I grew up with Boxers, though one at a time. When I was a little girl, my dad who was in the Air Force was stationed in Texas. We had a brindle colored boxer whose name was Duchess (Dutchie) then; and there are pictures of Mom, Dad, Dutchie and I playing on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. According to my mom, Dutchie and I were pretty much inseparable. She slept on my bed every night; she even chose to have her puppies on my bed. While I didn’t realize it at the time, it was an honor for me that Duchess felt safe enough to have them in full view of the world and not somewhere hidden away in a closet where she could keep them safer. I was only between one and two years old when she had them, so maybe she felt it was easier to keep watch on all her charges if they were in one place, as she counted me as one as well.
The Boxer is a breed that was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1904 and is a member of the Working group. It can trace its bloodlines back to a Mastiff type dog called the Molossus. The Boxer we know today was developed during the nineteenth century in Germany. The Boxer’s popularity has been steady but has grown in the last few years and the Boxer is now the sixth most popular dog breed according to the AKC. The Boxer has been used in the past as a guard, a courier during war time, a cart dog, a companion and hunter of large game. Today the Boxer is used as a police dog, for search and rescue, in military work, for performing tricks, in Schutzhund and competitive obedience trials. The Boxer needs to be exercised daily, though they can live in an apartment, as long as this requirement is met.
The adult Boxer should weigh between 53-70 pounds (24-29kg) with the bitches being the lighter, and size range for males should be between 22 to 25 inches and bitches should be between 21 to 24 inches at the withers. Their life span is usually between 11 and 14 years. They can to be troubled by hip dysplasia and epilepsy. Cardiomyopathy and other heart problems have also been reported. They can also suffer from allergies. They have a short coat that is easy to care for, and we used to use a bristled palm brush or a rubber mitt for the best results when brushing ours. A daily brushing is good during the shedding season, but they don’t need too many baths unless they get dirty. Fewer baths and frequent brushing will help keep the natural oils in the dog’s coat.
According to the breed standard of the AKC the temperament and character of the Boxer is as follows: “Instinctively a hearing guard dog, his bearing is alert, dignified and self-assured. In the show ring his behavior should exhibit constrained animation. With family and friends, his temperament is fundamentally playful, yet patient and stoical with children. Deliberate and wary with strangers, he will exhibit curiosity, but, most importantly, fearless courage if threatened. However, he responds promptly to friendly overtures honestly rendered. His intelligence, loyal affection, and tractability to discipline make him a highly desirable companion.”
In my opinion a boxer is a great family dog. I grew up with three different boxers; Duchess the first, Jayne, and Duchess the second. Both of the Duchess’ were raised from puppies and were easy to train, Jayne on the other hand was gotten as an adult, and was too much for my parents to handle. So training for this breed should be a must. My parents ended up giving Jayne back to the breeder with the promise of a puppy to come. That puppy was Duchess the second, and she was another of my playmates.
Boxers love their humans and are especially wonderful around children and both of the Duchess’ were no exception. Dutchie the first saved us from an inmate of a mental hospital about 20 miles to the north of us. He had walked away from the facility and no one saw him leave. We were inside the house playing and my mom was home, so there was no “real” danger, but Dutchie didn’t know that.
While my mom was calling the police, Dutchie put herself between us and the door the man was standing outside, and raised a “Holy ruckus”, as my mother described it later.
Dutchie (the second) used to try and “save” us when we went swimming in the pool in the backyard. We would swim underwater and she would race around the pool barking for us to come back up, before throwing herself in to grab one of us by the hair and try to drag us out of the pool. She taught herself to jump off the diving board after seeing us do it, and she would dive to the bottom of the shallow end after a ball if we tossed it for her. She even taught herself to climb out the vertical ladder in the deep end of the pool, instead of swimming back to the shallow end where she could exit via the steps.
I have wonderful memories about the special Boxers in my life and can heartily recommend them to anyone with the time and love to give them. They are great playmates and babysitters that never let us out of their sight. They never tired of playing with us when we wanted to play and didn’t have a human playmate. The most important thing that they helped teach me was unconditional love, and for that I am truly grateful.
Leashes and Leads, at 6214 Fourteenth Street NW in Byron, Minnesota is hosting a Meet & Greet on April 18, 2009 from 11:00pm Central Time to 3:00pm Central Time. So if you are in the area, stop by to meet the Boxer. You can find out more information by contacting Leashes and Leads at (507) 282-2710 or going to their website.