Boxer Standard


Boxer Standard - NZKC

Group: Utility
Size: medium
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Exercise: medium
Grooming: very low
Trainability: medium
Watchdog ability: medium to high
Protection ability: medium to high
Area of Origin: Germany
Date of Origin: 1800’s
Other Names: none
Original Function: bull baiting, guardian
Late in the 19th Century in Germany, a mastiff-type dog known as the Brabanter Bullenbeisser was crossed with the British Bulldog, and the Boxer was created. It was primarily a security, guard, and work dog. Early breeders tried unsuccessfully to create an all-black dog and settled on the fawn and brindle colours commonly seen today. Early on, these dogs were prized for hunting, bull baiting, and for pulling carts. A bit farther down the family tree, Boxer ancestors became cattle dogs, and were used to round up livestock. They were also popular circus and theatre dogs because they learned tricks so easily. Breeding was rather indiscriminate until the first Boxer studbook was started in 1904, stabilising the breed standard. In spite of its German origins, "Boxer" is an English name that suitably describes the dog's punchy fighting style. Though early Boxers may have been quite ferocious, the breed today is a very gentle, loving family companion.
The most important characteristics of the Boxer are his alertness and self-confidence. However, he is also a playful dog, although gentle and patient with children. He is fiercely loyal, intelligent and easily disciplined; he is cautious with strangers but responds quickly to friendly invitations. These qualities make the Boxer a well-loved family guardian and pet.
The Boxer needs daily mental and physical exertion. It likes to run, but its exercise needs can also be met with a good jog or a long walk on leash. It does not do well in hot weather and is generally unsuited to living outdoors. It does best when allowed to divide its time between a house and yard. Some snore. Its coat needs only occasional brushing to remove dead hair.


NZ Official Breed Standard

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.

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. Movement of the Boxer should be alive with energy. His gait, although firm, is elastic. The stride free and roomy; carriage proud and noble. 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 to be devoted to the head.

Head and Skull:
The head imparts to the Boxer, an 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 NZKC 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 the edge of the lower lip. The repandus (bent upward) part of the underjaw 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 Bulldog. The teeth of the underjaw 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 or stand off too far from it. The underarm 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 the ground to the top of the shoulder, giving the Boxer a short-coupled, square profile. The torso rests on trunk-like straight 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 joints should have as much angle as possible. In a standing position the knee 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 hind legs 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.

The tail attachment should be high. The tail should be docked and carried upwards and should not be more than 5 cm (2 in) long.

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 of the top 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 toenails with white feet. It is desirable, however, to have an even distribution of head markings.

Weight and Size:
Dogs: 55.8 - 60.9 cm (22 - 24 in) at the withers Bitches: 53.3 - 58.4 cm (21 - 23 in) at the withers Heights above or below these figures not to be encouraged. Dogs around 58.4 cm (23 in) should weight about 29.9 kg (66 lb) Bitches of about 53.3 cm (21 in) should weight about 28.1 kg (62 lb).


Viciousness, treachery, unreliability, lack of temperament; cowardice.

A head that is not typical. A plump bulldoggy appearance. Light bone. Lack of proportion. Bad physical conditions. Lack of nobility and expression. "Sombre" face. Unserviceable bite whether due to disease or to faulty tooth placement. Pinscher or Bulldog head. Showing the teeth or the tongue. A sloping top line of the muzzle. Too pointed or too light a bite (snipy).

Visible conjunctiva (Haw). Light eyes.

Flying ears, rose ears; semi-erect or erect ears.


Too broad and low in front; loose shoulders; chest hanging between the shoulders; hare feet; turned legs and toes.

Carp (roach) back; sway back; thin, lean back; long narrow, sharp-sunken in loins. Weak union with the croup, hollow flanks; hanging stomach.

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 dewclaws; soft hocks, narrow heel, tottering waddling gait; hare's feet; hindquarters too far under to too far behind.

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.

UK Breed Standard

General Appearance
Great nobility, smooth-coated, medium-sized, square build, strong bone and evident, well developed muscles.

Lively, strong, loyal to owner and family, but distrustful of strangers. Obedient, friendly at play, but with guarding instinct.

Equable, biddable, fearless, self-assured.

