Karin Rezewski

EBZ Interview (2004 extract) (Part 2)
by permission of Alexandra Gav, Eurozone Boxers
Witherford Hot Chestnut
Carlo v. Henningshof
Carlino v. Nassau Oranien
Teck del Colle dell'Infinito
David del Colle dell'Infinito
Perico du Val d'Europe

What in your opinion the health problems the breed has in general?
Generally speaking the biggest problem I think is CANCER in all departments.

What is your opinion about white Boxers?
We shall have to live with them.

What is your opinion about ear cropping/tail docking bans?
For old breeders as I am, who lived a life time with cropped ears and docked tails it is very difficult to adapt these silly laws. So many of us gave up and as far as Germany is concerned the development suffers a great deal.. Many good dogs dropped out of the breeding scheme, at the same time registrations and other club activities are reduced. Personally I have come to terms with the somewhat foreign outlook, as long as the overall appearance is typical, which glosses over the cosmetical changes.

Do you think health tests are necessary in Boxer breeding? Please give reasons and examples. Is there something we would miss if we did not health test? Is there anything we miss when we refuse a wonderful dog who failed one of the tests?
The different health tests can help breeders to evaluate the overall situation. With each dog the outlook mostly is different. As the genetic scientists declare that we can only fight against two faults at a time, we should choose the two most important defects or shortcomings. Overall I would say as long as the results are tolerable a wonderful dog should not be refused.

Do you feel current show exhibitors are ethical and show enough sportsmanship? How, in your opinion, do the exhibitors of today compare to those who were showing Boxers years/decades ago? Do they appear to have different goals and methods or not?
Everybody is chasing after the big win, there is no difference between those exhibitors who were showing years ago or those of today. There shall always be a tough competition. But what I cannot stand today is the way people are performing in the ring just ignoring the simple ethical rules of behaviour. There is no respect and sportsmanship at all. They do not hesitate to show their disapproval of the judge´s decision by screaming or explicit leaving the ring.

What qualities of character do you think a good Boxer breeder must have?
A good Boxer breeder should love the breed, he must know the breeding tools and techniques. He should be honest and discrete, always fair and honest against the pros and contras of the dogs. He must avoid discrimination against other people and their dogs.

What is your opinion about dog shows? Do you think they help breed better dogs or the opposite? Do people care too much about winning or is a normal part of being a breeder? Is it possible to be a good breeder without attending shows?
I think breeders and judges need shows in order to find out what is going on in the breed. By comparing one dog against the other we learn to differ between the good and bad points. Usually the newcomer searches the big winner, no matter whether he is a well bred dog and what he already produced, no matter whether he suits the pedigree and outlook of the bitch. A good breeder should judge by the offspring of the dog which he is planning to use. That´s why shows are a must, especially for beginners. Breeding without shows can only be done by those individuals with long experience who are used to responsible and independent breeding principles.

What would be your message and advise to the young breeders that just come to the breed now?
Try to learn by watching judges and listening to the experienced people. Avoid the know-all persons. Learning by doing is the best advice.

Looking at the new generation of Boxer breeders and judges, do you have any fears for the future?
The new generation is convinced that they know everything better and will not request the experience and advice of the previous generations. It seems to me that there is not much interest in the development of the breed, the goal is winning, no matter in which way. Under these circumstances I feel sorry for the future.

What, in your opinion, are the five most important things the Boxer breeders of today must pay attention to?
Boxer breeders of today first should have a good look round, compare his bitch with the requirements of the Standard, study her pedigree. If he finds her good enough from outlook and brains, he should let have done the health tests, slight deviations should be tolerable. On the other hand the dog with a severe defect should not be used for breeding.

What in your prognosis the breed will become in 50 years from now. How the breed will be developed? Progress or regress? Do you think the “golden age” of Boxer has passed or is it waiting for us in the future?
The breed is fluctuating continuously. At the moment the phase is not very encouraging But I reckon there will always turn up good dogs again, which will help to improve the situation. The anti-dog campain spread all over the countries is very harmful. So what will be in 5O years from now we cannot foresee. The “Golden times”of the thirties and sixties will not come back - as long as there is no other LUSTIG or HOT CHESTNUT on the horizont.

