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While I'm sure that this post will receive negative feedback from some (you know who you are), I feel the need to explain a few things here.

Showing is important, and it is my opinion that the individuals that are not showing are ruining our breed.

Strong statement, huh?

Lets examine it for a minute, and reflect back on a little bit of history about what the boxer was originally bred to do. Firstly, the boxer is a working family dog. He is an alert, hearing guard dog that won't back down if threatened, yet he is patiently stoic with children. He has a short, tight fitting coat, that, in the spirit of the working dog, requires little maintenance. He has a blunt muzzle and an undershot jaw that allow him to grab and hold his prey while on the hunt, or a perpetrator on the run. He has push to his nose to allow him to breath while holding, and wrinkles down the sides of his face to allow any blood or saliva from his prey to travel down the sides of his face and away from his eyes. He is of a square dog, of medium size, compact and agile, lean, muscular, and elegant, yet not so much so as to hinder his sturdy build. His ears are cropped to allow him better hearing with which to perform his guard duties, and his tail is docked, so that it cannot be caught by perpetrator or prey. His temperament is stable, and he is deliberately wary with strangers, yet he responds to gestures when honestly rendered.

Aside from these things, a myriad more go into creating the *ideal* boxer, per our breed standard, and it is these things that ultimately make a boxer, a boxer.

I am astounded by the constant numbers of individuals who claim to know everything there is to know about the way that our breed should look or act, yet it appears that they've never even read our breed standard. . . not even ONCE. It is the *breed standard* that makes a boxer a boxer, not a pedigree, printed on a piece of paper from the AKC; not a registration number.

Our breed standard outlines everything: from temperament, to appearance, to size, color, build and structure. If breeders are not breeding to our standard, they are not breeding boxers, plain and simple.

Showing is simply a way to measure your dog against the breed standard, and prove that he or she is worthy of being bred. Period.

As for the "prancing around the ring" and "doggie beauty pagent" comments, all I have to say is that even *Conformation* showing is not the end all be all evaluation of your dog's ability to adhere to our breed standard. Being a working breed, of which *temperament* is of the utmost importance, boxers can, and in my opinion, *should*, be shown in Obedience, Agility, Tracking, and more recently, Rally-O. If *Conformation* showing is not your cup of tea, please, do us all a favor and PROVE YOUR DOGS AS BEING WORTHY OF BEING BRED by entering them in performance events, and have them objectively evaluated by others who are also students of our breed standard.

I am continually amazed at how many people notice a distinct difference between a dog that is bred from show lines from what is now considered to be "the norm" (in the general public's eyes) for boxers. The first comment out of 99.9% of the people I meet on the street, and the people involved in rescue is not only how pretty my girls are, but also how small they feel that my show bred girls are. . . Even though they are AT THE TOP END OF OUR BREED STANDARD FOR BITCHES! According to the standard, my girls are *tall* for bitches, at 23" at the withers, yet these people continuously comment that my girls are "small for boxers". Why? Well because backyard breeders think that "a big boxer is a good boxer". Where this idea ever came from, I have no idea, because our breed standard clearly states that the boxer is a MEDIUM SIZED dog.

I'm *tired* of seeing "boxers" that look like this:



This is a bitch that currently resides in rescue. Her breeders obviously thought she looked like a boxer, or they wouldn't have docked her tail. I'm sure they felt that her parents looked like boxers as well. . . and hey, even her most glaring fault (her long muzzle) had to have come from somewhere.

My point is that *someone* (a backyard breeder) thought that this bitch looked like a boxer because they don't truly know what a boxer should look like. I'd be willing to lay money on the table and say that they've never read the standard, and they have not found a mentor to teach them and to guide their hand.

Granted, she's absolutely adorable, and she will make an awesome pet for someone, however, this bitch comes no where near looking the way a boxer should.

A mentor is worth their weight in gold. They might not always tell you what you want to hear, and they may come off as being a bit harsh at times, but they will always be completely and totally honest with you when it comes to evaluating your dogs. The reason being? They have only the best interest of the breed (in its entirety) at heart as well. I *don't* know everything that there is to know about boxers - learning is a never ending process! I'm amazed at the things that I learn each and every day! My mentors have been absolutely instrumental in my education, and I am deeply indebted to them for everything that they've given me. Things like that - like knowledge? Well, you just can't put a price on that.

We are all in this together, and our breed continues to erode day after day at the hands of people who are too selfish to learn, or who just don't care. We currently have two completely and totally different sub-sets of our breed: the show bred population, and the pet bred population, and the differences are glaring. It's time to step up to the plate, READ THE STANDARD, do your part, and stop allowing this deterioration to happen by taking a good, hard look at your own breeding practices, and start educating others.

If an individual is too high and mighty to take honest critique, evaluation and criticism so that they are able to objectively evaluate their own dogs, they have no business breeding, period.
 
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