Author Topic: Boxer Drive  (Read 8953 times)

Newcastle

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« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2009, 04:07:43 PM »
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I think the standards both describe a dog who is first and foremost a guard dog.


I could somewhat see that with the AKC standard, since "guard" is listed first in General Appearance section, though I disagree with the conclusion - but how do you feel the FCI standard describes a guard dog first and foremost? Because "fearless" and "self-confident" come first in the first sentence?  In the other sentences, the "family dog" traits - devotion, loyalty, harmlessness with family, happy and friendly in play, etc., all come before any guard traits, so I'm just not seeing how you find that a guard dog is what the standard is describing.  

Now, if you'd mentioned the Canadian standard, there might be more of an argument for your position, as it states, in the "Origin and Purpose" section:

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The Boxer was developed in Germany as a medium size security dog.

However, it goes on to add,

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The breed is valued as a spirited pet and guardian of home and family. Developed to serve the multiple purposes of guard, working and escort-dog, he must combine elegance with substance and amble power, not alone for beauty, but to ensure the speed, dexterity and jumping ability essential to arduous hike, riding expedition, police or military duty.

Which reinforces the view of the Boxer as an all-around dog.

The FCI standard, incidentally, in the "Brief Historical Summary" section, talks only about the Bullenbeisser's use in assisting hunters - yet I doubt anyone would take that to mean the Boxer should be first and foremost a hunting dog.  ;)

Maybe this comes down to differences of thoughts on drive.  As has been mentioned, since we know nothing at all about your background, except that you prefer Continental dogs over US ones, it's difficult to know the foundation of your viewpoint.  (This would be a different conversation with Renee, for example, because we know her background and what she does with her working Boxers.)  How would you describe the "drive" of a guard dog?  Obviously the standards themselves aren't explicit, simply listing the traits that make a Boxer good at many things, including guarding.  (I would also add that "guard" drive and "working" drive are likely very different things to many people; there are those who feel Schutzhund, especially the bitework section, is not entirely appropriate for a Boxer since it goes against their temperament to bite.)  How would you describe "work", for that matter, as you used the word in your earliest post on this topic?  We may be coming at the same thing from different directions, so a little more information on your definitions might help clarify matters.

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We may be splitting hairs, but the real question is what do you guys as breeders make sure correct temperament is bred for?
Do you guys breed schutzhund or agility titled dogs? or do you have another way to judge temperament.

I don't breed for Schutzhund or Agility; I don't have any interest in competing in those sports, so I don't specifically title in them.  As I mentioned before, there are breeders who focus more on particular aspects of the Boxer temperament, because that's what they enjoy doing with their dogs.  I think a common mistake is with people thinking that because a majority of Boxer owners choose not to compete in certain venues, the dogs themselves are not able to do so.  Yet I know dogs of the lines I have that are active in obedience, agility, rally, herding, therapy work, service work, and of course conformation; I know scores of them that are wonderful companions, jogging partners, baby sitters, and who often surprise their owners by 'stepping up to the plate', as it were, when an actual threat occurs and their instinctive guarding abilities come through - most Boxer owners I know think their dogs would lick an intruder to death, but when the need arises the dogs show that inherent fearlessness that we so value.  Now I have said many times that I think North American Boxers in general are a little light on the "deliberate and wary with strangers" aspect of the standard - although in this day and age that's not necessarily a bad thing - but again, when push comes to shove, the dogs respond appropriately.  

Of course many breeders go to conformation shows, and observe the dogs both in and, more importantly, outside of the ring: how they react to the loudspeaker as puppies, or when the invariable table or crate gets dropped, etc.; how they greet strange people and strange dogs; how they are just 'hanging out' outside the ring.  It doesn't assess "working drive", per se, but does give you information on their basic temperament.  Seeing parents, sibling, offspring, etc. can also give you a lot of information (for example, the fairly popular sire of old, many of whose descendants - even from different 'other' lines and raised in different parts of the country - have the same spooky temperaments).  
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Bruins_Boxer

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« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2009, 04:33:34 PM »
I think that all responsible breeders would be breeding to what they interpret the standard as , for me that may be a bit different than others . BYBs do not care what so ever as long as dog 1 can breed bitch 2 and make some money . That is where I think a lot of the loss in working ability and drive is coming from .
I look for a dog who is stable , not shy . A dog that can recover quickly if frightened . One who can asses a situation and decide if he needs to step up and defend his family .

