American Boxer Breed Characteristics

by Layne Wood
The boxer's signature characteristic is his blunt muzzle.

The boxer's signature characteristic is his blunt muzzle.

boxer dog image by Eva Bell from Fotolia.com

The American Boxer is a term for a relatively new variety of dog with a slightly smaller, sleeker appearance and less boxy head than the traditional German Boxer. The American Kennel Club currently does not recognize the American Boxer as a separate breed from the general boxer grouping, and the breed is commonly referred to as the German or Deutscher Boxer. Boxers are in the working group classification.

Appearance

The boxer has a somewhat fierce appearance due to its distinctive broad muzzle and under bite. Proper muzzle-to-head proportions are essential to meet American Kennel Club standards. The ears are often cropped to a standing point. Boxers have brown eyes and short, smooth hair. Coat coloring is fawn or brindle; fawn coats vary from light tan to dark brown, and brindle coats have black striping on a fawn background. Boxers have a large chest, small waist and muscular hindquarters. The tail is typically docked to a short stub. They are a medium-sized breed, with males standing 23 to 25 inches at the shoulder and females standing 21 to 23 inches. The typical weight range is 55 to 70 pounds with females at the lower end.

Personality and Temperament

The boxer is protective and loyal as well as wary of strangers, making an excellent guard dog. With their family, boxers are affectionate and playful, and they are renowned for their patience with children. Boxers rank average in working intelligence according to a study conducted by psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren. They require consistent obedience training and confident handling from an early age; a spoiled boxer quickly becomes dominant and hard to control. Well-trained boxers tend to get along well with other household pets. These traits make the boxer a popular breed for families.

Health and Medical Issues

Every breed of dog is prone to a number of breed-specific health problems, and the boxer is no exception. Health and medical issues generally associated with the breed include heart and thyroid disorders as well as epilepsy, hip dysplasia, allergies, mange and cancer. Two common heart problems seen in boxers are subvalvular aortic stenosis, which is an obstruction of blood flow through the heart, and cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle. The best method of prevention is to select healthy pups from a high-quality breeder. Allergies in boxers are usually food related and are prevented or controlled by selecting hypoallergenic dog food.

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About the Author

Layne Wood began writing in 1990. Her work has appeared in publications by the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium and Appalachian Writers Heritage Symposium. Wood specializes in articles on Appalachia, literature, dogs and relationships. She has a Bachelor of Science in English from Radford University.

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