Boxer Breed Standard
Last updated: 23 Jul 2015
A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.
Pre 1987 Kennel Club, London
Group 6 (Utility)
The Boxer is a medium sized, sturdy, smooth-haired dog of short square figure and strong limb. The musculation is clean and powerfully developed and should stand out plastically from under the skin. As a service and guard dog he must combine a considerable degree of elegance with the substance and power essential to his duties; those of an enduring escort dog whether with horse, bicycle or carriage and as a splendid jumper. Only a body whose individual limbs are built to withstand the most strenuous "mechanical" effort and assembled as a complete and harmonious whole, can respond to such demands. Therefore to be at its highest efficiency, the Boxer must never be plump or heavy. Whilst equipped for great speed, it must not be racy. When judging the Boxer the first thing to be considered is general appearance, the relation of substance to elegance and the desired relationship of the individual parts of the body to each other. Consideration, too, must be given to colour. After these, the individual parts should be examined for their correct construction and their functions. Special attention should be devoted to the head.
The character of the Boxer is of the greatest importance and demands the most careful attention. He is renowned from olden times for his great love and faithfulness to his master and household, his alertness, and fearless courage as a defender and protector. The Boxer is docile but distrustful of strangers. He is bright and friendly in play but brave and determined when roused. His intelligence and willing tractability, his modesty, and cleanliness make him a highly desirable family dog and cheerful companion. He is the soul of honesty and loyalty. He is never false or treacherous even in his old age.
(See under Characteristics)
Head And Skull:
The head imparts to the Boxer a unique individual stamp peculiar to the breed. It must be in perfect proportion to his body; above all it must never be too light. The muzzle is the most distinctive feature. The greatest value is to be placed on its being of correct form and in absolute proportion to the skull. The beauty of the head depends upon the harmonious proportion between the muzzle and the skull. From whatever direction the head is viewed, whether from the front, from the top or from the side, the muzzle should always appear in correct relationship to the skull. That means that the head should never appear too small or too large. The length of the muzzle to the whole of the head should be as 1 is to 3. The head should not show deep wrinkles. Normally wrinkles will spring up on the top of the skull when the dog is alert. Folds are always indicated from the root of the nose running downwards on both sides of the muzzle. The dark mask is confined to the muzzle. It must be in distinct relief to the colour of the head so that the face will not have a "sombre" expression. The muzzle must be powerfully developed in length, in breadth and in height. It must not be pointed or narrow, short or shallow. Its shape is influenced through the formation of both jaw-bones, the placement of teeth in the jaw-bones, and through the quality of the lips. The top of the skull should be slightly arched. It should not be so short that it is rotund, too flat, or too broad. The occiput should not be too pronounced. The forehead should form a distinct stop with the top line of the muzzle, which should not be forced back into the forehead like that of a Bulldog. Neither should it slope away (downfaced). The tip of the nose should lie somewhat higher than the root of the muzzle. The forehead should show a suggestion of furrow which, however, should never be too deep, especially between the eyes. Corresponding with the powerful set of teeth, the cheeks accordingly should be well developed without protruding from the head with "too bulgy" an appearance. For preference they should taper into the muzzle in a slight, graceful curve. The nose should be broad and black, very slightly turned up. The nostrils should be broad with a naso-labial line between them. The two jaw-bones should not terminate in a normal perpendicular level in the front but the lower jaw should protrude beyond the upper jaw and bend slightly upwards. The Boxer is normally undershot. The upper jaw should be broad where attached to the skull, and maintain this breadth except for a very slight tapering to the front.
The eyes should be dark brown; not too small or protruding; not deep set. They should disclose an expression of energy and intelligence, but should never appear gloomy, threatening or piercing. The eyes must have a dark rim.
Some American and Continental Boxers are cropped and are ineligible for competition under ANKC Ltd Regulations. The Boxer's natural ears are defined as: moderate in size (small rather than large), thin to the touch, set on wide apart at the highest points of the sides of the skull and lying flat and close to the cheek when in repose. When the dog is alert the ears should fall forward with a definite crease.
The canine teeth should be as widely separated as possible. The incisors (6) should all be in one row, with no projection of the middle teeth. In the upper jaw they should be slightly concave. In the lower they should be in a straight line. Both jaws should be very wide in front; bite powerful and sound, the teeth set in the most normal possible arrangement. The lips complete the formation of the muzzle. The upper lip should be thick and padded and fill out the hollow space in front formed by the projection of the lower jaw and be supported by the fangs of the jaw. These fangs must stand as far apart as possible and be of good length so that the front surface of the muzzle becomes broad and almost square; to form an obtuse (rounded) angle with the top line of the muzzle. The lower edge of the upper lip should rest on he edge of the lower lip. The repandous (bent upward) part of the under-jaw with the lower lip (sometimes called the chin) must not rise above the front of the upper lip. On the other hand, it should not disappear under it. It must, however, be plainly perceptible when viewed from the front as well as the side, without protruding and bending upward as in the English Bulldog. The teeth of the under-jaw should not be seen when the mouth is closed, neither should the tongue show when the mouth is closed.
