he must have plenty of stamina. The Boxer should therefore not be forced to developed very heavy, or can not be greyhound-like at full speed. The most characteristic part of the Boxer is its head: it is in good proportion to the body and should not be too light. This applies even more to the muzzle, where the correct form and correct size relative to the skull is of the utmost importance. In the overall assessment, one must therefore first be aware that the parts of the body are in the desired ratio to each other, and that they function for their purpose. One should also pay attention toa suitable color.
The beauty of the head of the Boxer is based on the harmonious relationship between muzzle and skull size. Viewed from any direction, the muzzle should never appear too small. The closer the width of the snout approaches the skull, the better. However, the depth should be in line with the width. A so-called “frog-head” is wrong. The head should be as smooth as possible, without excessive bending. The dark mask can not go further than the muzzle. Moreover, the eyes are surrounded with a dark colour. The lips are very strongly developed and run in nicely shaped arches. The upper lip is thick and full. The lip fills the empty space which is formed by the lower jaw and is strongly supported by the above canines. This creates the front of the muzzle. This should be as large as possible, almost square and form a blunt triangle with the nose. The bottom edge of the upper lip rests on the edge of the lower lip. The chin should protude a little bit from the upper lip. The chin must be clearly visible from the front and in profile, without the bulldog-like appearance. When the mouth is closed, the teeth may not be visible. The upper jaw is broad and only slightly tapering forward. Both under-and upper jaw are thus very broad in the front. The stop is sharply defined, not to faint. The skull is arched, neither round nor flat and not too wide, the occiput not too high. the tip of the nose is slightly higher than the root. The length of the nose in proportion to the skull length is 1:2. The forehead has a well-marked furrow, which should not be too deeply between the eyes . The cheek muscles are in line with the sharp teeth that are strongly developed without however protruding.
The Boxer has an underbite. The canines are far apart as possible. The teeth should be strongand healthy.
The ears should be of an appropriate size to the head, rather small than large, feel thin and be wide apart. At rest, the ears lie flat against the cheeks. When the dog is alert, the ears should fall forward with a clear fold.
The eyes are as dark as possible, neither too small nor to be prominent nor too deep. They show will power and can not have a threatening or gloomy impression.
The neck is not too short and thick, but quite long. The neck should have an elegant arch and the base of the neck is clearly visible. The long, sloping shoulder, tight fitting, is vertical and has an angle of 90 degrees to the shoulder blade. The elbows should not be too strongly pressed against the chestwall, but can not be to far eiter. The forearm must be straight and long, with powerful muscles. The knee should be good, but not overly visible. The hock is short, a little oblique, and stands almost vertical to the ground. The chest is deep, reaching to the elbows. The depth of the chest is half the entire height of the Boxer (at withers). The ribs are well sprung but not barrel shaped, extending far back. the sides are short and tense, the abdomen line proceeds in an elegant line to the rear. The back is as short and straight as possible, broad and well muscled, withers slightly higher. The Loins are broad and concise, well-built. The cross is wide and only slightly sloping. The hindquarters are strongly muscled, with good muscles visible under the skin. The thigh is narrow and flat but broad and rounded, the pants also have well developed muscles. Upper and lower thigh bones are long. The angle of the hock is about 140 degrees.
Males 57-63 cm shoulder height, females 53-59 cm. The weight of the dogs approximately 30-32 kg, females about 24-25kg.
Both front legs should be straight when viewed from the front and stand parallel to each other. Seen from behind, the hind legs are straight. The heel is strong.
With small, arched toes (cat feet). The front toes are a little longer.
Tail is no longer shortened.
The hair should be short, hard and smooth.
The colors are yellow or brindle. Yellow comes in a wide variety of shades from dark deer red to light yellow, but the middle tones are the best (yellow-red). In the brindle color we see a range of colors from light gold to very dark, which looks almost black. The ground color and the black must be clearly separated, the stripes may neither be too close nor be scattered here and there. White markings are not objectionable, they can even be beautiful. Boxers with a white ground color are not recognized or accepted at exhibitions, nor black, entirely white or other colors. Ugly markings, such as a full or half-white forehead should be regarded as unwelcome. The white markings should be less than one third of the ground color, otherwise the dogs will be considered as mottled, which is also not included in the pedigree.
History of the Boxer
The Boxer is a German breed that has its origin at the end of the 19th century. His ancestors, however, come from ancient times when people still went hunting and went to war with their Molossers. Ever since the Greek-Roman era, and later in medieval times, traces were found of burly dogs. This was a very different type of dog, which was used for its strength and aggressiveness. Most captains had dog legions that were of great benefit to their conquests. The Hyksos – a people from Asia – introduced the dreaded Molossers in Egypt. And in order to win battles, Philip II (354-336 BC) – father of Alexander the Great – used Mastiffs. In 101 BC. The Romans themselves had to battle against the powerful dogs that were brought by the Cimbri, a tribe from Northern Europe. Much later, during the Renaissance, Henry VIII of England succeeded to defeat the troops ofCharles V thanks to his pack of more than 500 dogs. These wore metal and leather armor and their collars were armed with spikes and razor-sharp steel blades.
This type of soldier dog was also used to hunt big game such as bears and wild bulls to tire them out. When in the course of the centuries, people no longer had to live from hunting and other combat techniques were developed, these animals had to be adapted to new tasks. Different types of dogs have gradually spread across Europe, according to the manners and customs of the population. Most dogs were bred to serve as a guard dog while the others were fighting dogs. They had to take on bulls and wild animals, merely to entertain the people. The ancestors of the Mastiff and the Bulldog in Britain and the Bordeaux Dog in the southwest of France, descended from these dogs. The same applies to the ancestor of the Great Dane and Bullenbeisser.The latter is the direct ancestor of the Boxer as we know him today.
