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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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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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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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You're brave trashing white boxers on this board. I'll be over here in the corner but good luck with all that.... :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Alicia said:
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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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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Discussion Starter #10
sully said:
You're brave trashing white boxers on this board. I'll be over here in the corner but good luck with all that.... :lol:
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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Discussion Starter #11
Newcastle said:
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.
With all due respect, I absolutely disagree, when it is so easy for breeders to eliminate the problem to begin with by eradicating this preference for flash.
 

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_tara_ said:
sully said:
You're brave trashing white boxers on this board. I'll be over here in the corner but good luck with all that.... :lol:
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! :)
Ohhhhh.....now I'll be standing in the corner. :whistle:
 

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Sully's whitey is a bulldog not a boxer :lol: Im with him though...Ill sit in the corner :)
 

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I often wonder why certain humans aren't culled out. :wall: :wall: :wall: :wall: :wall: :wall:
Where is KY when you need her?
 

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_tara_ said:
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. :)
I'm attached to her obviously, and she's not deaf, but so what if she was. Let the whites make fabulous house pets while the fawns, etc. strut their stuff working hard in the ring! I think it's wonderful that an increasing number of breeders are electing to place their non-standard boxers in pet homes rather than destroying them. I believe there is inadequate research to either validate or discourage the claims that white Boxers are more prone to problems than standard boxers. The only claims that seem to have merit is that white boxers are more likely to sunburn and are more prone to deafness. Neither of these reasons provides a compelling argument for the necessary destruction of these animals.
 

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With all due respect, I absolutely disagree, when it is so easy for breeders to eliminate the problem to begin with by eradicating this preference for flash.
So let me ask you this, it may be easy for breeder to eliminate producing whites but you are also limited your gene pool and what dogs you are going to use in your breeding program - hence putting an importance on color and not on what dog best compliment the dog (stanard wise) its being bred to.

Speaking of the ring - what dog should be winning? The dog that adheres the best IMO (handlers/judges aside) to the standard. Whether flash or plain. If I have an awesome flashy bitch thats lacking bone, and a strong front but the best suitor is flashy, I am not going to pass him up because of the chance to produce white pups! Id rather produce a great white healthy pup for a family to love than have to limit what dogs I am using in a breeding program. ;) Also in litters that produce whites not all of them are deaf. A good responsible breeder will be the type like Jennifer said that will place in the correct homes.

So again, I think you are new to the breeding/show world or starting to do research if I am not correct. I have many of breeder friends who have a tough time finding the right stud for their dog, so add in color preference, and its prob even harder. I will be acquiring a show prospect withing a year or two, and while I like my plain Euros, I am going into it with an open mind to find the best dog possible - health, confirmation and temperment wise.
 

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18% of white puppies are deaf in one ear(unilaterally deaf). 12% of white puppies are deaf in both ears (bilaterially deaf). That means OVER 80% OF WHITE BOXERS ARE NOT DEAF!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Alicia said:
_tara_ said:
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. :)
I'm attached to her obviously, and she's not deaf, but so what if she was. Let the whites make fabulous house pets while the fawns, etc. strut their stuff working hard in the ring! I think it's wonderful that an increasing number of breeders are electing to place their non-standard boxers in pet homes rather than destroying them. I believe there is inadequate research to either validate or discourage the claims that white Boxers are more prone to problems than standard boxers. The only claims that seem to have merit is that white boxers are more likely to sunburn and are more prone to deafness. Neither of these reasons provides a compelling argument for the necessary destruction of these animals.
I am not in support of culling or destroying them. I am in favor of taking the colour white out of the gene pool to begin with.
 

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There is a reason for this....and the reason is health.
Actually I don't think that's true at all. White Boxers are no more or less healthy than their colored counterparts; deafness is a higher risk but deaf dogs of any color cannot compete in the conformation ring. Historically whites were culled because it was thought they carried the undesirable Bulldog traits; myths about their "ill health" cropped up over the decades, but these were never shown to be true. Today, of course, we know better, and whites are prohibited from showing and breeding simply because of tradition and long-ingrained bias. (And lest there be any confusion, I should clearly state here that until and unless the Code of Ethics changes, I do not support breeding white Boxers. :) )

it is so easy for breeders to eliminate the problem to begin with by eradicating this preference for flash.
Breeders who see it as a problem are already doing so, by including one plain parent in a breeding (this will fail a small percentage of the time, due to modifiers, but for the majority of cases it will avoid producing white puppies). I do not see it as a problem. Granted, if I knew the lines I was using produced a high incidence of deafness, I would take a different approach, but since they seem to produce a lower than average incidence, I see no reason to further narrow my options when I'm already eliminating so many because of health issues that actually have an affect on the dog.
 
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