Good examples of correct type
Yet all around the world we are seeing extremes of
type that are occurring in the Boxer ring all too frequently. These
distinct types are not always shown at the same time, as some exhibitors
may be forced to keep two or three types if they want to keep showing!
European type to be "only shown" under the European judges. English type
"only shown" under English and Ďmiddle of the roadí judges. American
type "only shown" under American and judges who require a more elegant
dog. Or they only keep one type and pick their shows and be content to
go to shows every other week!
Why is it happening? There could be many
Could it be that many
countries are becoming too insular, only appointing breed judges instead
of alternating breed judges with well travelled allrounders?
Allrounders, possessing knowledge of our standard that have seen Boxers
in many countries, place emphasis on overall balance therefore judge the
dog as a whole?
Could it be that Boxer breeder judges are becoming
fault judges? Now I know
thatís not ALWAYS true, but in the majority of cases itís correct. Boxer breeders spend time
looking at their dogs and wishing that they were a little better here .... a
little better there...etc.
When they breed they try to offset these faults and breed to a
dog that doesnít have that fault and doesnít throw it! (Iím right arenít I, to
Now this breeder becomes a judge and when he/she enters the ring
they penalise any dog that has a fault they particularly dislike, and
award any dog possessing the virtue they find hard to breed in their own
line. What they end up doing is neglecting to take into consideration
the overall dog!
Could it be that the shows are becoming a merry-go-round of judges that do not know our
breed and just put up the style that they have seen winning in their
area? (Or horror of all horrors, the dog belonging to a friend, or to a
famous exhibitor regardless of the dogís merit.)
Could it be that Exhibitors look at the show schedule then decide if that particular judge would like a
particular "type" of dog/bitch before entering, because that particular
judgeís country of residence?
(If non breeder Judges become accustomed to seeing only a certain style shown
under them, they interpret it as being correct. After they have judged for a
while Boxers not conforming to this style look different and therefore
do not win.)
Could it be that a certain style of
dog has gradually evolved in an area over time and become what we are
used to seeing, week after week. This may have come about because of a
limited gene pool of Boxers available at stud, or because a certain dog
was used consistently and has set the style.
Could it be the fault of the breed clubs for not having symposiums where all breeders can get
together and discuss type and style and where they are heading?
Could it also be the fault of the breed clubs for not implementing a comprehensive education scheme
for new judges?
be that there are not enough people who have been in the breed for
many years who are willing to take on mentoring of newcomers, regardless
of where they bought their dog?
Could it be that not enough people read and discuss the standard
openly with other breeders, even argue certain interpretations thereby
clearing the air of
Could it be that Boxer breeders are kennel blind and cannot see the faults and virtues of
both their own dogs and the competition.
(We must learn to fully evaluate our own stock honestly to move ahead in our breeding
Could it be that breeders are not getting together and discussing the breed and where
itís heading? Instead only discussing type and style with others that think along the same lines as
themselves, and throw up their hands in horror when a different style of
dog or point of view is discussed.
(This does not have to be in person....the Internet is another way to discuss dogs and breeding)
Could it be that new owners are brainwashed by the breeder of their dog, (who themselves may be fairly new to the
breed) to think that the style of Boxer they have bought is correct and
every other style is wrong?
(It takes many years to learn about the Boxer breed,
and even more years to know you still donít know everything!)
Good examples of excellent heads
Could it be that it is due mainly to the different breeds of dogs that were
used to create our breed originally?
(In reality we had a more consistent type 10-20
years ago, so that does not account for the many new "OFF TYPE" heads
appearing in the show rings around the world today.
In some countries these "Off
Type" heads are becoming thought of as correct TYPE,
- Very heavy wrinkles down the sides of the head.
(The standard asks only for wrinkle
on the top of the skull when the dog is alert, and from the root of nose
running down the sides of muzzle.)
- Very heavy flews, dragging the eyes rim down and giving a heavy look to the head.
(It IS possible to have thick lips
without heavy flews.)
- Thick, heavy ears.
(The dog was bred to have thin ear leathers - thick ears can bleed profusely if damaged while doing his job.)
- Lack of chin.
(The standard asks for the chin to be
plainly perceptible when viewed from the front as well as the side,
without protruding and bending upward as in the English Bulldog.)(Bear
in mind that width of underjaw is also very important as we donít want
narrow spoon shaped jaws!)
- Too much chin
- Lack of depth of muzzle (quacky)
(The wording of the
standards vary, but all ask for the muzzle to be broad, deep and
powerful, never narrow, pointed, short or shallow and with balanced
proportions to the rest of the head.)
- The tip of the nose lower, or not higher than the root of the muzzle.
- Very short muzzles that
are closer to one quarter the length of the head.
(The standard states that the length of the muzzle is one third of
the whole head measured from the tip of the nose to the stop.)(See
- Dane type heads, that are too long in muzzle.
Then to compound the problem we also have the body faults that are "off type"
for a working dog like our Boxer, eg:
- Too short or too long
in front legs.
(The length of leg should equal half
height at withers) see Ilustrated Boxer
- Overloaded shoulders and weak hindquarters, losing the
balance of the dog.
- Straight fronts with upright shoulders and short upper arms.
(The shoulderblade should be on a 45
degree angle and the elbow should be placed well back under the body
with forechest in front.)
- Short bunchy muscles.
(A Boxer is an
athletic dog not a weight lifter, and their musculation is "plastic".
Which means smooth, moulded and elastic)
- A tight jacket.
The standard is explicit on this
point - TIGHT!
Whatever the reasons for the variances
around the world today, we need to correct them now!
For the sake of our breed we must take the middle road! We must all work towards
breeding a Boxer that has the looks, stamina and brains to do the work
it was bred to do, plus have the conformation excellence, smoothness and
quality enabling it to win in the showring.
As I said
earlier in this article, the TOP WINNING Boxers in most countries around
the world do not differ markedly from one another! They vary slightly in style
only. All the examples in this article could fulfil their purpose of a working dog, have the
correct Boxer conformation and ooze breed type. They may have a few small
faults, but nothing structural or "off type".
Some of these dogs also have a quality that the normal Boxer may lack, and that
is a special "star" quality. It is hard to come by, but easily seen when it is there. These are the dogs that win Best
in Show. Not all dogs have
this star quality, yet still possess correct type and can be excellent
specimens of the breed.
Then there are others with small faults that are slightly "off
type" which may still be useful to the breed if carefully used.
It is the
extremes of type as mentioned above, of which we must be constantly
aware. We must continually guard against these wrong types becoming the
norm if we want our breed to continue strongly into the
I recently read this quote from Richard Beauchamp Author of the Book "Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type". He was asked by Dog News the question...
Q: Itís inevitable that breeds will evolve and change somewhat as new generations of breeders take charge. How can the essence - or true breed type - be maintained?
A: Well, I think that the first thing that you have to understand is that there is a difference between breed progress and a breed evolving and changing a breed.
In the seminar that I do, I use the analogy of a man [who] buys a sport coat and takes it to a tailor in order to have the sleeves shortened and to have it fit better.
What heís done there is progress from something that was O.K. to something that is splendid. Now, if he were to take that same sport coat that he bought and say to the tailor,
" Make this into a tuxedo jacket", thatís a change!
This is the thing that the mentors in the breed and the educators in the breed have to really stress.
Yes, we want our breeds to get better as we go along, but we donít want to change them.
I think that with our obsession with Groups and Best in Shows, judges and breeders are forgiving of major deviations from what is correct in the breed
- in order to get that dog that has the flash and glamour to be able to win a Group, or to win a Best in Show.
I personally feel that this statement sums it up in a nutshell.)
Judy Horton has been a Boxer breeder for 40
Judy is also an All
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