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The following are posts on different topics which we have posted to the Showboxer-L list over the years. They give our perspective on a number of topics--and are just that. Our perspective.

Ear Cropping/Natural Ears ABC National Specialty Boxer diet Exhibiting plain Boxers Conformation/The Boxer Standard/Breeding Handling and judging Dog shows Boxer health issues Fighting Boxers White Boxers Boxer art Boxer temperament

Ear Cropping/Natural Ears

Date:         Wed, 10 Dec 1997 19:55:12 +0000
From:         Judy Voran <jvoran@NETZONE.COM>
Subject:      Ear cropping--what is humane?


> I don't think cropping is necessarily inhumane, but I loath the process--
> anesthesia, stitches, scabs, puss, taping for months on end.  If others
> choose to do it, I have no objection.  I would like to right to choose
> not to and still have an equal chance in the show ring.  Cropping can by
> no stretch of the imagination be considered more humane than not
> cropping.

*Humane*:
Having feelings and inclinations creditable to man; kin,d benevolent.
Humanizing; refining.
Characterized by kindness and compassion.
Marked by an emphasis on humanistic values and concerns.

*Humanistic*--adj. referring to humanism:
A doctine or attitude concerned primarily with human beings; their
values, capacities, achievements.

I think Beth has raised a very important point for me.  I'm taking off
here from her statement; I'm moving away from her statement to my own
viewpoint.  I have no idea to what extent she would agree or disagree
with what I am about to say.

I think that a large part of a very valid disagreement over whether
cropping and docking should be an accepted practice may revolve around
the matter of a usage of terms.  Our society often indicts a practice or
a thought or a belief by applying a term which elicits a reflexive
response.  In the case of the term "inhumane" or "not humane" many
people will immediately reject a practice so labeled without really
defining the term or asking whether it truly applies.

I think it's important to define the term humane as it applies to ear
cropping and tail docking.  Is it irredeemably or truly unkind or
indicative of lack of benevolence to have cosmetic surgery performed on
a dog?  How do the terms kindness or unkindness apply to this one
procedure in relationship to the overall experience of the dog with its
family?  How does the perception of about surgery by the human involved
affect the person's  response to arguments for or against cropping and
docking?  How involved is the human in the procedure?  Is there
kindness, benevolence, support in the treatment of the dog, before,
during and after surgery?

Cropping procedures definitely differ--anesthetics used, surgical
procedures used, aftercare.  Is it possible to universally indict the
procedure of ear cropping based on individual procedures that you
personally  don't like?  Some people approach the prospect of surgery
with fear and intense emotional feeling.  On the other hand, I've had
several friends who have elected cosmetic surgery and have emerged from
the procedure ready to do it again--not me, you understand :-).

Each and every day we are presented with graphic acts of cruelty, gross
negligence, premeditated mayhem--to these we may apply without much
equivocation the term "inhumane".  I don't apply the term "inhumane" to
professional surgical procedures in which the puppy's owner is there,
taking part, with the puppy.  Others of you may.

Let us not, however, in our different perceptions and experiences indict
each other by general terms.  Sometimes that is how we allow ourselves
to be defeated.  Let us closely define the terms we use so that we may
insist that others define theirs--their arguments may be refuted if they
are denied the right to indict by labelling.

I am pro-choice on the subject of ear cropping--this position is taken,
however, without intense feeling.  We'll crop; we certainly accept a
different decision on the part of others.  However, to me, pro-choice
does not mean the abandonment of standard.  If breeders choose not to
crop, there needs to be a stated standard by which uncropped Boxers are
judged.  Please don't tell me that ears suddenly cease to be important.
Boxers are a head and expression breed (part of being true to type)
along with all the other discussions of temperament, soundness,
movement, body conformation, etc.  Correct presentation of ears whether
cropped or uncropped is important to the overall expression of nobility
which has drawn many of us, in part, to our love of the breed.

