by Virginia Zurflieh, editor
Sins of Omission
Amendment B: The foregoing description is that of the ideal
Boxer. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the
The American Kennel Club will
allow breed clubs to amend their standards ONLY ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS. That means that if
the AKC ratifies Amendment B, which recently received the required majority vote of the
ABC membership, there will be a five-year moratorium on any further change or addition to
the Boxer Standard...just after the membership voted at the annual meeting to send
Amendment A to a new Standards Committee for revision!! To make matters worse, the current
ABC president, Dr. Bob Oliver, wrote in the "Letters to the Editor" section of
the March 13, 1998 issue of Dog News that he interprets Amendment B as making
uncropped ears in the showring a "deviation" (read: fault) that "must"
be penalized by boxer judges. However, Stephanie Abraham, the ABC board member who
actually proposed Amendment B, said on the Showboxer-L e-mail list (June 29, 1998)
that Amendment B "was written solely to clarify judging protocol...if a dog has a slightly
roached back, he should be penalized less than if he had a very roached
back."* Alas, the membership cast their ballots without being aware of the AKCs
five year rule OR the fact that even the board members appear to disagree on how to
interpret Amendment B. And that means that the amendment isnt going to clarify the
standard for boxer judges, either. Indeed, only one things certain at this point -
this uninformed vote is going to cause "ears" to continue to be a divisive issue
in the ABC for years to come.
*Permission granted by the author to reprint this excerpt from her post
to the Showboxer-L.
A Good Move
On a more positive note, The "Move the ABC to the Middle of the
Country" initiative also passed - 300 to 160. This move has been in the making for a
very long time, and frankly, were amazed at how (seemingly) easily and quickly it
was accomplished! But now comes the hard part - finding a new show site in the center of
the country that will be adequate in terms of both size and amenities, and avoiding an
East vs. West civil war.
Achieving the first goal - finding a venue worthy of "The Greatest
Boxer Show on Earth" - will take a lot of legwork on the part of the people who live,
work, and show boxers in the middle of the country. Unlike the Regionals, it is the
responsibility of our parent club, not the local clubs, to put on and finance the national
specialty, and we can certainly expect the ABC to coordinate the site selection and move.
BUT, neither the current president nor most of the board members live in the center of the
country, and we cant reasonably expect them to do much more than check out any
proposed site that appears to meet the size and amenities criteria. On the other hand, the
St. Louis and Kansas City, MO areas are two of the most highly rated in the U.S. in terms
of amenities like recreation and transportation (Places Rated Almanac, rev. 1997),
so theres every reason to hope that finding a suitable venue for the ABC in that
area of the country wont be too difficult a task.
As for avoiding a civil war, that is going to be a difficult
task, given human nature and the fact that the ABC has ALWAYS been in the Northeast. The
"Traditionalists" in the organization have proved to be - to say the least - not
very receptive to change. If we are to sidestep another "Ear Wars," the members
who are accustomed to having the ABC in their own backyard will have to acknowledge the
fairness of moving the ABC to an area of the country thats more accessible to ALL
members. Once that has been accomplished and the ABC is equally convenient (or
inconvenient) to everyone, perhaps we will want to consider what we at B.U. believe is the
ULTIMATE fair solution - a rotating national specialty. Heres hoping!