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Old 03-16-2009, 05:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Biggest Health hurdle for Boxer Breeders?

To all of you who breed boxers (and anyone else who cares to answer) I would love it if you'd answer a couple of questions....

I'd like to ask what you feel is the biggest health hurdle boxer breeders, as a whole, are currently trying to overcome?

What, if any, health hurdles do you think current breeders have overcome?

Where do you think today's breeders should focus their time and effort in regards to boxer health?

Thanks in advance for your participation!
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Biggest Health hurdle for Boxer Breeders?

Quite frankly, the biggest issue facing breeders of any breed are the animal rights extremists who are pushing legislation that would effectively eliminate in-home breeding of dogs and cats. Specific health issues will soon become a moot point, if these radicals have their way, because the people who would work to address them won't be able to do any breeding, either because they're zoned out or denied a permit or don't have the facilities or the licensing is just too expensive. Well-bred purebred dogs will become a luxury that only the wealthy can afford, waiting lists will be years long, and the rest of us will have to submit to the stated AR agenda - "enjoyment from a distance".

We've come a long way in addressing health issues in the breed, and we have a way to go still (though the mapping of the canine genome and our collaboration with the Broad Institute is a very promising development), but honestly at this point I don't think we'll ever reach our goals because breeding will be curtailed before we can get there. (Which is a shame, really, because the research we fund also helps humans in many cases.)
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Biggest Health hurdle for Boxer Breeders?

I can appreciate your frustration with such groups, Newcastle. It would be a shame to see such a day. I will start another thread with an example of some legislation that is being proposed and discuss how this might affect breeders of today.

However, I was hoping to reserve this thread for boxer specific health issues that breeders have been working hard to diminish in the breed. Things like cancer, cardiomyopathy, DNA and thyroid were more the topics I was hoping to discuss here.

I also thought it might be appropriate [with the current 'pedigree dogs exposed' thread active] to discuss the white boxer. Certainly a far cry from the serious issues of some other breeds, but none the less, something I think that should be acknowledged and discussed by boxer breeders and boxer clubs.

The fact is, with basic knowledge of coat colour which every breeder should have, it would be a VERY easy thing to greatly reduce the incidence of the white dogs that accompany their preferred coat coloured litter mates. By breeding either only classic coats, or, at very most one classic and one flashy coated animal, the chances of a white animal being produced is greatly reduced. The fact that there is a large lean by judges toward flashy specimens in the show ring is clearly the culprit.

It seems the answer lies in the hands of one of two groups: the breeders who can minimize the production of white dogs, or, the show ring judges who can modify their judging habits and include classicly patterned animals [which unfortunately, should ALREADY be the case based on both the AKC and CKC boxer standard!] or, at the other end of the extreme, actually include white into the acceptable colour range. [which would have to go through the boxer clubs]

I personally, would opt for this issue to be taken care of by the breeders due to the fact that white dogs are more prone to deafness [an issue that several other breeds face who work with the same genetic white that boxers carry] - so clearly, health concerns are of priority for me. Bringing white dogs out of their pet homes and into the ring does not rectify this issue. Nor does housing white dogs in pet homes in the first place -- it just keeps the problem out of the show ring.

I'd love to hear you thoughts on these issues!
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Biggest Health hurdle for Boxer Breeders?

Cancer is hard to pin point to genetics because the environment plays a big part in it. A dog can be outside and inhale dust, and basically develop mouth cancer over time. To me, the biggest thing is heart. Boxers are known to have heart problems - hence the push to health test the breeding stock in hopes to decrease the cases of heart related genetic issues in puppies being produced. Temperment to me is another one. What good is the dog if the temperment sucks??