Judy Voran
Strawberry Boxers
Glendale, AZ
jvoran@netzone.com


Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 20:29:55 +0000 From: Judy Voran <jvoran@NETZONE.COM> Subject: Ears a poppin' How is it that this list could discuss issues of white Boxers with the kind of decorum and restraint and the amount of significant information that should merit awards--and then turn to a discussion of ear cropping that produces the scurries, flurries and growlings reminiscent of Boxer turf wars--so that many stand back and say "Whoa--what is going on here?" One possible cause of the confusion that leads to turf wars is that there is not a lot of hard information to go by on the issue of ear cropping. It's not a matter of genetics, it's a matter of human election and personal preference--and also, perhaps, shall we say it--politics. We stand or fall on the Boxer standard on issues of physical conformation and the Boxer standard, I think, has been equivocal on ears. The standard statement refers to an ear that is cropped and erect, but, as many have pointed out, does not fault an uncropped ear. The problem with most equivocal statements is that it merely refers argument until a later date when the creators of the statement aren't around to take the flack-- :-) So--the present Board decided to make an executive statement about the issue of uncropped Boxers and those of the Boxer community who are versed in Site Based Decison Making said "Like hell you will." Which leaves the Boxer community back at square one and following the precepts of their Boxer companions--standing on their hind feet, pawing at the air, and growling. For God's sake people let us respect one another. Respect Boxer history which has a tradition of cropped ears from at least the 17th century. Respect the people who have maintained that tradition--they are people who were intelligent, caring and had the respect of their contemporaries. Respect those who bred and developed and PROTECTED the Boxer in all those long, lonely years of WWI and WWII. You wouldn't have Boxers to love and be devoted to if they hadn't been the guardians of the breed. They cropped ears, they culled puppies, they did all those political and social things which may be currently unacceptable, but they preserved, protected, and passed on the heritage of a breed which, if we agree on nothing else, we agree has a spirit and personality and devotion to us to which we are committed. Social thought is like the currents of the ocean, it moves, it shifts--it is enhanced by El Nino--:-) Significant sections of social thought now say "Is it reasonable to submit animals to human determined procedures which do not directly bear on the health or social well-being of the dog?" This segment desrves the attention and respect of the traditionalists. There is a spectrum of social thought in our Boxer community--there are the conservatives who want to act to preserve the traditional appearance and standard of the Boxer--are they pariahs, or are they the standard bearers of a long and honored Boxer tradition? There are those who are sensitive to the nuances of current social conscience and personal preference--these are the activists who would at least like to change the tradition to allow for choice in the matter of cropping. And--there are the outside forces that would like to wrench the decision making out of the hands of the Boxer community and force it into the mold they have designed. The matter of ear cropping is, in my view, relatively minor. The issues of respect for tradition, for social currency, the awareness of outside social forces is paramount. We must agree on that which is our focus--our Boxers. We must agree on mutual respect for all of us who maintain that focus--whatever our position on the spectrum. We must work to expose the fallacies and extremist positions of those who have agendas other than ours. Personally, I think the only possible position regarding elective surgery today in a socially and culturally diverse world is choice. But I thik the options stop there. I don't think that another option is political imposition. I think we need to concentrate more on the problems presented by political absolutists than by where we are on a narrow social spectrum. So, people, please stop wasting energy and social creditability arguing over whether Boxers should have erect or "natural" ears. Let's focus on those attributes of Boxers which form the core of their meaning for us and concentrate on preserving that. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ jvoran@netzone.com
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 21:53:50 -0700 From: Bruce and Judy Voran <jvoran@NETZONE.COM> Subject: Choice: What are you willing to commit? I have to post one more perspective on the subject of ear cropping and choice. I pose the question--what are you willing to commit? -------- says that in the show arena there is no choice about ear cropping. I agree. I don't see a choice. I don't see the judges presented with quality Boxers whose owners have chosen not to crop their ears. Except for Bliss Bancroft, I don't see one kennel that has currently committed quality Boxers with handlers to the show ring. (Please God, don't let me have twenty irate messages tomorrow citing the Boxers that I have overlooked :-) ) I have seen one interesting entry in the West lately, but it is owner-handled (amateurishly--forgive me) and I think the dog took a class this spring. But that might have been the class it would have taken had its ears been cropped. You say that the standard has been changed. It has been changed to say that Boxers will be penalized to the degree to which they deviate from the standard. That includes all the ways in which an individual Boxer deviates from all aspects of the standard. That still leaves judges with a lot of leeway. Judges must take into account the whole dog, and the degree to which an individual judge may decide that an individual Boxer deviates from the standard in various respects may still leave the quality uncropped Boxer at the head of the line. I said in my previous post that progress is slow, but progress in showing uncropped Boxers is at a standstill unless someone does it, with intelligence and committment. Yep, it also takes money. And it may take money that is not going to have an immediate payoff, in champions or in group winners--although the Bancrofts can claim champins and group winners. I suspect quite strongly that if the Boxer Standard were changed tomorrow to have no penalties for uncropped ears and were to have a description for uncropped Boxers against which the entrants could be judged, there would be no winners--because there would be no entrants. People have yet to commit to walking their talk. And the uncroppped Boxer entries need to be Boxers that have all the qualities of type, soundness, and balance that would make them winners as cropped Boxers. Breeders will have to put a significant number of uncropped Boxers in the ring. Judges must have the opportunity to judge more than one or two Boxers that differ from the entries they usually see in the ring. If a group of people want to change things, they have to commit to the change they want. That quite probably means money, time, and possibly a non-completed championship on a deserving uncropped Boxer as it pioneers in the ring. The same thing applies to plain Boxers. Changing perceptions takes time and takes commitment. What must happen? 1. Look at your litters. Choose the puppy dog or bitch that best meets the standard and has ears that will enhance the dog if not cropped. 2. Evaluate the puppy as you would any show prospect. 3. Choose the puppy that best combines the qualities of 1 & 2. 4. Do not crop the pupppie's ears. 5. Train the puppy and find a handler for the puppy as you would if you were planning to launch the 'Cropped Boxer of the Year.' 6. Stick with your commitment. 7. Make other like commitments. 8. Don't complain if all does not come out as you would hope. 9. Rejoice in your victories. You do have a choice--the choice to take action. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ jvoran@netzone.com
ABC National Specialty Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 21:55:43 +0000 Reply-To: jvoran@netzone.com Subject: The Clan gathers In other, older days there were clan gatherings along rivers, in meadows, in small towns. Next week a very special clan will gather together, but not every member of the clan will be able to be there. Clan members have been making preparations for months to journey to a small Maryland community called Fredrick and there to hold games and competitions to judge which of the Boxers among them are Good, Better, and which is the Best. There may be white tents with pennants flying. There will be caravans, large and small which will provide warm, secure housing for the Boxers--and their people. Clan members will greet each other with special warmth and the assurance that all the other clan members belong to the clan because they have that same special love for a breed of dog called Boxer. Clan members will hold gatherings to learn more about the Boxer breed--judges' seminars and health seminars--better to ensure the welfare of those Boxers entrusted to their care. Clan members will gather for the clan meeting to decide important issues which affect the future of the Boxer dog and will gather for dinner on the next night to celebrate together. The climax of this week will come on Friday when the Best of the Boxer dogs will be chosen. The excitement and anticipation will build to that point--and yet, after that moment of climax, there is a moment of sadness as all realize that another week of special competition, pleasure, and friendship has come to an end--with the promise to meet again the first week in May in a small Maryland community called Frederick.... Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ jvoran@netzone.com
Boxer diet Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 09:00:27 -0700 From: Judy Voran <jvoran@NETZONE.COM> Subject: Home cooking/commercial foods What has intrigued me about the discussion of home cooking for dogs vs. the feedng of commercial foods is the passion the subject inspires in some folks. It has the taste and flavor (allusion intended) of religious zeal. In some instances, the implication has been that if you don't home cook for your dogs, you don't love them. Quite frankly, I don't think that people who feed commercial food get as passionate about the subject, because their decision is a practical one--dogs are healthy and doing fine on commercial food, time may be an element, the subject of food in general is not of overriding concern to them. I remember seeing an old movie shot at the Mazilane kennels. One brief shot was of several people cooking up what must have been food for the dogs in huge pots. I don't remember how many Boxers the Wagners had in their kennels at their height, but that must have been a whale of a lot of home cooking!! Of course this was before commercial dog foods were big items, and probably a lot of people did feed their dogs some kind of cooked food--horse meat comes to mind. Over the years, I vaguely recall that I have run across favorite recipes from different early breeders that included various ingredients--oatmeal figuring in many of them, along with meat, of course, and other ingredients. We currently have eight adult dogs and three puppies at home (in the house, not kennels). We feed a mixture of commercial kibble with a stew, the ingredients of which vary, but usually includes beef, chicken, or turkey, or a combination; oatmeal; and some mixture of vegetables. This is added more for flavor than for substance. We also supplement with fish oil caps, vitamin E and vitamin C. This works for us. Coats are shiny and glossy, energy and spirit are high, stools are firm and compact (always an issue with multiple dogs), visits to the vet are rare (knock on wood). At one point after we moved to our current home about 12 years ago we were having problems with diarrhea, but now that we have a water filtering system, we seem to have taken care of that problem. The point is--I think we use a balanced approach that works for us. I would never dream of pushing or insisting that someone do what we do. I am never one who is susceptible to the suggestion that I read so and so's book. As a librarian and general citizen I have seen more books with more diets (conflicting with one another, I might add) in the last dozen years than Carter has Little Liver Pills. So asking me to read a diet book to prove a point really doesn't carry a lot of weight with me. Reason, balance, and common sense in the area of diet and nutrition will probably carry us through. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ jvoran@netzone.com
Exhibiting plain Boxers Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 20:03:28 +0000 Reply-To: Judy Voran <jvoran@NETZONE.COM> Subject: BREEDING: Color and the tale of two brothers (very long, I'm sorry) ...Back to the subject line--I'm a johnny-come-lately to the discussion of plain Boxers and breeding priorities, but I offer the following questions and some tentative conclusions. EXHIBITION: Sometimes I think that breed clubs, exhibitors, and very lastly the judges (because in the wee hours of the morning most judges will acknowledge themselves to be mere mortals) are given far greater weight in breeding priorities than they ask for. How does this apply to the issue of color? Numbers of exhibitors complain that a plain dog cannot take a placement in the ring because of a prejudice against plain Boxers. What's the cause? One of the causes might be a lack of plain Boxers who have the characteristics of quality champions in the ring. Solution: Flood the show rings with quality plain Boxers. This involves putting your money where your mouth is. It may mean that after you look at a litter with quality flashy puppies and quality plain puppies that you place your quality flashy puppies in pet homes and put your carefully hoarded show money behind your quality plain Boxers. On the other hand.......... Bruce and I, over the years, have looked very carefully in each and every litter at the plain puppies, and we've kept a number into maturity hoping to find in them those qualities that will produce champions. We've finished one plain one. The money involved was not a whole lot greater for the plain one, than the flashy ones. She was a quality bitch. The issue here is that so far, we've only found one. Scenario: In one litter we had two males, one flashy and one "plain". .....watching the development carefully--showing both dogs. Both dogs are healthy. In those days we did not have routine Holter monitor testing (in Arizona we still don't have), but health tests available and family history shows a healthy dog. Since they are littermates, they have the same pedigree. The sire of these two dogs is a SOM. The dam--as it turns out later, produced three champions. Had the plain one finished she would have produced four and been a DOM. The flashy brother has a good bite, but the head is somewhat lacking in muzzle, shallow under the eyes. The dog is longer than square in the body but he has very sound movement. Topline was something of a problem but improved consistently as the dog matured. He started his show career at 14 months. He won consistently over the next few months--not a spectaclular winner, but a consistent winner through his championship points. His plain brother has a rather old-fashioned head. Good bite, but the head is a little heavy, a little wet--a very square muzzle and a very appealing expression. He is short backed, a little leggy--perhaps lacking some in depth of chest. His movement is very sound, both in side movement, and in down and back. Despite his heavier head, he has a good arch of neck. Overall, he is not as elegant as his flashier brother. Topline is also something of a problem, but not in the same way as his flashy brother. That dog was a touch longer in back, and the topline became less of a problem. In this plainer dog, the slight rise in this topline is noticeable if you look hard enough, but it may actually contribute to his movement. After showing him for several months and getting some long looks (but no points) from breeder judges, we placed him in a home where he could take care of his own 9 year old girl. The flashy one finished, but the plain one didn't. Both dogs have the same pedigree. Both dogs have faults. Every dog has conformation faults. Should both dogs have finished? Was the plain one overlooked unfairly? Did the flashy gain his championship points unfairly over his plainer brother? The flashy dog has produced very well--into the second generation. He has not reproduced his faults The plain one has not been bred. Would he have produced as well? What weight should color have in breeding decisions? *Given that a potential sire, flashy or plain, has a pedigree and health tests which show that dogs from that line produce healthy, sound dogs*, what should be the breeding priorities? Color, type, movement, head, bite.........what? If one of your top priorities is color, and you don't feel that plain dogs have their day in the show ring, then I say again... Put your money where your mouth is. Place your quality flashy dogs in pet homes and back your quality plain dogs in the show ring. Don't breed your bitch to a flashy dog just because he is a champion. But don't breed your bitch to a dog just because he is plain. Take a long look at your breeding strategy. Decide the qualities of the Boxers you want three or four or more generations down the line and then breed to the dogs--flashy or plain--that will help you reach your goal in the straightest possible line. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ jvoran@netzone.com
