|J. Dara's Boxers began with "Mugsy" in 1982. He was a plain brindle male;
with very little white markings, just a bit of white on his chest and the tips of his
feet. But what a dog! My husband Jerry had obtained
him as a pet, and
he certainly had those qualities
down pat. He was smart, loyal, & very protective.
Soon we were looking for a companion for him and the quest for more knowledge about the
breed had begun...
Somewhere along the path of trying to find a companion for Mugsy, we decided that we would get a female who was well-bred and try our hand at breeding. I had no clue at that time what all would be involved, but luckily, I was put in touch with Nancy Wilson, someone who had been in boxers, breeding and showing with some success.
About three years into my search for Mugsy's companion, I got a call from Nancy! She had good news! She had bred her stud, "Wil-Nan's Sambuca", (who was the son of CH Marquam Hill's Traper of Turo SOM LOM), to a female owned by a friend of hers. There were puppies on the way! I was so excited!
The puppies arrived in March of 1988. We got our brindle female, which we named "Mugsy's First Lady", call name "Bootsie". She looked a lot like our Mugsy in coloring, but was built differently. She was more elegant and a bit taller when she was full-grown that Mugsy was. What a pair they made! He soon took over raising her, teaching her all the tricks of the trade. You know, tearing up pillows and hiding shoes! He tolerated all her puppy antics; patiently waiting for her to come of age.....
We whelped our very first litter out of Bootsie by Mugsy in 1992. Bootsie was almost 4 years of age, and Mugsy was then nearly 10 years old! They had 6 puppies, 4 of them flashy! Out of two fairly plain boxers, who would have thought? I still had a lot to learn about genetics and recessive genes where boxers were concerned! Looking back, I realize that I was very lucky with this litter of pups, as they became great pets for friends of ours that had long admired Mugsy's personality. A lot could have gone wrong that didn't. I remember just being "awed" at how beautiful they were! We kept a male pup out of that litter, a brindle male named J. Dara's Sir Bogart, "Bogie"; and later we aquired his sister back to the fold, a brindle female named J. Dara's Amber Dot, "Dot". The prefix, J. Dara's, was from our 18 month old daughter's name, Jasmine Dara, shortened to become our kennel name.
After that first breeding, we decided that in the future we would look to improve on our breeding by choosing a stud for Bootsie in the future that complimented her conformation, and a more careful study of the pedigrees involved. The next and last two breedings we did with Bootsie were to champion males, and took us a step further in our involvement in both breeding and eventually showing.
Through meeting and conversing with other boxer breeders around the showring, we learned the importance of not only researching pedigrees and breeding boxers that were to the standard, but also of the importance of health testing in our breeding program. We have since dedicated our breeding efforts to include all available health tests on our breeding boxers, in order to do our part to eliminate some of the deadly diseases that plague our breed, and to require spay\neuter contracts on ALL puppies sold as companions.
A SPECIAL THANKS to Nancy Wilson for our beginnings and for our introduction to the Eastern Boxer Club of which we are now members, and to all the kind folks that are a part of the boxer fancy who have been there to answer questions and help us grow in our knowledge.
Also a SPECIAL THANKS to our niece, Dawn Whitelock of RedDawn Boxers, who has helped me whelp almost every litter, and acquired her first show hopeful, "J. Dara's Rienzi" "Z", out of a mating between our girl, Bootsie, and CH Failte Leprechaun O'Burks, producing 10 puppies!!! Several were shown out of that litter, but as we were trying to show our own dogs, and still had much to learn about ring savy, etc., none were finished, but did become a part of our continued efforts to improve our breeding program and to learn our way around the showring. Dawn handled most of my dogs in conformation from that litter in 1995 through about 2001; and we also ventured out with a couple of Professional Handlers in 2000 and 2001; again pointed, but not finished.
In 2002, we had a litter out of RedDawn's Dun Roamin', "Roam" and Minstrel's Manheim Steamroller, "Jackson" which produced a puppy with Renal Dysplasia(RD). Trying desperately to keep little Suki alive, and to find out all that I could about this disease in boxers, and doing battle daily with members of the boxer community that wished I had not made her situation public knowledge, took so much out of me emotionally and physically, that I was ready to quit boxers altogether.
I stopped attending dogshows. I cancelled my subscription to the Boxer Review. I deleted email from boxer forums and lists. I had my bitch, Roam, spayed after her one and only litter, as so much was still unknown as to how this disease was spread. I basically started spending time involved in other areas of my life. Spent more time with my kids and systematically placed all boxers from my household except for Roam, who was my heart.
Sometime in 2006, I began corresponding with Pat Dollar of Araby Boxers, on the subject of breeding and in particular on kidney disease in boxers. Turns out she had a similar experience, loosing a treasured boxer bitch to this awful RD. Late in 2006, I decided to purchase a brindle bitch from Pat, who had bred back deep into her own lines to try to avoid another such situation with RD.
My intentions when I bought Araby's On the Move to J. Dara, "Marisa" in the fall of 2006, were to get back into showing and breeding, but then Roam died in November, 2006, and I was in a tailspin again. I just wasn't ready to say goodbye to her. It would be another 4 years before I would pick up the pieces and try to move on.
In February 2010, Marisa had a litter by RedDawn's Shotgun and a Pistol, "Wyatt" which forced me out of my slump, and back to loving the breed as much as ever. We have a show hopeful out of that litter, a gorgeous flashy brindle boy which we are calling J. Dara's Wind Chill Advisory @ Araby, "Breeze".
Thanks go again to my niece, Dawn Whitelock of RedDawn Boxers, for keeping me up to date with changes and goings on in the boxer community, and for the services of her gorgeous boy, Wyatt, and to Pat Dollar, for always encouraging me to keep moving forward.
One of these days, I hope to be able to announce our first champion, and while that would be nice, nothing can compare to the memories and the love that these boxers have given me over the years.
Rebecca A. West
Picture is Mugsy at 6 years & Bootsie at 1 month.
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