As much as I adore boxers and enjoy books about boxers, John F. Gordon's All About the Boxer doesn't excite me. Approximately 125 pages long, this hardcover book is part of a British series of breed-specific books.
The several black and white photos that illustrate the breed are primarily banal conformation poses. While they display British boxer type, they don't provide great entertainment for the reader. The photos don't capture the breed's character, and sadly, neither does the text.
Like many older breed books, this 25-year-old volume focuses on the (British) breed standard, as well as on conformation showing and breeding. There's really nothing in here to tickle the interest of a pet owner, and the information that is provided is largely dated. It also has too British a flavor to appeal to an American reader.
Perhaps the greatest amusement provided relates to the book's age. The reader is advised to, "Never feed or water after heavy exercise, such as a ratting expedition, a training session or a fight." No mention is even made of commercial dog food, and once-daily feeding is recommended.
You'll find no mention of spaying or neutering, as "Any proud owner with a handsome pedigree Boxer will wish to try to reproduce its kind." Gordon recommends breeding a bitch at her second heat at 14-15 months of age, and again at the next consecutive heat, followed by breeding at alternate heats. How far we've come over the years.
Regarding white puppies, the author asserts, "Frankly it is better to dispose of these humanely, for they are of little use except as pets without pedigree and will do nothing useful for the conscientious Boxer breeder."
In terms of training, the reader is advised to "never thrash a puppy... corporal punishment, when required, is better applied with a rolled-up newspaper." This becomes a tool in teaching leash-walking, where "If he pulls excessively, tap him across the extended muzzle with a rolled-up newspaper. Jerk back the lead at the same time."
Perhaps most amusing is the misogynist observation, "One sometimes sees a small girl out exercising a fine Boxer dog. It is wrong - a grown man should handle him, for then he would be under control as all dogs should be when in public."
In its day, this book would have been too focused on dog shows and breeding to have been of much interest to me. Many years later, it has a layer of dust that certainly doesn't enhance the content. Much of the content is generic advice on feeding and training, and therefore it has no historical value as it might if it discussed particular show dogs or breeding lines, for example. The chapter on breed history itself isn't bad, but it's really not enough to make the entire book worth reading.
Note: This book is out of print. You'll have to buy it used or find it at your local library.
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