Conformation/The Boxer Standard/Breeding Subj:Breeders Date:7/13/00 4:08:20 PM Central Daylight Time From:voran@FUTUREONE.COM (Bruce & Judy Voran) To: SHOWBOXER-L@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU Defining who you are is a fundamental life-long process. Defining who we are as breeders is fundamental to those of us who breed, but perhaps not all of us attempt to define this for ourselves. The crux of the matter, I think, is that the definition is not the same for everyone. Definition of life purpose is like DNA--unique to the individual. Yet so often we are certain that everyone must come to the same conclusions we do, and if they do not, that is where the antagonisms, hostilities, fights, lawsuits, and wars begin. Fundamental to breeding is how you view the dogs you breed. Are these dogs your friends, your family members, your children--or are they stock? If you view them in the light of friends and family you will make one set of choices in your breeding program. If you view them as stock you will make another set of choices, some of them diametrically opposed to the first view. If you haven't defined exactly what your viewpoint is and haven't acknowledged it at least to yourself, you're going to be working from constantly shifting ground. Those people who breed from the viewpoint of a close family relationship with their dogs may view the stock breeder with disdain. Those who breed from the viewpoint of stock may view the first group of breeders as having a superiority complex. Breeders who exhibit their dogs in the conformation ring may well be breeding stock. If you visit their places of residence or business you may find 28 crates stacked to the ceiling or the dogs may be in runs with little chance of ever getting out to run and zero chance of ever getting to interact with people in a personal way. But that's because they are stock. The house and kennel grounds may be immaculate (always suspect with me because I don't see how you can have a canine family without a reasonable amount of dust and confusion.) The dogs get regularly measured food and medication on schedule. Exercise is on schedule. Love and attention are noticeably lacking. The breeder may have house dogs but they are worlds apart from the kennel dogs. The kennel resembles a well-run dairy farm or horse-breeding farm. But on what grounds can you criticize this? Dogs as stock is a concept at least as old as the concept dogs as unique human companion. Holding the second view does not give you inherent superiority or the right to insist that the breeder of dogs as stock halt operations ASAP. Please understand--I am in no way talking businesses or residences in which there are physically abused, malnourished, sick dogs. I think we have just as much right to try to eliminate these operations from the planet as we have to eliminate nursing homes or foster homes that house physically abused, malnourished, sick human beings. Breeders who view dogs as family may set out to teach breeders of dogs as stock that they are wrong, that they are acting solely from profit-making motivation and that they may be seriously short-changing the quality of the lives of the dogs they breed. But if you view dogs as stock your viewpoint on quality of life is most likely quite different than the viewpoint of the breeder of dogs as family. So the question arises--teach what? Those of us who are or have been teachers know that it is not so difficult to teach things in the cognitive domain--mulitiplication tables, historical facts, agreement of subject and verb. It is much more difficult to teach things in the affective domain (feelings, beliefs, emotions, values). Not only is it more difficult, but you are always open to the charge (sometimes quite justified) that you are trying to impose your values on another human being. So if we are trying to teach the breeders as kennel business owner for profit that they should be adopting other motivations or abandoning the business altogether, we'd better be pretty sure of our ground. Like all teachers, we need to define exactly what it is that we want to teach, what is our own motivation for teaching it, how will we teach it, can we effect the results we want with the methods we plan to use--and is this something we should try to teach at all? Are we actually being insufferable busybodies? After all, we view animal-rightists who open crate doors at dog shows to free our caged friends from their entrapment or who actively seek a ban on the breeding of brachyocephalic dogs as being insufferable busybodies at best or exhibiting criminal behavior at worst. It all depends on your viewpoint. Probably the bottom-line for any breeder of whatever persuasion is what happens to the stock--or to the puppies that we produce from our beloved champion children. Breeders of stock may assert that they fulfill a need for quality puppies for homes and that they are placing their stock in situations where they will have quality lives. That is quite possibly true. Breeders who breed selectively for the show ring also claim that they place their puppies in quality homes. In all honesty, I doubt that any breeder of whatever persuasion is so able to control the destinies of all of their puppies that they can claim with 100% certitude that their every puppy they have placed is leading a life of unqualified canine fulfillment all their lives. Any one of us who breeds is playing God. God is often described as all-powerful, omnipotent, but I suspect that God, observing His creation, is also humble. Certainly we as breeders should be. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Strawberry, AZ
From: Bruce and Judy Voran Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 1999 10:50 PM To: SHOWBOXER-L@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU Subject: Boxer standard in 1945 ...I thought some of you might be interested in the standard aw published in 1945. This comes from the book, Judging the Boxer, by Enno meyer, published by Orange Judd in 1945. Available at many vendors. Comparing the wording of that standard with the current gives a historical perspective that some list members might find interesting or instruction. THE BOXER DESCRIPTION AND STANDARD OF POINTS GENERAL APPEARANCE The Boxer is a medium sized, smooth-haired, sturdy dog of short, square figure and strong limbs. The musculation is very clean, and powerfully developed, standing out plastically from under the skin. His movements are alive with energy, the gait although firm is elastic, the stride free and roomy, the carriage proud and noble. As a service and guard dog, he must combine with substance and ample power that considerable degree of elegance absolutely essential to his further duties: those of an enduring escort dog with horse, bicycle or carriage, and as a splendid jumper. Only a body whose individual limbs are built to withstand the most strenuous mechanical effort, assembled as a complete and harmonious whole, can respond to such combined demands. Therefore, to be at his highest developed efficiency, he must never he plump or heavy, and while equipped for great speed, he must not be racy. The head imparts to the Boxer a unique individual stamp peculiar to him alone. It must be in perfect proportion to his body, and above all, it must never be too light. His muzzle is his most distinctive feature and the greatest value is to be placed on its being of correct form and in absolutely proper proportion to the skull. In judging the Boxer, the first thing to be considered is general appearance and the relation of substance to elegance and of the desired proportions of the individual parts of the body to each other. Consideration is to be given to an attractive color. After which, the individual parts are to be examined for their correct constructions and their functions. Special attention is to be devoted to the head. FAULTS:-Head not typical, plump bull-doggy appearance, light bone, lack of proportion, bad condition, deficiency in nobility. HEAD The beauty of the head depends upon the harmonious proportion between the muzzle and the skull. From whatever direction you view the head, whether from the front, from the top, or from the side, the muzzle must always appear in correct relationship to skull. That means, it must never appear too small. The head should be clean, neither showing deep wrinkles nor dewlap. Normally folds will spring up on the top of the skull when the ears are held erect. And they are always indicated from the root of the nose running downward on both sides of the muzzle.'The dark mask confines itself to the muzzle and must be in distinct relief to the color of the head so that the face will not have a somber expression. The muzzle must be powerfully developed in length, breadth and height. It must not be pointed or narrow, short or shallow. Its shape is influenced first through the formation of both jaw-bones, second through the placement of teeth in same, and third through the quality of the lips. The two jaw-bones do not terminate in a normal perpendicular level in the front, but the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper and bends slightly upward. The Boxer is normally undershot. The upper jaw is broad where attached to the skull and maintains this breadth except for a very slight tapering to the front. The canine teeth should be as widely separated from each other as possible. The incisors (6) are all in one row, the middle teeth not projecting; in the upper jaw they are slightly concave, in the lower they are in a straight line. Thus both jaws are very wide in front. The bite is powerful and sound, the teeth set in the most normal possible arrangement. The lips complete the formation of the muzzle. The upper lip is thick and padded, it fills out the hollow space in front formed by the projection of the lower jaw and is supported by the fangs of the same. Therefore, these fangs must stand as far apart as possible and be of good length so that the front surface of the muzzle shall become broad and almost square, and form an obtuse (rounded) angle with the top line of the muzzle of the nose. The lower edge of the upper lip rests on the edge of the lower lip. The rapandous (bent upward) part of the under-jaw with the lower lip (sometimes called the chin) must not rise above the front of the upper lip, but much less may it disappear under it. It must, however, be plainly perceptible when viewed from the front as well as the side, without protruding and bending upward in the manner of the English Bulldog. The teeth of the underjaw must not be seen when the mouth is closed; neither may the Boxer show his tongue when his mouth is closed. The top of the skull is slightly arched. It must not be so short that it is rotund, nor too flat, nor too broad, and the occiput must not be too pronounced. The forehead forms a distinct stop with the top line of the muzzle which must not be forced back into the forehead like that of a Bulldog, but neither should it slope away (appear down faced). The tip of the nose lies somewhat higher than the root of the muzzle. The forehead shows a suggestion of furrow which, however, must never be too deep especially between the eyes. Corresponding with the powerful set of teeth, the cheeks are accordingly well developed without protruding from the head with too bulgy an appearance. Preferably they should taper into the muzzle in a slight, graceful curve. The ears are set high, clipped to a point, and are fairly long, the shell not too broad, and are carried perpendicularly. The dark, brown eyes, not too small nor protruding nor deep set, disclose an expression of energy and intelligence, but must never appear gloomy, threatening, or piercing. The eye must have a dark rim. The nose is broad and black, very slightly turned up; the nostrils are broad with the nasolabial line running between them. FAULTS:-Lack of nobility and expression, somber face, unserviceable bite whether due to disease or to faulty tooth placement. Pincher or Bulldog head, driveling, badly trimmed ears, visible conjunctiva (Haw). Showing teeth or tongue, light socalled "bird of prey" eye. Sloping top line of muzzle. Too pointed or too light a bite (snipey). NECK Round, not too thick and short, but of ample length, yet strong and muscular and clean cut throughout, without dewlap, running with a distinctly marked nape in an elegant arch down to the back. FAULT:-Dewlap. BODY Build is square, that is to say, of the profile lines, one is horizontal over the back; this, with two vertical lines, one touching the shoulder tip in the front, the other the hip protuberance in the rear, form with the ground level a square. The torso rests on trunklike straight legs with strong bones. CHEST AND FRONT LEG MEASUREMENTS:-The chest is deep, reaching down to the elbows; the depth of the chest amounts to half of the height of the dog at the withers. The ribs are well arched, but are not barrel shaped, extending far to the rear. The loins are short, close and taut and lightly tucked up; the lower stomach line blends into an elegant curve to the rear. The shoulders are long and sloping, close lying but not excessively covered with muscle. The upper arm is long, forming a right angle to the shoulder blade. The forelegs when seen from the front must be straight, stand parallel to each other and have strong, firmly articulated (joined) bones. The elbows must not press too closely to the chest wall nor stand off too far. The underarm is perpendicular, long and firmly muscled. The pastern joint of the foreleg is clearly defined, but not distended. The Pastern is short, slightly slanting, but standing almost perpendicular to the ground. Feet, small with tightly arched toes and hard soles (cats paws). FAULTS:-Too broad and low in front, loose shoulders, chest hanging between the shoulders, hare's feet, hollow flanks, hanging stomach, turned legs and toes. BACK The withers should be clearly defined, the whole back short, straight, broad and very muscular. FAULTS-Carp (roach) back, sway back, thin lean back, long narrow, sharp sunken in loins. Weak union with the croup. HINDQUARTERS Strongly muscled, the musculation hard as a board and standing out very plastically through the skin. The thighs are not narrow and flat but are broad and curved, the breech musculation is also strongly developed. The croup slightly sloped, flat arched, broad. Tail attachment high rather than too deep. Tail clipped, carried upward. The pelvis should be long and especially broad in females. Upper and lower thigh long, hip and knee joint with as much angle as possible. In standing position the knee should reach so far forward that it would meet a vertical line drawn from the hip protuberance to the floor. The hock angle should be about 140 degrees, the lower part of the foot at a slight slope of about 95 to 100 degrees from the hock joint to the floor; that is, not completely vertical. Seen from behind the hind legs are straight. The hocks clean, not distended, supported by powerful rear pads, the rear toes just a little longer than the front toes, but similar in all other respects. FAULTS:-Falling off or too arched or narrow croup, low set tail, higher in back than in front, steep, stiff, or too little angulated hindquarters, light thighs, cow hocks, bow legs and crooked legs, dewclaws, soft hocks, narrow heel, tottering, waddling gait, hare feet, hindquarters too far under or too far behind. *****Note the change in height upward--- HEIGHT Males-22 inches to 24 inches at the withers. Females-21 inches to 23 inches at the withers. Males should not go under and females should not go over. WEIGHT Males around 23 inches should weigh over 66 lbs. and females of about 22 inches should weigh around 62 lbs. COAT Short, shiny, lying smooth and tight to the body. COLOR The colors are fawn and brindle, fawn in various shades from light yellow to dark deer red. The brindle variety should have black stripes on a golden yellow or red brown back-ground. The stripes should be clearly defined and above all must not be grey or dirty. Stripes that do not cover the whole top of the body are not desirable. White markings in fawn and brindle dogs are not to be rejected; in fact, they are often very attractive in appearance. The black mask is absolutely required. When white stretches over the muzzle, naturally that portion of the black mask disappears. By the same token it is not possible to get black toe nails with white feet. It is desirable to have an even distribution of head markings. 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 must not exceed one third (1/3) of the ground color.) The character of the Boxer is of the greatest importance and demands the most solicitous attention. He is renowned from olden times for his great love and faithfulness to his master and household, his alertness and fearless courage as a defender and protector. He is harmless in the family, but distrustful of strangers, bright and friendly of temperament at play, but brave and determined when aroused. His intelligence and willing tractability, his modesty and cleanliness make him a highly desirable family dog and cheerful companion. He is the soul of honesty and loyalty, and is never false or treacherous even in his old age. FAULTS:-Viciousness, treachery, unreliability, lack of temperament, and cowardice.
