Monday, February 16, 2015

New Information on ARVC

We're not going to rehash the debate here about whether Dr Kate Meurs’ 
ARVC-1 test identifies Boxers that do or don't have the gene for ARVC. That controversy has been ongoing since shortly after Dr Meurs announced her discovery and test in 2009 and I think we’re all sick of arguing about it. Instead, Dr Bruce Cattanach's announcement & peer reviewed journal paper (just published online a few days ago) can speak for itself. Please read the paper at the link below, check out the qualifications of the paper’s author and co-authors and discuss it with your own cardiologist. IMO, this is the most hopeful news we've had about ARVC for a long, long time.
vz
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ARVC News from Dr Bruce Cattanach:

I have some answers on problems that have been experienced with Kate Meurs’ striatin test for Boxer ARVC and which I think will be of interest particularly to American breeders.  These are provided in a substantively peer reviewed paper submitted to a highly regarded British veterinary journal and formally published online yesterday.  It can be accessed at:

The bottom line message is that striatin is NOT the gene for ARVC but it lies very close to the true ARVC locus on the same chromosome where it can separate from it by meiotic recombination.  This accounts for the evident association between the striatin mutation and the disease in some dogs but its absence in others, and also the existence of permanently disease-free lines of dogs that carry the striatin mutation even in the homozygous condition.  A major point is that the findings basically accord well with those of Meurs but, with the extra genetic evidence provided by the pedigree assessment, a different interpretation is demanded.  Several other points of interest also emerged.

Although the study does not identify the true ARVC mutation, my hope is that the findings will trigger further research upon the region involved such that either the true ARVC gene, or maybe DNA markers that are tightly enough linked to it to serve the equivalent role, will be found.  Any such work will have to be conducted in American Boxers as ARVC is no longer evident in the show section of the breed in the UK.

 Bruce Cattanach


Friday, December 19, 2014

JUVENILE KIDNEY DISEASE (JKD): A PETITION TO THE UK BOXER BREED COUNCIL

Editor’s note: I sincerely hope that every health conscious Boxer fancier in the world will read the plea of British Boxer breeder Sheila Cartwright below, and will sign the petition printed at the bottom of this page. Juvenile Kidney Dysplasia (JKD), known here in the US as Juvenile Renal Dysplasia, has been reported all over the world – in Europe, Scandinavia, the US (a case was just diagnosed in my home state of Florida) and even in Australia & New Zealand. This is not just a UK problem. British Boxers are popular on every continent, in large part because the UK Boxer community has always responded with alacrity to health concerns. JKD should not be an exception.   VZ      

Petition to the Boxer Breed Council on JKD
There has been much concern over JKD (Juvenile Kidney Dysplasia) during the last few years with not all convinced that it is hereditary. The same was true back in 2002 when cardiomyopathy came to attention. In 2006 a petition was sent to Breed Council, supported by Boxer owners requesting them to set up a Health Committee to look into this and other diseases. I was a member of that committee and at the first meeting we drew up a list of Boxer health problems. To add to the obvious ones, I put forward kidney-related diseases as I had become aware of several fatal kidney disease issues with a wide variety of veterinary diagnoses – i.e. kidney failure, polycystic kidneys, undeveloped organs and also UTI’s – over quite a large number of litters. It will never be known if any of these were JKD but the committee agreed to put this on the agenda. Obviously cardiomyopathy took precedence and nothing further was done about kidney disease until the issue of cardiomyopathy was resolved. Shortly after that, members of the committee changed and a new chairman was appointed.
Subsequently we have been made aware of a juvenile Boxer kidney disease (JKD). The number of British and foreign cases reported is large and it has become clear that the disease is inherited and widely spread throughout the breed. Attempts are being made in several countries to find the gene responsible but it seems this is not as easy as was first hoped.
Without pedigree information it has been difficult for Boxer breeders to be convinced that this kidney problem is inherited, and when breeding they do not know which way to turn. The only pedigrees officially published are from cases reported in Sweden. From these it seems unlikely that any clear lines exist anywhere but there will be clear animals.
I think that, as we have done in the past with other serious Boxer genetic health problems – e.g., PA and BCM – publication of the pedigrees of animals that have developed JKD would convince breeders that JKD is inherited and allow them to breed more safely.
This is not a witch hunt. Several breeders have already withdrawn producing stock from breeding. This is the right way to go. Just remember, the existence of the gene is nobody’s fault, but to knowingly perpetuate it definitely is.
A petition is now online requesting Breed Council to authorise the release of pedigrees to everyone and I would urge all Boxer breeders in all countries to sign it.
Here is the link for the petition:
Sheila Cartwright (Tyegarth)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JUVENILE KIDNEY DISEASE (JKD):

A PETITION TO THE UK BOXER BREED COUNCIL

It is now 4 years since Boxer JKD came to attention in Britain. Because the disease was immediately seen to be widely spread and the mode of inheritance was not yet clear, the only advice given to breeders was to avoid inbreeding. Breed Council decided that pedigrees should not be made public.

