HISTORY OF THE BOXER BREED
Part I: Earliest Ancestors
John Wagner's Book, The Boxer, first published in 1939, contains
one of the most detailed histories of development of this
breed. Therefore, much of the Boxer history that is developed
here comes from his book.
The history of the Boxer as a unique breed begins late in
the last century in the area of Munich, Germany. The Germans
did not begin to breed dogs seriously and scientifically until
that time, although various types of dogs had existed in Germany---as
in England and the Continent---from time immemorial. According
to Denlinger, "As far back as the time of the ancient
Assyrians, more than 2000 B.C., a strain of dogs with powerful
build, heavy head and great courage was bred and used in war.
Centuries later the name of Molossian was given to dogs of
this type, named from the city of Molossis in Epirus, in what
is today Albania." These dogs spread across the continent
and became the ancestors to the German Bullenbeisser. In England,
selective breeding produced a taller, stronger dog than the
original Molossis and this formed the foundation of the modern
Mastiff. Later, the English crossed their Mastiff with fast
running hounds to produce the Englische Dogge, or Great Dane,
the German national dog. However, the Germans continued to
use the Bullenbeisser as a hunting dog.
Boxer Ancestors of the Middle Ages to the Late 1700's
According to Wagner:
". . .a smaller Bullenbeisser of the purest stock was
bred from the larger one by natural selection, due to the
spreading popularity of the animal fights from England to
the mainland and thence to Germany. . . .Through comparison
of Spanish and French authors of the 12th to 14th centuries
with authentic English and German sources we find that the
so-called "Dogge" title was used as a collectivism
for all strongly built, short-haired chase dogs with large
heads, powerfully developed muzzles and triangle-like, stubbed
and drooping upper lip, strong bodies and teeth and that the
Doggen forms of all European countries from the middle ages
up to the present day are limited to three types which have
in the course of time developed into national breeds. They
- The heavy Bullenbeisser (Mastiff).
- The large hound evolved by crossing the Bullenbeisser
with the old type Wolf or Deerhound (The Great Dane).
- The small Bullenbeisser which represents a smaller form
of the heavy Bullenbeisser through natural selection (The
Boxer and the English Bulldog)."
(Bullenbeisser head types)
Wagner quotes John E. L. Riedinger of Augsburg
"The main portion of most old time German hunting packs
were made up of coarse haired, big dogs with bush tails and
wolfish heads called 'Rüden.' They were supplied to the
courts by the peasants in immense numbers and suffered great
losses at every hunt, therefore no particular pains were taken
to breed them. The Doggen and Bullenbeisser, however, knew
instinctively how to tackle the game from behind and hold
it in a way that kept them from serious injury yet gave the
hunters time to reach the kill therefore they were more valuable
to the hunt and were accordingly highly prized and painstakingly
bred." (Wagner, 1950, p. 27)
It is generally accepted that a smaller Bullenbeisser bred
in Brabant, an area in Northeast Belgium, is a direct ancestor
of today's Boxer. To add historical perspective to current
practice Wagner quotes Hans Friedrich v. Flemming of Leipzig
(1719), who writes of the Brabanter Bullenbeisser: "Their
ears are clipped while they are still young and also the tail...."
(Wagner, 1950, p. 22)
Bullenbeissers from about 1800 to 1900
The noble estates on which the Bullenbeisser were bred were
broken up in Germany during and after the Napoleonic wars
and the dogs which had heretofore formed the hunting packs
of the nobility, hunting wild boar and small bear, became
the butcher's and cattle dealer's dog. It might be considered
a reduction in stature of the dog, but it kept him from becoming
extinct. By 1800 after the dispersion of the hunting Bullenbeisser
mentioned above, the small Bullenbeisser was found as a family
and guard dog where "his remarkable intelligence and
tractability endeared him to so large a group of individuals
that he carried on when so many breeds completely disappeared."