I have owned a boxer who came from Sch lines , actually his lines were from some of the first sch titled NA boxers . He did have a higher drive than my other boxers but I knew that going in when I got him . And he did obed work , he loved having a job and that was when he was happiest .
On the downside 2 of his littermates were put down for being too aggressive and biting people one child severely . Another littermate had a very edgy temperament another was completely out of control . I contribute this to the owners not being able to handle a dog who's lines come from Sch working lines .
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BoxerWB

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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2009, 04:40:38 PM »
Missi - Would you have described your Schutzhund-lined dog as "a handful"... your description above does not sound like you felt that way. Just that he was active and liked to work and you worked with that tendency/personality.
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alncris

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« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2009, 04:43:49 PM »
Finally!!
Thanks Jen. Very informative and decisive post.
I agree with you on many points. The argument with regard to what  drive is or is not was discussed in another post as I recall and I don't think it was any better clarified than we can do here. I definitely feel that a boxer should be an all around dog. But it was not bred to be a companion dog. it's origins were that of a hunter and a butchers dog, a guardian is my argument. How it hunted is what is unique. It held down the prey with its massive jaws until the hunter came along for the kill.
This is in now way primarily a companion dog first, in my opinion.
 To quote you..."Now I have said many times that I think North American Boxers in general are a little light on the "deliberate and wary with strangers" aspect of the standard - although in this day and age that's not necessarily a bad thing - but again, when push comes to shove, the dogs respond appropriately. "
My experience has been the same. But without focus on this "push to shove" attitude by breeders it will go away.
I would like to at least see the ABC include as part of titling a dog as a champion a temperament test. I understand not everyone has the desire, time or personality to do schutzhund. A temperament test by the ABC/AKC would at least show the propensity of the dog to be useable as a working dog. A boxer that say for example shy's away at a starter pistol should be DQ'd.

BoxerWB, ask Renee what I meant about working dog.

The Boxer is the soul of fidelity, bravery, and honesty. The worst faults of character a Boxer can show are viciousness, treachery, unreliability, lack of temperament and cowardice.- Frau Stockmann

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« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2009, 04:53:03 PM »
Alncris - Renee and I have talked about working dogs and drives quite a bit, both here and off-forum. In fact, if you looked around the forum a bit, you'd see that Renee has shared information and insights about working dogs in quite a few threads, each of which I've read. I don't believe she's ever said anything that would indicate she considered her dogs a "handful" for an experienced owner.
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Newcastle

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« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2009, 05:21:14 PM »
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I definitely feel that a boxer should be an all around dog. But it was not bred to be a companion dog. it's origins were that of a hunter and a butchers dog, a guardian is my argument.


So you're saying the Boxer was bred to be a hunter and butcher's dog, but you prefer the guardian aspect of the breed?

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How it hunted is what is unique. It held down the prey with its massive jaws until the hunter came along for the kill.
This is in now way primarily a companion dog first, in my opinion.


I agree - but it is also in no way primarily a guard dog first, either.  And remember that this is the Bullenbeisser that was bred specifically for hunting; the Boxer evolved primarily from those dogs but hunting of that sort was not so common in the mid-1800s when the breed was developing, and the dogs at that time were mostly butcher's and cattle-dealer's dogs.  It was in fact their ability to perform a variety of tasks well that allowed the early breed to survive in a time when many became extinct.

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My experience has been the same. But without focus on this "push to shove" attitude by breeders it will go away.

It hasn't in over 60 years, though.  Boxers were wildly popular in the US in the 1940s and 1950s, and I am quite sure that Bang Away wasn't involved in Schutzhund or any other "work" - and in fact in those days most of the big kennels - the ones whose descendants live on today - raised their dogs as kennel dogs, not house dogs.  (I know how you feel about Bang Away, but the fact remains that pretty well every Boxer in the US goes back to him, yet they have retained their innate ability to discern a threat.)  I don't think it's something to ignore - and if push comes to shove and the dog does *not* respond appropriately, certainly that's a very big something to consider....

