The Boxer is a molosser-type dog of medium size with a square, muscular build. The head is widely recognizable by the broad skull and square muzzle. The jaws are powerful, with a protruding lower jaw which forms a slight underbite. The coat is short and smooth and is most often fawn or brindle with black around the face and muzzle. White markings on the chest and paws are also common. About a quarter of all boxers are born with excessive white markings, some of which cover nearly their entire body. However, while white boxers are as physically and mentally capable as their fawn and brindle counterparts, white is not an accepted variation of the breed, and they are not permitted to participate in conformation dog shows. Traditionally, all boxers had their ears cropped and their tails docked. Since then, such procedures have been banned in many countries. Several breeders in Britain have developed a variety of naturally short-tailed boxers in response to this ban.
The Boxer breed was developed in Germany during the late 1800s and is a direct descendant of the now extinct Bullenbeisser. The Bullenbeisser had traditionally been prized by hunters for its powerful jaws and bite. They would pursue large prey such as deer and wild boar and hold the prey until the hunter arrived. However, hunters began to favor smaller, faster dogs and the Bullenbeisser was often cross-bred with imported British Bulldogs. This excessive cross-breeding led to the extinction of the Bullenbeisser breed, but also led to the development of the Boxer. The Boxer was popular in Germany as a working dog, and was used by German military as a messenger and guard dog during the First World War. However, it wasn’t until after World War II that the Boxer gained international popularity.
The alert nature and strong jaws of the Boxer is well suited to work as a guard dog. The breed is also intelligent and is sometimes used as a service dog for the disabled, or taken on as part of a k9 police unit. However, the breed is most commonly used today as a family pet and companion. It has largely been replaced in working roles by other breeds seen as more capable of the job, such as the Labrador for work as a service dog, or the German Shepherd for work as a police protection dog.