Origin and Purpose
These are of paramount importance in the Boxer. Instinctively a “hearing” guard dog, his bearing is alert, dignified and self-assured, even at rest. His behaviour should exhibit constrained animation. His temperament is fundamentally playful, yet patient and stoical with children. Deliberate and wary with strangers, he will exhibit curiosity, but most importantly, fearless courage and tenacity if threatened. However, he responds promptly to friendly overtures when honestly rendered. His intelligence, loyal affection, and tractability to discipline make him a highly desirable companion. Faults: Lack of dignity and alertness, shyness, cowardice, treachery and viciousness (belligerency toward other dogs should not be considered viciousness).
Adult males: 22-1/2 – 25 inches (57-64 cm); females: 21-23-1/2 inches (53-60 cm) at the withers. Males should not go under the minimum, nor females over the maximum.
Coat and Colour
Coat short, shiny, lying smooth and tight to the body. The colours are fawn and brindle. Fawn in various shades from light tan to stag red or mahogany, the deeper colours preferred. The brindle coat in the Boxer is of two opposite types. The first of these includes those dogs having clearly defined dark stripes on a fawn background. The second type has what is best termed reversed brindling. Here the effect is of a very dark background with lighter-coloured fawn stripes or streaks showing through. White markings in fawn and brindle dogs are not to be rejected; in fact, they are often very attractive, but must be limited to one-third of the ground colour, and are not desirable on the back of the torso, proper. On the face, white may replace a part or all of the otherwise essential black mask. However, these white markings should be of such distribution as to enhance and not detract from the true Boxer expression.
The beauty of the head depends upon the harmonious proportion between the muzzle to the skull. The muzzle should always appear powerful, never small in its relationship to the skull. The head should be clean, not showing deep wrinkles. Folds will normally appear upon the forehead when the ears are erect, and they are always indicated from the lower edge of the stop running downward on both sides of the muzzle.
The dark mask is confined to the muzzle and is in distinct contrast to the colour of the head. Any extension of the mask to the skull, other than dark shading around the eyes, creates a somber undesirable expression. When white replaces any of the black mask, the path or any upward extension should be between the eyes. The muzzle is powerfully developed in length, width, and depth. It is not pointed, narrow, short or shallow. Its shape is influenced first through the formation of both jawbones, second through the placement of the teeth, and third through the texture of the lips.
The Boxer is normally undershot. Therefore, the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper, curving slightly upward. The upper jaw is broad where attached to the skull and maintains this breadth except for a very slight tapering to the front. The incisor teeth of the lower jaw are in a straight line, the canines preferably up front in the same line to give the jaw the greatest possible width. The line of incisors in the upper jaw is slightly convex toward the front. The upper corner incisors should fit snugly back of the lower canine teeth on each side, reflecting the symmetry essential to the creation of a sound, non-slip bite.
The lips complete the formation of the muzzle and they should meet evenly. The upper lip is thick and padded, filling out the frontal space formed by the projection of the lower jaw. It rests on the edge of the lower lip, and laterally is supported by the fangs (canines) of the lower jaw. Therefore these fangs must stand far apart and be of good length so that the front surface of the muzzle shall become broad and squarish, and when viewed from the side, form an obtuse angle with the topline of the muzzle. Over-protrusion of the overlip or underlip is undesirable. The chin should be perceptible when viewed from the side as well as from the front without being over-repandous (rising above the bite line) as in the Bulldog. The Boxer must not show his teeth or his tongue when his mouth is closed. Excessive flews are not desirable.
The top of the skull is slightly arched, not rotund, or flat or noticeably broad, and the occiput must not be too pronounced. The forehead forms a distinct stop with the top line of the muzzle, which must not be forced back into the forehead like that of a Bulldog. It should not slant down (down-faced), nor should it be dished, although the tip of the nose should lie somewhat higher than the foot of the muzzle. The forehead shows just a slight furrow between the eyes. The cheeks, though covering powerful masseter muscles, compatible with the strong set of teeth, should be relatively flat and not bulge, maintaining the clean lines of the skull. They taper into the muzzle in a slight, graceful curve.
The ears are set at the highest points of the sides of the skull, cut rather long without too broad a shell, and are carried erect. 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 dark brown eyes, not too small, protruding or deep-set and encircled by dark hair, should impart an alert, intelligent expression. Their mood-mirroring quality combined with the mobile skin furrowing of the forehead gives the Boxer head its unique degree of expressiveness.
The nose is broad and black, very slightly turned up; the nostrils broad with the naso-labial line running between them down through the upper lip which, however, must not be split.
Faults: Lack of nobility and expression, sombre face, unserviceable bite. Pinscher or Bulldog head, sloping top line of muzzle, muzzle too light for skull, too pointed a bite (snipey). Teeth or tongue showing with mouth closed, driveling, split upper lip. Poor ear carriage, light (“Bird of Prey”) eyes. Wry mouth; that is, when the upper and lower jaws are not in parallel straight lines.
Round, of ample length, not too short; strong and muscular and clean throughout, without dewlap, with a distinctly marked nape and an elegant arch running down to the back. Faults: Dewlap.
Chest and Forequarters
The brisket is deep, reaching down to the elbows; the depth of the body at the lowest point of the brisket equals half the height of the dog at the withers. The ribs, extending far to the rear, are well arched but not barrel shaped. Chest of fair width, and forechest well defined, being easily visible from the side. The loins are short and muscular; the lower stomach line, lightly tucked up, blends into a graceful curve to the rear.
Strongly muscled with angulation in balance with that of forequarters. The thighs broad and curved, the breech musculature hard and strongly developed. Croup slightly sloped, flat, and broad. Tail attachment high, rather than low. Tail clipped, carried upward. Pelvis long and, in females especially, broad. Upper and lower thigh long, leg well angulated with a clearly defined, well-let-down hock joint. In standing position, the leg below the hock joint (metatarsus) should be practically perpendicular to the ground with a slight rearward slope permissible. Viewed from behind, the hind legs should be straight with the hock joints, leaning neither in nor out. The metatarsus should be short, clean and strong supported by powerful rear pads. The rear toes just a little longer than the front toes, but similar in all other respects. Dewclaws, if any, may be removed.