NAVIGATION


The German Boxer

Introduction by Carl A. Wood [1949]
All the books and many of the articles which have appeared in this country on the origin and history of the Boxer make frequent reference to the original book by Mr. and Mrs. Philip Stockmann, DER DEUTSCHE BOXER. According to the flyleaf of the copy belonging to Mr. Charles Spannaus, Secretary of the American Boxer Club, which has been made the basis of this translation, this book was published in Germany in 1937. Undoubtedly a number of copies of this and later editions have found their way to this country.

We are sure that the subject matter of this basic book on our breed will prove of sufficient interest to warrant its appearing, in translated form, in installments in the pages of BOXER CLUB NEWS. We bring you, accordingly, in this issue, the first installment, which covers the introduction and the section devoted to the origin of the Boxer breed. Further sections of the book will appear in later issues. We are also hopeful that we may be able to bring you the comments of one of our own prominent breeders and authoritative writers on the Stockmannsí text.

In closing, much credit should be given to Miss Anna lsenschmid, an attorney and member of the firm of Topken & Farley, of New York City, who undertook the considerable task of the original translation of the book for Mr. Spannaus.

Philip Stockmann set up the German Boxer training program for the German Army in WWI

Introduction
Man's love for animals is as old as civilization itself. It was no accident that the dog was the first domesticated animal, this was foreordained by his unusual natural characteristics. The close relationship between dog and man has continued for thousands of years and will never be attained by any other animal.

There have been times, to be sure, when the mental powers of the dog have been overestimated. Man attributed to the dog human understanding and human thoughts, in short man humanized the animal. Then again, the contrary was often held to be the case. Theorists sought to establish that the dog, in common with other animals, was endowed only with instincts and lacked understanding. They sought to demonstrate that the dog merely followed his natural instincts and that all his ostensible expressions of understanding were only reactions to given stimuli. Thus a dog would rejoice if told in gay tones "You will be killed tomorrow" and grieve if a sorrowful cadence were used in telling him "Now we will go for a walk" or "Now you will get meat and cake". The number of words which a dog could actually understand was claimed to be very limited, and that only the intonation given to the spoken word influenced his reactions thereto.

How we pity people who brood and worry over these questions. Isn't it enough that the dog rejoices with us when we are happy and mourns when we do? Do we have to know why?

Whoever really knows dogs, and has time and again tested their unselfish faithfulness and devotion, is forced to smile inwardly at all these learned disputations. Are there not many dogs who gladly deny themselves the strongest natural instincts (appeasement of hunger, gratification of sexual desires) if only granted the companionship of their master. He who denies to the dog any higher intellect, who sees in him a living machine reacting solely to instincts, has never come to know any dog. But he who loves and appreciates his four-legged comrade and has learned to look into his faithful, wise, animated and understanding eyes, knows full well that there is something here we cannot put into words nor grasp with our much vaunted intellect. Despite the many thousand of years that he has lived with man, the dog is still an animal but, of all the animals, he remains manís most honest, faithful and dependable comrade.

Origin
Let us go back to the time of our forefathers, when Germany still consisted of vast, often impenetrable forests, when the buffalo, bear and moose roamed through the wilderness, and the wild boar was a frequent visitor in all localities. At that time our ancestors possessed, among others, great, powerful dogs of enormous strength and unusual courage; they were known as Mastiffs. Depending on the particular employment made of them, they were also variously designated as Buffalo, Bear or Bull-Biters, or again as Boar and Sow Chargers. These dogs were most highly valued and the killing of one of them was a severely punishable offense.

In order to develop dogs suited to particular purposes, these Mastiffs were crossed with various other breeds. Thus, for example, Mastiff was mated with Greyhound to obtain an exceptionally fleet dog for the pursuit of big game. The modern Great Dane was developed from this cross. For the actual kill, sturdier and more compact types were much preferred and it is among them that one must look for the ancestors of our Boxer.