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I would like to at least see the ABC include as part of titling a dog as a champion a temperament test.


ABC does not determine what makes a dog a Champion; that's the AKC.  

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A temperament test by the ABC/AKC would at least show the propensity of the dog to be useable as a working dog.

I think that depends on the test, and on one's definition of "work".  The ATTS temperament test, which some breeders do (and more probably would if it were more readily available) gives you an idea of the stability of the dog's basic temperament, but it won't tell you if the dog will excel at agility, or Schutzhund, or therapy work, or what have you.  

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A boxer that say for example shy's away at a starter pistol should be DQ'd.

I'd disagree.  I think a Boxer that shies or startles at a pistol and doesn't recover would be problematic, but I see no reason to exclude a dog for the very appropriate reaction of being startled at a loud, unfamiliar noise.  I would do the same thing!  (As far as the ABC/AKC and conformation go, a dog that won't stand for examination would be excused or disqualified; a dog that was aggressive toward the judge would be disqualified, as well.)
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alncris

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« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2009, 05:39:09 PM »
Jen...would love to hook up with you one day and talk boxers. Sounds like I can certainly learn from you. Maybe I can teach you a thing or two as well.
 :thumbsup:

http://atts.org/testdesc.html

I was leading up to the ATTS.
I will agree to disagree with you Jen over the working ability of the US boxer. I will leave it at that both you and Bruins Boxers, have noticed a lack of ability in the breed. I too and many besides have also. I don't want this breed that we so passionately love and argue about to become an overgrown pug.
What Bang-away did was add aesthetics to the breed and take away substance. That substance is necessary in a man stopper.
But as you mentioned in todays litigious society....

The other interesting spin to this is the nature/nurture thing. To simply possess ability means nothing without proper guidance, training and nutrition among tons of other variables I care not to recount now.

BoxerWB put on a bite sleeve and let a dog hit you then tell me if it is not a handful. Go to a schutzhund trial and observe what I mean.
Also ask Renee what Bruins Boxer meant when he wrote "I contribute this to the owners not being able to handle a dog who's lines come from Sch working lines"
Thats exactly what I am talking about.

« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 11:36:56 PM by Newcastle »
The Boxer is the soul of fidelity, bravery, and honesty. The worst faults of character a Boxer can show are viciousness, treachery, unreliability, lack of temperament and cowardice.- Frau Stockmann

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« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2009, 06:17:23 PM »
Interesting. . . I grew up teething on working dogs. . . More specifically, I had various police K9 units in and out of my life. The appropriate working dog is "on" when he needs to be, and "off" when he needs to be. Like a switch. A good working dog knows when he's working and when he's not, and is just as contented laying in front of the fire around children as he is out working in the field.

Having said that a dogs inability to turn "off" can be largely attributed to the quality of the breeding *as well as* the quality of the training program that he or she came from, so there's something to be said there as well. I've seen a couple K9 units that were shameful, as no one but their handlers could come within a 10 foot radius of them. These dogs are certainly a liability not only to the departments that they represented, but also their handlers' families and the civilians that they're supposed to be protecting. (These dogs came up and out of other training programs and other lines.)

Again, the appropriate working temperament is balanced as well, as again, too much drive is sharp, which is just as useless as too little drive (dull).

For me, at this time, I don't have the luxury, time or willingness to train in Schutzhund (or Tracking, or Carting, or Herding, or the various other working disciplines that boxers can and do excel at) so I'm just going to stick with ATTS temperament testing, training for the AKC competitive obedience ring and therapy work to measure my temperaments. But again, Alncris, that's enough about me and my dogs. . . Wanna tell us about you and yours?
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« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2009, 06:18:52 PM »
BoxerWB put on a bite sleeve and let a dog hit you then tell me if it is not a handful. Go to a schutzhund trial and observe what I mean.
Also ask Renee what Bruins Boxer meant when he wrote "I contribute this to the owners not being able to handle a dog who's lines come from Sch working lines"
Thats exactly what I am talking about.

