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History and origin: This breed can be traced to the old holding dogs of Mollossus or Mastiff types. Perfected in Germany during the 19th century, the Boxer was developed by crossing Mastiff, Bulldog, and terrier bloodlines and was once used for fighting and bull baiting. Similar to the Bulldog, his jaw is undershot, a trait common in bull-baiters. Today's Boxers do not have the fierce temperament of the earlier dogs.

Description: The Boxer stands 21 to 25 inches at the shoulder and weighs 55 to 75 pounds. Strong and thickly muscled, he has a short muzzle, a docked tail, and cropped or uncropped ears. The shedding coat is short, stiff, somewhat prickly to the touch, and of very low maintenance, requiring only an occasional brushing. His color may be brindle with white or fawn with white.

About the breed: The Boxer is a brave, loyal, clownish dog who loves children and makes a good guard dog. He is a friendly, headstrong, high-energy breed that is very affectionate but easily distracted. A busy, curious breed, the Boxer needs firm, precise obedience training from an early age in order to contain his boundless energy, but the training should not be overbearing or rushed. He can be suspicious of strangers and, in some cases, may be dog- or people-aggressive, especially the male. Daily exercise is important. This dog makes an excellent jogging partner and agility dog. The Boxer is normally good with children, but care must be taken that this strong breed does not knock down and hurt a child. Roughhousing, wrestling, and chasing should not be allowed. He is a powerful, exuberant dog who tends to wag his whole body when pleased. The Boxer has little cushioning on his body and needs a blanket or bed to lie on. He has no body fat and therefore gets cold easily and does not do well in cold climates. He is also prone to canine respiratory problems, is a horrendous snorer and sneezer, and can be flatulent. This breed is susceptible to heart problems and bloat and normally lives only ten to twelve years.

Feeding: Recommended feeding for the Boxer is 20 to 33 oz of a complete high quality dry food.

Ideal home: A house with a fenced yard is important. The owner of a Boxer should be an active, strong, competent leader who has the time and patience to work, socialize, and exercise this energetic, often stubborn breed. Children are okay provided no roughhousing occurs. Persons who are very easygoing or slow-moving should avoid this breed, as should those who are nervous, cautious, or overbearing. The elderly and the disabled may have a hard time controlling this breed and may create a dominant dog that lacks confidence.

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