White Boxer Facts

The Science and Genetics of White Boxers


Why This Website? Why Now?

White Boxer Facts is an unofficial offshoot of the 2020 American Boxer Club White Boxer Committee survey regarding the use of white Boxers in breeding programs. Despite a majority of survey responders supporting the notion, the Committee recommended no change to the ABC Code of Ethics. In response, a group of Boxer lovers petitioned the ABC to revise the COE to allow white Boxers in breeding programs. WBF was created to provide expert answers to the most common questions about breeding whites.

Despite advances in our knowledge of inheritance and the specific genes involved in Boxer coat colors and marking patterns, a number of myths persist about the white Boxer.  This website seeks to address those myths and answer the frequently asked questions that arise from them.

Why Change the COE?

The American Boxer Club Code of Ethics currently eliminates 20-25% of the Boxer population from breeding based solely on coat color. Scientifically, we know that aside from a slightly increased chance of deafness, white Boxers have the same potential for structure, health, and temperament as their fawn and brindle littermates. The continued treatment of white Boxers as second-class citizens is not only scientifically invalid, it is also detrimental to the breed in that it eliminates a significant percentage of potentially genetically healthy dogs for no reason other than appearance.

Dispelling the Myths About White Boxers

It’s not about everyone using white Boxers. It’s about allowing breeders a CHOICE.

Sometimes, the best puppy in a litter is fawn or brindle. Sometimes, though, the best puppy in a litter is white. If we really care about preserving our breed and improving the health for future generations, does it really make sense to eliminate 20% of our breeding prospects based solely on cosmetics?

White Boxers have the same genetic potential as their colored littermates

It has been 17 years since white Boxers were allowed Limited AKC Registration

It's been 6 years since they were allowed to be sold at pet puppy prices

Norway has allowed whites to be bred since 2016, and Sweden even longer

The American Boxer Club Health and Research Committee unanimously agreed that whites should be allowed to be bred

Breeder Ethics/Control

How can we  be sure white Boxers won’t be bred irresponsibly?

Genetics and Color Concerns

What will happen to flashy and plain Boxers if we include whites?

Deafness and Health Issues

Won’t we increase deafness and other health problems by using whites?

Rationale and Other Concerns

What will be gained by using whites? What have other countries learned?

What is the History of White Boxers?

Before the Boxer was an established breed, they were almost entirely fawn or brindle. In the mid-1800s an influx of English Bulldogs led to white markings becoming prevalent in the predecessors of the breed, and indeed white dogs played a foundational role in the development of the Boxer breed.

Why are White Boxers Considered Undesirable?

During World War I in Germany, Boxers were used as war dogs. The prevailing theory is that white dogs were too visible at night, and were thus unsuited for the job. (There are several holes in this theory and it raises more questions than it answers, but it’s still the prevailing theory.) Regardless, at around that time the Boxer Club in Germany decided that white puppies should not  be allowed to live, as they would take resources away from colored dogs that could be used for war work.  

What does the original standard say about white Boxers?

The 1904 Munich Boxer Club standard, the first standard used in the United States, made the following comments about white Boxers:

White, while not sought after as a basic color, is permissible. It is not objectionable as a mark of distinction.


Color is of least importance, even if the basic color is white, although in animals of equal qualifications the one with the least white would be preferred.

When were white Boxers disqualified from showing?

In 1925, the Munich Boxer Club disqualified both white and black Boxers from showing. This was in part due to the influx of black Boxers, which were the result of a Schnauzer-Bulldog cross. The American Boxer Club followed suit in 1938 with a major rewrite of the AKC breed standard to include the following language:

Disqualifications – Boxers with white or black ground color, or entirely white or black or any other color than fawn or brindle. (White markings are allowed but not exceed more than one third (1/3) of the ground color.)

This language has carried through for 84 years; the current AKC standard reads:

Boxers that are any color other than fawn or brindle. Boxers with a total of white markings exceeding one-third of the entire coat.

What did the original ABC Code of Ethics say about whites?

Originally, breeders were not allowed to include white puppies in their AKC litter counts, nor were they allowed to sell or give away white puppies. While never specifically stated, the default position of ABC was that breeders should euthanize white puppies at birth. (Either that, or keep them all, but there was stigma about even owning a white Boxer at that time.)

When was the ABC Code of Ethics changed?

The first change occurred in 1984, when breeders were allowed to place white Boxers in homes, at no cost. Whites still could not be included in the AKC litter  count.

The COE wasn’t updated again regarding whites until 2005, at which time they were allowed to be sold for veterinary expenses only, plus a refundable spay/neuter deposit, and given Limited AKC Registration.

What does the COE say about white Boxers now?

The most recent COE update occurred in 2016, when whites were allowed to be sold at the same price as fawn and brindle puppies. (Full registration of a white puppy is still an infraction, as is performing any breeding or signing any registration application that involves a white parent.)