As with most other pure breeds, the boxer dog’s history is covered in some uncertainty and small inaccuracies. Although not the oldest of breeds, the boxers have soon managed to spread all around the world, becoming one of the most popular family dogs of our times, as well as an appreciated working dog. But let’s go back a few hundred years and see where the history of the boxer dog starts.
By the 1800’s, Belgians had raised a new breed of dogs called the Brabanter Bullenbeisser, which were trained to become hunting dogs, even while they were still puppies. Descriptions of the Brabanter Bullenbeisser show that it was a strong dog, with a solid constitution, but one that did not lack the ability required for a hunting dog.
Elite nobleman from Germany soon heard of this specialized hunting dog and started bringing them in their country and raising them for the same purpose. Because the long wild boar chases through the woods of Germany would often end up with injuries to the hunting dog’s flapping ears, most owners would have their dogs’ ears shortened.
A few decades in the 19th century, at roughly 1830, the Brabanter Bullenbeisser was supposedly cross-bred with an English Bulldog in Germany, which could very well prove to be the breed’s birth certificate. This is practically the starting point for the history of the boxer dog, since the Brabanter Bullenbeisser didn’t hold all of the new breed’s characteristics.
The boxer’s traits are indeed predominantly taken from the Bullenbeisser, but the physiognomy and personality of the new breed was closer to the English bulldog than to the fierce Belgian hunting dog. Still, having such an aggressive parent in the Brabanter Bullenbeisser, boxers can easily adapt to being aggressive themselves, making them better guard and police dogs.
Although an extremely appreciated canine at that time, the boxer wasn’t really popular until late in the 1860s. That’s when the history of the boxer dog really took a step forward, with the development of the German Boxer Klub, an organization that focused on breeding boxers and setting standards to how a pure boxer should look like. Late in the century, in roughly 1895, the German Boxer Klub had finished these standards and the only boxers being accepted as pure, were white boxers.
These rules were quite strict and boxers that were different in color could not enter shows, or be used in boxer tournaments. However, by 1930 the boxer had started being used in police work and it was considered that white is not an appropriate color for a police dog, since it needed to be stealthier in many occasions. The rules were changed to standards that were less tight in what regarded the dog’s color and non-white boxers became increasingly common.
By 1915 the boxer entered the United States and entered a relative cone of mediocrity until 1950. This is when the history of the boxer reached its apogee, with the breed keeping the headlines of most specialized newspapers and with boxers winning several athletic and beauty contests.
One particular boxer, called Bang Away, should not miss from any interpretation of the history of boxers. Born to Sirrah Crest, Bang Away had an impressive “career”, winning the Westminster “Best in Show” award for several years, as well as numerous other contests of the time (over 120 wins in contests).