In January, I wrote to the UK Boxer Breed Council Health Committee enclosing some pictures of Boxers taken at UK shows in the past couple of years. I pointed out that I felt that stenotic nostrils (nares) in the breed was a growing problem and that I hoped it could be nipped in the bud.
As some will know, I am currently on a bit of a mission re Pug, Frenchie and Bulldog noses via the CRUFFA Facebook page. Pinched nostrils are a huge problem in these breeds, particularly in Frenchies (a blog to come on that).
We produced some nice stickers to help get the message across - and I even offered to let the French Bulldog club have the artwork without CRUFFA's name on it. Sadly, I wasn't taken up on the offer (we're the enemy...) and I was forbidden from distributing the stickers at Crufts. As it happens, just mentioning on CRUFFA that I wanted to, created a big and rather silly fuss in the dog press, so we managed to get the message across that way.
"While the Boxer Breed Council’s Health Committee does not believe that pinched nostrils are a significant issue in Boxers we will take the opportunity of reminding Breed Clubs that open nostrils in the broad, black nose required by the Breed Standard are desirable. We will be doing this by circulating your original email together with this response."
I wrote back and thanked them.
Unfortunately, though, stenotic nares are now a major problem in this breed, as the picture above and those below show - all taken at Crufts last Sunday.
It is astonishing that I even have to say it, but clearly I do:
While the show-ring continues to obsess about minor cosmetic points, completely ignoring basic necessities for life, it deserves all the crap it gets from campaigners like me.
Dogs are obligate nose breathers. They exhale hot air through their mouths when panting, but all the air they draw into their lungs is through their nose, so a fully functioning nose is important.
Dogs don't sweat like we do, so their nose and airways are critical - and particularly in an active breed like the Boxer that suffers from heart problems. (NB we know that heart problems can be a consequence of the continual fight for air in the extreme brachycephalics).
As Professor Gerhard Oechtering wrote in the Guardian a few years ago:
"...the noses of wolves and dogs are not just for smell; they are an indispensable tool to control body temperature. Dogs are not able to sweat like humans or horses. They need the large mucosal surface of the nasal turbinate and a specific gland producing "water" in hot weather or when internal heat is produced after physical exercise. Vaporising this water on the large intranasal turbinate surface is the cooling principle; the tongue plays only a minor role in canine thermoregulation. This is the reason why dogs are obligatory nose breathers. No nose – no thermoregulation – no health – no animal welfare."
Meanwhile, the KC's Breed Watch has absolutely nothing listed as a health concern for the Boxer.
Perhaps now the KC will add stenotic nares? And while they're at it, the ectropion, too.