Whites make up 25% of the boxer population here in the US - why - many of the dogs breeding are flashy (current trend in the ring). If you look over seas you will see less flashy boxers (but thats slowly changing) and before white were very rare. To me, yes you do get a chance of an increase of a white pup when breeding a flashy dog. However if you limit your coat colors in breeding to try to decrease the reproduction of whites, you limit your gene pool IMO significantly. You should breed again, to me, for health, confirmation and temperment - Pigment is nice, and trust me I like good pigment, however I would not pass up a stud dog that complimented my bitch because of his coat color. I'd take the change to have a litter of pups that adhere to the three above, with a slight in crease in my % of getting a white.

To me, whites are not a problem as unhealthy boxers when it comes to a breeding program. You like to get color, but that to me, is a bit down the todum pole on what I am or would be trying to acheive.

Also to mention - in some litters there are been some stunning white pups that adhere better to the standard (except coat color) than some of their colored littermates. So if that is the case, I would think your reasoning behind your mating was successful just missing the pigment.
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Biggest Health hurdle for Boxer Breeders?

I usually never respond to breeding posts because I know nothing! lol!
But that comment makes me a little sad, I understand your reasoning, but I love my little white girl that can hear and wouldn't want her any other way. Why would you be so against the whites going to loving homes and making great pets even if they're deaf?
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Biggest Health hurdle for Boxer Breeders?

Yes, it really angered me when I went to Maryland, and a boxer breeder here in Hawaii does it too and heard about the culling of deaf whites. This is so sad. Do we cull deaf babies? I think not, yet not only is this practice still going on, but it is talked about and accepted by many breeders.

That documentary shocked me. As a boxer lover who would like to start a kennel someday, I would like to think I will never resort to breeding dogs that are damaged physically just for a particular look.

I also know that although we spent a lot of time on Boxer Forums discussing health testing, many long-time respected boxer breeders still don't test their dogs. Many of the younger breeders do, but it has yet to catch on completely with all top breeders.

What also is frusterating about the whole white boxers thing is that here in the U.S., we have created more white boxers by simply wanting a flashy boxer, thus increasing the chances of a white pup being born. If there was more acceptance in the showring of our lovely plain fawns, then maybe the production of whites would not be as high, thus eliminating the chances of a deaf boxer being born.
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Biggest Health hurdle for Boxer Breeders?

You're brave trashing white boxers on this board. I'll be over here in the corner but good luck with all that....
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Biggest Health hurdle for Boxer Breeders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alicia
I usually never respond to breeding posts because I know nothing! lol!
But that comment makes me a little sad, I understand your reasoning, but I love my little white girl that can hear and wouldn't want her any other way. Why would you be so against the whites going to loving homes and making great pets even if they're deaf?
Are you attached to your girl, or her coat colour? Would you rather have your girls chances of deafness greatly reduced? My guess is yes, you would.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Biggest Health hurdle for Boxer Breeders?

As far as whites go - personally, I see no reason to avoid producing them. In my eyes, they're just the same as their colored pet-quality counterparts, and make fantastic obedience, agility, therapy, herding, service, and companion dogs. Deafness is a risk, but not an extreme one (the highest estimate I've seen is 30%, but informal surveys put it closer at 18% - and this includes those deaf in one ear); dogs which are deaf only in one ear are extremely difficult to even detect, so obviously they're really not affected by their deafness. Those who are deaf in both ears are of course going to need a home that can manage a deaf dog, but being deaf does not have any affect itself on the length or quality of life of the dog.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Biggest Health hurdle for Boxer Breeders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sully
You're brave trashing white boxers on this board. I'll be over here in the corner but good luck with all that....
I'm sorry you see my post as 'bashing'. But, to the contrary, my post addresses the facts; white boxers are more prone to deafness. This isn't something I made up...it's a clearly documented fact. Judging by your sig, I assume you have a white boxer. I can only assume that you were well aware of the possible health issues your dog is susceptible to before you got the dog. I also assume that you are aware of the fact that white boxers are not allowed in the show ring, nor are they used for breeding. There is a reason for this....and the reason is health. I am sure you aren't saying that boxer breeders shouldn't work toward a healthier boxer less prone to illness, only that you love your dog....and rightly so!
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