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: MOUTH :       : EYES :       : EARS :

Painted on Canvas by Dunja Plestenjak Beurier - used with permission
This beautiful painting of Tenor de Loermo by Dunja Plestenjak Beurier
was commissioned by the breeder Ernesto Molins.

Now is the time to go over the dog with your hands. Particular attention should now be paid to the head.

The Boxer standard, even though explicit in the head qualities desired, is also confusing to many people.   It is the head that gives judges and breeders alike, the most trouble. If shown a selection of photographs of different heads, most good judges and breeders would agree which ones were the best.   So why is it that head type varies so much?


Boxer Skull
Click here for larger version


A drawing of a correct head with natural ears - Judy Horton
The Munich Silhouette- The original Blueprint for a good head

The blueprint of the Boxer head should be the MUNICH SILHOUETTE. This was the profile of the head that was said to be laid down by the country of origin of the breed, and most breeders still regard it to be of excellent type. You can run a ruler on the balance of muzzle to the whole of the head and it will come out 1:3. In plain terms this means that the muzzle if half the length of the skull. The depth of muzzle is correct and so is the depth of skull.   Heavy wrinkles are not evident anywhere on the skull. Note the planes of the head, with the deep stop and tip tilted nose. NB: The standard calls for the tip of the nose to be higher than the root of the muzzle! Note also the rounding out of the upper lip and chin in front of the nose.

The head on the right is a European head of 40-50 years ago and you can see the influence of the Munich Silhouette also on the English dog below from the 70's.
Male European head from 50-60 years ago

Eng Ch Uncle Sam of Winuwuk

A mature bitch at 2 years
A lovely bitch head at 2 years of age.
    A good puppy head at 7 months
A very nice puppy taken at 7 months of age.
Notice the arch of skull, depth of muzzle and chin in profile.


Sivad Inna Puzzle as a baby NZ Champion Sivad Inna Puzzle
Same Female as a puppy and an adult

A good Boxer head should not coarsen as the dog ages.

Phil. Ch. Supreme Diamond Interlude
Female - 5 years

Male - 10 years


Now consider the head of the dog in front of you.......

Int.Ch.Belle-Amie vom Okeler Forst

Male-AM.Ch.Cayman's Black Bart
Female-Am.Ch.DLG Rainbow's End
Male-Eng.Ch.Eight Bells of Seefield

Does the size of the head look in balance to his body?

Can you distinguish the gender ... eg does he/she look like a dog/bitch?

Looking down on the head, does the skull merge smoothly into the muzzle?

Does the head give you the impression of a smaller square attached to a larger square?

Male-Ch. Ago del Colle dell'Infinito

Are the cheeks muscles smooth and not exaggerated?

Is the chin visible from the front and of correct depth, making the whole muzzle from the front as deep as the width of the muzzle, but not unduly swept up and protruding like an English Bulldog. The chin should NOT be hidden by lips and flews? (Of course no teeth will be visible!)

Does the muzzle look neither too narrow or too shallow in relation to the skull?

Can you feel bone and substance in the muzzle, not just heavy padding as you lift the flews to look into the mouth.
Pheasant Hollow's Calendar Girl - 5 months
The same also applies to a young puppy.



When you open his mouth ......

The Boxer is undershot but does not have a reverse scissor bite. The underjaw should have a gap of about the width of a pencil between his top and bottom teeth.

Are the bottom teeth in a straight line, with the canines set wide apart?

The lower jaw should be curved slightly upwards so that when you look in the front of the Boxer’s mouth and with the jaw closed you should find that the upper teeth are hidden behind the lower jaw, due to this curve.

When checking the mouth of each side, is only one upper tooth visible between the canines? (If there is a difference in spacing on one side than the other, check that the mouth is not wry.)

A very good mouth
It is not uncommon for Boxers to have 7 or 8 teeth in the upper jaw between the canines.

Excellent explantions of the mouth
The ABC Illustrated Standard - Mouth

Understanding the Boxer Bite by Monique Hodgkinson 2009(PDF)



Boxer eye shape resembles a lemon!