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 21:03:53 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@FUTUREONE.COM> Subject: Boxer standard and the Golden Mean Today has been very interesting in Strawberry--warm, humid, and an inch and a half of rainfall in less than two hours. As I write the rain is continuing to drum on the metal roof of the deck with that rhythmic, drum-like sound that leads to introspection; Rachmaninoff is on the CD player. My thoughts turn to the current discussion on the world-wide Boxer. I try to envision the perfect Boxer. As I see it, a sound, well proportioned Boxer is a beautiful example of the principle of the Golden Mean. In mathematics the Golden Mean is a specific ratio; in art that ratio has been used to create objects of such proportion and grace that we immediately acknowledge their beauty. In the sense in which I apply this concept to the perfect Boxer the Golden Mean is the proportion of the parts of the Boxer body to each other and to the head which give the Boxer the ability to be a clean, powerful, graceful dog with the appearance and noble bearing which set it apart from other breeds. The standard of every breed, I think, strives to describe a beautiful animal--an animal which performs its function with beauty and grace. A Boxer is a working dog; if the Boxer is to perform its function it must be able to move over distance with power (which equals efficiency in movement and conservation of energy in the action.) The Boxer must be able to jump/leap, be agile enough to turn and maneuver quickly--which requires correct proportion of back to front quarters and height to length. Shoulders and rear assembly must combine in that proportion which promotes the smooth, ground-covering stride that we all understand and acknowledge when we see it. The forechest must have enough capacity to carry the heart and lungs of a working, active dog. The keel, the shoulders, and the backbone provide the foundation for the musculature for this active dog. The neck must be of sufficient strength and proportion to assist the dog in its hunting function. The head is the most characteristic feature of the Boxer, and, yet probably that feature of the Boxer that is the most open to personal perspective. It is the feature that sets the Boxer apart from other athletic, powerful working breeds. The Boxer head with its undershot jaw has been described, both verbally and graphically--depth of muzzle traditionally is the same as the length of the muzzle and the distance from the tip of the muzzle (nose) to the highest point of the skull is twice the length of the muzzle--but type has yet to be set in that most characteristic of Boxer features, and judges are all across the board when passing judgment on the Boxers in the ring before them. The American Boxer standard is very elastic. The standard has one disqualification and eleven faults--five, if you group them under their headings. And then there is the "any deviation" clause at the end which allows the judge significant latitude in determining to what extent any feature of any individual Boxer deviates from the standard. In comparison with other breed standards and with Boxer breed standards of earlier years, the current Boxer standard allows a great deal of individual discretion on the part of judges in judging the qualities of those individual Boxers in the ring. Because form in the Boxer should follow function and because beauty, grace, efficiency and stamina in a working dog are dependent upon the form, I think the concept of the Golden Mean should govern our perception of what our Boxers should be. Excessive height and/or length, no matter how we manipulate the wording of the standard, is going to adversely affect the ability of the Boxer to perform its function. Poor shoulder structure, lack of strength in the rear quarters, no matter how elegant these Boxers appear in the Group ring move us away from the concept of the Boxer as working dog. Boxers with atypical heads lack that feature which makes a Boxer a Boxer and not a Doberman, Rottweiler, or a Mastiff. A Boxer head, chiseled, clean and of proportions which best display the Golden Mean that have been described and illustrated in our standards causes even the most intense devotees of other breeds to stop and acknowledge in the Boxer a nobility of bearing and expression unique among breeds. Beauty, is indeed, to some extent in the eye of the beholder, and the culture of one country may shape what is considered to be a standard Boxer in that country. But I do hope that all of us, regardless of where we may be will keep in mind the function and form of the working dog, and the principles of proportion and moderation that will result in a medium-sized dog of power and grace--and, of course, the temperament the quintessential family dog and personal companion and friend. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Strawberry, AZ voran@futureone.com
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 21:01:42 -0700 Reply-To: jvoran@netzone.com Subject: CONFORMATION: Form and function (con't) Somehow, I think the Vorans might have been in at the beginnig of the discussion :- ) so I'd like to add a few further comments: One thing that I would like to add about judging any breed is that if you study the breed standard, and try to get at the heart--and soul--of the purpose and the appeal of the breed, and if you have an appreciation for beauty, you should be able to be a good judge the fundamental attributes of any breed. *Nearly* all breeds have a standard which translates the purpose of the breed to classical dimensions. No breed standard describes an ugly dog. There are some breed standards (which shall remain nameless here) that describe proportions and attributes that do not appeal to me, but that does not mean that the best of that breed does not have its own intrinsic beauty. So--in my view--we need to get back to the fundamental of all judging. Study the standard. No matter whether you are judging Breed or Group or BIS--understand the function of the breed you are judging. Judge all the entries of that breed according to the standard of the breed, not according to what is eye-catching. If you are a Group judge, judge as you are supposed to judge--each entry in the Group according to its breed standard, not according to which one catches your eye (I won't even go into handler recognition here.) And if you are juging BIS, you have an awsome responsibility........ I had a private exchange with another list member in which he mentioned that, to him, Boxers meant power. I replied with my definition of power which is strength combined with efficiency and grace. I believe that too many judges confuse energy with power. A powerful dog covers ground with grace, which is an economy of energy. A truly powerful dog may look lazy because that dog is covering ground at a greater rate with fewer steps. An energetic dog which lacks grace means that that dog must churn along--with great show of bodily movement--trying to keep up with the powerful dog that is moving effortlessly along. Some judges will award the energetic dog, confusing it with a powerful dog. And so the concept of power is lost.......... >From the comments to the original post, there are lots of people out there who hold the ideal of the Boxer as a *medium-sized*, *square* dog of power, yet graced with elegance, moving with an efficient ground-covering stride. I don't mean to imply that there aren't a lot of good Boxers being bred and shown that meet the standard, but sometimes, being shown and meeting the standard doesn't mean being recognized for fidelity to the standard as the dogs are judged. It is trends that bother me, and over 20 years, the trend, as I see it, is to the taller, racier, more spectacular dog which does not necessarily maintain the fidelity to the standard that calls for a dog with the proportions that provide (Stamina, Power, Grace = Beauty). Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ jvoran@netzone.com
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 19:15:38 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@FUTUREONE.COM> Subject: Re: Thinking - This could be trouble :-) Many things affect the decisions of breeders in how they will breed--which dogs they will choose for which bitches. One major element is what will win. There are many more all-breed shows than there are specialties, many more opportunities for points from all-breed judges than from breeder judges. And many people, especially those who may be just coming into the world of exhibiting and breeding, look at what will win. Any standard, illustrated or descriptive, is still open to the interpretation of the person viewing the standard. Many people take the standard to the ring, unsure of exactly what the standard is describing. They watch the results of the shows--especially the BOB/BISS classes--and believe that because X Boxer is winning the majority of the shows in which it is entered that this is the dog which best meets the Boxer standard because X number of judges have said so. At any one moment in time, the top winning five-ten Boxers are describing the Boxer standard to many people regardless of the picture the words and illustrations in the official ABC Standard may actually seem to paint. All-breed judges to whom we have spoken can be very outspoken about their judging process--they pick what looks good to them regardless of the standard. Let's say that you're at a small show. You have maybe 12 class dogs in front of you--dogs and bitches--none of whom closely meets the standard as you read it at the time when you had to pass your provisionals in the breed. What you do (according to the comments) is to look at the dog that best meets some criteria you have in mind--movement (regardless of head or overall proportion), proportion (of Boxers that you remember from some time in the past), head (regardless of movement or overall proportion), what you think will win in the Group ring (regardless of most anything except past performance), profile (this is a biggie), topline (related strongly to profile), conditioning (and this is what neophyte exhibitors forget--dogs need to be in excellent physical condition with good muscle tone and well-groomed to show off their excellent qualities to the fullest). Have you noticed how many cute puppy bitches whose movement lacks, but who wiggle endearingly, and who have a cute profile and prancing movement, win? What do they show in substance and stamina that will make them the mother of working dogs? Their lightness in head (head is a distinguishing characteristic of this breed) is forgiven because their head is cute. Some breeders note these results and then go back and try to breed Boxers that will win. Breeders who have the integrity to breed to their vision of the standard may find that they don't win a lot. Breeders who have no vision except to choose a sire from the top winning five to ten to breed to the Boxer bitch they love dearly, but who looks startlingly like a whippet, will produce Boxers who may win sooner or later--and thus the cycle is perpetuated. Shirley asks why Boxers differ so greatly from one country and one area to another. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What develops the educated eye? Experience, education, and a willingness to adhere to quality regardless of expediency. The Boxer breed is a recent breed in the sense of the short period of time in which we have had to set breed type. There is a breed type--a short-backed, square built dog with a uniquely proportioned head. A graceful dog of elegance (not spindly) and power who has the substance and stamina to be a leader among working dogs. A dog of powerful heart and lungs who has the endurance and strength to run and work and fight and hunt and then come home to tenderly guard and play with the children and be the best friend to all in the family. True, the physical expression of this standard may differ from country to country (and I find that I like a lot of what I see among the pictures of British Boxers), but this is probably the natural outcome of the differing cultural standards in the world. Art students continually study the world around them to refine their concepts of beauty--to adhere to integral beauty and to discard the ephemeral. A beautiful Boxer who conforms to the standard is truly a work of art, and we respond to them as such as well as to their beauty of soul. All breeders should make a millennial resolution to study the Boxer and to work to identify the essential qualities of form and substance of the breed. If we all do this conscientiously, then maybe the Boxers we see will begin to more closely resemble each other and more closely adhere to the Standard. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ voran@futureone.com
Handling and judging Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 22:23:28 -0700 Reply-To: voran@futureone.com From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@FUTUREONE.COM> I've read all the posts that have been posted about handlers and judging. Firstly, I think that any judge that makes a comment about the handling of a dog in the ring is totally out of line. Judges are in the ring to judge dogs not handlers.............. But............. As Lee Muirhead points out, judges must judge the dog as it appears in the ring at that period in time. Judges are not there to judge a dog's potential. Having said that--it is wonderful for the judge if there is a dog out there, because of its adherance to type, because of its soundness, because of the overall balance of the dog........just "grabs" you. That's great. But then there are those times when no dog overwhelms the judge with its qualities. Topline on dog A is not the greatest, but it is superior to Dog B and C in down and back movement. Dog B has a good topline, but is long and lacks maturity of body; dog C is square, tight, cobby, but while the head on dog C is square, it is slightly shallow under the eyes. And there is a significant overbite. Dog B was less than great in the down and back, but really put those feet down in a sound track on the go around--and it has a great mouth--and a good but not great head. When the judge judges the topline that is the topline of the dog on that day at that time--and that is where the handler may come in. Watch-----good handlers are best at toplines--the dogs stack very well. Movement is probably the next area that handlers outshine the novice. Handlers can try to distract the judge from a poor mouth, but the head is there for everyone to see. Now--go back to your own presentation. When there is an important meeting coming up, how do you dress, do you put on makeup, what is your body language? Details, as most everyone knows, are important. You choose the best presentation for yourself on important occasions because you know that people judge on how you look, act, and sound at that time. A dog show is no different. Back to the dogs. Do you as the owner/handler care enough to pay attention to the details? Or do you think that you can take your dog into the ring with little or no preparation and try to stack the dog and show the topline and the grace of the neck to its best advantage. Can you move with grace and spirit with the dog, or do you clump? It looks really easy outside the ring. Those handlers can do it............so can I. Back to the moment of judging. Every judge must give each and every dog his/her full attention and focus while judging. No judge should judge "up the lead", but every person who is showing a dog should have paid the same full attention to detail that the professional handlers have learned over time. The judge should exhibit the same focus on each dog. Each exhibitor has the right to expect that each dog will receive the same attention and that the judge will carefully evaluate the qualities they can see according to the breed standard. But the judge must focus on what they see in the ring, not what might happen in a couple of months, or what the dog *might* have looked like if the handler had stacked the dog in another way or moved it differently. The fundamental objective of every show should be that judges, exhibitors, and handlers should conduct themselves with a focus on the job at hand, a professionalism that exhibits courtesy and good sportsmanship to everyone, and a grace under fire that combines humour and a sense of fun. Because, folks--if we're not having fun at the dog show, we ought to be out running for President--now that's a show!!! Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ Voran@futureone.com
