The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Boxer Association.


AVOID
"DADDY DOG SYNDROME"

by P. Eggelton - Boystock Boxers.
(First printed in the Boxer 97 Blue Book reprinted with the Author's permission)

It is not uncommon at most Boxer Club speciality Shows to hear the comments "the judging is impossible to follow", "the judging is all over the place and not following any particular type".

You may think that this would be common at other breed speciality shows and if you don't take an interest in breeds such as Afgans, shepherds, Poodles, cockers and the like you'd never realise that things can be quite different.   It is possible to sit at, say the Doberman or shepherd shows and have no trouble at all selecting the final few in each class just as quickly as the judge does.

A quick glance at the catalogue will usually reveal why you've suddenly become as smart as this particular breed specialist.  The Judge is in fact selecting progeny of the same sire, frequently bred by several differant kennels, and not always, but frequently from related dams.  So what's the difference between these breeds and our Boxers?.  Well I believe Boxers suffer from the "Daddy Dog Syndrome".

It is not unusual to have a class of 10-15 Boxers all by different sires from almost as many different bitch lines.   A quick check on several recent catalogues reveals that between 30% and 45% of the entry had different sires.  At one of the more recent shows 69 different sires had been used to produce the 180 exhibits.

This leaves us with two options - either our Boxers have reached such an incredible standard of perfection that almost every male is of sufficient merit to be used at stud, or our breed is in a mess with no particular line or lines emerging to lead the way to better things.   The latter I believe is the case and that is why we so often hear these comments.

Breeding good Boxers is not an easy task, and to breed better boxers is often expensive and heartbreaking.  Very few ever achieve an improvement in their stock and a great many forsake our breed, having ruined the strain with which they started.

The fact that Boxers are such complex and difficult breed in which to maintain steady improvement means that the raw novice should not even think of breeding them.   It requires several years of very keen book learning and observation before breeding should be contemplated.  Even then the shrewd new breeder will seek advice from those who have long breed experience and are still producing good and hopefully better Boxers.   Beware of the experts that "gave up breeding to become judges".  The old saying that an expert is a drip under pressure is even more true in dog breeding.  Successful breeders never give up until forced to by changed circumstances, failing health or even worse.

Having shown your dog or bitch for a couple of years or more and hopefully having achieved the status of champion, it then becomes your duty to honestly assess as to whether they are of such quality as to be worthy of being bred.  With males the answer is almost without exception - NO!  Only the exceptional male will achieve improvement in the breed.  Wheras if your female is average quality or better and free of the breed's known health problems, then your bitch is probable capable of playing her part in the breed's future.

Now comes the difficult part choosing a sire most likely to help your bitch to breed better Boxers.  If you are the owner of only the one bitch, forget forever close breeding.

The chances of success are remote as to make it a gamble at best and you can't afford to gamble.   Your task should be to seek out a line bred male, preferable not totally unrelated to your bitch, free from the same faults as your bitch, theat is consistently producing winning stock of the above average quality.   Your only guide to his producing ability will be his show winning progeny.   It's a rough guide at best, but it is all you have.   You have no way of seeing all he produces, he had probable produced much better than you see in the show ring and for sure has produced much worse.

It is most unlikely that the best mate for your bitch is within easy reach.  He could be miles away.  The best place to start your search is of course with the breeder of the bitch.   If they're genuine Boxer lovers and know you are keen to do the right thing, you'll get every possible assistance.   But, if the only suitable dog for your bitch is in the breeder's back yard, ask them why and then make your judgement.

Under no circumstances should you use a male that cannot be inspected safely on a loose lead.  If he cannot be handled safely or he has a crazy agression towards other Boxers, even males, forget him and go elsewhere.  Remember, you will not be able to keep all the pups and those you sell into pet homes must be totally reliable in every way.

Temperament is probable the most inheritable of all traits.  Just as importantly, remember your future show puppy has to inherit the ability to move freely, soundly and very gaily on a loose lead.  Nobody on earth can convert a sad sack into an exciting show dog.

Now most importantly of al, remember that of the 69 sires listed in those breed show catalogues at least 60 will have owners who only want their boy to become a "Daddy Dog".

Don't become a victim of the "Daddy Dog Syndrome".

P.Eggleton.
Boystock Boxers

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