Since then, the mode of inheritance has largely clarified, and the disease has been recognized throughout the breed, not only in Britain but also throughout Europe and America. Tragically, it has also reached Australia and New Zealand through British exports.

Several European research groups and one American group are attempting to find the gene for JKD, but there is no expectation that the gene will be found quickly and a test developed.

In Sweden, the pedigrees of affected litters are published and it is recommended that JKD producers should be withdrawn from further breeding, but in Britain nothing is being done to help breeders. Rather, the withholding of pedigrees, coupled with the low detected incidence of affected animals, has meant that breeders are barely convinced that JKD is inherited

For this reason, we, the undersigned Boxer breeders, owners and exhibitors, petition the UK Boxer Breed Council to

a. request all JKD-producing Boxers be withdrawn from breeding, as also sibs of affected pups, and

b.authorise, with owners’ permission, the publication of pedigrees of affected litters to ensure that everyone can see that JKD is inherited.

The fact that JKD is now seen to be a problem in Boxers world-wide will minimize concern that breeders will attempt to breed to supposed clear lines and so reduce the size of the already-diminished gene pool. There are no unquestionable clear lines although there will be many clear dogs in all lines.

NB – when signing it would be appreciated if you could add your affix after your surname and country, many thanks.

Respectfully submitted 14/10/2014.
Here is a link to the petition:


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A "Commercial" Thanksgiving, Starring...Bungee!

Editor’s note: About a year ago, I sold a plain fawn puppy dog (“Tonka”) from my last litter to Kate Connick, who already had a neat assortment of dogs, including “Bungee,” the big white boxer with the fawn eye patch pictured below. Kate is a real dog person, and her dogs are not only beautifully trained, but also participate in her very athletic lifestyle in the tiny village of Ardsley, New York – hiking, swimming, herding, you name it! As befits such well-trained canines, they also participate in photo-shoots for magazines, TV shows and commercials and are all-round fantastic ambassadors for our breed. Below is Kate’s account of Bungee’s latest “commercial” endeavor. 


A “Commercial” Thanksgiving,
Starring…Bungee!

Bungee was at it again with another shoot yesterday.  This one for a brand of chewy dog treats. The company ad reps saw Bungee on John Oliver’s show & said, "Ooo, he's our dog!"  The shoot was at somebody's house that had been rented for the purpose – not a studio.  Two photographers took stills and video all day.  They told me that the theme of the product is related to dogs being regular dogs, so Bungee was basically supposed to misbehave throughout.  The material they got is intended for a social media promotion.  I think the idea was to show what a dog goes through at Thanksgiving.

The photographers loved Bungee.  They were also shooting a Berger Picard who has the look of a cuddly family dog, but was apparently more business-like and less touchy-feely than Bungee. The Berger was their "main" dog, because of his really adorable appearance.  (They might have been using him for a TV commercial, but I'm not sure.) Beautiful dog!    

The funny thing is that various cast members (and the homeowner) kept coming over and cuddling with Bungee and telling me how much they liked him.  It figures! I think the expectation is that a muppety-looking dog like the Berger should be a big stuffed animal, and a formidable-looking boxer should be a thug, so Bungee was a pleasant surprise for them (but not for boxer owners, of course).  "Bungee is soooo sweet.  THIS is the kind of dog I should have!  But...I guess that takes a lot of training, huh?"  I tell people how much exercise he gets, and they look sort of confused – mountain hiking, swimming, sheep herding?  He comes by those muscles honestly!  That being said, he really IS a sweet, mellow boxer. We were there all day, and they took tons of footage.  I think Bungee was more tired than when we climbed mountains in July & September!  He was limp by the time we got home last night.

First thing in the morning, the photographers wanted shots of him running towards the camera.  That was easy and he enjoyed it.  Simple stay & recall, over and over and over, in the backyard.  My sister Peggy, who came along to help when more than two hands were needed, said they commented on how fast he was.  They also wanted him nosing the camera lens, which was a slobbery mess, but they seemed happy about that.  I can’t imagine how they could’ve gotten anything they could use – Bungee was sliming their Canon lenses in a big way.

