What is the United States Boxer Association Registered Kennel Program?

 -by Kevin Espino, Registered Kennel Program Director

The United States Boxer Association is partnered with the German Boxer Klub and ATIBOX.  As a result of these partnerships, we are the exclusive representative of the German Boxer in the United States.  We have taken on the responsibility to not only promote the German Boxer by hosting conformation shows with expert breed judges from Europe but also to promote the historical working character of the German Boxer by hosting working trials, training seminars and breed surveys.  Also, and even more importantly, the United States Boxer Association has assumed responsibility for implementing procedures that mandate health testing requirements for the breeding stock owned by our members in this country

Why buy a Boxer puppy from a United States Boxer Association Registered Kennel (RK)?

On our website, we now allow our Registered Kennel participants to list upcoming litter announcements, Boxer puppies for sale, adult Boxers for sale and the services of stud dogs.  In addition to the club’s general Code of Ethics that applies to all club members, our RK breeders have agreed to follow additional, very strict regulations as a condition of ongoing membership in the breeder’s program.  (The RK contract may be viewed here.)

All RK program participants must, at a minimum, complete the following health tests on all of their dogs before breeding:

*Hip x-rays to screen for Hip Dysplasia

*Echocardiogram (by a Board Certified Cardiologist) to screen for Aortic Stenosis/Sub-Aortic Stenosis and any other cardiac abnormalities

All test results are made available to the United States Boxer Association and the RK Program Director for review and verification.  The results of these tests must meet certain minimum standards in order for dogs to be approved as suitable for breeding. 

With the growing popularity of the “Euro Boxer” in the United States there has been a major influx of Boxer breeders springing up who appear not to care about the best interest of the breed when it comes to the overall health and temperament of the offspring that they produce.  Many of these new breeders claim to produce Boxers with quality health and proper temperament yet they seem to be more interested in selling as many Boxer puppies as possible.  If one has never health tested their breeding stock, stepped onto the training field with a qualified helper for a temperament test or entered into the confirmation ring for an examination by an expert in the breed, a German judge, these empty claims probably should not be trusted.  Examine the procedures that our RK members follow.  Our RK program breeders are the most active group when it comes to health testing, conformation shows and competing in working activities such as IPO/Schutzhund, agility, obedience, herding, SAR and ringsport.  Compare that to any other Boxer breeder and then decide which is the more credible source for your next “dream puppy”. 

Why are health tests so important?

A competent veterinarian will be able to identify an apparent illness, injury or deformity in any dog, but the health screenings to be discussed look well beyond the obvious outward appearances. The German Boxer, like many other dog breeds, can be vulnerable to several serious disorders and diseases.  A thorough pre-breeding health screening will reveal serious health conditions or congenital defects that can’t be seen with the naked eye.  These “affected” dogs should be eliminated from any responsible breeding program. 

Why should a Board Certified Cardiologist conduct the cardiac exam?

The United States Boxer Association requires that all cardiac examinations be completed by a Board Certified Cardiologist.   The explanation for this requirement is quite simple.  A Board Certified Cardiologist has daily, hands-on experience when it comes to evaluating cardiac structure and function and diagnosing cardiac abnormalities and disease.  A regular veterinary practitioner may indeed have a keen eye or ear but generally lacks the depth of education and experience required to evaluate subtle cardiac issues and more serious cardiac conditions.

Why are hip x-rays required?

Similar to some forms of arthritis in humans, Hip Dysplasia (HD) can be a crippling and very painful orthopedic defect.  Hip x-rays allow a qualified veterinarian to view the orthopedic structures of the dog’s hips and determine whether or not the dog exhibits this defect.  

 Why should a Boxer be entered in the conformation shows held by the United States Boxer Association?

Conformation shows are used to measures how close an individual dog measures up to the breed standards that are used to define the ideal prototype for the breed. Conformation shows deals with aspects of physical appearance such as height, weight, shape, quality of fur and skin, structural integrity in the muscles, cartilages and skeletal frame, and so on. The dogs should be shown under breed specific/specialty Judges who knows the breed and understand all its positive aspects as well as its faults to help one with understanding what they truly have in their dogs that a other general judges just cannot do.  The United States Boxer Association seeks out highly qualified and highly esteemed Boxer judges from Europe, specifically Germany, when judges are available, to evaluate the dogs entered into our shows.  You can't get that kind of expertise in any other show ring in the USA!  

What are breed surveys?

A breed survey is an extensive examination of an individual dog to determine his or her fitness for breeding. For Boxers there are several breed test that can be awarded . A ZTP (Zuchttauglichkeits Prüfung ) is a minimum requirement in Germany for a Boxer to be bred.  Also there is the more distinguished Korung which recommends a particular dog for breeding based on more in depth testing of the individual dog and that dog's offspring. Most European countries have similar versions of the German breed test but the most widely respected and recognized are those awarded by the German Boxer Klub. To earn such titles for a breed test a dog must meet certain health requirements (hip, heart and spondylosis testing as mentioned before) then be able to perform a series of temperament tests.  The whole test consists of the following basic parts:

Temperament Test (sociability around people and ability to be easily handled)

Examination of the dog compared to the standard

Measurements (height and length), weight, eye color assignment and tooth formula rating

Evaluation of movement

Gun Shyness Test (reaction to unexpected, loud noises)

Protection Work Execution – Surprise attack with guarding

Protection Work Execution – Attack, fight, and guarding

Protection Work Scoring – Release (of aggressor in simulated attack)

Protection Work Scoring – Evaluation of instinctive behavior, self-confidence, and ability to cope with stress


Why are breed surveys important?

These testing and certifications are done to preserve and strengthen breeding stock and are not only done for the benefit of breeders, dog owners, show enthusiasts or dog fanciers.  These critical examinations are important because they help to guarantee the good health and continued genetic integrity of the breed as a whole.  They also ensure that future puppies are born of parents with sound bodies and minds!  Even if you are not a breeder yourself but only someone who wants to find a nice dog to serve as your pampered pet, the work being done by the United States Boxer Association Registered Kennel breeders to preserve the strength and good health of the Boxer will increase your chances of finding a dog that is healthy and that meets the temperament standard for the Boxer breed.

--to be continued