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Thinking of buying a puppy?

If you're thinking about purchasing a puppy from a breeder there are some important checks you need to consider, to make sure you get the healthiest puppy possible.

Health checks do not guarantee a perfectly health puppy, but can help give you peace of mind against hereditary health issues.

A good breeder will be happy to provide you with copies of the results of these tests and answer any questions you might have.

We want to hear your experiences. Have you got a puppy from a breeder, tell us about it here

Choosing the right breeder

When choosing which breeder to purchase your new puppy from, always ask to see the mother, father and environment. Ideally the dogs and puppies will live inside, in a clean, safe environment, and have lots of exposure to family and normal home noises. If the dogs seem calm and relaxed in your presence it is a good sign they are socialised.

A good breeder will ask you lots of questions to ensure your family is a good match for their pup, and will welcome and/or request visit(s) from the whole family. A good breeder will be up-front with you about common issues of the breed, and will often have you sign a spey or neuter contract.

A good breeder will want to ensure their pup is well taken care of, so will not allow you to take it home before 8 weeks of age, and will be happy to take it back at any age.

If your breeder will not allow you to visit the puppies' home and/or view the parents, this is a big red flag. Also if your breeder is breeding from a white boxer this should be avoided, as these are more prone to health issues.


Heart Testing

Boxers are especially prone to heart issues so proper testing of breeding dogs is needed to ensure healthy puppies

  1. Cardiac Auscultation, which must be performed by a certified canine cardiologist, is used to identify heart murmurs. They are graded on a scale of 0-6, with 0 meaning no murmur and 6 being severe. A score of one is acceptable for breeding.

  2. Halter monitoring, which is a 24-hour ECG which can diagnose boxer cardiomyopathy, a common heart condition in boxers. It is recommended this is performed yearly on breeding dogs.

  3. Doppler echo cardio-graphy, which is an ultrasound of the heart. This can help pick up abnormal flow velocities, which can be indicative of sub-aortic stenosis.

  4. Electro-cardiogram (ECG) is used to diagnose abnormalities in the electrical conduction of the heart over a period of 5-10 minutes. It is not a satisfactory check for boxer cardiomyopathy, and is not a reliable enough standalone pre-breeding check.

Health Testing

Breeders should be testing their breeding dogs regularly to ensure optimum puppy health. These tests consist of, but are not limited to:

  • Hip scoring - Both parents should have scores of less than 14.89

  • Elbow scoring - Both parents should ideally have scores of 0. Dogs with scores of 2 or 3 should not be used for breeding.

  • Degenerative myelopathy - This is a disease which causes a breakdown of the spinal column, and prevents the brain from communicating effectively with the rest of the body. Checks for this disease are done via DNA. Degenerative myelopathy is caused by a genetic mutation, which can be hereditary.

Boxer 6_edited.jpg

Ministry of Primary Industries: Code of Welfare: Dogs

This is set up as a set of guidelines and a part of it refers specifically to breeders and breeding recommendations!

Section 6 refers to Inherited/genetic disorders in dogs and states specifically the following

  1. Breeders should report the occurrence of inherited disorders to the Dogs New Zealand Canine Health committee to assist progress in reducing these disorders and identify carrier dogs

  2. Breeders should follow a documented scheme that allows for monitoring and eventual prevention of known inherited disorders.

  3. Dogs and bitches should not be kept together if there is a risk of accidental mating.

  4. All dogs being considered for mating should be tested for inherited disorders where such tests are available. For those inherited disorders where no suitable test is available, occurrence of inherited disorders in their genealogy should be assessed. Veterinary or other appropriate advice should be sought in this respect.

Our biggest concern is that given there are many genetic disorders prevalent in the boxer breed DogsNZ are not upholding or making sure breeders are following MPI’s Guidelines!

This is not a problem just for boxers but across the many dogs of different breeds being sold in NZ by DogsNZ registered breeders!

Have the parents of your puppy been tested for the following?

  • Degenerative Myelopathy

  • ARVC

  • Heart Deisease – Aortic Stenosis

  • Elbow Dysplasia

  • Hip Dysplasia

To see the Code in whole please see the following link!

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