(Wagner, 1950, pp. 32-33)
During the time that a smaller Bullenbeisser was being bred
for the wild game hunts, the English Bulldog was being bred
in England as early as 1632 for the same purpose. That English
Bulldog did not have the extreme characteristics of today's
English Bulldog--he was much more like the Brabanter Bullenbeisser
in body type, but often was either white, or did have white
"The literature and paintings previous to 1830 indicate
that all Bullenbeisser up to that time were fawn or brindle
with black masks. There is never any mention of white. About
this time there came a great influx of English dogs to Germany
including the English Bulldog. His entry into the country
quickly followed by numerous crosses with the Bullenbeisser
resulted in an eventual similarity of type that made it very
difficult to distinguish where any degree of Bulldog blood
was present except that white color began to appear in the
Boxers. This is easily understood if we bear in mind that
the English Bulldog of that time was very like the Boxer,
more of a small mastiff than anything else. Still there were
certain peculiarities introduced that for years caused lack
of of uniformity in type, shape and color in the Boxer. But
lasting characteristics were not impregnated although it took
years of selective breeding to eliminate some undesirable
traits and to this day minor discrepancies appear at rare
intervals." (Wagner, 1950, p. 34)
The Modern Boxer in Germany
The following lines of descent concentrate on those Boxers
who were the primary ancestors of American Boxers. There are
many other noted sires and dams which were not included in
order to avoid confusion.
A Boxer club had been formed in Munich in 1895, and the founders
drew up the first Boxer Standard as a guide for their future
breeding. Much of this first standard still remains in the
Boxer standards of today.
As any good dog club should, they held a dog show as soon
as possible. A picture of the Boxers in that show still survives.
The modern Boxer began in the late-nineteenth century in
Germany with Alt's Flora, a brindle bitch imported from France
by George Alt of Munich. Flora was bred to a local Boxer whose
name was never recorded. A fawn and white male from this litter,
Lechner's Box, was then bred back to his mother who produced
Alt's Flora II and Alt's Schecken.
Schecken, when paired in 1895 with a white bulldog called
"Dr Toneissen's Tom" in the records, became the
dam of the first Boxer registered in the first stud book in
1904, Mühlbauer's Flocki.
Schecken's sister Flora II was bred back to her father, Box,
which produced Maier's Lord, the first noted Boxer sire.
Maier's Lord was mated to Maier's Flora (parentage unknown)
to produce Piccolo v. Angertor, the sire of Meta v. d. Passage.
In 1898, a repeat breeding of Schecken and "Dr. Toneissen's
Tom" produced Ch. Blanka v. Angertor.
Ch. Blanka v. Angertor was the mother of Meta v. d. Passage.
If you can sort all of that out, you deserve an award. But
the point is that there was a high degree of inbreeding during
the early stages of the breed's development. Setting the genetic
characteristics for a new breed cannot be done in any other
It is worth quoting Wagner here: "Meta v. d. Passage
played the most important role of the five original ancestors.
Our great line of sires all trace directly back to this female.
She was a substantially built, low to the ground, brindle
and white parti-color, lacking in underjaw and exceedingly
lippy. As a producing bitch few in any breed can match her
record. She consistently whelped puppies of marvelous type
and rare quality. Those of her offspring sired by Flock St.
Salvator and Wotan dominate all present-day pedigrees. Combined
with Wotan and Mirzl children, they made the Boxer."
(Wagner, 1950, p. 47)
Flock St. Salvator, of whom no picture exists, was one of
the sires of puppies from Meta. He is not out of the line
of Flora/Box but rather a different one. According to Gordon
(p. 16) his breeding with Meta produced Hugo v. Pfalzgau.
Hugo v. Pfalzgau was the great-grandfather of Rolf v. Vogelsberg,
the foundation sire of the great German Vom Dom line and thus
a foundation sire of nearly all American Boxer lines.
Friederun and Philip Stockmann and the Vom Dom Boxers
The names Stockmann and Vom Dom are the most important ones
in the history of American Boxers. Friederun Stockmann (Pictures
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six) was a young woman from Riga,
in the Baltic region of Germany. In the beginning pages of
her book, My Life With Boxers, she gives us her belief that
she was destined to spend her life with dogs--she was born
in 1891 under the Sirius, the Dog Star. At the age of 18,
she says, she was led by the Dog Star to Munich where she
began her art studies at the Academy in Munich. It was in
Munich that Friederun met and was owned by her first Boxer,
Pluto. And, oh yes, she met and married Pluto's owner, Philip
Frau Stockmann was not on the Boxer scene at the very beginnings
of the breed, but she was a major force in the breed very
soon thereafter. Frau Stockmann must have been around five
when the first Boxer show was held in Munich in 1895. She
showed her first Boxer, Laska, a bitch in about 1910.
