Contrary to some popular misconceptions, the Boxer doesn’t have a long history. All the experts agree that the Boxer was first selected in Germany in the middle of the nineteenth century, based on crosses between various imported and local breeds, especially the small Bullenbeisser – a breed no longer found, whose name translates literally as ‘biter of bulls’, that was famed as an intelligent fast learner – and the English Bulldog.
The German Boxer Klub was founded in Munich in 1895, and the first Boxer show was held in the city that very year. The standard was set early in the twentieth century with the publication of the Zuchtbuch.
Mühlbauer’s Flocki became the first Boxer to be registered in this studbook in 1904. Interestingly, it was a dam imported from France, Alt’s Flora, that helped set the characteristics of the breed.
Frau Friederun Stockman
One of the enthusiastic breeders that were to leave their mark on the breed was Frau Friederun Stockman, who bred some wonderful dogs in the first half of the twentieth century under the Von Dom affix. In her reference work My Life with Boxers she stresses that ‘The Boxer…is a gentleman amongst dogs with short coats. He not only wants the best food, he wants to be handled in a civilized manner too’.
The etymology of the name Boxer is still contentious. It may be a reference to its fighting prowess, or perhaps, as others say, it refers to the breed’s habit of using its front paws, ‘boxing’ with them when it fights and even dribbling the ball with them when it plays football!