Why should you follow this blog? What makes it unique? Well that is an excellent set of questions. We try to post some fun stuff on the blog and lots of pictures of Lucy (the title character of the blog) and an occasional video or two. We write about things that matter to dog lovers and especially boxer dog lovers. So, here are the details of who Lucy the White Boxer Dog is...

Lucy the white boxer dog has been in our family for a little over six years now. She is not truly white but rather what is referred to as a "check boxer" due to her spots. She is not an albino! She has brown eyes and splashes of black on her in addition to her spots. She is a full blooded boxer. She is also extremely healthy with the exception of having a sensitive stomach.

Want to learn more about Lucy and the things we write about her, follow her blog. Better yet, check out some of the older posts. There is a lot of information on the care of boxers and dogs in general... We look forward to see your comments on some of the posts... Happy blogging to all!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You can't breed a white boxer...


Occasionally I get messages from fans of Lucy and also asked questions about breeding our white boxer from friends. I'm sorry to say that although the white boxer is not a rare occurrence, breeding of the white boxer is not sanctioned by any kennel group.

In the past, most kennels and breeders would put down a white boxer because they do not comply with the standards of the boxer breed. Other reasons for not wanting to breed a white boxer are the associated physical problems that a white boxer may encounter. It is reported that the gene that produces the white flash in the boxer breed is associated with deafness. A white boxer is actually a fawn or brindle with a heavy flash. Nearly 18% of all white boxers have hearing loss in one or both ears which makes them a special needs dog. Luckily for us Lucy does not display any hearing problems at this time.

More health issues include increased chance of sunburn and skin cancer. When we take Lucy out on sunny days we have to mindful of this fact. They do make sunscreen for dogs and if you have a white short haired dog of any kind I'd recommend that you put sunscreen or sunblock on your dog. This will cut down on the chances of skin cancer tremendously.

Terri and I love the boxer breed. I don't think we will ever own any other type of dog. We are especially attracted to the white boxer, but to own one comes with some tough rules. Don't breed a white boxer is the number one rule! If you are lucky enough to acquire a white boxer from a litter of pups from a reputable breeder you will almost certainly have to sign a spay and neuter contract. I think the best way to acquire any dog is through adoption however...

Please do not let anything I've written here deter you from owning a white boxer. They make great family pets and therapy dogs.

8 comments:

Hostel Dog said...

Hi there, I'm also an owner of a White Boxer and love your blog! I was interested to read this post though, because I disagree!

Have you heard of the International White Boxer Club (based in Germany)? According to their research, there is absolutey no reason you can't breed a White Boxer, except for the fact that you can't show a White Boxer in traditional showing classes. There are no proven facts that White Boxers are any more prone to diseases than coloured ones. They are even challenging the belief that White Boxers are more prone to deafness, because in fact this has not been proven. (Rescue centres in the uk actually receive more deaf coloured boxers than White ones!)

The IWBC is trying to educate breeders and promote the breeding of White Boxers (who otherwise conform to the breed standard and have no health issues) in order to increase the already strained gene pool of the breed.

Just thought you would be interested to know!

Bob Novotney said...

This is good information to have. I will research your information and post my findings. Thanks for the comment. I don't want to mislead anyone on this issue. There will be more to follow on this topic once I complete my investigation. This is the first I've heard of the German organization you referenced. Stand by for a recant if necessary...

bob novotney said...

Here's some of my justification for the post on not breeding a white boxer. I trust this helps someone out there...

A quote from George M. Strain Associate Vice Chancellor Office of Research & Graduate Studies Louisiana State University -

"It is my opinion that white boxers carry a version of the regulatory gene that causes over- expression of the piebald gene, producing heavy white color, blue eyes, and deafness. Breeding these dogs back into the boxer gene pool will very likely increase the overall incidence of deafness in ALL boxers (white or otherwise). I do not know the genetics of BCM, but it is not likely that white boxers are free of the defect, and nothing associated with pigmentation (or its absence) should logically protect against BCM. Breeding a white boxer without BCM back into the breed gene pool is not likely to affect BCM incidence, and in fact could worsen it if BCM is polygenic and the white boxer carries some of the responsible genes. If asked, I would be opposed to breeding white boxers -- to either whites or colors. If this practice is continued the prevalence of deafness in all boxers will increase as has happened with other breeds. I know that there is a strong group of advocates for white boxers, mostly because there is always attraction to something novel. To me it seems totally without logic to continue a breeding practice which, based on all available knowledge, will increase the prevalence of hereditary disease in a dog breed."

White Boxers make wonderful pets, and absolutely have a place as companions, and beloved family members. However, it is not in the breeds best interest to use these dogs in any breeding program. If you locate a breeder who breeds white boxers, I would ask them why, and strongly recommend searching for a different breeder.

bob novotney said...

More stuff...

