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On July 1st, I had the good fortune to be sitting at ringside at the Windsor Dog Show inEngland, watching the 213 boxers on exhibit. Under the watchful gaze of glorious Windsor Castle, with cool weather and mostly clear skies, it was a great opportunity to draw some conclusions in regard to breeder preferences on both sides of the ocean.

There are significant parallels as well as differences between the English and the American Boxer. In general, there is a far greater consistencey of head type in the UK. Unlike their American counterparts, the UK breeders seem to agree on ideal head type and there are not too many "styles" in evidence—rather, they are variations on the same theme. Many shows offer competition for "Best Head." There is an insistence on proper proportion (same as our own Standard), dark generous eyes, evident chin, and tip-up of nose. Unpigmented third eyelids are in the great minority. Unfortunately many exhibits were showing very heavy wrinkle, which masked the desirable chiseling and coarsened expression to a great degree. This tendency is understood among UK breeders and many are trying to breed away from it. It was a topic of considerable discussion among them in my hearing. In general, ear sets seem to be significantly lower than our own— but all in sympathy with the UK’s natural ear. I would imagine that the high ear set called for in our own Standard would be inappropriate to good ear carriage in Britain.

The UK boxer is not nearly so tall as our own (both sexes) and has much greater bone. I would say that the majority of males were under 25" and with the exception of one tall puppy bitch, females were 23" or under. I saw 6 week old puppies a few days after the show—they were far heavier and chunkier than most 6 week USA pups. British breeders are mystified at our use of the word "pretty" when describing the individual dog---they told me again and again that "the Boxer is supposed to be a working dog and is NOT pretty." Nor did I hear the word "elegant" spoken the whole time I was there. Perhaps the definition of "pretty" is a matter of semantics but you get the picture. Very few dogs were long—they were mostly square, with those beautiful feet that we do not seem to be able to duplicate here no matter what we try. Diet may play a part, but genetics seems to play a far greater role.

Movement in general approximates that of our own dogs—some excellent, some not so fine—all depending on the individual structure. However, the insistence of the UK handlers (mostly amateurs) on filling their dogs’ mouths with endless liver chunks—to the point where the hand rarely left the mouth—caused some dogs to gait sideways while anticipating the resumption of the liver-treats. At first I thought that handlers were trying to hide bad mouths—but not so—mouths were consistently superb (as one might imagine in those strong heads), but I was told that the feeding was in order to "get the heads up" and "have control." To these American eyes, the Brits would do well to use the lead a bit more and train the dogs to bait without stuffing them. Even the professional handlers among them were employing this technique.

Since all champions in Britain compete in classes against the "class" dogs and bitches, it is quite possible for a big winner to attain the coveted CC (equivalent to WD or WB) in almost every event on the show calendar—thereby preventing many another worthy contender from ever winning the 3 CCs needed for the championship title. British shows are far fewer in number than those in the USA, and usually there is only one CC-level show scheduled in the entire country for a given weekend. Therefore, championships in the UK are more difficult to achieve than our own. I would guess there have been very few "cheap champions" in the British Boxer ring, though I heard the same griping about alleged political decisions that I would hear at home.

It was a grand trip and a treat to see the best of the English boxers. If the day comes when the British quarantine is lifted to the point where a free exchange of dogs might occur between our two countries, a wise breeder might surely reap a great reward.



Stephanie Abraham

Trefoil Boxers

Dog CC & Best of Breed Ch. Roamaro Fun In The Sun at Walkon
Ch Roamaro Fun In The Sun at Walkon
Dog Reserve CC Ch. Vivyd Stars 'N' Stripes
Fun in the Sun, paws on the table to see his CC

Best Bitch Puppy & Best Puppy in Show Iris Call for Susancar (on right)

Bitch CC Winner Sandyne Shooting Star over Teandeeze

*Article kindly provided for the Web Site of the Azteca Boxer Club A.C. by  Mrs. Stephanie Abraham prestigious Breeder and Judge of the Breed.

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