Interview with Bonnie Wagaman, Breeder of CinniBon Boxers
Where do we live? How many years in dogs? How many years as breeders?
Bonnie Wagaman: We recently moved to Alabama after living in California for 25 years. We have been in dogs for 14 years, breeding for 14 years.
What is our kennel name? How many dogs do we currently keep?
Bonnie Wagaman: My kennel name is CinniBon Boxers. We currently keep 4-5 dogs in our home, with several co-owned dogs that live with loving families.
Which show dogs from the past have been our noteworthy winners?
Bonnie Wagaman: Our most noteworthy dog is “Wilma,” GCHP2 CinniBon’s Bedrock Bombshell. She is the top-winning Boxer in the history of the breed and a two-time Westminster Working Group Winner.
Our girl “Crystal” was our first home-bred champion, and from the 6-9 Puppy Class she was the Best Puppy in Futurity Winner and Reserve Winners Bitch at the American Boxer Club Nationals (2010).
Which have been our most influential sires and dams?
Bonnie Wagaman: Our most influential sire is “Gambler,” CH CinniBon’s Know When to Hold’Um. He not only sired the top-winning Boxer in the history of the breed, he also has numerous champions that have notable records and ABC National wins.
Can we talk a bit about our facilities? Where are our puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Bonnie Wagaman: We don’t have a “kennel.” Our dogs live here in our home. With the move, we will be setting up a small exterior kennel for whelping and raising puppies… with love. We do use several methods such as neurological stimulation when they are newborns, many of the Puppy Culture philosophies, and other methods I have developed, or seen others use, that I find successful.
What is our “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do we make our decisions?
Bonnie Wagaman: Our process includes watching them from birth, monitoring their behavior and interactions with people and each other, looking for that confident puppy, and stacking them when they are able to see which have the correct structure/type. We watch them move around the yard to see who has a great gait, etc. We make our decisions between 8 and 10 weeks. Some we hang on to a little longer because they need a bit more time.
How do we prepare our pups for the show ring? Does our breed require any special preparation?
Bonnie Wagaman: We prepare our pups through lots of socialization and desensitizing to touch and sound. Socialization is probably the most important preparation.
Can we share our thoughts on how our breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Bonnie Wagaman: Not sure I understand the question, but this is my best response: Our breed often uses handlers in the ring. It is very competitive; however, I do see more owners showing their dogs. It’s tough, but if they have a good dog and present them professionally, they are rewarded.
Are there any health-related concerns within our breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Bonnie Wagaman: I think all breeds have some kinds of concern. The top concerns for a Boxer are heart health and cancer. DM is a concern if they live to an older age (9+) but most at that age still succumb primarily to cancer. Many have sensitive digestive tracks, so a quality food is recommended.
In our opinion, is our breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Bonnie Wagaman: If we are talking health, I think that with the testing many of us do we are improving on both longevity and health. As for breed type, I’d rather not say because we don’t see many of the dogs except on social media, which isn’t the recommended way to judge breed type. I don’t know what other breeders are concerned with, but I am concerned with toplines and movement.
Is our breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own our breed?
Bonnie Wagaman: Absolutely! They are fun, sweet, loyal, smart, and so many other descriptions—balled-up into one dog. Each has their own personality and their eyes are so expressive that you know what they are trying to convey. They will capture your heart the first time you look into their eyes. Adventurous families with children are the best candidates to own the breed. Boxers can be different personalities for each family member.
Do we feel that our breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Bonnie Wagaman: Yes. We are fortunate to have conscientious breeders.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing we’ve ever experienced with our breed?
Bonnie Wagaman: There are too many stories to tell. Some I experienced and others I heard sitting around talking with fellow exhibitors. I won’t share the story here because it is too long, but my favorite story to tell is my “Hobo” story about my first encounter with Ricky Justice. If you ever see me ringside and want me to share the story, I would love to have a good laugh and tell you.
Are you looking for a Boxer puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Boxer dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
Boxer Dog Breed Magazine
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