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Jozef Šuster was born on September 29th
1966 in Košice, Slovakia and is situated in Velká Ida,
Slovakia where he breeds boxers under Fender Edda kennel
name. He got his first Boxer as a 16-year-old in 1983,
and I bred his first litter in 1985 under the Edda
prefix, which is now renamed to Fender Edda with the
FCI. After getting married in 1989 Mr.Šuster has been
breeding together with his wife Jana. Šuster family
includes two daughters Nikola and Dominika, who love
dogs very much, especially the puppies, so the whole
family participates in breeding. At the moment Šusters
have 12 Boxers at home, and Nikola and Dominika own an
American Cocker Spaniel bitch. Fender Edda Boxers have
produced 7 International Champions, many champions and
specialty winners. Mr.Šuster has been a Boxer judge
since 1991 and will judge fawn bitches at European show
2003 in Bratislava. Mr.Šuster is also the editor of the
first all-breed magazine in Slovakia, namely Kynologicka
Revue, which has been published for 14 years. In 2001
and 2002 Mr.Šuster also published a Boxer Monography
yearbook and he hopes that the time will allow to print
it out again this year. On April 26th-27th 2003 Slovakia
will host the ATIBOX World Championship for working
Boxers again, and Mr.Šuster, who is in charge of
organizing it, would like to I wholeheartedly invite all
the friends of the breed to this event.
Some of the dogs bred by Fender Edda
Herry Floyd Edda
King Fender Edda
Leonardo Floyd Edda
Orka Floyd Fender Edda
Oscar Floyd Fender Edda
Othelo Floyd Fender Edda
Sagvan Fender Edda
William Fender Edda
European Boxer Zone really appreciates
Mr.Šuster finding time for this interview in his busy
|Q: Please tell
us how you started in Boxers and when you arrived to the
decision to engage in the Boxer breeding.
A:The thought of the Boxer has
lived in me since my early childhood. At the age of four
years I got to see some postcards with well-known breeds
of dogs. It was already back then that the Boxer caught
both my eye and heart. It is unbelievable that I can
still clearly see that postcard dog in front of my eyes,
despite the fact that the postcard was not mine and I
never saw it again. What is interesting, it was a white,
very elegant dog with fawn markings - nowadays not a
standard Boxer. I had to wait for a real Boxer for a
several years after this experience. Sticking with the
family tradition, I grew up with German Shepherds and we
also once had a Dachshund.
In the year 1983 my dream of
owning a Boxer came true, and we got our first bitch of
this exceptional breed. I was 16 back then, and it was
the nicest time of my life. Today I know that she was
not good for breeding, but my childhood dream came true.
We spent a lot of time together and she was a great
working dog and a wonderful companion. Our second bitch,
which is the ancestor of almost all our dogs, was Diana
Nikké, and I am forever grateful to the destiny for her.
I had my first litter in January 1985 and I sure was one
of the happiest people in the world.
As I already mentioned, our
first brood bitch was Diana Nikké who came out of a
kennel that is not active anymore, but I really
appreciate the work of this kennel. She was out of the
line of the successful Carlo ut Gütsel, who as we know was
also the ancestor of another successful dog Carlo v.Henningshof. The second Boxer
to come to our kennel was a male Jupiter Im-Ka, a son of
Interchampion Morgan Im-Ka. As the time goes by, I
realize more and more the importance of his addition to
our breeding program. He came out of a very successful
kennel of the current president of the Slovak Boxer Club
Mr.Imrich Sopko to whom I am really grateful for many
things, but mostly for teaching me to look for the
natural beauty and elegance in the Boxer.
Q: What were the qualities you first
admired in the breed and what you wanted to change?
A: Since the very beginning I
have been amazed by the exceptional attitude of the
Boxer. It is a wonderful working dog and an exceptional
companion. I did realize that along with the job of
breeding conformationally correct dogs it is a must to
keep the correct attitude of the Boxer and maybe also
work IPO or SchH with them. Back when I started, no
attention was being paid to health or hereditary
diseases of the Boxer. I think that our duty now is to
keep the temperament and the look of the Boxer along
with closely watching and, if possible, also improving
the health. As far as the looks go, I made a promise to
myself, and I still keep true to it, that I will try my
best to combine power and substance with elegance of the
I do not believe that you can exactly
measure the Boxer by ratios and that way get an ideal
Boxer. A beautiful Boxer is a piece of art, which we can
compare to a painting, or better said to a beautiful
statue. And every piece of art we accept as a whole, and
that's why we have to accept the Boxer as an art piece
made by the nature and the generations of the breeders
of the past and present days.
did you chose your kennel name?|
A: Edda is the name of an
ancient European northern culture, which I tended to
incline to, I don't know why. Breeding was always fun
for me. I studied the bloodlines, pedigrees and after
some time as the number of dogs we bred increased I
thought it would be good to name the different lines
after their mothers. And that's how the names "Floyd",
"Fender", "Star" and "Regat" showed up. At the time of
registering the kennel names internationally it was
found out that the name Edda has already been registered
by someone else, and so not to have a duplicate name, we
added the word "Fender" to it, which was the name of our
most successful line. Therefore the official name of our
kennel is Fender Edda (FCI) now, but as you may see from
the names of our dogs, we kept the names of the lines,
but I also admit that it might've created some chaos in
did your first breedings go and what lessons you learned
from them? Also about showing at that time.