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 18:31:59 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@FUTUREONE.COM> Subject: Re: Judging I've been puzzling over how I feel about this response because it *is* important for the judge to see the dog presented and perform in a way that brings out the best in the dog. And it *is* important to bring out the best in beginning handlers because the allure of the dog show is that it is a theater for the interaction of people and dogs--dogs and people working together whether it be in obedience, field trials or conformation. The breed and group rings are also for the interaction of the exhibitors in the ring, the judges, and the exhibitors and interested people outside the ring. A good judge draws the ringside group into the judging experience--makes them feel a part of the experience. It is this interaction, this opportunity to see excellent dogs working with excellent people, that draws me back year in and year out to breeding and exhibiting Boxers. But should the judge exhibit the dog? I've seen judges restack a dog themselves, give the dog three chances to go down and back to see if the dog can get it right, and tell the handler what to do. Let's say that a judge has an entry of thirty dogs. And a firm directive from AKC at 2 1/2 minutes a dog. This includes the Winner's and Breed classes. And the judge must be fair to every dog exhibited How much more time than the time allotted can a kindly judge who wants to encourage and support the dog show world give to a poorly presented dog? For a judge to pounce upon a novice handler, simply because the handler is novice is inexcusable. To single out people who aren't obviously professional handlers for discourteous remarks is totally unprofessional. But for a judge to take a great amount of time with one dog because the handler is a novice, violates the principle of fair attention to every entry in the finite amount of time allotted. And so the judge is caught in a dilemma. Here is what appears to be a dog that could, if well presented, display a good topline, and move with grace and animation. However, as presented, the dog's neck is strung up, the topline is roached, the front feet are placed so as to appear "easty-westy"; in moving around the ring the dog lags and lacks spirit and grace. And so the judge suggests that the dog could possibly be better presented with someone else, umbrage is taken, and no one is happy. All these areas where evaluations are made are grey areas. The primary absolutes are respect, courtesy, and good sportsmanship--these are the unequivocals. Which dog is the best dog on any one day is only one person's opinion, and with a history of attending dog shows and close attention to ring results, I can say with great authority :-) that if you hang in there long enough, and work to develop the presentation skills that every good dog deserves from its handler, you are going to win what your dog should win. If you plan to show your own dogs--and there is no reason why you shouldn't--please remember that the dog that you have so carefully bred and nurtured deserves the best presentation you can give for that dog. Put the same amount of attention and effort into your handling skills as you put into your breeding program and your dog will get the attention it derserves. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ jvoran@futureone.com
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 21:39:27 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@FUTUREONE.COM> Subject: Handlers--how would you change it? There have been many discussions over the years on the two Boxer lists to which we belong about handlers. My position over the years has been that handlers are people like us--they started out never having put hands on a dog before. Over the years they got interested in handling. They practiced, they focused their attention, and they developed a certain innate talent. Bottom line--they put more time, effort, and energy into the art of showing dogs than you or I are able and/or willing to do. Early on the US developed the format for the shows we now have. The format has varied little in the last 80-100 years, I suspect. The format is very different from the German and the British shows. Other countries have developed their own formats using a combination of the German, US, and British formats and added their own twists. Geography, transportation, cultural environment, free agency, ethics of being a winner, the amount of money that people can/are willing to spend all contribute to the format of determining champions, and the showing environment in any one country. In other words, there are an almost infinite number of variables that are part of what we call showing a dog--including the fact that if your dog doesn't win when you show it, the system must be wrong. I will say again for what seems like the twentieth time--and I am only speaking for myself; Bruce does show and win with our dogs--I will never be able to walk into the ring and do anything but a disservice to the innately fine qualities of our dogs. But--I have free agency. That is a firm cultural and political foundation of this country. Therefore, I can hire someone to do what I cannot do and I can watch from the sidelines with the same wistfulness that I bring to watching championship figure skating. I profoundly wish I could do this, but God gave me other talents. Now that the subject of handlers and judges and judges judging handlers is once again a bloody hulk on the discussion floor--I offer a challenge. This is an exercise in problem solving and critical thinking. Start from ground zero and reconstruct the system for determining champions. Develop any new structure that you believe would better serve the original purpose of showing dogs--breeders showcasing the best of their breeding for the purpose of improving the breed. What are the qualities that should be showcased? How can these qualities best be displayed/determined? What is the optimum structure for determining the best of the best? Who (people) should be allowed to compete? May only breeders show their own dogs? May breeders show their own and the dogs of other breeders? May breeders be allowed the right of free agency (hire people to show their dogs?--under what conditions?) May people handle dogs for financial compensation? Should there be some kind of recognized distinction between professional and amateur handlers? I don't think it is enough to be unhappy with the system you chose to enter. I am offering an opportunity to those who believe that the present system is flawed to present how they would change the system. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Strawberry, AZ voran@futureone.com
Dog shows Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 22:11:44 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@FUTUREONE.COM> Subject: Las Cruces: Watching history? Bruce and I were at the Las Cruces shows this weekend and had the pleasure and excitement of watching Jake take three of his four BIS. We left this morning before the Groups this afternoon, but we wondered during the trip home whether or not Jake would do it a fourth time. Last night as we walked across the park, I mentioned to Mildred Bryant that she might have made some kind of history and said as much to Mike as the pictures were being taken. Dorothy Nickles certainly must have added something to the record books this afternoon. Saturday was a day for the record books as far as the weather was concerned and freak happenings kept occurring all day. The wind was gusting to at least 40+ miles an hour. Everyone had sand in their ears and eyes and in their teeth. Gritting your teeth at the competition took on a new meaning. :-) Watching Groups was an exercise in endurance and dogs and handlers are to be commended for grace under fire. The coat on the Standard Poodle was being blown so that he was two sheets to the wind. :-) Not to mention the long haired toy breeds. Jake performed brilliantly and seemed to have the crowd with him all the way. I had just finished reading _Toujours Provençe_ by Peter Mayles and the Saturday wind reminded me of the Provençal mistral with everyone and everything going a little crazy. Ex: One of the judges gave Winners Dog to a bitch. A very large limb of one of the cottonwood trees in Apodaca Park under which Bruce and I had been sitting while we watched Rottweilers being judged on Friday and under which many of the Rottweiler exhibitors set up their crates gave almost no notice before it came crashing down in Saturday's wind just after the end of the 12-18 class in Mastiffs. Fortunately, no Mastiff breeders had setups under the tree. The sheared off limb just missed the ring so no one in the ring was was hurt, but judging was suspended while Park personnel cut up and removed the remains of the limb with a Bobcat and dump truck. An apparently imperturbable Helen Lee James gave Winners Dog to an equally imperturbable 12-18 junior male who had been walking out of the ring as the class winner when the limb came crashing down. Watching Mastiffs I found myself with the lead of a loose Gordon Setter suddenly stuffed into my hands as the only one around who had nothing to hold. The errant owner was soon reunited with the Gordon. The Group winning Afghan got loose but was recaptured soon after. A GSD nipped a 13 year-old girl in her posterior. Her pants were torn and the skin was punctured slightly. It was NOT her fault. She was behaving responsibly and trying to get out of the Shepherd's way. Walking by the Obedience ring with a friend who was walking a Golden for a friend we were suddenly accosted by a very friendly Chessie who had leaped over the fence of the Obedience ring to say "hello" to the Golden. It seems the Chessie lives with a Golden at home and thought that her friend had come to wish her well. I add the New Mexico mistral to my own particular record book of "bad hare days" at the dog show along with freezing from a late winter (March) storm in Tucson when snow blanketed the surrounding mountains; a snow storm in Livingston, Montana in the last days of June and oppressive heat in Missoula, Montana just two days later; torrential rains which flooded the show grounds in Pomona, CA over the Memorial Day weekend one year. We arrived back home at Strawberry this evening just at sunset when the apricot colored sky was forming a backdrop to the snow white and shell pink of the apple blossoms and the fir trees were black and white pencil sketches in the foreground. Watching dog show history is great, but it's always nice to be home. :-) Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Strawberry, AZ voran@futureone.com
Boxer health issues Date: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 19:47:00 -0700 Reply-To: voran@futureone.com From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@FUTUREONE.COM> Subject: Re: Recent Issues/What do we know? Karla has written what I consider to be a solid, well thought out response to recent posts on Boxer health issues. She asks a number of questions which, as I see it, all boil down to "how much do we know"? How much do we know about the statistical incidence of cardiomyopathy in the Boxer population? My own understanding is that cancer is the cause of death of a greater percentage of Boxers than cardiomyopathy. Why is there not the discussion over the causes, modes of inheritance, and prevention of cancer that there is on the subject of cardiomyopathy? I do not want to put words into Karla's typing fingers, but perhaps she and I have the same questions about the process and results of heart testing. After dogs have been tested and the owners have the results--what do they know? Dr. Meurs chose to focus her remarks at the health seminar at ABC in May on asymptomatic Boxers. If my notes are correct, the group of 143 asymptomatic Boxer of various ages on which she was reporting had PVC's from 0 to well over the 50 PVC's that a number of the researchers consider a cutoff point. (My own notes say from 0 to several thousand, but that could be a misunderstanding on my part.) My own question to Dr. Meurs was--could an asymptomatic Boxer which had readings of several hundred or more PVC's live a long asymptomatic life and die of some condition other than cardiomyopathy--such as cancer? She replied that this was an excellent question--we simply don't know. Right now, we do not know the relationship of recorded PVC's to the display of the physical symptoms and number of mortalities due to cardiomyopathy. Another point that Dr. Meurs made, according to my notes, was that the number of PVC's recorded could vary--if you wanted a true picture of the PVC's that could be recorded of any one dog you needed to Holter the dog over a seven day period. In other words, if you Holter a dog for a 24 hour period, the results could well be different if you Holtered a dog for some other 24 hour period. Most, if not all, breeders are Holtering their dogs for 24 hour periods and basing their assessment on that single Holtering period. Could a Boxer that records 0 PVC's on one 24 hour period record more than 50 PVC's within another 24 hour period and of what significance is the variation in results? How much do we know? If a registry of Boxer testing results is established, the most important question is What do we know based upon the results of the testing? And right now, I don't see that we know much. We would know how many PVC's a particular dog recorded in one period of testing (very probably 24 hours). From that how much do we know? Is the dog asymptomatic? How many PVC's would the testing record on that dog in some other 24 hour period? What would be the range and significance in variation of the recorded levels? I am by no means saying that we should not test, what I am asking is what do we know as a result of the testing? When I have asked this question privately of several breeders, I have been told that the important thing is testing and that people who choose to access the recorded information can make their own decisions. Unfortunately, there is a lot of information out there in the community, but there is also a lot of misinformation and misconceptions. I think that a registry without some solid guidelines agreed upon by the accredited researchers for the results is simply a serious problem within the Boxer community waiting to explode. There is enough comment already in this long chain of discussion to indicate an element of "political correctness" in the discussion. And then what about the advertising......? "My dog recorded 0 PVC's on Sept. 23, 1999." How much do we know about this dog--about his/her overall health and any other thing other than the dog recorded 0 PVC's on Sept. 23, 1999? There still is no substantive published information on means of testing and interpretation of results for either breeders or those who would wish to buy breeding stock. Questions I have raised about the lack of published information have received the response that testing is still in its beginning stages and subject to variations as the testing process progresses. In other words, I am being previous. But if I am being previous in requesting published information, is the community being previous in thinking that it can interpret the results of a registry? What do we know? In my own view it is paramount that any reporting of heart testing results must be treated with the utmost professionalism in all ways by all members of the community. At this time any results, are at best, as far as I can see, a contribution to the understanding of health issues in Boxers, not an indictment nor a promotion of a particular dog or a particular line. The key to the success of a registry in my view is the open-mindedness, the charity, and above all, the fundamental desire for solid information on the part of researchers, breeders, and all those other interested parties for whom the perpetuation of the health and well-being of the Boxer breed is fundamentally important. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ voran@futureone.com
