Author Topic: What is a Working Boxer?  (Read 11570 times)

BoxerWB

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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2009, 12:15:31 PM »
Well I wouldn't hold my breath on that - just because there are so many factors at play and everyone is bound to have a different (or slightly varied) opinion. But it'll be interesting to discuss/read.

So, Al, what is your definition of a working boxer - what does it have to do or be able to accomplish to earn that designation for you?
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blynn03

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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2009, 12:17:44 PM »
Honestly, for me...I think what it is going to come down to is an acceptance that one person's definition of a working boxer (or the drives associated, or the drives a boxer should have whether or not they are working) may not be the same as another's, or the same as mine (which I really haven't made up my mind anyways), or the same as the next guy's.

I think it's great to discuss it and learn about it....but for me, I will be leaving the breeding up to the experts (but are there really any experts since everyone's opinion or interpretation of the standard of what a boxer should be can vary?  Is there any one person, or any one group of people who really know the right answer to what a boxer is supposed to be?  Honestly I'm not sure....I think probably not.).  I forget who said it on here....but I think I'll just remain a greatful consumer (from whatever breeder I feel is doing right by the breed at the time...who knows how my own opinions can change over the years, as I've got a lot of years of boxer-owning ahead of me).   :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 12:25:02 PM by blynn03 »
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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2009, 12:24:12 PM »
Yes, IMO Ingmar is one who truly "gets it" as far as Boxer temperament goes. :)  He has an excellent article, "Listening to Boxers, in which he states (among many other things):

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The longer I live with Boxers, the more experience I get in training them, the more I feel uncomfortable with the wide range of 'behaviour-tests' and so called 'character-tests'.  The majority of these tests rely on the existence of a variety of 'drives' ('Triebe'): play drive ('Spieltrieb'), pray drive ("Beutetrieb"), defence drive ("Wehrtrieb") and son on. The number and the hierarchy of these drives can be adapted more or less at will. The aim of the tests based on this model is to detect the existence of a number of these drives and to evaluate their strength. It is my conviction that what these (partial) drives describe is only a minor part of the complete personality of any boxer and consequently it is beyond my comprehension why so many 'systems' (educational and training schedules plus the correspondent tests) are based on such poor evidence.

It's really too bad the FCI standard change has caused him to abandon a portion of his breeding program.

As far as the original topic, what constitutes a "working" Boxer - I think in the strictest sense of the word, it's a Boxer who has an actual job.  There's a woman here who uses her Boxers to help her with her cattle - that's a working Boxer.  The service Boxers and police Boxers are working Boxers.  To some extent Therapy Boxers are, but that's more a part-time job. ;)  I think things like Schutzhund, Agility, Obedience, Rally, Conformation are not truly work in that particular sense of the word.  They are sports, or games, or hobbies - things that are fun for the dog and the handler (more often than not, hopefully, anyway!), but they can give us information about working ability.  

That's in practice.  In theory - or, what kind of "work" was the Boxer created for - of course my answer is that the Boxer was meant to be an all-around family dog, with emphasis on companion and guard abilities (note that "guard dog" is different IMO from "attack dog" - which is what the bitework portion of Schutzhund is about).  Those terms - companion and guard - should be considered in the context of the 1800s, though, rather than solely today's usage.
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alncris

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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2009, 12:24:33 PM »
Well I wouldn't hold my breath on that - just because there are so many factors at play and everyone is bound to have a different (or slightly varied) opinion. But it'll be interesting to discuss/read.

So, Al, what is your definition of a working boxer - what does it have to do or be able to accomplish to earn that designation for you?

Gosh, I thought I knew the answer to that one. After our heated discussion and this interview I am not so sure anymore.

I will say this I don't want just a pretty boxer. To answer your question generally the three legs of the stool..health,temperament and conformation.
In that order. My original issue of discussion was temperament. That seems to be a sticky point. I do believe a boxer should be more than a good companion. I was certain that schutzhund was a way to prove that. But as he says in the interview, schutzhund is really a sport.
So after all this grief I only have more questions.
How does then a breeder go forth in focusing their effort in order to achieve this???