Next, they wanted him playing with a football (piece of cake).  They brought out two little kids who had completely ignored the dog inside.  The first thing the kids announced was how they hate football (and they didn't seem too into dogs, either). But it didn't take long before they were hysterically laughing and chasing Bungee as he ran around in circles, teasing them with the football he'd stolen from them.  He was really sweet with them.  Bungee would lie down, let them take the ball, and then attack the ball with gusto when they threw it.  I'm sure they got some good shots of that stuff.  The football looked pretty war-torn by the time we were done. The photographers also wanted him to paw at the back door to let himself in, but Bungee is kind of polite, so he wasn't going for it initially.  He quickly got the idea, though, and ultimately was throwing himself at the door and blasting it open, so the photogs got just what they wanted.

We moved to the front yard.  The kids threw leaves at his head, buried him in leaves, and continued to be silly.  Truth be told, Bungee looked pretty miserable; he wasn't exactly loving that part.  Even so, he was a good sport.  In the afternoon, other outdoor shots in the front yard had even more kids playing with him with a small, orange ball.  They were throwing it, often straight up in the air, and he'd run laps around them before lying down and waiting for them to take it and throw it again.  They got some shots of kids petting him, too, although the kids were all a bit intimidated by his size and strength.  Amusingly, the women who owned the house fell in love with Bungee.  She said she's not a "dog person," but was totally smitten.  She kept inviting her friends over to meet him.

The photographers also took a couple of shots of him eating their product.  Lots of spit and slobber.  They liked his drooliness.  I was surprised that they didn't take more shots like that, but they only got a couple of snapshots on the front porch of one woman feeding him treats.  I think the dog treats were made of chicken, but I'm not sure – they may have been promoting turkey treats for Thanksgiving?  I was too focused on the dog to pay much attention. 

There were also shots of kids walking him down the sidewalk themselves, and they got the entire "Thanksgiving family" together on the front porch for a family photo type of situation, in which the dog is supposed to misbehave.  Bungee was supposed to not sit still politely, so I'd call him out of the photo, they'd call him back and try to position him, and I'll call him out again. 

Indoors, they had Bungee rummaging through shoes left by the front door.  He sat awkwardly in a little girl's lap while she tried to see over him to watch the TV.  He sat in the kitchen, ostensibly looking up at a grocery bag with the treats in it, but that was hard, because his eyes tend to be glued to me.  I think they might have gotten some shots of him looking over his shoulder with streams of drool coming down instead.  He does a good "woe is me; I'm a starving orphan" face. Then the photographers had Bungee sitting by the Thanksgiving turkey while it was being carved, staring at the turkey and drooling.  Photographer: "Drool is crucial here." 

Another indoor scenario had an arm throwing a coat on a bed where other coats were lying.  Bungee was supposed to jump up and lie on the coats.  The bed was the highest bed I'd ever seen!  He'd jump up and lie down easily (Bungee loves comfort).  So then they asked if he could turn a circle like dogs do before they lie down.  Uh... okay?  So I'd have him jump up, spin in a circle, lie down, and drop his chin.  I have no idea if it looks authentic, but he's a really good sport about doing what I ask of him.

I think (?) that's pretty much everything.  The photographers were taking shots of him all day, and Bungee was enjoying being petted and fussed-over.  The very last thing they did was for their own amusement.  He gave one of the (two, young, blonde, female) photographers his trademark "hug" (paws over her shoulders, licking her face), and the other photographer said, "Wait! Wait!  I need to get that!  It's so cute." 

Anyway, they seemed really happy with the big guy.  He was an angel.  This was at a regular house, so we were working outside with no leash or fence, near an active sidewalk and (quiet) road, with neighbors and dogs and other distractions.  He's a good guy.  I think having a chance to play with a bunch of sugared up kids was just one big party for Bungee. 


Today, Bungee is sound asleep with Tonka lying next to him, snuggled up to his back. 






Thursday, June 12, 2014

ABC MEMBERS: A Call to Action!


The most important decision an ABC member can make regarding the ABC shows – the Futurity, National and Regional – is nominating and electing the judges for those events. Unfortunately, when it came to the 2015 Regional nominations, the ABC blew it.

Here’s what happened: The ABC Judges Selection Committee (JSC) posted the criteria listed at the bottom of this page (Appendix A) to the ABC website sometime in February 2014. These judging criteria were also included in the nomination packets for the 2015 Regional that were mailed to every ABC member and member club in March or April. Take a look at Item 2 in Appendix A, and then look at Tom Latta’s analysis of how these criteria would have affected past judge selections (Tom's analysis is also at the bottom of this page).  

