Published: AKC Gazette July 1992
This month's guest columnist is Daniel A. Buchwald, DVM, a noted breeder-judge. He and his brother,
Jean M. Buchwald, DVM, are coauthors of a new book, The Boxer Blueprint. Their Hexastar kennel in
Brazil is well known, and Daniel is one of the youngest all-around judges in South America.
THE BOXER BITE
Nowadays, certain dog judging procedures become so automatic that details, including relevant
details, happen to be overlooked.
By watching from ringside, one will notice, as a rule, that it doesn't take more than a couple of
seconds to judge a dog's mouth. Of course, there are those breeds where missing teeth will
cause a disqualification, so some extra time may be spent with those. But, as we all know, the
Boxer standard doesn't call for any bite disqualification, so many assume that those usual few
seconds are enough for a fair examination.
That's wrong! The Boxer bite is of enormous importance, and because of its particular
construction it requires a more detailed examination.
The Mouth's Influence on the Head
A careful reading of the standard will enlighten our way to understanding the bite's formation
and its importance in influencing the whole head. The standard reads ". . . the beauty of the
head depends upon harmonious proportion of muzzle to skull" and later continues "[the muzzle]
has a shape influenced first through the formation of both jawbones, second through the
placement of the teeth, and third through the texture of the lips." It's easy to see what a
tremendous influence the bite has as a structure to produce the squarish muzzle.
The undershot bite of the Boxer must be in accordance with certain parameters that deserve
The lower jaw has a slight upward projection that will make the lower incisors cover the
upper ones when you look straight on from the front. However, this doesn't mean that
the bite can be so extreme as to create an over-projection of the chin, nor allow the
upper lips to be partially covered by the lower lips and, most of all, never allow the teeth
or tongue to show when the mouth is closed.
The lower jaw should be very broad with incisors forming a straight line cornered by canines
that should be, as much as possible, in the same line as the lower incisors.
The upper jaw incisors form a slightly convex line, which should still be broad.
The upper corner incisors should fit right behind the lower canines on each side. This is
very important; first, because such relation of proximity between upper corner incisor
and lower canine will limit the frontal projection of the undershot bite. Second, because
the proximity of the upper corner incisor and lower canine must be the same on both
sides of the mouth for muzzle symmetry. (This must be assessed by the judge if a fair
mouth examination is to take place.)
If the lower jaw is slightly turned up and is broad with a straight line of incisors and canines,
and if the upper jaw is also broad and if the proximity of upper corner incisor and lower
canine is correct and true on both sides, then symmetry will be present. One will be able
to notice that the space between the two central incisors of the upper and lower jaws
are in the same line, which is the middle plane of the dog from a frontal view.
Strong, good-sized teeth and wellcushioned lips will then complete the Boxer's squarish
After reading these five points on mouth judging, one will notice that judging the Boxer bite
requires evaluation from at least three different angles: front view and right and left profiles.
Because, in many cases, mouths are not given enough attention, we can expect to see quite a
number of dogs with wry mouths and poor muzzles.
If both breeders and judges paid more attention to Boxer mouths, a clear tendency toward light
muzzles could be reversed. As we know, Boxers are a man-made breed. Square muzzles, with
undershot bites, are not found in any wild dog. The artificial changes we create through
selective breeding (for esthetic reasons only) that alter nature's original shapes, if not carefully
monitored, will always tend to revert back to those shapes found in the wild. For Boxers' mouths
and muzzles, constant selective breeding and careful judging must take place to guarantee the
continuity of a feature that is synonymous with Boxer breed type. D.A.B.