Approved by the American Kennel Club April 12, 1938 (Major Revision)
GENERAL APPEARANCE - The Boxer is a medium-sized, smooth-haired, sturdy dog of good substance of short square figure and strong limbs. The musculature is very clean and powerfully developed, standing out plastically from under the skin. His movements are alive with energy, the gait although firm is elastic, the stride free and roomy, the carriage proud and noble. As a service and guard dog, he must combine with substance and ample power that considerable degree of elegance absolutely essential to his further duties; those of an enduring escort dog with horse, bicycle and carriage, and a splendid jumper. Only a body whose individual limbs are built to withstand the most strenuous mechanical effort, assembled as a complete and harmonious whole, can respond to such combined demands. Therefore, to be at his highest developed efficiency he must never be plump or heavy, and while equipped for great speed, he must not be racy.
The head imparts to the Boxer a unique individual stamp, peculiar to him alone. It must be in perfect proportion to the body, and above all. It must never be too light. His muzzle is his most distinctive feature and the greatest value is to be placed upon its being of proper form and in absolutely proper proportion to the skull.
In judging the Boxer, the first thing to be considered is general appearance and the relation of substance to elegance and of the desired proportions of the individual parts of the body to each other. Consideration is to be given to an attractive color. After which, the individual parts are to be examined for their correct constructions and their functions. Special attention is to be devoted to the head
Faults - Head, not typical, plump, bull-doggy appearance, light bone, lack of proportion, bad condition deficiency in nobility.
HEAD - The beauty of the head depends upon the harmonious proportion between the muzzle and the skull. From whatever direction you view the head, whether from the front, from the top, or from the side, the muzzle must always appear in correct relationship to the skull. That means, it must never appear too small. The head should be clean neither showing deep wrinkles nor dewlap. Normally folds will spring up on the top of the skull when the ears are held erect. And they are always indicated from the root of the nose running downward on both sides of the muzzle. The dark mask confines itself to the muzzle and must be in distinct contrast to the color of the head so that the face will not have a somber expression. The muzzle must be powerfully developed in length, width and depth. It must not be pointed or narrow, short or shallow. Its shape is influenced, first, through the formation of both jawbones, second, through the placement of the teeth, and third, through the texture of the lips.
The two jawbones do not terminate in a normal perpendicular level in the front, but the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper and curves slightly upward. The Boxer is normally undershot. The upper jaw is broad where attached to the skull, and maintains this breadth except for a very slight tapering to the front. The canine teeth should be as widely separated from each other as possible. The incisors (6) are all in one row, the middle teeth not projecting; in the upper jaw they are slightly concave, in the lower they are in a straight line. Thus both jaws are very wide in front. The bite is powerful and sound, the teeth set in the most normal possible arrangement. The lips complete the formation of the muzzle. The upper lip is thick and padded, it fills out the hollow space in front created by the projection of the lower jaw and is supported by the fangs of the same. Therefore, these fangs must stand far apart as possible and be of good length so that the front surface of the muzzle shall become broad and almost square and form an obtuse (rounded) angle with the topline of the muzzle. The lower edge of the upper lip rests on the edge of the lower lip. The repandous (bent upward) part of the under-jaw with the lower lip (sometimes called the chin) must not rise above the front of the upper lip, but much less may it disappear under it. It must, however, be plainly perceptible when viewed from the front as well as the side without protruding and bending upward in the manner of the English Bulldog. The teeth of the under-jaw must not be seen when the mouth is closed; neither may the Boxer show his tongue when the mouth is closed.
The top of the skull is slightly arched. It must not be so short that it is rotund, nor too flat, nor too broad, and the occiput must not be too pronounced. The forehead forms a distinct stop with the topline of the muzzle, which must not be forced back into the forehead like that of the Bulldog, but neither should it slope away (appear down-faced). The tip of the nose lies somewhat higher than the root of the muzzle. The forehead shows a suggestion of a furrow, which, however, must never be too deep especially between the eyes. Corresponding with the powerful set of teeth, the cheeks are accordingly well developed without protruding from the head with too bulgy an appearance. Preferably they should taper into the muzzle in a slight, graceful curve. The ears are set high, clipped to a point, and are fairly long, the shell not too broad, and are carried perpendicularly. The dark, brown eyes, not too small nor protruding nor deep set disclose an expression of energy and intelligence, but must never appear gloomy, threatening, or piercing. The eyes must have a dark rim. The nose is broad and black, very slightly turned up; the nostrils are broad with the naso-labial line running between them.
Faults - Lack of nobility and expression, somber face, unserviceable bite whether due to disease or faulty tooth placement. Pinscher or Bulldog head, driveling, badly trimmed ears, visible conjunctiva (Haw). Showing teeth or tongue, light so-called "bird of prey" eye. Sloping top line of muzzle. Too pointed or too light a bite (snipey).
