The Boxer breed that we recognise today hasn’t actually changed that much since its origins in late 19th century Germany. A direct descendent of the now extinct Bullenbeisser, a hunting dog bred through the Mastiff line for the pursuit of large game, the Boxer was developed by crossing this German heavyweight with British Bulldogs. Faster and leaner varieties were preferred by hunters, which eventually gave rise to the breed standard founded in Munich at the close of the century. The dogs were revered for their strength and courage, adept in tackling deer and wild boar, and holding prey until captured by their handlers.
The Boxer’s reputation quickly spread across the rest of Europe, and the United States registered their first Kennel Club specimen in 1904. Canine enthusiasts were impressed by the breed’s bravery, which led to a diversion from hunting into a more protective role. Not only were the dogs used as guards in owners’ homes, they were also recruited to join the forces in the military. World War II was a particular highpoint in the breed’s popularity stakes, with soldiers returning home with their canine companions in tow. The latter had been utilised to carry packs, deliver messages, and attack the enemy at the heel of their comrades.
A Member of the Family
This widespread exposure brought the Boxer into the pet and show dog realms, charming dog lovers across the globe. Today’s breed still retains its tough and protective nature, which combines with its alert and watchful character to propel its status to one of the best guard dogs around. Despite this guarding instinct, the Boxer is more than willing to reveal his silly side, revelling in play, and is especially spirited with children, making it an exceptional pet for families. Add to that a kind and affectionate disposition and plenty of fun-loving energy, it’s safe to say that the Boxer will uphold its status as a dog lover’s favourite for many years to come.