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Boxers are large, muscular, square-headed dogs who look imposing — that is, until you look into their eyes and see the mischief and joy of life reflected there. Because of their playful nature and boundless energy, they are sometimes called the "Peter Pan" of the dog breeds. Boxers aren't considered fully mature until they are three years old, meaning they have one of the longest puppyhoods in the world of dogs.
The typical Boxer is intelligent, alert, and fearless, yet friendly. He's loyal to his family and loves to play with them, but he's also headstrong, especially if you try to use harsh training methods with him.
With minimal grooming needs and legendary patience and gentleness with children, Boxers are great family companions, as long as you provide them with the physical exercise and mental stimulation they need. If you're willing and able to provide them with adequate exercise in the form of walks or runs, they can even adapt to apartment living, so long as they are able to be close to their beloved people.
Boxers originated in Germany and were brought to the U.S. after World War I. Their short, shiny coats are striking: fawn or brindle with flashy white markings. All white or mostly white Boxers are not desirable because genetically, deafness is associated with white coloring.
Many Boxers have docked tails and cropped ears. If the ears are not cropped, they will hang down. Many dog owners are opting to leave their Boxers' ears uncropped these days.
Boxers are renowned for their great love of and loyalty to their families. They often are distrustful of strangers at first, but will not be aggressive unless they perceive a threat to their families. Boxers are so loving that they often think they are lapdogs and try to lie as close to you as possible.
Boxer owners around the world take special delight in their beloved dogs' clownish behavior. Boxers are high-spirited, happy, and energetic. They often paw, cat-like, at their toys, food bowls, and even their owners. When they are excited, they often "kidney bean," a little dance that involves twisting their bodies into a semi-circle, similar to the shape of a kidney bean, and then turning in circles. Boxers also make a unique sound, called a "woo-woo," when they want something or are excited. It is not exactly a bark, but rather sounds as though they are saying "woo-woo," look at me!
Watching a Boxer run is a delight. They are so exuberant, happy, and graceful, it's sure to bring a smile to your face, especially if they start jumping (something they love to do), twisting, and even turning somersaults to entertain you.
But life isn't all fun and games for all Boxers. Because of their strength and courage, Boxers have a wide use in the military and the police, as well as search-and-rescue work. When specifically trained for guard work, Boxers are excellent watchdogs and will restrain an intruder in the same manner as a Mastiff. Boxers also excel in obedience, agility, and schutzhund (a demanding three-phase competition event that tests the dog's tracking, obedience, and protection abilities).
Boxers should not be left outdoors for extended periods of time. Their short nose doesn't cool hot air efficiently in the summer, and their short coat doesn't keep them warm in the winter. Many Boxer people joke that their Boxers' range of tolerance is between 72 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit (21-22 degrees Celsius).
Boxers aren't the breed for everyone, but if you like a big dog who likes to cuddle, don't mind a little drool between friends, want a dog that will delight you with his clownish antics and yet be gentle with your children, and most of all, if you are prepared to keep your Boxer physically and mentally stimulated, the Boxer just might be the right dog for you!