Introducing The Boxer to the United States

The year is 1916, and the Boxer comes to America after proving to be the best of Red Cross dogs in the European War (World War I).

By Dog World Eds. | June 19, 2012

From the Archives of Dog World: Enjoy this all-access pass to dog history from the pages of the longest published dog magazine. This content remains in its original form and reflects the language and views of its time. Health and behavior information evolves and only the most current advice should be followed.

Dog World magazine May 1916One of the results of the great European war will prove of interest to dog fanciers in the United States. It is the establishment of a new breed on this side of the ocean, and what is particularly gratifying to a neutral nation, sides in the world struggle are repressed in the breeding. From the realms of the Kaiser comes one end of the cross and from England the other, and Uncle Sam is to be boss of the kennels.

The breed is known as the Boxer, and it is the result of a cross between a German Mastiff and the English Bulldog. The cross was suggested by Emperor William himself several years ago. This dog has proved to be the best of Red Cross dogs in the European war, and now the United States army will experiment with them in hunting up wounded on the battle field.

For years, the medical officers of the United States Army have realized that trained Red Cross dogs should be made a part of the medical arm of the service, but nobody seemed to take any interest in the subject. So it was that, until recently, the army continued to enjoy the destinction of being the only service of any first-class power that did not own a single dog trained to hunt the wounded in battle. But at last the deficiency has apparently been overcome, and in a few years the American Red Cross dog should be as famous and as well trained as his fighting brothers and sisters of Europe’s armies.

"The army’s first Red Cross dog contingent was shipped to Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, last month. The dogs, all puppies, numbered six, and are without question the most valuable of their kind in the United States,” says the The New York Times. "The fact that the army now owns them is not due to the foresight of the Government at Washington but to the generosity of two patriotic American citizens, Mr. and Mrs. M. R. Spellman of New York City. The puppies are pedigreed German Boxer dogs, whose ancestors belonged to Emperor William of Germany and the late King Edward VII, of England. This breed of dog, according to military observers, has proved to be the king of Red Cross dogs in the European war.” They are the leaders of all the German dog detachments, and are also found in the canine organizations of France, England, and other belligerents.
      
According to the New York Times, "Rolfe, the father of the puppies, was given to Mr. Spellman in 1910 by a New York stockbroker. His registered pedigree shows that he is a full-blooded member of the Kaiser’s famous kennel family. Wanda, the mother of Uncle Sam’s Red Cross puppies, comes from the almost equally famous Boxer Kennels of Munich. These two and their puppies are said to be the only fullblooded genuine Boxer dogs in the United States. The name Boxer was given to the cross breed by the Kaiser becouse of the fact that it was during the Boxer outbreaks in China that he received from his uncle, the late King Edward, the blooded English Bulldog that became the sire of the famous animals of the present time. The mother dog, a pedigreed German Mastiff, was from the Kaiser’s own Kennels.”

Capt. Edgar C. Jones of the Medical Corps of the Army has been designated by Surgeon General William C. Gorgas to take charge of the dogs and supervise their training. Captain Jones is on duty with the Second United States Calvary at Fort Ethan Allen.

Read the New York Times 1916 article.

Excerpted from Dog World magazine, May 1916, Vol. 1, No. 5. For back issues of Dog World, click here.


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