American Boxer Club Visual Standard

American Boxer Club Visual Standard | Whether new to purebred dogs or a longtime aficionado, the Boxer breed has always been admired for its expressive and beautiful head. Not to undermine the beauty and grace in the Boxer’s sound structure and athletic movement, the unique head defines the essence of the breed.

The official written AKC Boxer Breed Standard defines the breed and has been adapted over time to be more definitive of subtle changes in the breed. The American Boxer Club recognized that a picture is worth a thousand words.

With that in mind, Eleanor Linderholm-Wood, longtime Boxer breeder, handler, ABC Lifetime Achievement Recipient, and Lifetime Member of the American Boxer Club, created BOXER BASICS, A Visual Study of the AKC Standard, 2001.

American Boxer Club Visual Standard

Due to slight changes and updates to the written standard and the increased exhibition of the natural ear Boxer, A New Visual Study of the AKC Boxer Standard was created in 2018. Jessica Kozel-Lemist illustrated this definitive work, based on many of Eleanor Linderholm-Woods’ original illustrations, with input from several breeders. Ann Linderholm-Keil edited the work.

The work is introduced with “A Perspective on the Boxer Standard,” which is a brief history of the breed, and describes the many uses of the breed and cites the structural development of the dog which allowed them to perform certain tasks… as the Boxer evolved from a hunting dog to a utility dog, a performer, a protector, and a companion.

This booklet features 27 pages of illustrations and detailed explanations of the breed, devoted to the dominant/major features that identify the breed.

Intense concentration is directed to the Boxer head. The unique shape and the intricate aspects are derived from the early utilitarian purpose of the breed.

The body illustrations detail the size, proportion, and substance of the ideal Boxer.

Starting with an illustration depicting of General Appearance: “A medium sized, square-built dog of good substance,” discussion and illustrations follow.

American Boxer Club Visual Standard

The Boxer head description follows as it is the most definitive feature of the breed. The verbiage of the AKC Standard is defined with illustrations, measurements, and specifics of every component of the ideal Boxer head. The ideal balance and proportion are well illustrated. The wording in the head description was modified in the last ABC Standard update in 2005 to be more conceptual of the emphasis of the Boxer expression—an integral aspect of the Boxer head. Rather than describing eye shape, the standard now brings attention to the eyes as reflecting “mood-mirroring character… [giving] the Boxer head its unique quality of expressiveness.”

The Muzzle Balance—Proportions are illustrated between skull to stop, equaling 2/3, and the depth of stop to nose, 1/3.

The jaw and muzzle structure are also of paramount essence for the breed. The “Moderate Layback and Perceptible Chin” illustration beautifully allows a visual definition.

The Guide continues with descriptions and illustrations of the correct structure, neck, and topline. Forequarters and hindquarters are defined beautifully through many full body illustrations as well as a depiction of the Boxer in motion.

The descriptive illustrations combined with the written verbiage of the Standard provide an ideal vision to understand the ideal Boxer.

This in-depth Illustrated Standard of the Boxer is a must-have for breeders, judges, and any prospective Boxer enthusiast.

The American Boxer Club—A New Visual Study of the AKC Boxer Standard is available through the American Boxer Club Judges Education Committee Chairman, Sandy Orr, and can be ordered on the American Boxer Club Website.

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  • Virginia (Ginny) Shames purchased her first show dog, a Vizsla, when she was a senior in college. She went to her first dog show that year (1971) with her dog entered. The show was Old Dominion Kennel Club—one of the largest in the country. Ginny’s learned a lot since then. While working full-time and in graduate school at night (and finishing her Vizsla), Ginny became fascinated with Boxers, and soon bought her first Boxer. It was the beginning of a fifty-year habit in which she has established many lifelong friends. Since that time, while working full-time, Ginny has bred and finished over one hundred AKC Champions, including Vizslas (still in the family), Smooth Fox Terriers, and Boxers (many co-bred with her partner, Ted Fickes), almost all owner-handled. They have had several Boxer Sires and Dams of Merit, Legion of Merit, Specialty and BIS winners. Ginny has been active in the American Boxer Club since 1974. She has served in various positions; as President, Treasurer, on the Board of Directors, and on several Committees over the years. She developed BOXER U, a breeder/exhibitor training tool (available on YouTube), and she initiated, with Tami Mishler, In the Know, the ABC online newsletter, which has an extensive readership worldwide. Ginny is currently the AKC Gazette Boxer columnist. In 2017, Ginny was elected to the ABC Hall of Fame. Ginny has judged many Sweepstakes, including Fox Terriers at Montgomery, and the ABC National Boxer Futurity and the Boxer Top 20 event. She has also judged Boxers in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and was one of the judges for the Boxer of the Year Event in England. After Ted’s death, Ginny relocated from Northern Virginia to Fredericksburg, Virginia, where she currently has two adult Boxers and a new “what was I thinking” Boxer puppy—almost ready for shows.

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