QUIRKY, ENERGETIC, UNIQUE
History & Origin
The boxer is a breed that can trace its origins back to antiquity. Its ancestor, the Molosion, is mentioned in old Syrian texts and is believed to be the forerunner of the German Bullenbeisser. These dogs were primarily sporting dogs that were bred to give chase to and keep at bay wild game, such as bison, boar and bears. They were, by all accounts, very large dogs.
It was in the 18th century when an English bulldog was imported to Germany that resembled a mastiff, and its descendants being interbred with the Bullenbeisser, that the European Boxer was born.
Steps were taken in Munich in order to establish and refine the breed. The first breeding standard was adopted in 1902.
These dogs played a significant part in the two World Wars as they were trained to carry supplies and ammunition as well as messages during this time. It is believed that they owe their presence in the USA due to soldiers bringing them home with them. Ultimately, they were first registered with the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1904. Since then, the Boxer has become one of the most popular and sought after breeds in the country.
Boxers were also used for policing, due to their extreme intelligence, and are the cousins of all breeds of the bulldog variety as they share a common ancestry.
The origin of the breed’s name, i.e. Boxer, is uncertain, but common belief holds that it is due to the characteristic movement it makes with its front paws while playing. Another possibility is that it is a play on the German ‘beisser’ which means biter, and that it sound similar to the English word box, hence Boxer.
Whatever the origin of the breed’s name, it is a strong, agile working dog with a heart of gold that makes an excellent family pet and protector.
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
Your Boxer puppy’s personality can best be described in a word: unique. If you have ever been in the position where you had contact with one, you would know exactly what is meant by this. Yes, they could be described as intelligent, exceptional protectors, affectionate, and so on, but one thing most Boxer pups have in common is their incredibly quirky nature.
This is an incredibly intelligent, playful and energetic breed that thrives on human company. Their loyalty to their family is beyond compare, and they will guard their family and home till their last breath.
Your Boxer puppy does not bark unnecessarily, ever, and when he does, he probably has a good reason to do so. So if your dog suddenly starts barking, go check, and do not shout at him. Doing so may give him the impression he is not allowed to warn you when he believes danger is at hand! Although they do not bark often, however, they love to ‘talk’ so prepare yourself for ‘conversations’ with your dog.
Their extremely good nature makes them a firm favorite with families, as they are stoic with regards to being prodded and poked by children, while taking well to strangers and are always ready to play. Don’t be surprised if your puppy, as it grows, gets into all kinds of mischief, as they can easily learn how to open cupboards and doors and get up to all kinds of trouble.
As puppies, besides getting into trouble, they also see just about any- and everything as a toy, so make sure not to leave you newest pair of shoes around (although soft furnishings could suffer too). They therefore have to have a good supply of chewy toys to mouth at all times, and need to be firmly taught what behavior is, and is not, acceptable.
They are a rambunctious breed, loving nothing more than chasing, wrestling, wiggling, ‘dancing’ and entertaining, and thrive on the attention of their family, whether they just watch their antics, play with them, or laugh at them. They love to entertain. This behavior is not reserved only for when they are a puppy, it lasts their whole lives.
Your Boxer puppy considers itself as a family member, and as such, is great at problem solving (consider their perchance for opening doors). To this end, their intelligence allows them to figure out how to get up to all kinds of mischief, and appropriate action is necessary to both limit and redirect any behavior considered undesirable. To this end, proper training is always advised!
Their inherent intelligence also makes them a strong-willed breed, and once they have set their minds on something, they tend to follow through. Being large, strong dogs, this willfulness could lead to its own negative complications, so puppy training needs to start at a relatively young age.
Because this breed has been known to attack other animals, puppies need to be socialized right from the start. In so doing, they learn to get along with other animals. This is especially important if you have other family pets. If, however, the proper socializing occurs, they tend to see other family pets as part of the family and there are no problems.
If you are not someone who is prepared to invest time with your dog, a Boxer puppy is not advised for you. They need the company of people, adore children, and love nothing more than to be goofy with and for their family.
Their incredible protective instinct makes them an excellent family guard dog as an added bonus. Also keep in mind that Boxers tend to snore – quite loudly!
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
A Boxer puppy, for all its extravagant behavior, is a sensitive creature, and needs special care with regards to this, especially when young.
To this end, when your puppy is first brought home, do not let too many people handle it immediately, and make sure the environment is calm. Training is advised almost from the outset, i.e. as young as eight weeks, but this is more in line with house training and socialization; in other words, the basics. More intense training can follow when it is a little older.
Food should be introduced gradually, from about 5 weeks, so that your puppy can get used to his new nutrition. Remember, up until then, he only had mother’s milk. If you opt for commercial dog food, it needs to be wet.
The best food, for your Boxer whether it is a puppy or fully grown, is home-made. This does not mean the food you and your family eat!