Now look at Item 5 in Appendix A: “Must not have judged the Futurity, Regional BOB and ABC National BOB within the 10 years prior to his or her nomination for any assignment.” That means that the judge who did the Futurity this year cannot be considered for the National or Regional till at least 2024, even if she applies for an AKC judge’s license today!

But that’s not the worst of it. Not only is Criterion 5 absurd, it’s not the requirement the board approved! Somehow, in translating those criteria from the boardroom to the website, the wording became hopelessly scrambled. On top of all that, apparently the JSC has known for a while that the wording was not correct, but even though the deadline for the 2015 Regional nominations was May 31, 2014, an “explanation” wasn't posted to the website till May 29. Also, there’s no link to the explanation from the criteria and the unapproved judging criteria are STILL on the website! Oh yes, and only five (5) nominations were received for the 2015 Regional. If you’ll take another look at Tom Latta’s analysis, you can see why. A nomination would require some serious research, and most people simply don’t have the time to do that. 

You know, everyone makes mistakes and everyone realizes that the ABC directors and committee chairs are unpaid volunteers. But the Judges Selection Committee has been working on these criteria for over two years! And actually, the only thing ABC members asked them to do in the first place was to set a reasonable limit (5 years? 7 years?) on how often someone could judge each of the three ABC conformation events. At the very least, these criteria should be removed from the website while they’re being revised, and once they've been revised, the membership should be allowed to vote on them.

Bottom line: The 2015 Regional nominations need to be reopened ASAP.  If the board can’t come to a swift consensus, then the ABC President needs to make an executive decision.

Email your ABC directors and let them know that you want input into this supremely important ABC policy:

Barry Wyerman                    wyerbr@sbcglobal.net
Beth Downey                        amityhallboxers@yahoo.com
Bridget J. Brown                   jackeye@bellsouth.net
Bruce & Judy Voran            bjvoran@gmail.com
Diane Kowalchyk-Morris    aboxabiz@aol.com
Ginny Shames                     Arribatali@aol.com
Jill Hootman                          tealcrst@gmail.com
Karen Emerson                    kaemerso2003@yahoo.com
Korinne Vanderpool            korvpool@gmail.com
Linda Abel                             strybkbox@aol.com
Linda Middagh                     lrmboxers@comcast.net
Sharon Steckler                   steckler@swbell.net
Stephanie Abraham            landmarks.properties@snet.net
Teresa Kaminski                  tckaminski@sbcglobal.net

APPENDIX A
CRITERIA FOR JUDGES FOR THE ABC NATIONAL SPECIALTY, REGIONAL & FUTURITY

Judges wishing to judge the ABC National Specialty, Regional or Futurity must meet the criteria set out below. If at any time a Judge fails to meet the criteria, including the time period after their selection and before the assignment, he or she will forfeit the assignment and the Judge receiving the 2nd most votes will be awarded the assignment; similarly, the Judge receiving the 3rd most votes will be awarded the remaining classes.
No Judge will be placed before the ABC membership as a candidate who does not meet each of the following criteria.
A candidate:
  1. Must be an AKC-approved regular status Judge in good standing with no disciplinary issues with AKC in the past 10 years.
  2. Must have been an AKC-approved regular status Judge for at least 5 years prior to their nomination and have judged at least 3 shows with MAJORS in the Boxers.
  3. Must not be a permit Judge, active handlers, or Boxer breeder who is not AKC approved regular status judge.
  4. Must not have judged the Boxer breed in the US within 6 months of the ABC assignment and cannot judge in the regional cluster prior to the nationals.
  5. Must not have judged the Futurity, Regional BOB and ABC National BOB within the 10 years prior to his or her nomination for any assignment.
  6. Must abide by Ethics and Honesty, Conflict of Interest and Gray Areas in AKC Guidelines for Conformation of Dog Show Judges (pages 2 - 5). Furthermore, once nominated, must not have posted comments on social media or other public venue.
  7. Must abide by the AKC one year period for co-ownership restriction. (Rules Applying to Dog Shows -- (Chapter 11, Section 13).
  8. Must, if selected, excuse any dogs, handlers or exhibitors upon entrance to the ring when a possible conflict of interest or unfair advantage appears to be present. (AKC guidelines will be used.)
  9. Must provide written critique of their judging to the ABC before any publications in print or online.
Nominators must personally assure that candidates who are nominated to judge the National Specialty or Regional meet the criteria in this document. The nominators must supply a statement signed by their nominated candidate that the candidate meets these criteria. Additional reviews may be done at the discretion of the ABC Judges Screening Committee.
NOTE: Criteria 1, 2 and 3 do not apply to a Futurity nomination.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom Latta's analysis of the judging criteria:

How would the current criteria have affected past judge selections?