Julia wasn't talking about a working boxer being a handful *when it's working.*  OF COURSE it is a handful while it's working...it wouldn't be a working dog if it wasn't.  But it should also have an on/off switch, and they shouldn't be handful at home, TO AN EXPERIENCED owner...and that's what Julia was talking about.  A dog that can't turn it off isn't of the correct temperment either, IMO.

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I will agree to disagree with you Jen over the working ability of the US boxer. I will leave it at that both you and Bruins Boxers, have noticed a lack of ability in the breed. I too and many besides have also. I don't want this breed that we so passionately love and argue about to become an overgrown pug.

The other interesting spin to this is the nature/nuture thing. To simply possess ability means nothing without proper guidance, training and nutrition among tons of other variables I care not to recount now.

No one here has argued that are differences in the drives of NA vs. Continental boxers.  All everyone is saying is that the differences don't necessarily mean that NA dogs have NO drive...it's certainly unfair to lump so many dogs into one stereotype.  I agree that there is a difference, and that more often than not, Continental dogs are more "drivey" than NA dogs....I just think that it depends on who you talk to whether the difference is good or bad...as each person has a specific type of temperment that they want for their specific purposes.  I have noticed the difference between my two, for sure.

I also agree that I don't want the breed to turn into an "overgrown pug"...but at the same time, we can't have ALL boxers be super high drive, sch. temperment type dogs, because most boxers aren't used for working.  If you think that these dogs don't make good pets, and the majority of boxers bred in this country ARE to be pets....what sense does it make to want all boxers to be this way?   I think these high-drive lines should DEFINITELY DEFINITELY be preserved, I just don't think all lines can be like this.


« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 11:39:51 PM by Newcastle »
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« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2009, 06:20:20 PM »
Interesting. . . I grew up teething on working dogs. . . More specifically, I had various police K9 units in and out of my life. The appropriate working dog is "on" when he needs to be, and "off" when he needs to be. Like a switch. A good working dog knows when he's working and when he's not, and is just as contented laying in front of the fire around children as he is out working in the field.

You beat me to it, and said it better than I did.....but I definitely agree that there needs to be a "switch."
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« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2009, 06:43:00 PM »
Missi - Would you have described your Schutzhund-lined dog as "a handful"... your description above does not sound like you felt that way. Just that he was active and liked to work and you worked with that tendency/personality

Titan did become more of a "handful" at about 18 months , that is when he really began showing his drive and attitude ( as I called it then ) , he started being a bully and even snapped at me twice ( I invested in a prong then ) . I did overestimate how much different he could be from any other dog, I thought from reading some books I would be able to handle him  as I have had dogs my whole life . I got into some serious training classes and gave him a purpose and also set tougher boundaries for him . looking back I can see how he was more frustrated as he had all this pent up energy and just playing and a walk was not enough . He needed a purpose , I worked with that to end up with a more balanced dog .

Once I was seriously training and learning more about him and what motivated him and how we worked best together I did not really have any more big issues with him .We worked through the issues that were starting and nipped them in the bud . But I can easily see where many other could have had major problems with him .
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« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2009, 07:58:01 PM »
Titan did become more of a "handful" at about 18 months , that is when he really began showing his drive and attitude ( as I called it then ) , he started being a bully and even snapped at me twice ( I invested in a prong then ) .


Or was this just "being a male" and "feeling your oats"? One of my North American bred bitches snapped at me a couple of times when she was testing the waters during her adolescent years. . . She learned quickly that snapping isn't tolerated in my home and we've been just fine since. Also, I recall a couple of my childhood dogs doing this during their adolescent years, a couple GSD's and a Dobe. Really, I don't know that this is something that is particular to Continental boxers.
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alncris

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« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2009, 09:07:39 PM »
I also agree that I don't want the breed to turn into an "overgrown pug"...but at the same time, we can't have ALL boxers be super high drive, sch. temperment type dogs, because most boxers aren't used for working.  If you think that these dogs don't make good pets, and the majority of boxers bred in this country ARE to be pets....what sense does it make to want all boxers to be this way?   I think these high-drive lines should DEFINITELY DEFINITELY be preserved, I just don't think all lines can be like this.

Is the boxer not a working dog?
Let's face the facts. Dogs are not accessories we wear like clothing or jewelry or are they here in the US?
When we fail to breed to the standard we are in essence changing the standard.