Head and Skull
Head imparts its unique individual stamp and is in proportion to body, appearing neither light nor too heavy. Skull lean without exaggerated cheek muscles. Muzzle broad, deep and powerful, never narrow, pointed, short or shallow. Balance of skull and muzzle essential, with muzzle never appearing small, viewed from any angle. Skull cleanly covered, showing no wrinkle, except when alerted. Creases present from root of nose running down sides of muzzle. Dark mask confined to muzzle, distinctly contrasting with colour of head, even when white is present. Lower jaw undershot, curving slightly upward. Upper jaw broad where attached to skull, tapering very slightly to front. Muzzle shape completed by upper lips, thick and well padded, supported by well separated canine teeth of lower jaw. Lower edge of upper lip rests on edge of lower lip, so that chin is clearly perceptible when viewed from front or side. Lower jaw never to obscure front of upper lip, neither should teeth nor tongue be visible when mouth closed. Top of skull slightly arched, not rounded, nor too flat and broad. Occiput not too pronounced. Distinct stop, bridge of nose never forced back into forehead, nor should it be downfaced. Length of muzzle measured from tip of nose to inside corner of eye is one-third length of head measured from tip of nose to occiput. Nose broad, black, slightly turned up, wide nostrils with well defined line between. Tip of nose set slightly higher than root of muzzle. Cheeks powerfully developed, never bulging.

Dark brown, forward looking, not too small, protruding or deeply set. Showing lively, intelligent expression. Dark rims with good pigmentation showing no haw.

Moderate size, thin, set wide apart on highest part of skull lying flat and close to cheek in repose, but falling forward with definite crease when alert.

Undershot jaw, canines set wide apart with incisors (six) in straight line in lower jaw. In upper jaw set in line curving slightly forward. Bite powerful and sound, with teeth set in normal arrangement.

Round, of ample length, strong, muscular, clean cut, no dewlap. Distinctly marked nape and elegant arch down to withers.

Shoulders long and sloping, close lying, not excessively covered with muscle. Upper arm long, making right angle to shoulderblade. Forelegs seen from front, straight, parallel, with strong bone. Elbows not too close or standing too far from chest wall. Forearms perpendicular, long and firmly muscled. Pasterns short, clearly defined, but not distended, slightly slanted.

In profile square, length from forechest to rear of upper thigh equal to height at withers. Chest deep, reaching to elbows. Depth of chest half height at withers. Ribs well arched, not barrel-shaped, extending well to rear. Withers clearly defined. Back short, straight, slightly sloping, broad and strongly muscled. Loin short, well tucked up and taut. Lower abdominal line blends into curve to rear.

Very strong with muscles hard and standing out noticeably under skin. Thighs broad and curved. Broad croup slightly sloped, with flat, broad arch. Pelvis long and broad. Upper and lower thigh long. Good hind angulation; when standing, the stifle is directly under the hip protuberance. Seen from side, leg from hock joint to foot not quite vertical. Seen from behind, legs straight, hock joints clean, with powerful rear pads.

Front feet small and cat-like, with well arched toes, and hard pads; hind feet slightly longer.

Previously customarily docked.
Docked: Set on high and carried upward.
Undocked: Set on high and carried gaily, not curled over back. Of moderate thickness. In overall balance to the rest of dog.

Strong, powerful with noble bearing, reaching well forward, and with driving action of hindquarters. In profile, stride free and ground covering.

Short, glossy, smooth and tight to body.

Fawn or brindle. White markings acceptable not exceeding one-third of ground colour.
Fawn: Various shades from dark deer red to light fawn.
Brindle: Black stripes on previously described fawn shades, running parallel to ribs all over body. Stripes contrast distinctly to ground colour, neither too close not too thinly dispersed. Ground colour clear, not intermingling with stripes.

Height: dogs: 57-63 cms (221/2-25 ins); bitches: 53-59 cms (21-23 ins). Weight: dogs: approximately 30-32 kgs (66-70 lbs); bitches: approximately 25-27 kgs (55-60 lbs).

FaultsAny 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.

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


Contact Details

Aynsley Downie
Pukekohe, Auckland, NEW ZEALAND

Phone : 021 831007

Overseas Ph : +6421 831007

Email : [email protected]