As was said previously, Rolf v. Vogelsberg was one of the
major Boxer sires. Because Frau Stockmann does not give specific
dates early in her book, we have to do some figuring to determine
when she must have purchased Rolf v. Vogelsberg. According
to Denlinger (p. 35), Rolf began his show career at the age
of two in 1910. Frau Stockmann says that she bought him at
three years of age. She must have bought him in 1911 when
she was about 20 or 21 and married to Philip Stockmann. Her
first homebred champion and Rolf's son was Dampf vom Dom,
whelped September 28, 1912.
Rolf v. Vogelsberg earned the German title of Sieger five
times, the last time at the age of eleven after four years
of service with Philip Stockmann on the front lines in World
War I. He was the only Boxer of the ten that Stockmann took
with him to return alive.
Rolf's descendants from 1910 to 1925 were some of the major
sires of the German lines. In direct line of descent from
Rolf they were: Ch. Rolf Walhall, Ch. Moritz v. Goldrain,
Ch. Casar v. Deutenkofen, Ch. Buko v. Biederstein, to Ivein
Ivein v. Dom, whelped in January, 1925, represented Frau
Stockmann's renaissance in the breeding of Boxers after World
War I. Ivein's dam was Zwibel, granddaughter of Rolf v. Vogelsberg
and his sire was Buko v. Biederstein a great-great-grandson
of Rolf. Iwein never earned a German championship, but Frau
Stockmann says that her sixth sense told her to keep Ivein
and to breed him. He became the sire of the great German sire,
Sigurd v. Dom.
During the five years that he remained in Germany, Sigurd
attained a rank as a show dog and sire equal to the great
Rolf v. Vogelsberg. At the age of five he was then sold to
America to become a part of the Barmere Kennels in Van Nuys,
CA. Of him Wagner said: "To Sigurd, more than to any
other individual dog we owe the tremendous advance in consistent
perfected balance of power and elegance." (Wagner, 1950,
It was one of the twists of fate that two of the greatest
dogs that the vom Dom kennels produced were sold to America.
Sigurd's grandson, Ch. Lustig v. Dom was also sold to America
and became Ch. Lustig v. Dom of Tulgey Woods. Lustig was sold
only because a great price was offered for him at a time when
the Stockmann family fortunes had reached a nadir. Ironically,
though Frau Stockmann never saw him again, the year after
Lustig left Germany her husband Philip was invited to judge
the show at Westminster and Lustig was there.
With the importation of the three grandsons of Sigurd, Utz
v. Dom, Dorian v. Marienhof, and Lustig v. Dom, the United
States had the three greatest Boxers that German breeding
had been able to produce and the focus of American Boxers
shifts from Germany to America.
Again Wagner states: "The two dogs, Int. Ch. Dorian
v. Marienhof, the brindle, and Int. Ch. Lustig v. Dom, the
fawn, are both in America. They represent the perfected ideal
of nearly fifty years of careful breeding of Boxerdom's most
aristocratic and finest families. No finer or better-bred
Boxers have ever lived. They have both demonstrated their
ability to reproduce quality similar to their own." Wagner,
To close the section on Frau Stockmann and the Vom Dom kennels
there is the following quotation from her book, My Life With
Boxers, which may help us understand her nearly lifelong devotion
to our breed: "The Boxer, however, is a gentleman amongst
dogs with short coats. He not only wants the best food, he
wants to be handled in a civilized manner too. He can easily
be upset by his master and this is called being leader-sensitive.
He cannot stand a hard hand or injustice. It is true that
he is pig-headed and every one has a personality of its own.
His real job is to be a house and family dog and to be a friend
to the children." (Stockmann, My Life With Boxers, p.
(This Boxer History reproduced with permission)