You probably know everything you need to about your boxer: his daily habits, what diet he thrives on, his favorite exercise and how he's feeling. You also know his worried looks mask an affectionate, playful soul. However, there's also some fun trivia attached to the boxer, including why he has those wrinkles.
That Sweet Face
The boxer's roots go back to 19th century Germany, where he was bred to assist in the hunt for big game, such as wild boar. His job was to run down prey and hold it until his master was able to join him. The boxer's head and face were vital to his success. His large, undershot jaw is very strong, ideal for locking onto prey and holding it in place. Breathing isn't a problem because his nose has large, open nostrils and is ideally positioned for airflow. Even his wrinkles have a purpose, channeling any blood from injured prey away from his eyes.
Back to the Bulls
The boxer is one of a number of bull breeds, including the bull terrier and bulldog, and has existed in his current form for about 100 years. His ancestors are believed to be large mastiff-type dogs from the 16th century known as bullenbeissers, or "bull biters." A German named George Alt got the modern line of boxers going when he imported a brindle bullenbeisser from France. Her name was Flora, who is considered to be the basis for the breed.
From Fighter to Helper
In addition to hunting duties, boxers also fought other dogs. It's not clear if his name comes from his tendency to stand on his hind legs and use his front paws to fight, as a boxer would, or if "boxer" is a derivation of the word "beisser." Regardless of his "boxer" label, he moved on to less violent work. The breed became useful in police work and was helpful to the German military in World War I, serving as a scout and messenger dog. The boxer was also a helpful guide dog and used by cattle drovers to help guide livestock.
Fun Physical Facts
Boxers come in three colors: brindle, fawn and white, and though some breeders may try to position a white boxer as a rare dog, there's no premium for a white boxer; approximately 25 percent of boxers are born white. Any black on a purebred boxer is limited to the mask on his face or in his brindle coat. And as a fun bit of trivia, the current world record holder for the longest tongue on a dog is a boxer. Brandy, of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, earned the honor from the Guinness World Record committee with a 17-inch long tongue. Though she passed away in 2002, the record is hers to lose.
- Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images