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 19:15:50 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@FUTUREONE.COM> Subject: Health testing/ personal responsibility I said in a recent post that one of issues about health registries and disclosure that concerns me is the aspect of "political correctness" that is beginning to take hold of the issue. Right now, as I see it, the issue is to work to get breeders--across the board--to do health testing and to have a central databank where that information can be accessed by researchers. As Karla and I have pointed out there is no hard statistical information about the incidence of various health conditions in Boxers, display of symptoms, and causes of mortality. I have not yet seen anything other than the anecdotal impressions of veterinarians. The information on causes of death, as I see it, would be extrememly valuable. A form that could be submitted by the owner to a central databank at the time of death, rather like a death certificate, listing age of Boxer, parents (for generational tracking by researchers only) if the submitter would include that information, cause of death--signed by the veterinarian--results of autopsy if done, and any other contributing health information could be submitted. The results to be kept anonymous. There might be such a databank right now, but if so, I think not many know of it. At this time I do not believe that there is a central place to record Holter readings for breeders who choose to do the testing. A breeder locates a Holter monitor, locates a veterinarian or research veterinarian to interpret the results to them personally--and then what? If it is Dr. Meurs or Dr. Harpster or one of another of a few university research veterinary hospital, the results may be included in a research study--individually. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe that there is a central location where we can begin to develop a broad database of Holter readings--including the time range of the readings--with corollary information such the general health of the individual Boxer and display of any significant symptoms and the pedigree of that Boxer for generational tracking. However, *and please understand my suggestion at this point* an important point is that the submission of the information be anonymous. I have no idea whether any researcher at this time is interested in any data other than which they have gathered themselves, but at some point in time, I think that some researcher is going to be delighted to have access to a database of information gathered about a wide range of Boxers over time. And we can't have a database over time unless we start it now. I think that in analyzing the health testing arena we have to analyze why people don't take certain actions and how to create environments that encourage them to do what we think will be beneficial in the long run. We can rail at human nature and place blame on the self-interest, instincts for self-preservation, laziness, and cheapness of breeders who do not choose to do the health testing that some think desirable, but if you don't take human nature into account you can rail until you are blue with no discernible results. Three factors which I think are extremely important in getting people to do Holter testing are cost, in relationship to reliability of results, and anonymity. Dr. Meurs stated in the ABC health seminar that she and her researchers believe that Doppler and Echo tests should be done at the same time as the Holter monitoring. In some places those tests along with the interpretation of results can bring up charges nearly $1000. If the dogs are asymptomatic what does the owner know for that nearly $1000? What if the results of that 24 hour monitoring are borderline (75 VPC's say) and the dog has no symptoms?. Does the owner step up to the plate and confess--to what? If it is indeed better to Holter the dog over a several day period, that raises the costs and the commitment to the testing process and the results mean what? If the dog has VPC's in a range of several hundred, but at this time has had no outward symptoms of any kind, what does the owner know? He/she knows that he/she can go back the next year and test again for the same cost to see if the results corollate, but in the meantime, what? Where are the test results going? Is some location gathering Holter test results, display of symptoms and causes of mortality? Or does each researcher keep their own records? I don't know, but I don't think many other people who are being asked to pay not insignifcant costs for testing know either. It is suggested that we publicize positive results to the skies and that those who don't paticipate will stand out like sore thumbs. My reading of human nature is that even if the costs of testing came down dramatically most breeders, across the board, would choose not to test until they had a much clearer idea of what the test results mean to them and to their breeding program, and that the results would be anonymous. Remember the significant lack of involvement in the OFA registry? A registry is not anonymous, but a national databank is. I don't think that urging people to step up to the plate and confess will bring a lot of people to the plate. Suggesting that people will stand out like sore thumbs if they don't fall in line with the prevailing wisdom isn't going to make a lot of converts to the cause. For up to the current moment in Boxer history we haven't had full disclosure because, unfortunately, people have not had a whole lot of reason to trust one another. Give the process some time. Let people become accustomed to the whole idea of testing. Let them understand that their effort is contributing to a wider cause. Don't pressure for disclosure. People are not stupid or vicious, but change in attitudes and patterns of action take time. You say we don't have time? Well, we don't have time for people to assess the current health testing environment and choose not to do it. Let's make the process of testing and reporting of results as user friendly as possible. I think that is the recipe for ultimate success. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ voran@futureone.com
The discussion on penetrance in regard to the pattern of inheritance of cardiomyopathy interests me. As I understand it the degree to which the dominant gene may penetrate the genetic makeup of the animal (am I stating this concept correctly?) is variable. Expression of the inherited gene is variable. A low degree of penetrance of the gene which produces cardiomyopathy may result in dogs which express the condition late in life. I have several questions: 1. If the degree of expression is variable among the get of a litter or litters, what influences the penetrance/expression of a dominant gene? Are the influences entirely genetic or can the degree of expression be influenced by environment? 2. Is the degree of penetrance itself inheritable? Dr. Meurs stated at the ABC workshop that the trait was autosomal dominant. She did not mention the considerations of penetrance or expression. She also said that a dog could pass on the dominant trait to some of the get and not to others. So, my question is--will dogs with high penetrance always produce get with high penetrance, and vice versa? This could certainly relate to #1. 3. We talk about death from cardiomyopathy. Is it possible that dogs with low expression of cardiomyopathy die of something else? What is the incidence of death due to cardiomyopathy of those dogs who have any degree of expression of the condition? What is the incidence of death due to cardiomyopathy of dogs who have low expression? Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ voran@futureone.com
At this point, I think it is time for the ABC to consider establishing a national database. Dr. Meurs is conducting her research and has her database, Dr. Harpster presumably has his, vets at UC Davis, and at Greeley, CO vet schools have theirs--not to mention various vets working in conjunction with various research sites. It seems to me that all these databases could be combined to greater effect for ongoing research efforts than having separate databases at separate research sites. Such a database would give those who are working to have their dogs Holtered the sense that they are contributing to the larger effort rather than having local testing, local results, and local analysis of the results. Would it not be better to have individual Holter results entered into a national databank, than to go to the effort and expense and put them away in a drawer somewhere because there was nowhere to send the results? Analysis of pedigrees would seem to be the next step. Given an affected sire or dam--or both--what is the incidence of BCM in the get, the degree of expression of BCM that is diagnosed, whether the get are symptomatic or asymptomatic. We need this information, but we are more likely to collect this information in a database than a registry. At this point I haven't seen a study that reports the results of necropsies in relationship to diagnosed BCM. For how many Boxers diagnosed with BCM is BCM the stated cause of death in a necropsy? Several members of the list mention registries. I think a database is more useful than a registry. Breeders and vets will report to a national database. A registry is self-serving. Those who are happy with their results will report to a registry. Those that are not, will not, particulary if there are so many grey areas that could be misinterpreted. Many people have pointed out that this is too early for a national standard of heart testing to be written. Participation in the OFA registries is low. Why would participation in a heart registry be any higher? I think that much more information could be obtained at this stage in the research if the researchers could agree on the data to be submitted to national databank and the ABC could sponsor the process for collecting the data. A national databank would give us a truly national benchmark for reported PVC's, symptoms in relation to reported PVC's, mortality in relation to diagnosed BCM as reported from necropsies. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ voran@futureone.com
Subject: UK testing and US/Can testing Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 10:36:21 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@futureone.com> To: showboxer list <SHOWBOXER-L@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU> > They ONLY use Board Certified Cardiologist and I think a limited number of > them are used for the Scheme. They get together at least twice a year and > compare notes on the dogs they are listening to, so there is much LESS > opportunity for a disparity in results. NO General Vets are allowed to > clear dogs for the scheme. > > This is not a slam at the GP Vets as I have carefully stated before--they > are great but they can't specialize and here we need a SPECIALIST. I think this is where analogies cannot be made between what works in the UK and what might work in the US or Canada. The UK is *considerably* smaller in size than the US or Canada with the consequence that specialists know one another and can get together and confer and establish testing standards that they all understand and agree upon. It has been my observation from just the posts on this list that even if you got a number of US veterinary heart specialists together in one room they would have varying opinions on the same medical condition. Not only that but you would have cardiac specialists who would be familiar with Boxer heart research and you would have those who were not and were trying to apply experience with other breeds to Boxers. And you would not have cardiologists from every state in that room because there are states in the US (and I suspect large areas in Canada) where there are no resident veterinary cardiologists. As to the GP vet issue--we had a recent interesting experience. A gentleman who had purchased a puppy from us several years ago called to tell us that he had just taken his Boxer to his veterinarian who had diagnosed the dog with "dilated cardiomyopathy" and given the dog a few months to live. He was telling us this since the cardiomyopathy was genetic and we would probably want to know this for our breeding program. Feeling strongly that there were some serious questions about this diagnosis since strictly speaking not many Boxers have true dilated cardiomyopathy--Dobermans, yes, Boxers probably not--I called the veterinarian. The Boxer had been brought in because of general weakness and a fainting spell. Yes, the Boxer had had numerous PVC's on an ECG in their office and an X-ray showed an enlarged heart. Yes, he felt that the Boxer had only a few months to live. Bruce and I decided more tests were called for. We had a heart specialist in the Phoenix area do more testing. He did Doppler, ECG and echocardiogram. The first thing he said was "This dog definitely does not have dilated cardiomyopathy." The test results were all within the normal range including the ECG. The ejection fraction was very good showing that the heart was perfoming efficiently. He suggested a Holter so one was ordered and the dog was Holtered for 24 hours with the result of 0 PVC's. By this time the GP vet was saying "But we saw all the PVC's on the ECG in our office." The well-known veterinary cardiologist (very familiar with interpreting Boxer heart testing) who had interpreted the Holter readings suggested they fax the ECG results to him. He called back and said these aren't PVC's--this is a pattern of "tall and wide" contractions which does indicate that the dog was having a problem at the time of the initial ECG. However, the two follow-up ECGs were normal. The cardiologist's assessment: "My assessment is that the initial bradyarrythmias could have been due to metabolic, electolyte, or some type of infectious process. However, it did appear to be transient and would not appear to reoccur." The owner's assessment? The dog has been completely normal in his behavior and eating since his first visit to the GP including taking his dog to a much higher altitude over the Xmas holidays in a private plane. The GP vet is still insisting that the dog's heart is enlarged and that he will consequently have a shortened life span. In my last conversation with the owner I finally said "----- (the GP) is not a cardiologist and two cardiologists have told you the dog is fine. I suggest you not lose any sleep over this, but, obviously, if the dog demonstrates a problem in the future take the dog to the vet, but please call us first, so we can get proper testing." The point of this lengthy post is that our country is so large and communication among specialsts and non-specialists seems to be a problem so that by no means is everyone on the same page when it comes to diagnosis and interpretation of testing results. One cardiologist may tell a breeder that the Boxer is fine for breeding while another may say you should spay or neuter the Boxer. GP's simply don't have the access to specialized information on research and testing and obviously don't always interpret routine tests such as ECG's correctly. We definitely need to continue testing, we definitely need to continue to assess the dogs, but we also need to understand that breeders and owners are acting from the best professional advice they have available to them at the time. It may not be the best advice and it may not be the advice based on the latest knowledge and research but it's what they have. One of the practical problems that all breeders face is how to be open to new perspectives and thoughts on the health and physiology of their dogs without abandoning traditional testing and diagnosis too soon. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Strawberry AZ voran@futureone.com