Health testing sort of addresses the health issue, conformation is somewhat reasonable to achieve. But what of temperament or the companion/guard aspect?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 12:29:21 PM by alncris »
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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2009, 12:31:55 PM »
Quote
But what of temperament or the companion/guard aspect?
That is a great question and one i want ot know the answer to also.  :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 12:50:33 PM by Newcastle »
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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2009, 12:49:09 PM »
Quote
But what of temperament or the companion/guard aspect?
That is a great question and one i want ot know the answer to also.  :thumbsup:

To complicate the matter further the nature/nurture aspect has to be considered. It appears that a true response is intangible.
Does anyone feel that schutzhund/agility or similiar iteration  parents are more likely to produce this last leg of the stool.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 12:51:09 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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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2009, 12:57:08 PM »
(Just fixed some quote tags in a couple of posts above.)

Quote
Does anyone feel that schutzhund/agility or similiar iteration  parents are more likely to produce this last leg of the stool.

I think that Schutzhund, Agility, Obedience, etc. titled parents are more likely to produce a higher percentage of offspring that will title in Schutzhund, Agility, Obedience, etc. - but a large part of that is due to the breeder's early work with the puppies, and the types of people that will buy from those breeders (if you're looking for a Schutzhund dog, you look for a breeder that competes in Schutzhund).  I think well-bred Boxers which are not titled in any sport/performance event are also certainly capable of producing offspring that can title in these events, but because the focus isn't there on the breeder's part, fewer of the pups will even attempt to attain those titles.

Again, though, titles in these events are not, to me, solely indicative of proper Boxer temperament.  They're indicative of the willingness of the owner to work with the dog to attain these titles, and certainly are indicative of the dog's innate ability to learn and to perform as asked, which is absolutely one important aspect of the Boxer temperament.  In the "Listening to Boxers" article I mentioned above, Ingmar also makes this astute point:

Quote
In my opinion, the only test, given the general mentality as it is today, that may have some meaning consists in a patient evaluation of social conduct. But even there no guarantees can be obtained and the way of sound criticism is wide open. Just think about impulsive or spontaneous behaviour there where even the most balanced test (if such a thing could ever exist) can be nothing else but the record and the evaluation of a moment in time. Consider also the relationship owner-dog which should be the real subject of evaluation, for the effects of this relationship are more important to the dogs behaviour than his purely genetical heritage.
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blynn03

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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2009, 01:24:56 PM »
I think that to try and define what test is best or worst will always result in circular uselessness. I can find strenghts and weaknesses in any test or title out there.  What I have to decide is what I think is important.

Well said!  I think it applies to both breeders and buyers alike!
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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2009, 03:02:08 PM »
IMO a working boxer, as what has already been said, is a boxer with a specific job. I consider Laila a working boxer with a part time job,lol. She is a big help in moving cows several times a year. Because it's not a daily or weekly job for her I work with her year round to be sure she is in the best physical shape possible. I also have to keep her exposed to cattle and horses on a regular basis so she doesn't try to turn it into a game.

When I had my boy Bubba I considered him a working boxer as well. He was a therapy dog and reading education assistance dog as well as a demo dog during dog bite prevention/ responsible pet ownership seminars. For several years we were doing programs on a weekly basis.

The rest of the boxers I have owned I consider to fall into the companion category only. We did agility with our girl Savanna for a couple of years and she kept our yard free of fox and raccoons, but these things she did for fun with little restraint. I think a dog (and handler) that does agility, schutzhund, etc on a regular basis could loosely fit into the category of a working dog. That is just my opinion though. I know the owners/handlers often work much harder than the dog, especially during training.

I can find strenghts and weaknesses in any test or title out there.  What I have to decide is what I think is important.