NECK - Round, not too thick and short but of ample length, yet strong and muscular and clean cut throughout, without dewlap, running with a distinctly marked nape in an elegant arch down the back.
Faults - Dewlap.
BODY - Build is square, that is to say, of the profile lines, one is horizontal line over the back; this, with two vertical lines, one touching the shoulder tip in the front, the other the hip protuberance in the rear, form with the ground level a square. The torso rests on trunk-like straight legs with strong bones.
CHEST AND FRONT LEG MEASUREMENTS - The chest is deep, reaching down to the elbows; the depth of the chest amounts to half of the height of the dog at the withers. The ribs are well arched but are not barrel shaped, extending far to the rear. The loins are short, close and taut and lightly tucked up. The lower stomach line blends into an elegant curve to the rear. The shoulders are long and sloping. Close lying, and not excessively covered with muscle. The upper arm is long, forming a right angle to the shoulder blade. The forelegs, when seen from the front, must be straight, stand parallel to each other, and have strong, firmly articulated (joined) bones. The elbows must not press too closely to the chest wall nor stand off too far. The forearm is perpendicular, long and firmly muscled. The pastern joint of the foreleg is clearly defined, but not distended. The pastern is strong, slightly slanting but standing almost perpendicular to the ground. Feet, small with tightly arched toes and hard soles (cat's paws).
Faults - Too broad and low in front, loose shoulders, chest hanging between the shoulders, hare's feet, hollow flanks, hanging stomach, turned legs and toes.
BACK - The withers should be clearly defined, the whole back short, straight, broad and very muscular.
Faults - Carp (roach) back, sway back, thin lean back, long narrow, sharp sunken in loins. Weak union with the croup.
HINDQUARTERS - Strongly muscled, the musculation hard as a board and standing out very plastically through the skin. The thighs are not narrow and flat but are broad and curved; the breech musculation is also strongly developed. The croup slightly sloped, flat arched, broad. Tail attachment high rather than too deep. Tail clipped, carried upward. The pelvis should be long and especially broad in females. Upper and lower thigh long, hip and knee joint with as much angle as possible. In 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 are straight. The hocks clean, not distended, supported by powerful rear pads, the rear toes just a little longer than the front toes, but similar in all other respects.
Faults - Falling off or too arched or too narrow croup. Low set tail, higher in back than in front, steep, stiff or too slightly angulated hindquarters, light thighs, cow hocks, bowed and crooked legs, dewclaws, soft hocks, narrow heel, tottering, waddling gait, hare's feet, hindquarters too far under or too far behind.
Males - 22 to 24 inches at the withers.
Females - 21 to 23 inches at the withers.
Males should not go under and females should not go over.
WEIGHT - Males around 23 inches should weigh about 66 lbs., and females of about 22 inches should weigh around 62 lbs.
COAT - Short, shiny lying smooth and tight to the body.
COLOR - The colors are fawn and brindle, fawn in various shades vary 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 must not be grey or dirty. Stripes that do not cover the whole top of the body are not desirable. White markings in fawn or brindle dogs are not to be rejected; in fact, they are often very attractive in appearance.
The black mask is absolutely required. When white stretches over the muzzle, naturally that portion of the black mask disappears. By the same token it is not possible to get black toenails with white feet. It is desirable to have an even distribution of head markings.
Disqualifications - Boxers with white or black ground color, or entirely white or black or any other color than fawn or brindle. (White markings are allowed but not exceed more than one third (1/3) of the ground color.).
The character of the boxer is of the greatest importance and demands the most solicitous attention. He is renowned from olden times for his great love and faithfulness to his master and household. He is harmless in the family, but distrustful of strangers, bright and friendly of temperament at play, but brave and determined when aroused. 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, and is never false or treacherous even in his old age
Faults - Viciousness, treachery, unreliability, lack of temperament, and cowardice.
Approved by the American Kennel Club April 12, 1938.
This Standard is from Jack Wagner's book "The Boxer". It was done, in collaboration with Phillip Stockmann and is an elaboration of the 1904 Boxer Standard.
Changes from the 1904 Standard are in red.
Evolving Boxer Standards:
1902/1904 Official Boxer Standard
1938 Official Boxer Standard
1947 Official Boxer Standard
1951 Official Boxer Standard
1962 Official Boxer Standard
1968 Official Boxer Standard
1980 Official Boxer Standard
1989 Official Boxer Standard
1999 Official Boxer Standard
2005 Official Boxer Standard
Special thanks to Audrey Schnell and Sturlene Arnold for assisting in the research that made these standards possible.