Boxers come in brindle and fawn, with varying degrees of white markings. Dogs that have white markings covering all or most of their bodies are generally called white Boxers, but they're really either fawn or brindle underneath the white "paint job". Many myths surround white Boxers, stemming from a lack of genetic understanding when the breed was developed over 100 years ago.
In fact, white Boxers make up a significant portion of the breed. We don't really have any data on the numbers, but given the genetic possibilities of whites from various Boxer breedings, and factoring in the increased popularity of some breedings, a good estimate is that about 20% of the breed is white.
This myth has persisted for some time, and possibly began as a justification for breeders to euthanize whites at birth. (More on that below.) Today we know that whites are at a higher risk of deafness--about 18% of whites are deaf, compared to about 1.5% of fawns or brindles--but no other health problems have been linked to the gene for white markings. Aside from deafness, white Boxers have the same chances of good (or bad) health as their fawn and brindle littermates.
There may actually be some truth to this myth; anecdotal experience indicates that white hair has a somewhat different texture than fawn or brindle hair, much like grey hair in humans. These hairs may shed more easily--or it may just be that they're more visible!
Sadly, this one has its roots in truth. In the early days of the breed, the German breed wardens only allowed six puppies in a litter; when there were more puppies, whites were some of the first to be euthanized. In the US, breeders were not required to euthanize whites, but could not sell them or place them for free in homes. Combined with the "unhealthy" myth, many breeders felt they were performing a kindness by euthanizing their whites. We now know better; breeders are allowed to sell whites on limited AKC registration, and very few US breeders euthanize white puppies these days.
Sometimes it certainly seems like this is the case! In reality, sometimes a white puppy is the biggest, strongest, and most structurally correct puppies in the litter--but sometimes a fawn puppy is, and sometimes a brindle puppy is. These traits are not linked to coat color; it is simply the luck of the draw.
The American Boxer Club Code of Ethics prohibits the breeding of white Boxers, as do the Codes of Ethics of every Boxer Club in the world. The breed standards disqualify dogs with more than 1/3 white markings, which means they cannot be shown in conformation shows. Just like their colored counterparts, however, white Boxers make excellent obedience, agility, rally, tracking, performance, therapy, service, search and rescue, and companion dogs.
Great list about a boxer I never knew existed.
ROFL @ Elaine! ;)
White Boxers do get a bad rap; we had one for a while and she was just the sweetest!
Very nice article. I always rescue so doubt a white boxer would be coming my way - my dogs are all mixed up!
It's amazing the number of false myths out there on various breeds of dogs. A dog school friend fosters boxers and has a white one of her own. He's a therapy dog, did rally is his younger years, and is great with his foster brothers and sisters.
This is a very informative list and well written. I must say when I read the title I had other thoughts and had hopes you'd found a way to slip in a pic... ;)
select one here...