The ideal Boxer is a medium-sized, square-built dog of good substance
with short back, strong limbs, and short, tight-fitting coat. His well-developed
muscles are clean, hard, and appear smooth under taut skin. His movements
denote energy. The gait is firm yet elastic, the stride free and
ground-covering, the carriage proud. Developed to serve as guard, working,
and companion dog, he combines strength and agility with elegance and
style. His expression is alert and his temperament steadfast and tractable.
The chiseled head imparts to the Boxer a unique individual stamp. It
must be in correct proportion to the body. The broad, blunt muzzle is the
distinctive feature, and great value is placed upon its being of proper
form and balance with the skull.
In judging the Boxer first consideration is given to general
appearance and overall balance. Special attention is then devoted to the
head, after which the individual body components are examined for their
correct construction, and the gait evaluated for efficiency.
Adult males 23 to 25 inches; females 21˝ to 23˝ inches at the
withers. Proper balance and quality in the individual should be of primary
importance since there is no size disqualification.
The body in profile is square in that a horizontal line from the
front of the forechest to the rear projection of
the upper thigh should equal the length of a vertical line dropped from the
top of the withers to the ground.
Sturdy, with balanced musculature. Males larger boned than females.
The beauty of the head depends upon the harmonious proportion of
muzzle to skull. The blunt muzzle is 1/3 the length of the head from the occiput to the tip of the nose, and 2/3rds the width of
the skull. The head should be clean, not showing deep wrinkles (wet).
Wrinkles typically appear upon the forehead when ears are erect, and are
always present from the lower edge of the stop running downward on both
sides of the muzzle.
Intelligent and alert.
Dark brown in color, frontally placed, generous, not too small, too
protruding, or too deepset. Their mood-mirroring
character, combined with the wrinkling of the forehead, gives the Boxer
head its unique quality of expressiveness. Third eyelids preferably have
Set at the highest points of the sides of the skull, the ears are
customarily cropped, cut rather long and tapering, and raised when alert.
If uncropped, the ears should be of moderate
size, thin, lying flat and close to the cheeks in repose, but falling
forward with a definite crease when alert.
The top of the skull is slightly arched, not rounded, flat, nor
noticeably broad, with the occiput not overly
pronounced. The forehead shows a slight indentation between the eyes and
forms a distinct stop with the topline of the
muzzle. The cheeks should be relatively flat and not bulge (cheekiness),
maintaining the clean lines of the skull as they taper into the muzzle in a
slight, graceful curve.
Muzzle and Nose
The muzzle, proportionately developed in
length, width, and depth, has a shape influenced first through the
formation of both jawbones, second through the placement of the teeth, and
third through the texture of the lips. The top of the muzzle should not
slant down (downfaced), nor should it be concave
(dishfaced); however, the tip of the nose should
lie slightly higher than the root of the muzzle. The nose should be broad
Bite and Jaw
The Boxer bite is undershot, the lower jaw protruding beyond the
upper and curving slightly upward. The incisor teeth of the lower jaw are
in a straight line, with the canines preferably up front in the same line
to give the jaw the greatest possible width. The upper line of the incisors
is slightly convex with the corner upper incisors fitting snugly in back of
the lower canine teeth on each side. Neither the teeth nor the tongue
should ever show when the mouth is closed.
The upper jaw is broad where attached to the skull and maintains this
breadth, except for a very slight tapering to the front. The lips, which complete
the formation of the muzzle, should meet evenly in front. The upper lip is
thick and padded, filling out the frontal space
created by the projection of the lower jaw, and laterally is supported by
the canines of the lower jaw. Therefore, these canines must stand far apart
and be of good length so that the front surface of the muzzle is broad and squarish and, when viewed from the side, shows moderate
layback. The chin should be perceptible from the side as well as from the
front. Any suggestion of an overlip obscuring the
chin should be penalized.
Round, of ample length, muscular and clean without excessive hanging
skin (dewlap). The neck should have a distinctly arched and elegant nape
blending smoothly into the withers.
