Karin Rezewski

Transformation of the Boxer Breed over the years (Part 1 ) copyright © Karin Rezewski
translation: Ute Füglister - The Federation of Boxer Clubs of South Africa
white Bulldog
Mühlbauer's Flocki
Meta v.d. Passage
Rolf v. Vogelsberg
Rolf Walhall
Milo v. Eigelstein
Cäsar v. Deutenkofen
Sigurd v. Dom

When we see a Boxer and wish to ascertain whether it is a good example of the Breed, we refer to the Standard. The breed standard forms the foundation for the existence and development of the Boxer breed. Therefore it is the Alpha and Omega for breeding.

The fundamental characteristics (criteria) of the Standard were established at the beginning of the Boxer breed a century ago and to date remain unchanged. Only the measurements were increased from the initial 45-55 cm at the withers to the present day valid measurements of 57-63 cm for dogs and 53-59 cm for bitches.

The breed standard is valid all over the world. Wherever we may go, in all countries, the Boxer is bred in accordance with the standard. The extent to which the breeding goals are achieved, depends on the skill of the breeder and the substance of the breeding partners.

The first two pictures depict Boxers, as we know them today, with the conformation to be strived for in good balance. The body combines substance with elegance, hardness and well-coupled, stability of the back, fore- and hindquarter - the typical conformation characteristics of the Boxer. When we speak of the typical Boxer, it does not depend solely on the head type. The overall appearance stamps the breed. The head gives the finishing touch.

It is reported that in the beginning the foundation stock of the Boxer breed originated from the crossing of lines, of which the origin is unknown, of the small Bullbiter and the English Bulldog. At this time the right Boxer type had to be selected from among the many different types. There were red, brindle, checks or white, plump or slightly built, short legged and long in body. Many had split noses. Friederun Stockmann, the great breeder and promoter of the breed, stressed that with the many dogs of unknown heritage in the first breed register, it was impossible to determine how much Bulldog blood they carried. Of the 211 animals entered in the studbook, 46 were either white or checks, a percentage of 21%. The future of the Boxer should be what was envisaged in accordance with the breed standard of 1905: a beautiful, elegant family dog, free of all repugnant or even fear inducing ugliness and not what the Boxer was at that time.

Let us compare the small Bear- or Bullbiter and the English Bulldog. We recognize what one required from the Bulldog to produce the Boxer type; the well-defined stop and the slightly turned up lower jaw, the repandous. At first both these characteristics had to be fixed, which resulted in tight inbreeding to a few dogs only. With this method of breeding one aimed to fix these characteristics quite distinctly in the gene pool. Suddenly, however, some peculiarities can appear which we do not desire. As a result of the crossing of lines of unknown origins at the beginning, we are never free of bad surprises when inbreeding. The most common negative appearances in the Boxer breed are harelips, cleft palates and cryptorchidism. From the outset to the present day these are carried recessively in the breed.

Likewise the steep hindquarter, present in the dog Mühlbauers Flocki, is proving to be a very tenacious problem of the Bulldog heritage. Flocki has a firm place in the history of the Boxer. Historically he is important as he was the first Boxer in the German breed register and in 1895 he was presented in a trial class at a show in Munich. For the circumstances at the time, Flocki showed very pleasing head proportions and Boxer typical expression. His dam was Alts Scheckin. Compared to his sire, the white Bulldog Tönissens Tom, Flocki had a straight front with good front leg length. One cannot imagine the Boxer breed at that time without Tom and even less without Tom’s granddaughter Meta von der Passage. It is difficult to imagine that this long bitch with her soft back and loose forequarter produced a number of dogs that influenced the breed. Like her parents she was white. Meta von der Passage is considered the foundation bitch of all our Boxers. She became the milestone for the future of the Boxer breed, with which today she has only a very slight resemblance.

In 1901 Meta produced the brindle male Gigerl. Gigerl was a relatively small dog, but he already had a distinct head profile. As one of the first champions in the breed he was responsible for passing on good head type. He also managed to reduce the number of whites to a certain degree.

Meta’s son Hugo v Pfalzgau produced through Curt v Pfalzgau and a granddaughter of Ch. Gigerl, Rolf v Vogelsberg who had a very good outline. Rolf, was the first male who had a wither height (shoulder height) of 58-59 cm. He was also the first brindle Boxer who showed great harmony between fore- and hindquarter. Rolf from a breeding point of view was extremely valuable. He laid the foundation for the subsequent dominance and the world-wide renown of the Von Dom kennel.

Arising out of Mrs Stockmann’s report, there were always two types. The fawn Boxer had an iron hard body and substance, the brindle Boxer had the typical head and greater nobility, but also a roached back and a less angulated, standing under hindquarter. Ch. Rolf v Vogelsberg and his equally impressive son Ch. Rolf Walhall were the exception in this instance. These two males dominated the Boxer breed in Germany, before Rolf together with his owner, Mr Philipp Stockmann, were recruited in the First World War. The war years were extremely difficult for dog sport in Germany. At the end of the war Rolf’s great opponent, the champion of all champions, Ch. Milo v Eigelstein died. Rolf returned at 11 years of age and shortly before his death, he became a champion.

Moritz v Goldrain, the son of Ch. Rolf Walhall, produced the brindle male Cäsar v Deutenkofen in 1921. Cäsar proved himself as a prepotent sire. His positive influence on the breed became apparent when at the beginning of the 1930’s one of the greatest sires of all times, Ch Sigurd v Dom, made his appearance. Sigurd was the grandson of a half brother/half sister mating out of Cäsar von Deutenkofen.

Before we get to the greatest breeding achievements, which set the standards in the history of the Boxer, some information from the 1920’s. To close the great gaps arising from the First World War, the German Studbook was opened in 1921 for one year to Boxers of unknown heritage. During the last three years of the war a total of only 230 Boxers were registered. Since 1925 white Boxers were no longer registered as one feared deafness which at times is linked to the colour white. In 1926 breeding from check Boxers was banned.

In 1924 the Club reached a long desired goal. Thanks to the work of a number of undeterred pioneers involved in the service dog case, the Boxer was recognized as a service dog. As such his size was automatically adjusted to that of the service dog breeds and was increased to 60 cm for males. A few Boxer friends, who attributed the Boxers popularity and expansion firstly to the wonderful characteristics as a family dog, were skeptical of the expansion of the Boxer through his recognition as a service dog. They were also concerned that the forceful increase in the size could be to the detriment of type. The size of the Boxer at that time reached at most 55 cm at the withers. The general opinion was that the smaller and medium dogs were the better type carriers. Mrs Stockmann also declared that she had had very good experiences with her smaller bitches, when these were mated to larger males. Size should never be at the cost of the breed type.

© Karin Rezewski 2005, created by Dunja