The Bullenbeisser was, as Old Germanic writings show, also called “ursiritus canis” (bear dog) or “canis porcatoris” (pig dog) and soon got more publicity. In the second half of the 19th century he was also represented in the Netherlands, Belgium and eastern France. There was then a distinction between the “Danziger bullenbeisser” and the smaller dog, the “Brabanter bullenbeisser”. In 1877 two dog breeders described the boxer in the magazine ‘Der Hund und seine Jagd’ as follows: “It is an impressive dog, he is strong and serious. He has a shoulder height of about 55 cm. His muzzle is short, broad and wrinkled, with strong folds and hanging lips. He has abroad head, wider than any other breed. The eyes are somewhat covered by the skin of the forehead. The forehead and cheeks are wrinkled. The ears are not cropped. His back is straight. The coat is brown with stripes.” This characterization fits also the English Mastiff or the modern Boxer, and even the Bulldog.
In Britain, one also finds the other ancestor of today’s Boxer. The British say the first Boxer was created thanks to a Bulldog answering to the name Tom. Elizabeth Sommerfield (a famous English breeder) gives a description of this famous ancestor in her book The Boxer : “In 1890, Dr.Tënissen lived in Munich and had an English Bulldog named Tom. Unfortunately we do not have a portrait of this dog, but one thing is certain: he was white as snow. He also had a lot from the bulldog from the late 19th century. Actually, he resembled more the modern Boxer than the modern Bulldog as we now see in shows.”
Tom mated with a white bitch bullenbeisser called Alts. From this mating was Flocki born. This dog was registered in the boxer pedigree as the first Boxer. Yet Flocki probably was no special dog. In ‘Dogues et Bouledogues’ (Mastiffs and Bulldogs) Dr. Maurice Luquet even wrote that it was in fact a kind of hybrid of the Bulldog.
In 1895 some dog lovers introduced the breed as well as the name of the breed simultaneously(during the dog show in Munich). Elizabeth Sommerfield describes in her book how Friedrich Roberth came to Munich in 1895 . This Breeder of Airedale terriers from Vienna was also a lover of short-haired dogs. The three friends managed to introduce the Boxer in the exhibition in Munich. four dogs entered, but only Flocki still lives in our memory.
The creation of the Deutscher Boxer Club and the first exhibition organized by the club, made it possible that one year later about 20 dogs were brought together. And despite the fact that they are quite dissimilar (one was white, the other yellow brindle), these animals clearly looked like the bulldog. They were larger, but less heavy than the Boxer of today. Shortly after the exhibition in Munich German boxer lovers decided to set the first standard. They needed no less than six years to produce an acceptable text. It was finally official in 1905. Meanwhile in 1904 the first magazine devoted entirely to the Boxer appeared, while at the same time the breeding became more important.
The First World War (1914-1918), regrettably was very bad for the German breeding. Only in the early 20s the Boxer was acknowledged as a working dog. From that moment on, the breed gradually developed in Germany, until the Second World War (1940-1945). While 30000 entries were registered in 1933 in the Pedigree, 38000 were counted in 1938. The usefulness of the Boxer was now recognized. At the end of the Second World War many breeding animals were purchased by the allied forces stationed in Europe. This was especially true for U.S. troops, who introduced the dogs in the United States. German dog lovers limited the export and tried to encourage breeding in their own country. This prevented the Americans to buy one of the finest specimens of the breed, Heinervon Zwergeck, which they wanted to pay more than $2000 for! In 1968 the registry had a total of 80000 registrations. Today there are over 150000!
The unprecedented popularity of the German Shepherd and the Boxer has proven that a breed with a well-considered standard and well adapted to the needs of the public, can get recognition anywhere. Mastiff type of dog lovers (but one that does not take much space and is as elegant as possible) found exactly what they were after in the Boxer. With typical English humor Elizabeth Sommerfield describes what people expect of a Boxer: “They want not just a dog but a dog that is not too hard to care for or too difficult to feed. Not a dog that is too big, or too small. In addition, he should be good to children, be faithfull and be a good guard dog. The Boxer meets all these expectations.” The German breeders have always rejected the idea off the Boston Terrier having had an input into the development of the Boxer. To deny this, several sources were mentioned, including paintings by Conca (1676-1764), where the ‘Bullenbeisser’ is visible. Also in the book “Der vollkommene Teutscher Hunter Flemming (1719)” two images can be found. One is the ‘Dantziger Bahrenbeisser’ and the other is the ‘Niederlandische Bollbeisser’. Of these dogs, the Boxer originated. Another 18th-century expert, Dr. Reidinger, and R.Strebel, author of Die Deutsche Hun-den (The German dogs) said there could be an influence of the Boston Terrier. And in his book Les Chiens Races (The dog breeds) Count Henri de Bylandt wrote about the Boston Terrier: “In Germany, this breed is called Boxer.” the fact that the English Bulldog has had an input into the development of the Boxer was in Germany at the time is not excepted. In any case, there was as little as possible mentioned about it. The Boxer was in the beginning of the 20th century immediately popular in the Netherlands. During the exhibition in 1907 that was organized by the association Cynophilia 73 boxers appeared in the ring. Only one Boxer less than at the big show in Frankfurt that year.
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