I agree completely. There are different levels of 'drive' and those apply to many different aspects of a working dog. However how much of a certain drive aspect you want in a dog is mostly a personal preference IMO. Some of it depends on how you train as well I think.


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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2009, 05:37:31 PM »
I think that to try and define what test is best or worst will always result in circular uselessness. I can find strenghts and weaknesses in any test or title out there.  What I have to decide is what I think is important.

Agree completely - 110%
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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2009, 06:15:22 AM »
I will say this I don't want just a pretty boxer. To answer your question generally the three legs of the stool..health,temperament and conformation.
In that order.

While I believe all three to be attainable, I also tend to organize priorities as well. For me, it's temperament, health and then conformation. Reason being because I feel that you can have a sick dog that has a great temperament and conformation and still have a rewarding experience. You can also have a sick dog with poor conformation with a great temperament and have a rewarding experience. You can also have a healthy dog with poor conformation and a great temperament and have a rewarding experience. But you just cannot have a healthy, beautiful dog with a temperament that is so poor as to be a danger to himself or others and have a rewarding experience.

Give me a dog that drops dead at 3 that is sweet as sugar, confident and happy worker over a dog that has to be put down at 3 from aggression any day of the week.

But again, saying this does not mean that I'd ignore any of the above. Luckily, we have such a healthy, well tempered and well conformed breed that I believe all three to be attainable. (And really, our breed is in excellent shape when you look at some of the other breeds out there.)

Quote
My original issue of discussion was temperament. That seems to be a sticky point. I do believe a boxer should be more than a good companion. I was certain that schutzhund was a way to prove that. But as he says in the interview, schutzhund is really a sport.

I agree with him completely. Schutzhund is just yet another test by which some breeders measure their stock. Even police protection programs have deviated from and modified versions of the protection and obedience work found in ring sport because they've found it didn't completely suit their needs.

Quote
How does then a breeder go forth in focusing their effort in order to achieve this???

By learning what appropriate temperament is and then deciding how they are going to test it in their stock. For me, that's ATTS, therapy and training for obedience. For others it might be Schutzhund. And I think that we'd be foolish to ignore the part of even showing in Conformation and Obedience that tests temperament, as yes, it can be a valid tool to rule out spooks, or those with constitutions so poor that their stress level affects their health. I have one bitch who has two legs toward her CD that I had to retire from Obedience because the stress impacted her health. Another who couldn't handle it because it made her unhappy. They're both spayed.

Quote
Health testing sort of addresses the health issue, conformation is somewhat reasonable to achieve. But what of temperament or the companion/guard aspect?

Is *great* Conformation and truly *great* health that easy to achieve? I feel that it's possible to achieve them, but to *excel* in these areas takes work and time and dedication on the breeder's part. It's the breeders who won't stand for mediocrity in any area that are truly differentiating.

Personally, I feel that the best breeders balance over all three areas, but focus intently within. I have no interest in those who focus solely on Conformation because I believe they're losing the essence of the breed. Nor do I have any interest in those who are focusing solely on working tests, because I also feel that they're losing the essence of the breed. And we can all agree that a breeder that does neither and only health tests borders the line of doing nothing. Granted, it's a step in the right direction, but not nearly enough for me to feel comfortable.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 06:17:16 AM by BurningRiver »
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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2009, 01:05:45 PM »
How about Therapy Pets?  :beam:

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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2010, 05:16:42 AM »
I once read that Frau Stockman wanted to create a 'superdog' that could do everything: guard, retrieve, hunt, etc.  It's not realistic to believe that that kind of expectation could be maintained today, especially in the US where people live in suburbs and the dog serves primarily as a companion and watch dog/deterrent. 

The Boxer in Germany is used in Schutzhund more than all the other dog breeds combined with the exception of the German Shepherd Dog.  So in a certain culture that limited notion of work -- obedience, tracking, bitework -- that police forces value can be sustained, but the hunting ability that was once present is probably gone even in German lines. 

