Friday, December 19, 2014


Editor’s note: I sincerely hope that every health conscious Boxer fancier in the world will read the plea of British Boxer breeder Sheila Cartwright below, and will sign the petition printed at the bottom of this page. Juvenile Kidney Dysplasia (JKD), known here in the US as Juvenile Renal Dysplasia, has been reported all over the world – in Europe, Scandinavia, the US (a case was just diagnosed in my home state of Florida) and even in Australia & New Zealand. This is not just a UK problem. British Boxers are popular on every continent, in large part because the UK Boxer community has always responded with alacrity to health concerns. JKD should not be an exception.   VZ      

Petition to the Boxer Breed Council on JKD
There has been much concern over JKD (Juvenile Kidney Dysplasia) during the last few years with not all convinced that it is hereditary. The same was true back in 2002 when cardiomyopathy came to attention. In 2006 a petition was sent to Breed Council, supported by Boxer owners requesting them to set up a Health Committee to look into this and other diseases. I was a member of that committee and at the first meeting we drew up a list of Boxer health problems. To add to the obvious ones, I put forward kidney-related diseases as I had become aware of several fatal kidney disease issues with a wide variety of veterinary diagnoses – i.e. kidney failure, polycystic kidneys, undeveloped organs and also UTI’s – over quite a large number of litters. It will never be known if any of these were JKD but the committee agreed to put this on the agenda. Obviously cardiomyopathy took precedence and nothing further was done about kidney disease until the issue of cardiomyopathy was resolved. Shortly after that, members of the committee changed and a new chairman was appointed.
Subsequently we have been made aware of a juvenile Boxer kidney disease (JKD). The number of British and foreign cases reported is large and it has become clear that the disease is inherited and widely spread throughout the breed. Attempts are being made in several countries to find the gene responsible but it seems this is not as easy as was first hoped.
Without pedigree information it has been difficult for Boxer breeders to be convinced that this kidney problem is inherited, and when breeding they do not know which way to turn. The only pedigrees officially published are from cases reported in Sweden. From these it seems unlikely that any clear lines exist anywhere but there will be clear animals.
I think that, as we have done in the past with other serious Boxer genetic health problems – e.g., PA and BCM – publication of the pedigrees of animals that have developed JKD would convince breeders that JKD is inherited and allow them to breed more safely.
This is not a witch hunt. Several breeders have already withdrawn producing stock from breeding. This is the right way to go. Just remember, the existence of the gene is nobody’s fault, but to knowingly perpetuate it definitely is.
A petition is now online requesting Breed Council to authorise the release of pedigrees to everyone and I would urge all Boxer breeders in all countries to sign it.
Here is the link for the petition:
Sheila Cartwright (Tyegarth)




It is now 4 years since Boxer JKD came to attention in Britain. Because the disease was immediately seen to be widely spread and the mode of inheritance was not yet clear, the only advice given to breeders was to avoid inbreeding. Breed Council decided that pedigrees should not be made public.

Since then, the mode of inheritance has largely clarified, and the disease has been recognized throughout the breed, not only in Britain but also throughout Europe and America. Tragically, it has also reached Australia and New Zealand through British exports.

Several European research groups and one American group are attempting to find the gene for JKD, but there is no expectation that the gene will be found quickly and a test developed.

In Sweden, the pedigrees of affected litters are published and it is recommended that JKD producers should be withdrawn from further breeding, but in Britain nothing is being done to help breeders. Rather, the withholding of pedigrees, coupled with the low detected incidence of affected animals, has meant that breeders are barely convinced that JKD is inherited

For this reason, we, the undersigned Boxer breeders, owners and exhibitors, petition the UK Boxer Breed Council to

a. request all JKD-producing Boxers be withdrawn from breeding, as also sibs of affected pups, and

b.authorise, with owners’ permission, the publication of pedigrees of affected litters to ensure that everyone can see that JKD is inherited.

The fact that JKD is now seen to be a problem in Boxers world-wide will minimize concern that breeders will attempt to breed to supposed clear lines and so reduce the size of the already-diminished gene pool. There are no unquestionable clear lines although there will be many clear dogs in all lines.

NB – when signing it would be appreciated if you could add your affix after your surname and country, many thanks.

Respectfully submitted 14/10/2014.
Here is a link to the petition: