Boxer Crazy

The Breed and Breeders => Breeder Ethics => Topic started by: SaharaNight Boxers on June 18, 2012, 12:49:51 AM

Title: The Standard/Dogs Today
Post by: SaharaNight Boxers on June 18, 2012, 12:49:51 AM
Ok so the other thing I've been thinking about is the standard. The standard was made for a working dog that could do everything from bringing down bulls, to delivering messages during war. I don't see how some dogs would be able to work though. Some just don't seem balanced enough to me. Long bodies and legs, just not compact dogs. I'm excited to see more Boxers going into herding. I honestly just like seeing dogs work.

Anyway, in my mind the standard was made to create a working dog and it was the best working dog possible to do its job. It didn't necessarily have to be pretty, flashy, or elegant. As far as elegance I think UK Boxers are elegant. Depending some Euros are too. I see elegance in their looks and how they hold themselves. Maybe not necessarily their bodies all the time.

I guess my question would be do you think the Standard has changed to cater to a more elegant, showy dog or do you think that just the dogs of today aren't following the idea of a working standard? Or do you agree with neither?
Title: Re: The Standard/Dogs Today
Post by: BoxerWB on June 18, 2012, 09:00:22 AM
Do you realize your last question doesn't allow for someone to disagree with you? Either the standard is wrong or the dogs are, the way you phrased it.

I think the dogs you describe are the extreme of the show dogs, rather than the typical. I have seen plenty of show dogs who well built. They are athletic, rather than bulky, so they have some elegance as well. A dog doesn't have to be sticky legged and heavy to do hard work.

I don't know if you look around the rest of the forum much, but Dani and Kat both have dogs training in Schutzhund. In my opinion, their dogs are balanced... Neither too elegant nor too bulky.

And even though I am do performance events rather than "actual work", when I was looking  for a pup, I wanted someone who bred solid balanced dogs.  I think a lot of people are   looking for that, they are attracted to the middle ground rather than the extremes. At least those who are educated about the breed like the members of this forum, even those of us who aren't experts on the standard.
Title: Re: The Standard/Dogs Today
Post by: SaharaNight Boxers on June 18, 2012, 01:23:55 PM
Well I had a good response and then something happened and it proofed.

First, if the performance event thing offended you I'm sorry. I didn't mean t in a rude way to anyone.

As far as how I stated the question I should've also put "if you agree neither are wrong why?" I'll change that if possible. I was really just wondering how people feel about Boxers and their working ability today.

As far as Kat and Dani's dogs I love what they're producing! Their dogs, both boys and girls have bone, muscle, and a will to work. You can tell if they're boys or girls just by looking at their build and head. I've found some dogs where I can't do that. That's not what I would want in a dog.
Title: Re: The Standard/Dogs Today
Post by: Newcastle on June 18, 2012, 03:38:38 PM
When I say work I mean like Schutzund, Protection, Weight Pull, Ring Sport, etc. I don't mean things like Agility, Obedience, Rally, etc. Of course no disrespect to anyone who does that. I'd love to do agility. I like that there are some dogs starting to get into herding because I like seeing working dogs. Although I'm not sure if I see that as true working either.

I really do not understand this pervasive attitude that Schutzhund-type sport is the only thing worthy of being called "work". Quite honestly, out of all the things you listed, herding is the closest to any actual work Boxers did back in the day, when the breed was saved from extinction due to its talent at controlling stock as a butcher's and cattle dealer's dog. Boxers were developed to be all-around dogs, capable of performing any task set to them. Schutzhund is a sport that mimics two jobs Boxers might have done -- tracking and bitework -- but it is not the only such thing. Agility mimics the tasks Boxers would have performed when they were used as messenger and pack dogs in the war, scaling walls, navigating war-torn cities and battlefields; herding, again, mimics the work they did as butcher's and cattle dealer's dogs; lure coursing mimics their ancestors' primary job, which was to chase and hold game; dock diving mimics water retrieving in which, according to the original standard, the breed participated; obedience and rally (including the obedience portion of Schutzhund) speak to the dog's overall intelligence and trainability to allow it to be an all-around working dog.

I have no problem with those who choose to participate in Schutzhund, but I get so very weary of the attitude that it's the only thing that counts as work -- especially when you consider that the Boxer was not initially lauded as a protection breed, but as a guard breed, meant to alert its owners to an attacker and bite as a last resort, not a first.

It didn't have to be pretty, flashy, or elegant.

Well, yes, it kind of did. The original standard reads, "The general appearance of the Boxer is that of a shorthaired, strong, compactly built, active elegant dog, of medium height, standing on absolutely straight, sturdy legs, and of perfectly square build." and "In order to attain uniformity of judgment and thereby guarantee the speediest arrival at correct Boxer type the following outstanding breed characteristics are briefly specified, given in the order of their importance: General appearance (elegant, free of every coarse Bulldog-like appearance, square build, neck)". "Pretty", of course, is very subjective -- no doubt the early breeders wanted dogs that they felt were attractive, if not necessarily "pretty". They did not have to be flashy -- in fact, all other things being equal, the least amount of flash was preferred -- but then again, you get into the subjective area where pretty might include nice white markings... The Boxer was always supposed to be elegant, though -- balanced with substance, but elegant all the same. One of the worst things the FCI did IMO was eliminate the word "elegant" from the general description section of the standard.

I mean like practical roach backs though, dogs so high in the rear their butts swing in the air practically, you can see the topline start to go down and then head back up.

Some people just aren't that good at noticing the faults on their own dogs... That said, age is a major consideration here -- many puppies and young adults go through "high in the rear" stages yet have gorgeous toplines when all is said and done. Some may say you should keep the dogs home while they're going through that stage -- but I show puppies so that they get ring experience; any ribbons are a fringe benefit, not the purpose of the entry. Puppyhood and adolescence are the peak of when the dogs need to be in the ring, so I'd rather show a puppy that looks like he's running downhill than keep him home and not let him get used to the sights and sounds and activity of the show ring until he's done with most of his growing at 2.5-3 years old. Personally, I see more hingey toplines than roachy ones, once you take age out of the equation.

I guess my question would be do you think the Standard has changed too much to cater to a more elegant, showy dog or do you think that just the dogs of today aren't following the idea of a working standard?

I don't think the standard has changed all that much since 1938; most of the changes since that time are semantics more than anything. (I know some will vehemently disagree with me. :) ) Then again, I don't think we should be reading today's standard without taking all those past standards into consideration, and I suppose some people look only at what's written now, rather than what was written before to describe the same traits.  I also think that, while there is trend toward elegance over substance in the US (and the opposite in Continental Europe), most well-bred Boxers in any country today could work, if their owners were so inclined. Let's point to Dani's dogs as an example -- Pennelope is show-bred for generations, but she's doing quite well at Schutzhund; Fynn is 1/4 Continental but even there, the primary focus was show, not Schutzhund, and he too is doing well at the sport. I will say, too, that even in the short 15 years I've been in the breed, we've come back from the "uber-elegant" side of things and we are getting bone and substance back. I expect to see even more of it in future generations, as the worldwide gene pool becomes more accessible (and especially since they're *finally* doing frozen semen in the UK, since those dogs are on the whole more balanced than NA or Continental, and thus more acceptable to NA fanciers for bringing in that wonderful round bone).

I've also found, over the years, that it's very easy to criticize what you see in the ring, but much harder to find the virtues -- and every dog has them, even if they're overshadowed by glaring faults. Once I started trying to pick out what was correct about the dog, I started learning a heck of a lot more about proper conformation.
Title: Re: The Standard/Dogs Today
Post by: BoxerWB on June 18, 2012, 04:06:05 PM
Good point re: Schutzhund, Jen.  Someone who competes/train for it once pointed out to me that it is a competition like any other canine sport, a stylized version of what a police dog would do.  I suppose if you are going to get picky about "working" boxers, it'd make more sense to talk about cadaver dogs, search and rescue dog, herding as work (instead of at trials), police dogs, etc. 
Title: Re: The Standard/Dogs Today
Post by: SaharaNight Boxers on June 18, 2012, 05:11:43 PM
Thank you! I actually never thought of agility like that. It does make sense now that I think of it.  I definitely have a respect for anyone who does work with their dogs. Definitely thank you for listing all the different sports like that. I really didn't think of them like that. Now that I see that it's definitely interesting.

To everyone I definitely don't think Schutzund is the only standard for a working dog. Sorry of it seemed that way.  It's what I've found is closest to what the Boxer was intended to do. Now I see that it is only a small part most definitely. I really never thought about protection versus guarding. I thought of it as the same thing, now I don't. I definitely didn't think about the symbolism of different sports today going with what they were bred to do. I only saw the actual ideas of tracking, protection, and obedience.

I definitely am a person who sees bad first, good second and I have to try to change that. If I find something I don't like I any get beyond it very well. I have to learn to so I can see the good compared to the bad. It's just something I have to work on.

I'm going to go try to rearrange a few things in my first post if possible to make it a bit more what I want it to be now.