Year
Show
Judge
Qualified if 2014 Criteria had been applied?
2003
ABC Futurity
Christine Baum
Yes
2003
ABC National (Bitches & Breed)
Betty Mentzer
Yes
2003
ABC National (Dogs)
Cindy Meyer
No (approved Boxers 9/8/2000, ineligible under Criteria #2)
2004
ABC Futurity
Melvin Holloman
Yes
2004
ABC National (Bitches & Breed)
Stephanie Abraham
Yes
2004
ABC National (Dogs)
Tom Hutchings
Yes
2004
ABC Regional
Janet Sinclair
No (approved Boxers 12/10/1999, ineligible under Criteria #2)
2005
ABC Futurity
Robert Phillips
Yes
2005
ABC National (Bitches & Breed)
Billie McFadden
Yes
2005
ABC National (Dogs)
Dixie McCauley
Unknown
2005
ABC Regional
Sandy Orr
No (approved Boxers 6/10/2004, ineligible under Criteria #2)
2006
ABC Futurity
Gary Steele
Yes
2006
ABC National (Dogs & Breed)
Monika Pinsker
Yes
2006
ABC National (Bitches)
Larry Sinclair
Yes
2006
ABC Regional
Jack Ireland
Yes
2007
ABC Futurity
Daniel Buchwald
No (judged 1998 Futurity, ineligible under Criteria #5)
2007
ABC National (Bitches & Breed)
Alberto Berrios
Yes
2007
ABC National (Dogs)
Sandy Orr
Yes
2007
ABC Regional
Judith Voran
No (approved Boxers 7/9/2003, ineligible under Criteria #2)
2008
ABC Futurity
Virginia Shames
Yes
2008
ABC National (Dogs & Breed)
Janet Sinclair
Yes
2008
ABC National (Bitches)
Rufus Burleson
Yes
2008
ABC Regional
Maureen Boyd
Yes
2009
ABC Futurity
Mary Lou Hatfield
Yes
2009
ABC National (Dogs & Breed)
Elizabeth Gunter
Yes
2009
ABC National (Bitches)
Pat Healy
No (approved Boxers 4/10/2007, ineligible under Criteria #2)
2009
ABC Regional
Larry Sinclair
Yes
2009
ABC Regional
Sharon Steckler
No (approved Boxers 3/12/2008, ineligible under Criteria #2)
2010
ABC Futurity
Clifford Steele
Yes
2010
ABC National (Dogs & Breed)
Jack Ireland
Yes
2010
ABC National (Bitches)
Tom Perret
Yes
2010
ABC Regional
Patricia Mullen
No (approved Boxers 6/15/2005, ineligible under Criteria #2)
2011
ABC Futurity
Michael Shepherd
Yes
2011
ABC National (Bitches & Breed)
Shirley Bell
No (approved Boxers 8/6/2006, ineligible under Criteria #2)
2011
ABC National (Dogs)
Sharon Steckler
No (approved Boxers 3/12/2008, ineligible under Criteria #2)
2011
ABC Regional
Sandy Orr
No (judged 2005 Regional, ineligible under Criteria #5)
2012
ABC Futurity
Bridget Brown
Yes
2012
ABC National (Bitches & Breed)
Peter Baynes
Yes
2012
ABC National (Dogs)
David Abraham
Yes
2012
ABC Regional
Cheryl Robbins
Yes
2013
ABC Futurity
Wendy J Morawski
Yes
2013
ABC National (Bitches & Breed)
Alberto Berrios
No (judged Breed @ 2007 National, ineligible under Criteria #5)
2013
ABC National (Dogs)
Ann Gilbert
No (approved Boxers 1/13/2009, ineligible under Criteria #2)
2013
ABC Regional
Joe Gregory
Yes
2014
ABC Futurity
Tami Mishler
Yes
2014
ABC National (Dogs & Breed)
Butch Engel
Yes
2014
ABC National (Bitches)
Pat Mullen
Yes
2014
ABC Regional
Evalyn Gregory
No (approved Boxers 4/1/2013, ineligible under Criteria #2)

Based on the above analysis, the newly established 2014 Judge Selection Criteria would have had the following effect over the past 11 years:

1 of the last 12 Futurity Judges would have been ineligible
7 of the last 13 Regional Judges would have been ineligible
6 of the last 24 National Judges would have been ineligible