More photos of eyes here > > >

Look at the expression.......

Do beautiful dark, almost human, tight rimmed eyes, look straight at you at you with confidence?

Are the eyes set well to the front under a definite brow?

Are the eyes as dark as possible ...if they appear light against the coat colour, they most probably are?

Can you fit your thumb into the deep groove between the eyes (stop)?

Is the tip of the nose slightly higher than the stop in profile?

Is the nose large with well opened nostrils?

From the front when holding the head level, does the top of the nose touch an imaginary line drawn between the corner of the eyes?

Well placed eyes

Unpigmented Third Eyelids

 Fully pigmented third eyelids One unpigmented third eyelid
(Please Note: The above two photographs are of the same dog...
I have corrected the unpigmented third eyelid only, using Photo Shop!)

NB: Thes eyes above are a little loose in lower lid and placed too far apart
and are not as frontally placed as the well placed eyes above.

Unpigmented third eyelids (nictitating membrane) can spoil the expression, but are purely a COSMETIC FAULT only, (in the same vein as uneven head markings, uneven brindling, etc).

Some dogs have a large membrane which can look to cover a large part of the eye; others have smaller ones which go almost unnoticed, particularly if the dog has tight eye rims.

(Note:Most breeders prefer a dog to have two dark "haws", but will accept one or both upigmented eyes on an otherwise good dog. Although it is possible to have fully pigmented eyes with white head markings, the incidence of unpigmented third eyelids occuring is more common in these dogs, than in dogs with "plain" faces.)

Therefore as a judge, if the dog in front of you is a better specimen STRUCTURALLY, than the other dogs in the class, the unpigmented eye/eyes should be ignored.


Male-Thorn Crest's Raffaello at 13 months Female - Eng.Ch.Bucksteps Bittersweet Male-Ch Rosends Corporate Raider SOM

Explaining the Skull of the Boxer > > >

Furrows on Top of Skull

The head should be "clean", and free of wrinkle. Furrows will appear on the top of the head only, when the dog is alerted. (Wrinkles or furrows appearing on the sides of the skull, should be penalised.)

Excessive wrinkling leads to a "heavy" looking head - not clean as the standard requires.

The skin must be thin, not be thick, as thick heavy skin not only makes the head look wider but allows the flews to be too deep and heavy, pulling the eye sockets down and spoiling the expression.

Wrinkles or small folds will be evident on each side of the muzzle which fills in the break between muzzle and skull.
(See History and Purpose )

Slight, but not excessive "quilting" is also evident over the bridge of the nose helping to pad out the muzzle.


If the ears are cropped they should stand firmly erect, if uncropped they are medium sized, and high set, carried slightly lifted and tilted forward towards the side of the cheeks.  In both cases the ears are very mobile.

Male - Am.Ch.Scenicvu's Mountain Breaker Tonup Original Sin

Head Markings

The dark mask is confined to the muzzle area and should not extend too far upwards on the skull creating a sombre expression. The mask must be as dark as possible and not diluted!

A dark shading is always evident around the eyes, but a small break of coat colour should be evident on the side of the head between this shading and the mask on the actual muzzle area. This is more evident in fawn Boxers than in brindle Boxers.

Athough the dark mask is required in the standard, many dogs have white markings across their muzzle and between their eyes. These markings can look attractive, as long as they do not cover the dark mask entirely.

Plain black faces are also very attractive and equally acceptable in the show ring.

Don't ever let "off centre", or uneven head markings distract you from appreciating an otherwise good head.  These markings are very common and quite acceptable on a Boxer.




| Home | Judging Type | History & Purpose | Temperament | Colour | The Side View | From the Front | The Head |
| More Heads | The Body | From the Rear | Movement | Standards | Anatomy | Famous Sires | Photo Gallery | Links |
| Differences Around the World | Body Style Comparisions | Beautiful Heads | Eye Shape | The Skull Shape | Optical Illusions |
| How Structure affects Movement | Choosing a Puppy | Contact Me |

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