But the Germans have a culture of Schutzhund, whereas Americans have a culture of workaholism and television watching, so even that sense of working ability is not and perhaps should not be encouraged unless one is lucky enough to live near other people who do that and if you have the funds to buy a dog from certain lines. 

In the US, it is better to just focus on stability of temperament and health issues.  Even in those areas with all the back-yard-breeding going on, it would seem an uphill battle to expect too much.

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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2010, 04:24:49 PM »
I just wanted to put in my 2 cents on this topic. Boxers are a working breed, which means they were designed to do a job. Boxers were bred to hunt and hold large game such as bears and boars and guard property. The term working there means what they are designed to do something other than sit on laps. When we talk about a working dog it means a dog that works for a living. This would include police dogs, companion dogs for the disabled and other branches of actual service such as search & rescue and therapy. To me a working dog is a service dog.

Having been the owner of a working dog, I find myself a little perturbed when people call their dog a working dog without having done actual public service. I know that many may disagree but I think it's a disservice to the dogs that go above and beyond every day to say that fetching a beer from the fridge and finding a person in a collapsed building earn the same title. This does not mean that I don't respect all those dogs that are out there being active but I think its important to mark the difference. If you get up and leave the house and bring home a paycheck or semblance of compensation you're working, it seems only in the dog world do we bend the word work to mean something other than actual work. Working and active seem to have become synonymous.

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Re: What is a Working Boxer?
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2010, 06:53:06 AM »
I once read that Frau Stockman wanted to create a 'superdog' that could do everything: guard, retrieve, hunt, etc.  It's not realistic to believe that that kind of expectation could be maintained today, especially in the US where people live in suburbs and the dog serves primarily as a companion and watch dog/deterrent. 

The Boxer in Germany is used in Schutzhund more than all the other dog breeds combined with the exception of the German Shepherd Dog.  So in a certain culture that limited notion of work -- obedience, tracking, bitework -- that police forces value can be sustained, but the hunting ability that was once present is probably gone even in German lines. 

But the Germans have a culture of Schutzhund, whereas Americans have a culture of workaholism and television watching, so even that sense of working ability is not and perhaps should not be encouraged unless one is lucky enough to live near other people who do that and if you have the funds to buy a dog from certain lines. 

In the US, it is better to just focus on stability of temperament and health issues.  Even in those areas with all the back-yard-breeding going on, it would seem an uphill battle to expect too much.

I think you head the nail on the head. A working class dog is at the very least a dog that can work, it need not have a job. To distinguish between working class and working dog. I mean the economy is pretty bad....lol  :roflol:
This implies temperament is of the correct type.
You are also right that culturally in the US and Universally that there is not as much need as there used to be for a working dog, much less a boxer due to better choices in breeds and technological advancements. I think what makes the boxer unique is its love for family.This is something only a boxer owner can appreciate, as I am sure all breeds of dogs love their families.
Is saying that the boxer have the correct temperament for a working class dog something that we can agree on?
My dig is at breeders who don't make working temperament part of their breeding program. A stable temperament does not encompass working temperament, though the latter can not exist with the first. So how can a breeder of stable temperament dogs even say that their dogs can work unless they have ever even dabbled in the actual practice?
I can say I can't blame these breeders because the market for working temperament dogs is limited. Most people just want a pet/companion. Not to forget that developing this temperament is a lot of work and responsibility.
Heads, bodies, tail sets and other physical attributes can be fixed, temperaments can not so easily. Once a breed loses that edge, it can become very difficult to find the right pairing to carry that trait on. Likewise with health issues. There are always wild cards in he deck and there might be a pup in a litter that could work, but this isn't proper breeding.
If you don't breed for it, you will not get it.
Next thing is, what good is a working temperament dog without the right body to back up the attitude?
I would like to see European styled bodies with US rears, with US/European type heads as the mainstay of US lines. Careful selection of these two types can bring about the boxer the Frau Stockman dreamed of.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 06:58:46 AM by alncris »
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