History of The Scottish Boxer Club, part 2:
With the diagnosis of Progressive Axon apathy in the early eighties, a network of clubs with an established Breed Council proved an invaluable asset. A sub committee of senior breeders was established which, under the guidance of the breed geneticist, swiftly drew up a control scheme, which provided the means of controlling and hopefully eradicating this disease from the breed in the UK.
During "this period", the Scottish followed the recommendations to "the letter". Ironically, the last affected puppies were born in Scotland during the early nineties from previously unsuspected lines. By again carefully following the recommendations, three influential senior males were cleared of implication by retrospective analysis of their breeding records, which made it possible for several long established breeding lines to continue and, as if to add an additional concern during a rather anxious period, the KC decided to revise all breed standards in the eighties.
The brief being to slot each part of the dog under sub headings: to make no reference to any other breed and with limitation on the words used during this process.
This work was allocated to a sub committee elected at Breed Council. In addition to committee input, the Scottish also convened open meetings on standard revision to facilitate contribution from senior breeders, who were not at that time serving on the committee.
Throughout the entire process, it became increasingly apparent that a degree of "confusion" appeared to exist, concerning the standard at all levels.
Accordingly a training scheme for judges was initiated but not without some opposition from those, who apparently considered they were entitled to their own particular interpretation of the standard.
That this training scheme worked was evident by the fact, that those who attended and completed the course actually passed the test at its conclusion.
Following this several "Known your Boxer" courses were held for the benefit of new breeders to help them with their endeavours.
Looking back it does seem ironic that this effort to provide education for all aspiring judges was eventually recognised by the Kennel Club over a decade later.
The next question of white, solid coloured puppies was then considered. The former although not accepted by the standard were produced in almost every litter in the unison of white marked parents. Solid coloured puppies were also dismissed as being of poor quality as they lacked the white marking, which was apparently necessary to win in the show ring. Breeders who were not influenced by the requirements of the show ring, had observed that the union of white marked boxers with solid coloured partners did not produce white puppies. In order to reduce the number of white puppies being produced, it seemed logical to promote solid coloured boxers into the show scene. Accordingly the Scottish in tandem with the British, introduced separate classes for solid coloured boxers during the mid eighties. In time, other boxer clubs followed. In 87 the club was again invited to host the annual Breed Conference. With the Motorway system being fully operational this did not present the difficulties, which had preciously been encountered.
On this occasion, a Scottish Weekend was organised with the conference being held in conjunction with the Club's 35th Championship show, and the judge elect being a Dutch authority on his first UK assignment.
The weekend programme commenced with a pre show dinner, then the show itself with 213 Boxers entered, with a further dinner and "get together" following the show.
The conference included a presentation by the "star" pupil of the club's training scheme for judges describing her experience; a talk by our Dutch guest describing the training of judges in Holland; and this was followed by a showing of the film made by Frau Stockman featuring the Boxer.
Following lunch, a presentation on canine anatomy focusing on the Boxer was given by the Chief Lecturer on this subject from the Glasgow University Veterinary Hospital. The final presentation was given by a famous geneticist on the abnormalities encountered in dogs in general and the Boxer in particular.
During this period, many misconceptions regarding the responsibilities of dog ownership and breeding were proliferated. The time had arrived for an official "stand" and guidance on these matters.
To this end a Code of Conduct was added to the Constitution, new enthusiasts were requested to read this carefully and only submit the "Application for Membership Form" if they were prepared to honour this code.
Into the nineties, a growing number of enthusiasts were encountering heart problems in their Boxers. This information was filtered through breed clubs to Boxer Breed Council. It was decided to monitor the situation by holding Heart Surveys with cardiologists in attendance, at breed club shows throughout the UK. Results showed the main problem to be Aortic Stenosis. With badly affected animals withdrawn from the national breeding stock and the recommendations to minimize the effect and spread of the condition being followed, the situation has greatly improved.
With attendances at Annual General Meetings having greatly decreased during the then recent years it was decided, in the hope of increasing number attending, to add another show followed by the AGM to the Club's Annual calendar. The addition of a Limited Show in February certainly increased attendance at the AGM that followed and also fell within the timescale necessary to submit the Club's Annual Returns to the Kennel Club. At this time too a Puppy Event prior to the Autumn Open Show was added to keep the club in line with events run by other Boxer Clubs in the UK.
In 95' centenary celebrations to mark the founding of the breed were held on a worldwide basis. A number of Scottish Boxer Club members travelled to Munich - birthplace of the boxer - to enjoy the special show and celebrations that were being held there.
In Scotland we had our own celebration to commemorate this special occasion by arranging a "Flocki" dinner prior to the club's open show. During this decade dog clubs generally engaged in many ploys to help raise funds for various charities. To this end the Club organised two sponsored walks. The boxers greatly enjoyed these occasions being spoiled, admired and even photographed by an amazed public who had never before witnessed so many dogs of one breed for a walk together!!!!. The end result was most gratifying with substantial donations being made to various charities.
Following an AGM request to organise a Scottish Top Dog Event, another showing and social occasion was included in the Club's annual calendar. Dogs are qualified through a points system based on wins in Boxer classes scheduled in Scotland. The judge elected by secret ballot is not revealed until the event which is judged on the knock out system with both puppy and adult sections being included.
Dinner, dancing and socialising follow the judging. The first Top Dog was held in '96 and has proved very popular ever since.
During the 90's further attempts were made to revitalise the West Social Section. This started well but despite an interesting and innovative programme support was not maintained and the idea was eventually abandoned.
In accordance with the KC incentive to improve the standard of judging by offering education to aspiring judges a seminar was held in 2002. The lecture on Anatomy and Conformation was presented by a KC Accredited Trainer with the Breed Standard, and what it entails, being given by a specialist Championship Show judge.
Approx 30 enthusiasts attended the Seminar of those who took the breed assessment test there was a 78% pass rate.
In the foregoing history records during the 55 years that the club has beed in existence there have been many changes. Inevitably a number of members who contributed greatly to its strengths are no longer with us. They would have taken great pride in the many champions bred in Scotland and in the number of records held by members. Perhaps most of all, as this club was founded to care for the breed, they would rejoice that character and temperament have been maintained and through this the Boxer has remained a firm favourite as an ideal family companion and friend.