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Another article I wrote.... I hope our Admin doesn't mind my posting these! May spark some conversation!

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If you are considering getting into the world of showing boxers, breeding boxers, or both, the most essential ingredient you MUST have is a knowledgeable mentor. A mentor is someone who can give advice, guide you, and offer help, but still allows you to make your own mistakes - which, invariably, will happen!!
 Showing boxers can be a very enjoyable hobby, even thrilling at times!
BUT....to a beginner, it can be frustrating. When you are starting out, it is best to have someone who can 'show you the ropes', explain how shows work, and answer any questions you may have.  If you bought your pup from a show breeder, usually this is the person who can help you get started. If
you purchased your pup elsewhere, or have yet to purchase a pup, there are many breeders who are more than willing to take beginners under their wing, and offer advice, and/or evaluations of your pup if you have already purchased one.
  Remember, if you DO want to possibly show your pup, you MUST buy from a breeder who shows their own dogs. There is no way a person who has never shown can tell you which pup in their litter is of 'show potential'.
  Another subject a mentor is essential for, is to consult about breeding your dog. If you have a male, or female, (or both) and are considering breeding... contact a breeder to evaluate your dog, or dogs.
As we all know, there are many, many reason to breed, but only a few "right" reasons. A reputable breeder breeds ONLY to improve the breed - with the goal of each successive generation being better than the one before, never to produce pets, never to 'make money' and never to show their children the
'miracle of birth'.

Now.. on to the benefits of finding a mentor!
If you decide you want to breed for the right reasons, and find a mentor -  this person will help you evaluate your dog/dogs, tell you about both their faults and merits, and tell you one of two things.
#1 - They may tell you to spay your pet. They may tell you that you are best off buying a more 'conformationally correct' pup, and from there,  venture into the world of breeding & showing.  If they tell you this, you can choose to do one of two things as well. First - you can listen. Which is recommended. If this person knows their breed, they can help you find a pup suitable for show, and/or possible breeding.
   Your second choice is, you can ignore their advice, and breed your dog anyways, and possibly never get anything better than what you started with. If you do this, you may end up being classified as just another back-yard-breeder. Remember, it costs the same amount of money to raise a well-bred litter as an average (or below-average) one.

#2 - The breeder may tell you, Yes, your dog is of show, or breeding quality. (Sometimes, I see well-bred dogs, who were not cropped, or have some other reason why they won't be shown, but are of high enough quality to possibly produce pups better than themselves.) If your mentor tells you this, they may also be able to help reccommend a sire who would be suitable for your female. As well... the breeder may be able to help you with contracts when you sell your pups, and perhaps tell you the best avenues to find the most suitable homes for your puppies.
In the case of males, be aware that there are many high quality sires out there. Any given male, regardless of how wonderful he is conformationally, is not often in high demand, simply because of the overall quality available. If interested in showing & possibly breeding, a female is your best bet to start with. If you want a dog to show, and have fun with.... but are not necessarily interested in breeding - males are WONDERFUL!!!!

A mentor often becomes a close friend, partner, etc... this person can be the support you need to 'make it' through times when you feel like just 'getting out' of dogs... and they can be your 'Cheerleader' when you are showing, and your 'emergency help' at times as well!! A mentor is best described as a friend, a teacher, a supporter, and a GREAT help in making wise decisions!!!

On a personal note... we started out in 1995. After a few years of watching boxers at shows, I contacted a breeder and told her I loved the breed, and MAY be interested in showing & breeding in the future- but with her help of course!
To make a long story short.... she has been a CONSTANT source of information, and a dear friend. We could never have accomplished ANYTHING we have without her. Our mentor is what is helping us succeed.

Do remember that in the sport of dogs... no one ever stops learning, and it is imperative to have a teacher. Books, videos, magazines, and photos can only teach you a certain amount. NOTHING replaces an experienced breeder showing you whats correct, what is not, and teaching you about overall experiences.  These are only learned through time....
We are still "paying our dues" and hopefully, we will never stop learning. It would be best to set a similar goal for yourself, find a teacher, and never stop listening, and learning!!!!

To find a mentor, your best place to start is a local Boxer Club; which can be located by visiting the American Boxer Club Website - they have a listing of clubs by state. From there... contact the clubs secretary, and tell them your intentions, and that you are seeking a mentor, or breeder. The secretary should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area.
It is also wise to ask the secretary for information about the club- they often have wonderful shows and events, and those are ALWAYS a great place to meet breeders.

There are many, many breeders out there... if you want to be a breeder, it is best to be a good one. Reputation is earned, through honesty, ethics, and responsibilty. Many people claim to be responsible breeders.... we see them on message boards, websites, and in magazines - some actually are, and some
are not. It is up to us to determine what kind of breeder we want to be, and what we find to be ethical.
The word 'Ethic' is defined as: 1. A set of principles of right conduct. 2. A theory or a system of moral values. 3. The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession. We all have our own opinion or beliefs of what is ethical. But when starting your search for a mentor, and taking the big step to becoming a breeder, remember that your main goal is to improve the breed. When its time for you to possibly be someones mentor, it would be nice to be able to "pass things along" a little better than when we started!!!
 

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**BUMP***

Since there are some thread coming about breeding - this is a great article to dust out of the cobwebs for those who are new.
 
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