These soon became known under the name "Brabanter" and, especially in Germany and England, were bred and developed further. While the English, as in so many of their breeds, intensified the unusual and grotesque, and thus evolved the English Bulldog as a caricature of the old hunting dog, the Germans were at pains to retain the valuable working qualities. It was unfortunately inevitable, due to the German predeliction for anything foreign, that English blood, particularly about the middle of the last century, was again introduced into the veins of the German dog. At the same time, the name "Boxer" became current as a designation for the Bull-Biter and all other Boxer or Bulldog-like dogs. Possibly the name Boxer was intended to call attention to the fighting qualities of these dogs.

Toward the end of the last century, particularly in South Germany, systematic breeding of the Boxer began. Above all, efforts were directed towards the renewed elimination of the English Bulldog blood. Guiding principles for breeding were established which became the foundation for the present Boxer standard. In 1895, at Munich, Boxers were exhibited for the first time at a show, thus receiving official recognition as a breed. The German Boxer Club was founded at Munich in 1896, and therewith the perpetuation of the breed was assured. In the short space of ten years our Boxer was among the breeds consistently having the largest entries at shows, which continues to be the case to this day.

After demonstrating outstanding working dog qualities even in the World War [I], Boxers were at long last officially recognized as Police and Guard dogs in 1925. Today the Boxer is found far beyond the confines of our Fatherland. Large numbers of the best specimens continually go to foreign countries, particularly across the ocean (Atlantic) so that today our Boxer may be said to stand at the head of all breeds of German origin.

Characteristics of the Breed
The Boxer, as we have already stated, is a fighting dog. The bloodlines which he carries stamp him as such as well as his present build and nature. We can best compare him with a mighty athlete whose physique combines vast power and great swiftness.

He is a medium sized, short coated, stocky dog with blocky build and strong bone. His movements are lively and full of strength and nobility. This makes him the born companion dog for bicycle and carriage. For this reason, he should no more be plump and heavy than thin and lacking in substance.

The head is the distinguishing mark of the Boxer. It, above all else, typifies the breed and is its chief stamp of individuality. It must always be in correct proportion to the body and should appear neither too light nor too heavy. The upper part of the head should be as lean and angular as possible, the foreface (muzzle) as powerful as it can be. The head, in comparison with that of most other breeds of dogs, is short, without, however, permitting the upper jaw to become so short as to impair the usefulness of the Boxer. The length of the foreface should be in a 1 to 2 proportion with that of the cranium. The muzzle should be wide and deep. The Boxer is normally undershot, that is to say, the teeth of the lower jaw stand forward of the teeth of the upper jaw, so that the lower jaw appears to be pushed forward. The teeth must not be visible when the mouth is closed. Those in the lower jaw are covered by particularly well developed lips (flews). The slightly turned-up nose and protruding chin give the Boxer its characteristic jaunty air.

The forehead should be rather strongly arched, and the massive and distinctly protruding brows should make for an accentuated stop. The eyes should be large and dark and the whole face framed by a black mask. This, however, should extend only over the muzzle and eyebrows, so that the dog does not make a sombre impression. The whole appearance of the Boxer should be such as to invite both attention and respect but never, however, either gloomy or threatening or in any way deceitful.

The neck should be long and powerful and gracefully arched and should show as little loose skin at the throat as possible. Above all else, a beautiful neck, in conjunction with the distinctive and typical head, gives this breed its appearance of nobility.

All the limbs should be powerfully and correctly built. The forelegs should stand vertical with the ground, with sloping shoulders. The hindquarters must be well angled and, from the rear, must appear parallel to one another and at right angles with the ground. They dare not appear ( )-shaped or )(-shaped.

The chest should extend downward to the line of the elbows. Its depth should amount to about half the height of the animal. The back should be short, straight, broad and powerful and end in the smartly carried tail. The tail and ears of the Boxer should be clipped.

The height of the male should be about 60 centimeters (23.64 inches). (Height is measured vertically, at the withers). The females are a few centimeters smaller. The male may exceed these measurements, the female may not.

Boxers are fawn and brindle in color. Checks also occur. The last named were formerly quite common, were then opposed, then again condoned and are, now [1937], again to be curbed. Fawn appears in all shades from pale yellow to stag red. Strong clear colors are the most prized. Brindles occur in all shades from light golden to those so dark as to appear almost black. White markings are permitted and are effective, particularly on darker colored dogs. The spongy portion of the nose must always be black, just as a black mask is required, insofar as white markings do not extend forward to the muzzle, regardless of color of coat.