Back and Topline
The back is short, straight, muscular, firm, and smooth. The topline is slightly sloping when the Boxer is at
attention, leveling out when in motion.
The chest is of fair width, and the forechest well-defined and visible from the side. 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
The loins are short and muscular. The lower stomach line is slightly
tucked up, blending into a graceful curve to the rear. The croup is
slightly sloped, flat and broad. The pelvis is long, and in females
especially broad. The tail is set high, docked, and carried upward. An
undocked tail should be severely penalized.
The shoulders are long and sloping, close-lying, and not excessively
covered with muscle (loaded). The upper arm is long, approaching a right
angle to the shoulder blade. The elbows should not press too closely to the
chest wall nor stand off visibly from it. The forelegs are long, straight,
and firmly muscled, and, when viewed from the front, stand parallel to each
other. The pastern is strong and distinct, slightly slanting, but standing
almost perpendicular to the ground. The dewclaws may be removed. Feet
should be compact, turning neither in nor out, with well-arched toes.
The hindquarters are strongly muscled, with angulation
in balance with that of the forequarters. The thighs are broad and curved, the breech musculature hard and strongly
developed. Upper and lower thigh are long. The
legs are well-angulated at the stifle, neither too steep nor
over-angulated, with clearly defined, well "let down" hock
joints. Viewed from behind, the hind legs should be straight, with hock
joints leaning neither in nor out. From the side, the leg below the hock
(metatarsus) should be almost perpendicular to the ground, with a slight
slope to the rear permissible. The metatarsus should be short, clean, and
strong. The Boxer has no rear dewclaws.
Short, shiny, lying smooth and tight to the body.
The colors are fawn and brindle. Fawn shades vary from light tan to
mahogany. The brindle ranges from sparse but clearly defined black stripes
on a fawn background to such a heavy concentration of black striping that
the essential fawn background color barely, although clearly, shows through
(which may create the appearance of reverse brindling).
White markings, if present, should be of such distribution as to enhance
the dog's appearance, but may not exceed one-third of the entire coat. They
are not desirable on the flanks or on the back of the torso proper. On the
face, white may replace part of the otherwise essential black mask, and may
extend in an upward path between the eyes, but it must not be excessive, so
as to detract from true Boxer expression. The absence of white markings,
the so-called "plain" fawn or brindle, is perfectly acceptable,
and should not be penalized in any consideration of color. Disqualifications
Boxers that are any color other than fawn or brindle. Boxers with a total
of white markings exceeding one-third of the entire coat.
Viewed from the side, proper front and rear angulation
is manifested in a smoothly efficient, level-backed, ground covering stride
with a powerful drive emanating from a freely operating rear. Although the
front legs do not contribute impelling power, adequate reach should be
evident to prevent interference, overlap, or sidewinding
(crabbing). Viewed from the front, the shoulders should remain trim and the
elbows not flare out. The legs are parallel until gaiting narrows the track
in proportion to increasing speed, then the legs
come in under the body but should never cross. The line from the shoulder
down through the leg should remain straight although not necessarily
perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, a Boxer's rump should
not roll. The hind feet should dig in and track relatively true with the
front. Again, as speed increases, the normally broad rear track will become
narrower. The Boxer's gait should always appear smooth and powerful, never
stilted or inefficient.
These are of paramount importance in the Boxer. Instinctively a
hearing guard dog, his bearing is alert, dignified, and self-assured. In
the show ring his behavior should exhibit constrained animation. With
family and friends, 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 if threatened.
However, he responds promptly to friendly overtures honestly rendered. His
intelligence, loyal affection, and tractability to discipline make him a
highly desirable companion. Any evidence of shyness, or lack of dignity or
alertness, should be severely penalized.
The foregoing description is that of the ideal Boxer. Any deviation
from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the
Boxers that are any color other than fawn or brindle. Boxers with a
total of white markings exceeding one-third of the entire coat.