Typically, a Boxer puppy needs a meal that is high in protein. Dogs are carnivores and need a lot of protein in their diet. Excellent for puppies is a diet consisting of soft-cooked meat, e.g. chicken breasts, with vegetables and carbohydrates, such as pasta. It should, at first, be well-blended, becoming chunkier as your puppy gets older.
Great vegetables for adding to your dog’s diet include: string beans, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Fruits that they do well with include banana, watermelon, berries, and pears.
Take note, however, that there are certain things that should never be added to your puppy’s diet, no matter what breed it is. These are, for example, onions, garlic and chocolate, all of which are toxic to dogs of any breed.
If you decide to feed your puppy or adult Boxer commercial dog food, remember, just because a dog food brand is popular, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great choice for your dog.
These dogs are extremely high-energy individuals, and as such, need a quality brand that is high in protein, vitamins and minerals, to ensure good health, growth, and to supply all the dog’s energy requirements. It is thus important that you, as the owner, make sure to do your homework on this.
These dogs are prone to over-heating, and measures must be considered to take this into consideration while a clean supply of water should always be available.
COAT AND GROOMING
A fully grown Boxer can be as large as 1 foot, 9 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch when measured at the shoulder, and weigh in between 60 to 70 pounds.
The coat, of a Boxer puppy, only has three colors, white, fawn or brindle, although it is very common for them to have patches, e.g. brindle with a white patch.
They are extremely easy to care for, as their coats are short and straight. They do, however, have light shedding which occurs throughout the year.
Because a Boxer puppy could develop some type of skin irritation, it is advisable that only good quality dog shampoo and conditioner is used. Because their snouts are pushed in, facial wrinkles need to be cleaned and dried thoroughly, as they are a breeding ground for bacteria. The ears also need a little special attention.
The eyes need to be cleaned gently, using special dog eye wipes if a discharge is noticed. Your puppy’s nails also need special attention, but if you are scared of clipping and filing them yourself, it is best that a professional takes care of this.
The sensitive paw area should be remembered, and attention should be paid to the areas between the individual paw pads, and an effort made to make sure they are thoroughly cleaned, as it is quite possible that your puppy could have hurt himself while playing and infections can occur.
Boxers have distinct behavior patterns and if these are acknowledged, taken into account and dealt with in the right way, a Boxer can quickly become a stubborn, destructive and hostile pet.
A Boxer puppy’s training begins the moment he comes home with you. Training should always be gentle, consistent and firm, as it allows him to find his place in his new human family.
A common misconception is that you need to give your puppy treats when training. Although there is nothing wrong with giving treats to your dog, the problem could arise, especially with a Boxer, which is a headstrong breed that they will only obey when hungry. Rather lavish it with praise and affection.
The most immediate need with regards to training your puppy is socialization with household members, including other pets. This is followed by training your pup that doing its business inside is not on!
They also need to be taught respect: respect for you as the leader, and respect for all other members of your home. He needs to know his place. This makes for a secure dog. They key here is firmness and consistency.
Crate training is recommended by many as an extremely effective way of housebreaking a dog. Besides assisting with this, a dog soon learns that his crate is his private, safe area, and will soon go to it to take a nap when required.
These are high-energy dogs that expend an enormous amount of energy, and as such, while still a puppy, need a safe-haven they can retreat to.
Walking your dog is excellent for socialization purposes while it also allows it to use any pent-up energy. A house with a large yard is ideal, but regular walks and runs in the park work too.
While still a puppy, it is not uncommon for your new puppy to sleep one to two hours a few times a day – remember, it is a baby. As they grow older, however, just as in humans, they sleep less, and mostly at night, although it is not uncommon to have your adult dog lay down somewhere quiet and shady and catch forty winks during the day.
A dog with a good diet that is cared for correctly does not need to visit the veterinarian too often. However, as happens with all dog breeds, they too are more prone to certain health problems.
Probably the most common problem that affects Boxers is the brachycephalic syndrome, something which affects most breeds with scrunched up faces. It is a breathing problem due to the shortness of the snout.
Their relatively large size means that some of these dogs could also have hip dysplasia. This can often be corrected by means of surgery, but it is advised that you check up on your breeder, and investigate your dog’s ancestry for signs of this condition.
Many Boxers are prone to heart conditions and different types of cancer. Regular checkups are thus advised. While you are at the vet, also let him have a look at your dog’s eyes, as this breed is prone to different eye diseases.
Boxers tend to have a sensitive gut, for which a balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins and minerals is recommended.
A healthy, lively, robust individual with a sparkling personality, a heart of gold and a stubborn streak, a Boxer puppy makes the ideal household pet. Thriving on the attention it gets from its family, a Boxer is the family clown, friend, playmate, companion and family protector.
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