About The Colors of The Boxer Breed

Boxers may have white on their faces.
Boxers may have white on their faces. (Image: young boxer image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com)

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the boxer breed as part of the working group. The parent club, The American Boxer Club (ABC), set the standard for what a boxer should look like, including coat and eye color. A purebred AKC boxer has a limited number of coat colors, some approved and others disqualification from conformation shows.


The boxer breed originated as dog fighting and hunting dogs in Germany in the 1800s. Their habit of standing like human boxers batting at their opponents is one theory, not actually proven, about the basis for their name. Although the boxer became an AKC breed in 1904, they did not become popular in the United States until more than 30 years later.


According to the AKC standard, a boxer should have dark brown eyes. The third, or inner, eyelid should have dark rims. Lighter colored eyes are not preferred, but they are not a disqualification.


According to the ABC, original boxers were predominately fawn or brindle and their face markings were black; however, there is a photo of at least one white boxer. Crossing the breed with the English bulldog significantly increased the white color coat and face markings. The acceptable coat colors are brindle and fawn, a very light tan or yellow to a red mahogany. Brindle is a fawn coat with black stripes. The black can be very heavy but the fawn color must be present. Boxers born with excessive white markings or all white are show disqualifications. The ABC forbids registering white puppies.

Fawns have no black stripes in their coats.
Fawns have no black stripes in their coats. (Image: Jake image by CanonXTiGuy from Fotolia.com)


Boxers have a black mask and often have white markings, but the white is not required. “Plain” is the terminology for a lack of white markings. White markings on the body that are over one-third result in a disqualification. White markings should not be on the flanks (sides in front of back legs) or back torso area.


The colors of fawn and brindle are the only ones allowed because genetically it is impossible for a purebred boxer to be any other colors, except white, according the ABC. Germany disqualified white colors as an unfit color for working dogs. The ABC stand on white and mostly white boxers is due to its link to deafness. When the cells in a dog’s ear canals do not have pigment, deafness occurs. Deafness can be in one or both ears. According to the ABC, about 20 percent of white boxers and 2 percent of colored boxers are deaf in both ears. White dogs have less protection from the sun and burn more easily, which can cause skin cancer.


A gene from each parent determines coat color. Fawn is a recessive color. Therefore, a puppy that is fawn has inherited a fawn gene from each parent. If you breed two fawn boxers, all the puppies will be fawn, according to BoxerWorld. Brindle is a dominant gene, so a brindle dog can have either two brindle genes or one brindle and one fawn gene. Breeding a brindle to a fawn or to another brindle can possibly produce both brindle and fawn puppies.

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