Subject: Re: Article about Boxer Health Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 14:18:08 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@futureone.com> CC: SHOWBOXER-L@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU > > I think that we on the various boxer mailing lists are possessed of > information that the average veterinarian would be fortunate to have at his > or her fingertips. Meanwhile, we're in the rather odd position of being > better informed on some subjects than our vets are. Perhaps the eventual > publication of Kate Meurs' and Luis Braz-Ruivo's results will help educate > the rest of the world. I think that our two experiences in the last six months would confirm what Katherine has just said. First, our experience of being denied emergency veterinary care when we brought up the subject of acepromazine with a veterinarian who could not stand the fact that we had the temerity to attempt to collaborate on the care of one of our dogs. Secondly, there is our experience with a veterinarian who completely misinterpreted an ECG, from that misinterpretation came up with a completely incorrect diagnosis of cardiomyopathy and burdened a dog owner with the information that his dog had just a few months to live. (Incidentally, the first veterinarian is going to have *another* complaint filed with the state veterinary board because one of his staff members called a client who had gone to another veterinarian in town to tell her that they had the right to refuse service to her because she had gone to another veterinarian.) This is *by no meams* a diatribe against veterinarians. Like librarians and accountants and presidents and stay-at-home-moms you find as wide a variety of personalities and competencies in the veterinary profession as in any other. But it is a commentary on the still fragile lines of commumication that connect us and the breakdowns in communication that can occur in transferring vital information within a professional community. And it is also a commentary on the differing professional viewpoints within a community. It's also a caution about accepting one opinion or verdict that just doesn't make sense to us. We have intelligence, we are closest to our dogs, and many of us do our research. We have the right and the duty to expect to be a part of the medical team as long as each member of the team is treated with respect and courtesy. It is also a caution that those areas which arouse the most passion within us--and right now that seems to be health testing and the protocols for diagnosing heart diseases within our breed--are presenting us with new information with a frequency which seems almost daily. That information is as yet incomplete, not yet fully analyzed or synthesized and so it would seem that we are in no position to believe that we have the total truth or that our neighbor is obviously lacking. We have to support the research and expect that it will follow the strictest rules of scientific integrity. Yet something tells me that the practice of medicine is, at the bottom line, an art. Science plays an important part, but the practice of good medicine brings into play many more qualities of the medical professional than pure science. Openess to new perspectives is a mark of a true professional in both the sciences and the arts. The most important things that we can do are to support the most highly qualified and best of our veterinary prcticioners and to insist upon a collaborative relationship with them. And when we do that we must adopt for ourselves the highest of their professional standards. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Strawberry AZ voran@futureone.com
Fighting Boxers Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 20:37:30 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@FUTUREONE.COM> Subject: Bitch fights Many of us have been through bitch fights many more times than we want to think about over the years I'm going to respond to this because I think that though there are many of us on the list who have been through these experiences, there are those who have one or two Boxers and can't imagine that little Suzie or Bruno could possibly show any aggression. Well, think again......... A couple of the worst experiences of my life have been bitch fights, when those otherwise calm and placid Boxers suddenly--out of the blue--became aggressive and all hell broke loose. One of the worst happened when we had left home for an all-breed match. One bitch was in a locked crate in one room and one in a locked crate in another. There was a wrought iron garden gate installed in the open doorway between the two rooms. Our puppy took Best in Match so we were away from the house for a number of hours. When we got home we found the two bitches in a physical state of almost complete exhaustion. Somehow one got out of a crate, got through the wrought iron gate and managed to open the crate of the other. They must have been fighting for hours. There was blood on the carpet, drapes and upholstery. All had to be cleaned, of course. Interestingly, though they had surely had the opportunity to kill each other in the time they were alone, and although there were puncture wounds, there was no major tearing of flesh and no life-threatening injuries. They continued to hate each other passionately, and after that life was one long series of "I've got Lucy, where is Sally?" until we were able to place each of them in another loving home. They were wonderful with us, got along quite amicably with the other Boxers in the household. They simply hated each other with a single-minded, undying hatred. Another occurred when Bruce was away on a show trip and I was home with the "girls". Tilly was a very intelligent, strong, competent bitch who ruled the pack with firmness and grace. Her mother, Melody, was not a leader, she was pretty much a loner. We sort of had a gut feeling that there could be trouble, although there was nothing overt, so we hadn't made major efforts to separate them. One fine morning, one of them decided that something about the other was intolerable. I had no idea that anything was wrong til I heard that type of snarling and barking which is conclusive evidence that something awful has suddenly erupted. I was completely unable to separate the bitches at that time, so I just left them to fight and got the others, one by one into the house and into their crates. Then I went back to the fighters. I tried water and all the other tried and true methods and none worked. Finally, I was able to get hold of the collar on Tilly and drag her to one of the pens while Melody had a lock on her neck. I was able to open the gate of the pen, drag Tilly inside, and somehow able to break Melody's hold while I slammed the gate shut. At that point, my legs gave way and I sat down and cried til I was able to get the fear and emotion out. I have related this to others and have had some reply with superior smugness that by force of their personality (the owners) their Boxers all get along and love each other. Their Boxers are so well trained that they would never be hostile. All I can say is don't ever say never. Bitches, especially, while they can be the sweetest creatures in the world with their human family, and can show love and affection towards their Boxer friends, can suddenly, without any idea on your part that something is about to happen, decide they hate their sister, mother, or totally unrelated nearby female. I don't know whether this bitch hostility is something that is unique to Boxers. But I do know that many Boxer owners who have several bitches have to deal with this and separate particular bitches accordingly. Males, while they may fight for dominance, don't seem to have this intense undying hatred of one or more other males. We won't let Auggie and his father run together, but on a couple of occasions they have accidentally been let out together and they sort of look at us like--"did you really mean to do this?" The main thrust of this is to keep in the back of your mind that you should always be alert to the signals your Boxers are sending, and don't be complacent. Know that bitch fights are characteristic of this breed, and that regardless of past experience, it could happen to you. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Glendale, AZ voran@futureone.com
White Boxers From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@FUTUREONE.COM> Subject: White Boxers: Can we agree on the issues? As Cal Gruver pointed out, we seem to go in cycles of discussion about white Boxers (as we do on many issues). Discussion is good--it is the American way, but at some point I think it would help the discussion to progress if we could clearly define certain fundamental issues. Then we could begin to gather information and publish it. (Information being defined as verifiable fact or conclusions.) I offer the following points as issues in the discussion of white Boxers as I have identified them from previous discussions and I offer suggestions for accumulating information on each issue. 1. Historical perspective--Someone said somewhere something to the effect that the past is the key to the present. How many of those who are recognized as being the foundation stock of the Boxer breed were white? (This should be a slam dunk no-brainer). At what point in the definition of any country's standard was a white or mostly white color declared a disqualification or fault? (Did the intial standard contain such a statement or was it added later? How much later?) How many champions in any national registry have been white or what could be called parti-colored or checks in today's vocabulary? What was the last year in any national registry that such a Boxer attained a championship? Would someone from every national registry volunteer to go back through the historical writings of that country to determine if there were any commentaries on Boxer color especially as it pertains to the white or parti-colored (checks), translate them, and offer them for publication in material on colors in Boxers? It has been stated that black Boxers were eliminated very early in Boxer breeding in Germany. Would someone research that as completely as possible and offer that for publication? 2. Genetics--We have some articles on the ABC web page concerning white Boxers. Various individuals object to those articles. Since those were published other articles/posts have been published on the inheiritance of the color genes in Boxers. Will someone please collect as many as possible of these articles by recognized geneticists which define terminology and describe the mode of inheiritance of color in the Boxer breed and publish them in one location? (Personal comment: It does not help the newcomer to read in response to their question that so-and-so posted a wonderful message to ShowBoxer last year.) 3. Data on health issues as they relate to the white Boxer. There is a great deal of discussion on health issues related to the white Boxer and it has been pointed out that we have no hard data. I don't believe that we have hard data on health issues (mortality, cause of death, occurrence of cancer, heart disease, hip dysplasia, spinal degeneration, deafness etc.) in any color of Boxer. We keep holding heated discussions on these points with little or no hard data to back up any position. The lack of data allows for the expression of opinion which, in its turn, allows for emotional content in the discussions. Question: Virginia Zurflieh has suggested that we need a database to document health issues related specifically to white Boxers. How seriously are we going to take this? What disinterested national organization would agree to collect and store this data? One issue that relates to the gathering of data is the reporting the birth and registration of any color of puppies in any litter. Canada apparently has stringent national regulations which apply to this information. How many other countries have such regulations and how closely are they enforced and followed? 4. The policy of the national registries in every country--e.g, AKC, CKC, etc. It might help to get an international perspective on the issue. How does the registry organization of dogs in any country regulate, control or impact the breed standard and operation of the breed club? 5. Breeders and breeding. What proportion of Boxer litters registered in the US were registered by ABC members? Do we have a clue? I submit that the proportion of litters registered by ABC members is very small in relation to the overall total of Boxer litters registered by the AKC--not to mention those that are registered by other registries and those not registered at all. What proportion of the whites in any litter are put down? I submit that a major proportion of those breeders who are members of the ABC do not put down their white puppies. How many breeders who are not members of the ABC put down white puppies at birth? I submit that that is a much smaller proportion of the total litters whelped by non-ABC members. We have no real way of collecting any hard data to prove or disprove this point, but I think it contributes a certain amount of emotional content to the discussion of white Boxers. 6. Current breed standards--Which Boxer breed standards in which countries list color as a disqualification? How many list it as a fault? In those countries which list color as a fault how many white Boxers are being shown? 7. The US scene/the ABC Boxer Standard and the Code of Ethics. How does the ABC Boxer breed standard and the ABC Code of Ethics impact the well-being of the white Boxer in the US? How does the ABC position impact the well-being of the white Boxer in other countries? The AKC allows the registration of white Boxers, which says that as far as that organization is concerned, white Boxers which can prove descent from recognized sires and dams are on par with Boxers of recognized descent of any other color. The Boxer breed standard is not a breeding standard; it is a standard which defines the physical conformation of the Boxer as it is applied in the show ring. The Code of Ethics defines certain breeding practices which include the prohibition of breeding any Boxer which is disqualified by the standard. Since the only disqualification is color, this prohibition means that white Boxers may not be bred by ABC members. Also, ABC members may not register or enable the registration of a Boxer with a disqualifying color. Under these circumstances--understanding that these restrictions apply only to ABC members--how do these restrictions impact the well-being of white Boxers in the general population? What kind of data would relate to well-being? How many white Boxers in rescue? Health statistics (if we could get meaningful statistics for any color)? 8. Membership in ABC. I think the various questions as they apply to membership or application for membership in the ABC relate to the ethics of agreeing to abide membership regulations and codes of ethics which you do not agree with and have no intention of adhering to. Since every prospective member must be sponsored by two members in good standing, such a person involves two other people in their deception. If ethics (breeding, etc.) are a major consideration, can the ethical person sign a statement of intent to follow a Code of Ethics they have no intention of following? If joining an organization whose policies you do not agree with in order to change them is commendable, are all Democrats really Republicans and all Republicans really Democrats--and therefore how trustworthy is the party platform? These are some of the issues that I see in the discussion of the white Boxer. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Strawberry, AZ voran@futureone.com