Coat Colors in Boxers
and the American Boxer Club*
By R. D. Conrad & Ann Gilbert

For each breed that is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the AKC also recognizes an organization termed, "the parent club." Each parent club (in this case the American Boxer Club [ABC]) is responsible for establishing and writing a Breed Standard, a document describing that breed. Breed standards are not written to discriminate. Quite simply, the standards are designed as guides to determine the structure and desirable traits to be used for selecting breeding stock and instructions for judges.

The currently approved Boxer Standard explicitly defines the allowable coat colors and markings for Boxers. There are two coat colors, fawn or brindle. There are no stripes in fawn coats. Those Boxers exhibiting black stripes on the fawn background are termed brindle. The fawn coat ranges from light yellow to dark red. Brindling can be sparse or heavy, and sometimes so heavy the animal appears to be black with fawn stripes (this is called reverse brindling).

The ABC's Boxer Standard defines the desired colors and markings one should strive for in the ideal Boxer. The Boxer Standard requires that two-thirds of the coat color on the total surface of the skin must be either fawn or brindle. If white markings exceed one-third of the total surface of the skin, the Boxer would be excused from competition by the judge. In show terminology this is called a disqualification. The pattern of the white markings on the muzzle, end of the tail, legs, feet, neck, chest, and under side of the body is known as the Irish Spotting Factor. This polygenic trait (an observed trait determined by several genetic determinants) was first described in rats and studied by a geneticist in Ireland. It is observed in many mammalian species and several breeds of dogs.

bob novotney said...

More stuff on breeding...

In The Inheritance of Coat Color in Dogs, Dr. Clarence C. Little indicated that white Boxer puppies are not true albinos as albinism is defined by geneticists (a complete lack of pigment in the skin or hair and blue eyes). Approximately twenty-five percent (and this is an estimation as exact records have not been maintained) of all Boxer puppies are either white or almost all white, making white puppies neither "rare" nor "unusual." Some of the pups may have brindle or fawn spots on the head, trunk, or base of the tail. These almost all-white puppies are called "checks" or "parti-colored."

A great many white puppies are humanely disposed of at birth because of the following reasons:

(1) Some of the white pups, with little or no pigment in their skin, must be kept out of the sun because they sunburn. This is similar to a condition observed in Collies which is called "Collie nose."

(2) A certain percent of the white Boxer puppies are deaf in either one or both ears. The most accurate record of the percentage of deaf white Boxers comes from the current records of Boxer Rescue Services. Rescue efforts in Dallas, Texas, indicate that thirty out of seventy-five white Boxers (40%) that came through their rescue program over a two-year period were deaf, and the rescue program in Virginia and Maryland recently reported that six out of twenty white Boxers (30%) in their program were deaf. In Boxers and other breeds (Bull Terriers, Dalmations, Great Danes, Collies, Shetland Sheep Dogs, etc.) in which deaf animals sometimes occur, this is associated with the loss of pigment and coat color, but, the mechanisms of inheritance are different from Boxers. It is known that deafness results when the cells of the skin lining the ear canals lack pigment.

(3) It has been reported that some white Boxer puppies may be blind, however, this condition occurs at a low frequency.

As a result of these observations, some breeders may choose to dispose of their white, check, or parti-colored Boxer puppies by euthanasia or simply by placing these puppies, unregistered with the AKC, in homes as companion animals. The practice of placing white puppies should be done carefully. A responsible breeder should require that any white or mismarked puppy must be spayed or castrated if placed as a companion animal.

Hostel Dog said...

Some good points there, I agree that White Boxers with blue eyes shoud not be bred because of the chance of deafness.

However, I must point out that one of the 'founding fathers' of the breed was White, therefore I don't agree that they are 'novel' nor do I agree with the Kennel clubs insistance that White Boxers are not the 'breed standard'. Also, Flashy Boxers carry the genes for White pups, so surely the KC must agree that if they don't want White pups, we can't breed Flashy Boxers together?

It's such a difficult issue, especially due to the fact there is very little scientific research, it is mostly anecdotal.

Personally I have no intention of breeding my White Boxer, and I agree that people should not be breeding in an attempt to produce White Boxers until we have some scientific certainty about this issue.

I shall continue to research in earnest!! Also, I hope you don't thnk I'm getting at you personally about this, I just enjoy a good old fashioned debate about important things such as this!

bob novotney said...

I never thought you were poking at me personally. I strive for accuracy in what I post and I always appreciate a good discussion, no matter what the topic is. I trust we can continue our discussions in the future. Thanks for following this blog. I really enjoy writing on the topic of Lucy the White Boxer Dog...
Thanks again for your thoughts on the subject!

Boxer Puppies said...

Hi there, very interesting debate indeed. Without taking sides, I would like to offer you more information on the subject. We covered it on our blog here: http://boxerpuppiesblog.com/blog/2008/11/17/white-boxers-are-not-accepted-by-the-breed-standard/