The character of the Boxer is his most important racial trait. Courage and intrepidity are absolutely required. His faithfulness and devotion are unsurpassed by any other breed of dog. Although he is of a lively nature he is not excitable, which makes him so desirable as a house dog. He is a born companion and the most dependable protector. He is also an especially good automobile dog. The Boxer is watchful, without, however, being a perverse yapper. His great love for children, with whom he prefers to play and romp, is characteristic. But, in the course of protecting his master or his masterís property, he can be a redoubtable adversary. Stealth, snappishness and ill temper are foreign to the Boxer and considered serious faults, as are also lack of temperament and cowardice. These defects will lead to disqualification of a dog at a show.

Due to his natural gifts, the Boxer has always been widely used. That he distinguished himself as a war dog has already been mentioned. He has made his mark as a working and guard dog, of course. For a long time belittlers of the Boxer claimed that his comparatively short nose made him of little use as a tracker. Actual tests have strikingly disproved such assertions. None other than Boxers have incontestably proven that dogs can be absolutely reliable trackers. Naturally, the Boxer is also a fine guide dog for the blind and as fine a retriever, etc., as any other breed.

The Boxer has been known since early times as an excellent actor. In trained animal acts he always plays the country bumpkin, as his expressive features always force his audience to laughter. The range of expressions of which a Boxerís face is capable is almost unbelievable. Some years ago we published a whole series of such character studies of two of our male Boxers, in Boxer Blaetter, and these were republished in many papers, both here and abroad. The Boxer also finds employment in motion pictures.

Some time ago a "thriller" was produced in which almost unbelievable demands were made, not only on the courage and interpidity of a dog, but on his speed and agility. One scene called for an attack on the master of a dog, within a room. The dog hears his master's cry for help and, without hesitation, jumps through the closed window, glass splinters flying about his ears. He rescues his master. Later the criminal is pursued in an automobile chase. The dog is to jump from one car, moving at high speed, into another car and seize the criminal.

After all other possible breeds had failed to perform these feats, a Boxer was tried out. Before the dog was put to use he was heavily insured, since his life would be at stake. However, the cost of insurance might well have been saved. The Boxer fulfilled his assignment without hesitation. Both at rehearsals, and during the actual filming of the scene, he jumped through the window without delay, and from the auto, moving at top speed, into the other car, suffering only the loss of one claw on a hind foot. The seemingly insurmountable difficulties appear to have afforded him only a pleasant challenge.

Fundamentals of Good Behavior
Many a dog lover, prior to purchasing a dog, is uncertain whether to choose a puppy or a grown dog. There are advantages and disadvantages either way. A full grown dog is, as a rule, housebroken and leash broken and may be expected to be more or less obedient. By the same token such a dog may turn out to have bad manners or habits which his new master finds distinctly undesirable and of which the animal may not be easily broken.

A young puppy, on being separated from its mother and, up to that time hardly capable of any independence, easily adapts itself to its new home and learns more quickly, with proper handling, than most beginners deem possible. Most of the unfortunate occurrences with puppies are due entirely to mismanagement. Under four months of age one cannot expect the young creatures to be completely housebroken. At all events they have the urge, invariably, to keep their bed and its vicinity clean. This natural instinct should be fostered in every way possible and the little one given the opportunity to leave the room in which it is kept when it wishes to relieve itself. I have had sufficient puppies who, at the age of 8 to 10 weeks, were already comletely housebroken, no doubt, because out here in the country they could be turned out at any hour. At this age it is an absurdity and highly injurious to health to expect the young dog to remain in the house all night, or throughout the day, without emptying itself.

