Boxer's ancestors. What saved this breed from vanishing.

Boxer belongs to the Mastiff Dogs, also called the Molosser Dogs. They are united into one group because of their similar origin and look. The representatives of Mastiff breed usually have large, mighty body with strong skeleton and big head. Due to their imposing look and high strength they were used for hunting large animals, for public fights and as military or guard dogs.

The so-called Tibetan Mastiff is considered to be the ancestor of all mastiff dogs; this dog had a look very similar to modern Middle Asian or Caucasian Shepherds. It was Alexander Macedonian who brought these big Mastiff dogs to Greece from his Indian crusade. Later they appeared in Rome and very likely served as the basis for Molosser dog breed. These dogs were considered invincible until the civilized society of the 4th century A.D. discovered British Mastiffs. They were much stronger with wider snouts making them more popular for that times. While gradually interbreeding with former Molossoids they eventually replaced them and took their name.

Dog breeding was very popular in Celtic tribes as well. Long before the Roman conquest they bred large heavy dogs that served as the guards and were used in hunting on bears, wild boars and other big animals; that is why they had got their name of Bearenbeisser (that means "bear biter"). Thus, strong and large snout fighting dogs were bred all over the continental Europe and on the British islands. Depending on the local conditions they could be larger or smaller.

There were two similar dogs of the kind in Central Europe: they were Danzig or Large Bullenbeissers and Small or Brabanter Bullenbeissers. The Large were used for hunting big animals, usually in Poland and Northern Germany, while in Northern part of Alps, covered with thick forests, the Small Bullenbeisser was considered to be the most appropriate for hunting wild hogs as it was more agile due to its small dimensions. Actually, it is the Small Bulenbeisser that is considered to be the progenitor of Boxer dog.

These two types of Bullenbeissers differed only in their dimensions, the other typical features were very similar. Those dogs had orange or brindle colour of their body without white spots and wide and short snouts. Due to the shorter upper jaw the dog could easily breathe even getting its teeth into the enemy. The notch on the Bullenbeisser's nose sometimes was so deep that it seemed cut into two halves. These dogs were called two-nosed and on the brink of boxer's popularity the admirers of such look asserted that the real boxer must have only the nose of such a kind.

The task of Bullenbeissers at hunting, as a rule, was to ambush and wait until the hounds turn the animal out to them. Here the pack of Bullenbeissers had to attack and keep the prey untill the hunter comes and kills it. Fighting with furious bull or hog, greatly surpassing the dog in weight and strength, was the task that required enormous courage and excellent bite. All these qualities were bred in boxer's ancestors during many centuries selection, where usually only working qualities of the dog were taken into account.

When the fire-arms emerged, there were no necessity of keeping the packs of etching dogs and later the public animal etching was totally prohibited. What saved the breed from vanishing was that butchers and cattle traders became interested in it as they needed agile and brave dogs of the kind for controlling their herds. Later on, the breed was tried to be improved through crossing with imported English Bulldogs, which at that times had better working figure and were very close to Bullenbeissers in their dimensions. British Bulldog contributed into Brabanter Bullenbeisser breed wider body and shorter and larger head, as well as the snow-white colour. Thus, already to the end of the 18th century the sole breed type of Bullenbeisser had been lost and the Bullenbeissers of those times mostly were represented as the mix of Bullenbeisser with British Bulldog, metis of Alan breed (extinct breed of Mastiff dogs) and some others. Only pure breeding of Bullenbeissers, existing earlier, gave an opportunity to come to the single type in future.

The name "Boxer" appears first in 60-70s years of the 19th century. During the second half of this century German enthusiasts aimed at noble dog breeding seriously started developing typical features (standards) of breeds, establishing clubs, arranging exhibitions and rearing pure breeds, historically developed in their country. Nowadays it is known the name of the breeder Robert, who, together with his friends Kenig and Helner was engaged in pure Boxer breeding in Munich. Due to their efforts the Boxer was first shown as the test breed on St. Bernard-club exhibition in Munich, 1895. It was the beginning of official boxer recognition as the separate breed and of its later development. The same year Robert, Helner and Kenig organized the first Boxer-club and carried out the first Boxer exhibition in Munich. By the way, it gathered for about 50 owners with their Boxer dogs.