Approved by the AKC on February 11, 2005. Effective as of March 30, 2005
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 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"-25"
Adult females: 21½"-23½" at the withers
Proper balance and quality in the individual should be of primary importance since there is no
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 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 2⁄3 the width of
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, not too small, too protruding or too deep-set. Their mood-mirroring character,
combined with the wrinkling of the forehead, gives the Boxer head its unique quality of expressiveness.
Third eyelids preferably have pigmented rims.
Set at the highest points of the sides of the skull, 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 Structure
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 width 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 barrel
shaped. 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,
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
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 to
steep or 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
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.
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
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
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.
Character and Temperament
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
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 deviation.
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