The puppy should be given the chance to air itself thoroughly late in the evening and should be taken out again as early in the morning as possible. If this is done even a puppy will soon be able to hold out for the whole night. Whenever it becomes apparent that the little fellow wishes to relieve himself, he should be taken immediately to the appointed place. Within a short time he will then indicate through his behavior when he needs to go out. In most instances the dog is housebroken sooner than one believes possible. The important point is that the dog is given no occasion to relieve himself indoors. If he has become accustomed to dirtying the room, it is much more difficult to break him of this than if one has not let it come to that from the very beginning.

There are as a rule two causes for the dreaded chewing up of various objects by puppies. It results either from boredom and lack of exercise or his food does not provide sufficient opportunity to use his teeth. Such a young tempermental fellow canít just sleep the live-long day or lie quietly and only become lively when his master has the time and inclination to busy himself with him. Every dog should have at least two hours of brisk exercise every day. He should be assigned a place to sleep in the house that is quiet and free of drafts. In the beginning at least, it is well to tether the dog to his bed. He should be provided with a few beef bones, either raw or cooked, on which he can work off his urge to be up and doing. If the dog has become accustomed to being tied when lying quiet, he will be the more readily broken to the lead. In most cases he will walk on the lead without any difficulty. One should merely unfasten the light chain or leash with which the dog is secured to his bed, without freeing the dog himself and walk off holding the free end of the lead and uttering encouragements for him to follow. The little fellow will soon do so with alacrity and joy.

A basic rule ought to be to train the dog without resorting to punishment. Whatever he should do should be made as pleasant as possible and, what he shouldnít do equally unpleasant. Herein lies the whole secret of proper training. A dog should only be punished when caught in the act or immediately thereafter. In the latter case it is often times too late. A sharp jerk on the collar or a loud slap, intended more to startle than hurt, administered at the psychological moment is more effective than a severe beating. The latter is invariably useless and objectionable with puppies and generally with older dogs as well. If, for example, a puppy goes to work on a rug, chases a hen or a cat or is caught stealing, an unexpected sharp slap accompanied by a loud exclamation "shame" will have better results than a sound thrashing. An effective form of punishment is a well aimed handful of small stones (coarse gravel), a clod of earth or the Wurfkette. [This is a throwing chain devised by German trainers to punish disobedient animals. When thrown at the dog the impact is sufficient to knock him off his feet. Although it inflicts no injury it can be very effective. If resorted to when the occasion demands, the mere sight of it in his masterís hand will in a short time cause the dog to obey.-Ed]. These forms of punishment are always mystifying since the dog hardly knows whence the unpleasant attention came.

The dog must never be punished when after the commission of an act he returns to his master, sheepish and contrite. Otherwise he will associate the punishment with his last action, namely the return to his master. In future he will be guided accordingly, and the thought of return will bring with it the to-be-expected punishment. The ultimate consequence being that he does not come home at all.

The only thing for the owner to do is to make a repetition of the misdeed impossible. I have in mind particularly such things as going off on the hunt after game, chasing bicycles, cats and chickens. In most such instances the master can do no more than to look on with more or less annoyance because once the young dog has fully committed himself he is unlikely to heed any admonition. The master is helpless and can consider himself fortunate if the dog returns, of his own accord, after an interval. A thrashing at such a time is ruinous and will not change the habit of running away, but only cause the dog to stay away entirely. That is how tramp dogs develop.

With muzzle and leash one has, however, excellent means at hand to spoil the fun in such extra-curricular exursions. It often suffices, in the case of a not too confirmed sinner, to allow the leash to hang from the dogís collar. This will hinder a rapid chase. Then, too, dogs often like to play with the dragging leash, catching it up in their jaws and carrying it after their master. This puts the animalís mind on other things and, if it thereupon receives praise from its master, the former bad habit is soon forgotten and the dog becomes a companion.

An even sharper corrective is to fasten to the end of the lead a small sand bag, a block of wood, etc. Always to be borne in mind is the thought that what one teaches a dog through kindness constitutes a victory for both sides. To beat oneís dog is no great trick and hardly conducive of satisfaction. But to teach a dog with kindness and gentleness and transform him into an obedient and willing worker constitutes true training.

A reprint of the translation of Philip Stockmannís writings in Der Deutsche Boxer (1937) that was published in the ABC's "Boxer Club News" in 1949/50.

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