I think times and technology have brought upon an interesting twist to canine. Due to the fact thatwe live in a litigious society and we have state of the art technology  available to us, dogs have ceased to need to fill their purpose to a large extent.
As such a lot of breeds are tamer.
The standard of our beloved breed has evolved over the years as a result.

I pose now this question...what makes a boxer a boxer? Is a boxer that conforms to the standard a boxer by the standard though lacking in temperament?
Is the converse true? is a boxer of correct temperament though lacking the substance or conformation to work a boxer?
When you consider all the possible iterations I want to hear what everyone here believes makes a boxer a boxer?


The Boxer is the soul of fidelity, bravery, and honesty. The worst faults of character a Boxer can show are viciousness, treachery, unreliability, lack of temperament and cowardice.- Frau Stockmann

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« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2009, 09:36:29 PM »
I pose now this question...what makes a boxer a boxer? Is a boxer that conforms to the standard a boxer by the standard though lacking in temperament?
Is the converse true? is a boxer of correct temperament though lacking the substance or conformation to work a boxer?
When you consider all the possible iterations I want to hear what everyone here believes makes a boxer a boxer?

Quite frankly, alncris, I'm hesitant to share with you what my ideal of a boxer is since I have yet to hear what yours is. Please share with us a bit of history about your line, your kennel and/or your dogs.

I'm still waiting. . .
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Newcastle

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« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2009, 10:06:48 PM »
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I will leave it at that both you and Bruins Boxers, have noticed a lack of ability in the breed.

I don't think I ever said that.  "Less working drive than Continental Boxers" is not the same to me as "lack of ability".  

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What Bang-away did was add aesthetics to the breed and take away substance.

We will have to agree to disagree there. :)  Bang Away was obviously more smooth and stylish than many of the earlier Boxers, but he appears to have had ample substance; the difference was that he also had the elegance the standard called for to balance it out.  Certainly his offspring - including the Salgray "F" litter, which quadrupled up on Bang Away - had ample substance.  I think the trend toward elegance started later, in the '70s or so.

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That substance is necessary in a man stopper.

If the man stopper uses force, yes; again, though, we get into "not the Boxer's primary purpose" and "not a physical man stopper" in any case. ;)

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The other interesting spin to this is the nature/nurture thing. To simply possess ability means nothing without proper guidance, training and nutrition among tons of other variables I care not to recount now.

I wouldn't say it means nothing, but certainly environment has a profound influence on the expression of temperament.  Again, the fact that Boxers aren't competing in various sports doesn't mean that they can't.  Take the Herding Instinct tests the Boxer Club of San Fernando Valley held a couple of weekends ago; 15 Boxers entered, with varying degrees of obedience training (from none to UD-level), but no prior experience with sheep.  13 of the dogs passed the test, including some conformation Champions, and the evaluator was duly impressed. :)  (More on that here: http://www.bcsfv.com/Events.htm)  Obviously these dogs possess the ability; though most of them were not trained or guided in the sport, that ability shone through given the opportunity.

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When we fail to breed to the standard we are in essence changing the standard.

No - we're simply failing to breed to the standard.  If all Boxer breeders ignore the standard, then perhaps your point would make more sense.  That "we" are failing to breed to the standard, however, is only as related to *your* interpretation of the standard as far as this discussion goes.  The high drive that is appropriate for Schutzhund is not necessarily the correct temperament for a Boxer, as we've been discussing here. 

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The standard of our beloved breed has evolved over the years as a result.

The standard has evolved, that much is true.  The 1902 Boxer standard, for example, described the temperament as thus:

"The Boxer is an alert, devoted, easily trained dog, very lively in temperament. Although his strength and agility enable him to compete against any assailant, he is never a bully. As a defender of the person and the property of his master, he is famous. The Boxer loves water passionately, is an excellent retriever and a good ratter. He is an indefatigable companion on foot, bicycle or horse, and also a good room, house or estate dog."

Again, this is describing an all-around dog. :)

From there, I'll have to agree with Jess; we've all shared quite a bit with you, yet you've not given us any information on your dogs, your experience, lines, etc.  Until you're willing to do that, we have nothing by which to put your thoughts into context, and there seems to be little value to continuing these discussions.
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