With experience, every breeder learns more about certain negative traits such as cleft palate, cryptorchidism, narrow nostrils, bad temperaments, etc, and which lines or dogs tend to carry a particular faults. Some breeders choose to keep this information discreet and use it for their own benefit, while others don’t mind sharing their findings with other breeders. Please tell your personal position on this.
There will always arise disappointing results. In Germany these are controlled and reported so that breeders cannot keep them discreet. The only danger I see in this procedure is that newcommers concentrate too much on these negative lists so that they can easily loose the general view on the breed, which can mean loss of type.

Do you think that negative traits such as cleft palate, cryptorchidism, narrow nostrils, bad temperaments, health issues, etc can be completely eliminated?
NO, bearing in mind that the forerunners Bullenbeißer and Bulldogs were of unknown origin, we can only try to limit the negative traits by careful planning

What is your opinion on “kennel blindness” and how would you suggest breeders escape this trap?
Narrow-minded breeders mostly do not want to learn, they easily loose the eye for their own stock. They can only escape this trap by looking around as far as possible comparing the other dogs with their own dogs. I fear there are far too many in this trap.

Doing Boxers can sometimes be heartbreaking, expensive and very demanding hobby. What keeps you motivated?
LOVE TO THE BREED keeps me motivated. If you do not love the Boxer, and you are not prepared to go through your hobby with all the above mentioned problems, you will soon loose interest and leave the breed.

Having witnessed the birth and the death of so many generations of the Boxer breed, do you feel we as breeders have made any serious mistakes during this period?
I think there are far too many people, who are not aware of the fact where the breed is going, ups or downs always depend on how much the gene pool is refilled. The biggest mistake is when breeders do not realize the situation. Unfortuntely this happens far too often, a great many breeders in Germany are beginners. They give up too quickly, when there is no success.

It is relatively easy to notice that the Boxer breed has evolved significantly over the past twenty years, so much that many people feel winners from that time would have no success in the ring had they been able to be shown today. What is the reason of this? Can we speak of the breed progress or should we think about the fact we have deployed from the original Standard?
I think that the breed has deployed from the original Standard enormously over the past twenty years. The OVERTYPICAL Boxer of the TWO EXTREMES are in the MAJORITY, a Boxer of balanced characteristics is the exception and therefore he mostly has no chance. Judges and breeders are to blame, but I fear they cannot realize the alterations, simply because they were not there in those days.

We have all been witnessing that very often a personal preference of a breeder or a group of breeders influences the breed dramatically. Do you find that personal preferences have place and say in the Boxer breeding and are merely a part of the creativity many breeders show? On the opposite, do you feel that personal preferences have no place and say in breeding as they often take the breed into the wrong direction?
There might happen some influences through “politics“ of certain breeders, stirring up the crowd, but fundamentally they cannot effect the breed deeply. Breeding and judging to a certain extent always will be subjective, so part of personal creativity should be accepted, as long as we follow the basic principles of the standard.

What were the best producing stud dogs that you remember? Which qualities had their passed?
Apart from HOT CHESTNUT there were the two CARLO v. HENNINGSHOF and CARLINO NASSAU-ORANIEN from former times, Later came TECK and DAVID del Colle dell'INFINITO and PERICO DU VAL DÉUROPE: alltogether dominant stud dogs outstanding in head type, bodywise here and there lacking in strength behind.

If Frau Stockmann and other great Boxer breeders of the past could see the breed today, do you think they would approve of which direction we are taking it?
Already during the sixties I saw FRAU STOCKMANN-refrain from discussing the development of the breed. I presume nowadays she would not see a chance of coming back to normal
proportions and circumstances.

Bremen, 02/O5/2004. Karin Rezewski

© Karin Rezewski 2005, created by Dunja