The neck should be not too thick and short but of ample length, yet strong, round, muscular and clean-cut throughout. There should be a distinctly marked nape and an elegant arch down to the back.
The chest should be deep and reach down to the elbows. The depth of the chest should be half the height of the dog at the withers. The ribs should be well arched but not barrel-shaped. They should extend far to the rear. The loins should be short, close and taut and slightly tucked up. The lower stomach line should blend into an elegant curve to the rear. The shoulders should be long and sloping, close lying but not excessively covered with muscle. The upper arm should be long and form a right-angle to the shoulder-blade. The forelegs when seen from the front should be straight, parallel to each other and have strong, firmly articulated (joined) bones. The elbows should not press too closely to the chest-wall nor stand off too far from it. The underarm (forearm) should be perpendicular, long and firmly muscled. The pastern joint of the foreleg should be clearly defined, but not distended. The pastern should be short, slightly slanting and almost perpendicular to the ground.
The body viewed in profile should be of square appearance. The length of the body from the front of the chest to the rear of the body should equal the height from ground to the top of the shoulder, giving the Boxer a short-coupled, square profile. The torso rests on trunk-like legs with strong bones. The withers should be clearly defined. The whole back should be short, straight, broad and very muscular.
The hindquarters should be strongly muscled. The musculation should be hard and stand out plastically through the skin. The thighs should not be narrow and flat but broad and curved. The breech musculation should also be strongly developed. The croup should be slightly sloped, flat arched and broad. The pelvis should be long and, in females especially, broad. The upper and lower thighs should be long. The hip and knee (stifle) joints should have as much angle as possible. In a standing position the knee (stifle) should reach so far forward that it would meet a vertical line drawn from the hip protuberance to the floor. The hock angle should be about 140 degrees; the lower part of the foot at a slight slope of about 95 to 100 degrees from the hock joint to the floor; that is, not completely vertical. Seen from behind the hindlegs should be straight. The hocks should be clean and not distended, supported by powerful rear pads.
The feet should be small with tightly-arched toes (cat-feet) and hard soles. The rear toes should be just a little longer than the front toes, but similar in all other respects.
Docked: Set on high and carried upward.
Undocked: Set on high and carried upward, of moderate thickness. In overall balance with the rest of the dog.
Movement of the Boxer should be alive with energy. His gait, although firm, is elastic. The stride free and roomy; carriage proud and noble.
The coat should be short and shiny, lying smooth and tight to the body.
The permissible colours are fawn, brindle and fawn in various shades from light yellow to dark deer red. The brindle variety should have black stripes on a golden-yellow or red-brown background. The stripes should be clearly defined and above all should not be grey or dirty. Stripes that do not cover the whole top of the body are not desirable. White markings are not undesirable, in fact, they are often very attractive in appearance. The black mask is essential but when white stretches over the muzzle, naturally that portion of the black mask disappears. It is not possible to get black toe-nails with white feet. It is desirable, however, to have an even distribution of head markings.
Dogs: 56-61 cms (22-24 ins) at the withers.
Bitches: 53-58.5 cms (21-23 ins) at the withers.
Heights above or below these figures not to be encouraged.
Dogs around 58.5 cm (23 ins) should weigh about 30 kgs (66 lbs) and
Bitches of about 56 cm (22 ins) should weigh about 28 kgs (62 lbs).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Viciousness; treachery; unreliability; lack of temperament; cowardice.
Head: A head that is not typical. A plump, bulldoggy appearance.
Pinscher or Bulldog head. Light bone. Lack of proportion. Bad physical condition.
Lack of nobility and expression. "Sombre" face.
Unserviceable bite whether due to disease or to faulty tooth placement. Showing the teeth or the tongue.
A sloping top-line of the muzzle.
Too pointed or too light a bite (snipy).
Eyes: Visible conjunctiva (haw). Light eyes.
Ears: Flying ears; rose ears; semi-erect or erect ears.
Front: Too broad and low in front; loose shoulders; chest hanging between the shoulders; hare feet; turned legs and toes.
Body: Carp (roach) back; sway back; thin, lean back; long, narrow, sharp-sunken in loins.
Weak union with the croup, hollow flanks; hanging stomach.
Hindquarters: A falling off or too arched or narrow croup.
A low-set tail; higher in back than in front; steep, stiff or too little angulation of the hindquarters; light thighs; cow-hocks; bow-legs; hind dew-claws; soft hocks, narrow heel, tottering, waddling gait; hare's feet; hindquarters too far under or too far behind.
Colour: Boxers with white or black ground colour, or entirely white or black or any other colour than fawn or brindle.
(White markings are allowed but must not exceed one third (1/3) of the ground colour.)
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.