Boxer art Subject: GEN: Found a small treasure today Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000 20:42:08 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@futureone.com> To: boxer@listserv.iupui.edu Sometime within the last two years, we have had a discussion on this list on Louis Bromfield's book, Animals and Other People, first copyrighted and published by Harper & Brothers in 1944. Louis Bromfield, for those who may have missed that BML discussion was a popular author--and I believe screen writer in the '40's and '50's--who used at least part of his earnings to acquire and develop farmland in Ohio--named Malabar Farm--to demonstrate what he considered to be the most productive farming techniques after some of the agricultural disasters of the '30's and early '40's. For our interests--Louis Bromfield also had a rather large family of Boxers to whom he was obviously devoted and who formed the nucleus of his large and sprawling farmland animal family. I bought my first copy of Bromfield's book in about 1992. It is one of those books I pick up and read again every so often--probably about 4 or 5 times since 1992. Rather like my Laura Ingalls Wilder books--the first a birthday gift from my parents in 1946 (with the original illustrations by Helen Sewell)--or my Winnie the Pooh books which first arrived in our house about 1944, or the Adobe Doorways by Dorothy Pillsbury which was a Christmas gift from a family friend when I was about 11. But I ramble-- Today at the Avondale, AZ dog shows, I stopped by a favorite vendor who offers for sale prints relating to various breeds of dogs. From her I have purchased various advertisements from the '40's and '50's featuring Boxers, a number of the Collier's magazine covers with a Boxer--obviously a member of the cover family--a couple of Sat Eve Post and Life covers, etc. Today--she had what was for me a little treasure. I found a page about the size of a National Geographic. It was a Calvert Whiskey ad and it was an artist's rendition of several of Louis Bromfield's Boxer family--Folly, Gina, Baby, and Rex. There was a grey and white striped cat--unnamed--in the foreground. A prominent display of Calvert whiskey with three mixed drinks on a tray, along with what was obviously one of Bromfield's books on a rustic table. And in the background a pristine farm building with "Malabar Farm" painted near the roof. In the farthest background is a bucolic scene with rolling hills, groves of trees and white and black cattle. It is Malabar Farm come to life for me--and a little treasure. Tonight I will begin yet another re-reading of Animals and Other People. The weather is just right for that. It is cloudy and grey and rainy and cold--just right for a fire, the Boxers around my feet--and perhaps just a tot of Calvert--to keep the heart warm? Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Strawberry AZ voran@futureone.com
Boxer temperament Subject: Boxer temperament Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 09:09:27 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@futureone.com> CC: SHOWBOXER-L@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU The poem that Ione shared with us and the discussion of health and vigor brought to mind a question that has been rolling around in my mind for some time now and perhaps this is the time to ask it. Do all dog owners perceive their dogs as relating to them as I believe Boxer people perceive their relationship to their dogs? The poem that Ione shared put this relationship in a metaphor that has the Boxer becoming a half-breed with humans. That is the quality in a Boxer that forms the basis of our commitment and dedication to the breed. Boxers are people dogs--and if they don't have a people to love and care for and protect they are half a dog waiting for the human half to come along and make them whole. Circumstances may separate many people from the Boxer they knew or who formed their half as a child, but they always remember that Boxer in a special way. Before we acquired our first Boxer twenty years ago we had two Beagles. One was pretty dumb but she was pretty and she was sweet and tractable. The other was much more intelligent and in many ways more personable. Kodo, our first Boxer, was a revelation. The breeder let us have him much too soon and Kodo never had that relationships with mother and littermates which is so important to establish the dog relationship; Kodo really perceived himself as a four-legged furry person. His *demand* for personhood was compelling. After we acquired our first two bitches and began breeding, Kodo never seemed to really feel himself a part of the group. He had given himself to us completely and that seemed to be where he wanted to be. Through the past twenty years we've had a number of Boxers in our household--I'm working on our web page and they will all be there--and there has certainly been a range of personalities. But all have had what I have come to believe is that curiously Boxer trait of a desire for closeness so intense that it's best expressed by the phrase "they want to be inside you." Do owners of Afghans or Bernese Mountain Dogs or Airedales or Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, or Corgis or Border Collies say that? Could or would someone write a poem about these breeds that would express their relationship with their dog in just this way? When someone writes of people who wish for the extinction of this breed because they are brachycephalic or prone to tumors or have a gene that can produce heart ailments my first thought is that this completely ignores the special quality of the half-human Boxer which is so important to so many people and which would make us the poorer for not having had the opportunity of friendship with them. Could I have the same relationship with a mutt who is genetically diverse and brims with hybrid vigor? This is not a call for doomsday assessments of our breed, but just a moment of celebration of what they are and what they mean to us. We have genetically engineered these dogs as have people engineered other purebred dogs. If we are to continue this and to defend this we have a solemn charge to pursue our breeding with all the knowledge, skill, dedication and love that we possess. If we do this we will be blessed with an opportunity for a special relationship which is not given to everyone. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxer Strawberry AZ voran@futureone.com
Subject: Boxer characater Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 19:10:58 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@futureone.com> To: showboxer list <SHOWBOXER-L@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU> It's a little early in this season of peace and good will to start asking questions, but here I feel I must. :-) I'm getting a touched concerned about all these characteristics, mental and physical, to which we are applying the label "genetic". I love the story of Donald. Donald is a Boxer that I'm sure all of us would find a treasure and I suspect that all of us on this list will come together behind Donald and Beth and make certain that this Boxer finds the high quality home that he deserves. But these are the statements I question: > We've all heard the ongoing debate about temperament: Is it nature >(inherited) or nurture (acquired)? We've heard owners make excuses >for shy show dogs--"He had a bad experience his first time in the ring" > or "She was attacked by another dog at her first dog show". These >excuses, apparently, are supposed to explain why an adult dog is still >tucking it's tail every time the judge is near while in the ring. >One experience, we are told, made this dog shy for life. Is the shy dog in this instance the product of shy parents? Or is this dog an example of a hothouse environment in which he/she has been not been socialized and not been subjected to the rough and tumble and give and take of a family? Was the dog isolated at an early age? How many aggressive dogs have never, ever, been thwarted in show homes where they are King of the Road? There are so many variables in this thing we call temperament what portion of them can be isolated as something that can be inherited? What part of temperament is experience and what part is physiological?--Because to be inherited some portion of temperament has to be physiological. Somewhere I remember reading that humans (so, I guess, by extension canines) are the sum total of their brain chemistry--the balance of seratonin, melatonin etc. I'm not sure I like such determinism about me--I don't ever want to think of myself as (e - g + 2*q). I'd much rather think of myself as the sum total of my experiences plus character. I'd much rather see my Boxers this way as well. > 2) Don't make excuses for temperament faults that are a result of >genetic makeup and strive to breed sweet-tempered dogs like Donald >that can adapt to whatever life sends their way. In writing this I have struggled to think of controlled methods by which we can determine what temperament characteristics can be inherited and, because there are *so* many variables in the behavior of any one dog, I couldn't begin to think of controls for any kind of true testing. I gave up. So...I think first of all we need to think of the kind of temperament we want--but then, you see, our own prejudices, needs and desires come in to play. How many of us have seen owners of strong-willed, aggressive Boxers who though they protest mightily that they want Brutus to be calm, even-tempered, and full of self-restraint in the face of a yapping Yorkie subconsciously by body language, tone of voice and other behaviors actually are encouraging Brutus in his antisocial behaviors? And how many of us have watched as Boxers have been treated like beloved china dolls that will break at any moment--and, yep, they are shy. And then there are those eternal, wonderful conundrums in human and canine experience that are the survivors. I remember a TV show about adolescents some years ago which detailed the story of "Shawna"--I'll call her--who was born in the Chicago tenements of an alcoholic mother and an abusive father. Somehow Shawna decided that she was the person who was going to get Shawna out of the tenements and by the time she was 15 she had a wonderful academic record and with the consent of the Child Protective agencies and the courts she lived alone in an apartment and each and every day she got herself up, got herself to school on time--with her homework done *very well*--and kept her apartment spotlessly clean and cooked herself healthy meals. I suspect that one of these days I will meet Shawna because she will be the neurosurgeon who keeps my brain functioning. I guess Donald won't be able to assist Shawna in her neurosurgery--but he *is* a Boxer survivor. How much of that is genetics and how much of that is the wonderful conundrum known as "life"? If any one of us after reading Beth's post can turn around and look at an aggressive Boxer or a shy Boxer, before you go looking at that Boxer's pedigree look at yourself and ask yourself "Exactly what characteristics am I *truly* encouraging?" And each of us who whelps *a* litter needs to look at that experience as a tremendous responsibility, because so much of temperament that is not genetic is acquired--and it is acquired from external stimuli in those first few hours, days, and weeks of life. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxer Strawberry, AZ voran@futureone.com
Subject: Re: Temperament Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 09:40:42 -0700 From: Bruce & Judy Voran <voran@futureone.com> CC: SHOWBOXER-L@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU mhbowman wrote: > > I know of a case in which an experienced owner bred his dog, which was > very dominant. This owner is a good trainer and enjoyed the challenge of > this dog, was able to control the dog, and it behaved very nicely in > public and at home. However, when he bred the dog to his bitch, one of > the puppies had a temperament very much like his father. This puppy grew > up to be quite aggressive toward the new owner's other male dog, and the > new owner was simply not prepared to deal with the situation. I don't > think anyone realized that this puppy would turn out to be so competitive > with the other male, but as he matured he was very similar in temperament > to his sire (who did not have other males to compete with when he was > growing up). The owner was not prepared to give up the other male > dog (which they had before the puppy). The owner and breeder decided to > try neutering the young male, but it did not reduce the aggression he > displayed toward their older male. Finally the aggressive dog had > to be re-homed. It wasn't easy for the breeder to find a new home for a > dog who had developed this kind of aggressive behavior. It also might be > harder for a dog that does not have a stable temperament (whether > aggressive or shy) to adjust to re-homing (although in this case, when > placed in a home without other dogs, the young male did fine). The experience that Martha describes above intrigues me because I think it illustrates what we as humans bring to the mix of dogs and people that we call temperament. A very dominant Boxer had an owner and trainer who "enjoyed the challenge of this dog". One of the puppies out of this dog went to a "new owner [who] was simply not able to deal with the situation." The puppy/dog finally "placed in a home without other dogs....did fine". How much of the above scenario has to do with dogs and how much has to do with people who control the environment of the dogs? Because, thousands of years ago when dogs formed their bond with people they gave up the ability to control their environment. (Actually, if you will think about it, at this time in the planet's history, how many animals live in an environment that is not in some way critically controlled by humans--but that is entirely another discussion.) How many Boxers are assertive--as opposed to truly aggressive--and are with people who simply cannot take the dominant role in any situation? How many Boxers who are content to take a more passive role find themselves with owners who are loud, boisterous, and heavy-handed? How many Boxers who are probably neither truly shy nor truly aggressive find themselves, because Fortune has decreed that they will travel and be shown every weekend, tired of the whole damned schedule and go around the ring with their tails down as a result or get mad and snap at people? What would these dogs be like if they stayed at home and tended the fire and hearth and had someone to scratch their ears and take them on walks through the woods? I am, by no means, dismissing the genetic component of temperament, but as I said in my earlier post, I think there are so many variables that control that whole dynamic of behaviors that we call temperament that to categorize a dog unconditionally as "shy" or "aggressive" is putting much more on the dog than it probably deserves. Since we do play God in this matter of breeding and placing the produce of our breeding, we have to be very clear about our priorities. If our evidence of a sound temperament is whether the dog will go around the ring with its tail up and ears erect and whether it will show incredible patience with a travel and show schedule that would reduce many people to a breakdown--then breed for that, I guess. If you want dogs that will be your best friend and the guardian and protector of the children, then breed those who have demonstrated that they do this very well--however they may not be good "show" dogs. But considering the number of variables that go into how a dog reacts to its environment how do you decide which dog will best pass on those characteristics when we haven't got a clue as to how temperamental characteristics are passed? (Those temperamental characteristics that are genetic must be physiological--and where are the studies on the physiological basis of canine temperament?) And then there is the whole ethic of placing puppies. How did the assertive/aggressive puppy of the above scenario get placed in an unsuitable home in the first place? Who was doing the interview? Who was looking at the home environment? Who was assessing the ability of these people to handle a dog and provide an environment for a puppy that was almost assuredly at the time of its placement demonstrating outgoing, assertive tendencies? For another owner who was athletic, dominant, and decisive this dog might be "the best Boxer I ever had--I sure want a pup out of him." I just think at the time that we are considering all the variables that go into a breeding that we think long and hard about how we as people influence and control the destiny and fortunes of our dogs and not label something as genetic that really is due to a bad mix of dog and environment. Judy Voran Strawberry Boxers Strawberry AZ voran@futureone.com