The Boxer is a dog breed known for its habit of getting up on its hind legs and using its paws as though it were boxing, hence its name. The boxer was recognized as an efficient working dog in the early 1900s. This led the German military to approve it as the first breed well-suited for military work.
What Does a War Dog Do?
A war dog is trained to perform several tasks for the military.
Medic or ambulance dogs are trained to help doctors or Red Cross men search for the wounded in the battlefield. Their heightened sense of smell enables them to detect the location of a wounded man, even in the most concealed location.
Guard or sentry dogs are responsible for keeping watch over a military camp, announcing to its masters any form of intrusion or harm they sense by barking. On the other hand, dogs may also be used to conduct patrols in certain areas and ward off any intruder or detect any hidden traps or explosives.
War dogs may also be trained to be messengers, which is a very dangerous task for a human to do. Dogs prove to be lesser of a target for snipers than humans.They are also quicker and can travel faster on any terrain. Messenger dogs help maintain communication between war camps should any other form of communication fail or be unavailable.
The First World War
By the time World War I struck, the boxer is already one of the 7 breeds in Germany that qualified for police work. It served with loyalty, fulfilling all roles an efficient war dog should do. However, the effects of the war proved to be alarming as starvation riddled not only people, but the breed as well, resulting in high mortality rate in both the adult dogs and the puppies. Even when Boxers were brought to America, the breed continued to be quite rare.
Sergeant Stubby (1916 or 1917 – March 16, 1926), was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. He fought in 17 battles in WWI. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and even once caught a German spy by the seat of his pants. Back home his exploits were front page news of every major newspaper. After the war, he was the Georgetown Hoyas’ mascot.
Although there are some rumors that he was a Pit Bull, numerous historical books confirm that Sgt. Stubby was a boxer.
The Second World War
The Boxer’s popularity rose during World War II, in which it still served as a war dog, impressing not only the German but the American troops as well. The boxer had a 32-percent high passing rate for Germany’s military dog ability and it still served with dedication and loyalty, often giving up its own life in service. When World War II ended, the breed continued to receive a huge swell in popularity and was granted full recognition by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in the year 1948, and continued to be ranked as one of the 10 most popular breeds among dogs.
Until today, the Boxer still retains its reputation of affection and loyalty towards its family and makes an excellent companion dog when given the proper care and training.