A: Our first breedings were very
successful. Out of our first litter we had our main
brood bitch Arra Edda who became the mother of the line
"Floyd", and from the second breeding we had our most
beloved Beatrice Edda who aside of her outstanding
attitude was also our first homebred champion, shown 11
times under 11 different judges she was 11 times graded
as excellent 1st in the class. Later on Beatrice became
a mother of two International champions, King Fender Edda and Sagvan Fender Edda.
|Q: Who were your
A: As I have already mentioned,
Beatrice was a bitch of exceptional qualities. Even in
her early puppyhood she was totally different than the
other Boxers of those days. She had excellent attitude,
a lot of substance and a very nice head. When she was
born, it was somehow certain that she will stay with us.
Beatrice gave us several offsprings of very high
quality, out of which the most successful were
InterCh.King Fender Edda, sired by InterCh.Nestor Hevelius, and InterCh.Sagvan Fender Edda, sired by Teck del Colle dell' Infinito.
Very successful, in both showing and breeding,
was also the dog Ch.Leonardo Floyd Edda who was born out
of the breeding of our homebred dogs (Cardinal Edda x
Diana Edda). Leonardo is in a wonderful condition now at
11 years old and is raising his great-granddaughter
Charizma Fender Edda.
A great success was also
achieved by the siblings from the breeding of Lord Axel
od Spiacej Krolewny x Regata Floyd Edda, and they were
InterCh.Herry Floyd Edda and his sister
Ch.Haidy Floyd Edda. Except Herry's highest show titles
and his outstanding attitude, he was also a sire of
several wonderful dogs. His son William Fender Edda is also already an
Haidy, bred to Magnum di Massumatico, gave us a
wonderful litter out of which Othelo Floyd Fender Edda, Oscar Floyd Fender Edda and Orka Floyd Fender Edda became
International champions and have many other titles.
Speaking about the bitch Orka, I have to mention her
many working tests and her successful attendance of the
ATIBOX FH World Championship.
I give a high
ranking also to the litter of Playa Fender Edda and the
well-known David del Colle dell Infinito. Zak
Fender Edda and his brother Zakarias Fender Edda already
have many appreciated titles. Our latest great hope is a
dog born last year Hugo Boss Fender Edda, a son of a
known Italian dog Giotto and Playa Fender Edda. I also
have to mention Ch.Chyrone Regata Edda, a very
successful bitch. She is a mother of European Junior
Winner Idol Armida, as well as a mother of the bitch
Olivia Armida, and in our kennel we have her daughter
Ch.Abigeil Armida. Abigeil has a wonderful temperament,
perfect attitude and willingness to work. Her offspring
seems to be very promising, and we hope that they will
get their fame as working dogs too. It is a pity that
many promising puppies go into pet homes where they are
loved and cared for, but their future use in breeding or
showing is impossible.
|Q: Who were people that mentored you in
your first years? Are there any special friends and
partners who you are grateful to for their help or
first breeding mentor was, and still is, the president
of the Slovak Boxer Club Mr.Imrich Sopko, to whom I am
really grateful for his great help in my breeding
program. And our friends and partners? We have several
of them in each country. It is a wonderful feeling to
know that thousands of kilometers far there are friends
have a very similar opinion about the Boxer with a
Polish breeder of a very successful dog Nestor Hevelius, Jerzy Pikos, and that
made us great friends.
I also have wonderful friends
in Italy. One of them is Mr.Stefano Agostinelli, the
breeder of the Roxius kennel, and then Luigi and Marina
Andreoli, the owners of outstanding dogs Magnum di Massumatico and his
granddaughter Crios. We also have a very friendly
relationship with a Czech breeder Robert Fagos, who owns
the very well-known kennel "z Ringu", and he is a
wonderful in working Boxers.
We have almost a
family relationship with the Hungarian breeders Jozef
and Agnes Vukovics who breed under the prefix "von
Zielbox". I cannot forget to mention also a breeder and
friend Willy van Dijck-van Thielen, who, as everyone
sure knows, is the owner of the Hazenberg kennels.
Of course, we have several friends in Slovakia
too. I have really good relations and almost the same
opinions with the breeders of the Boxrelay kennel,
Lubomir Pernis, and Signum Laudis kennel, Dusan Hladik.
I think they will have a very successful career in Boxer
breeding if they keep being so strict with themselves as
they are now.
stories/anecdotes about your friends?|
A: We have many stories, but I
don't have the right to tell them publicly! :) But maybe
this one: Belgium is famous for it's wonderful
mayonnaise. Once when we were visiting the kennels van
de Hazenberg of Willy and Irene van Dijck, I so much
liked that mayonnaise at the supper, that I even asked
for it again at the breakfast, even though it didn't
match the food that we had for breakfast. Since then,
every time we meet, they have a jar of mayonnaise for
me. It not only tastes the same, but it keeps reminding
me of the friends in Belgium. A high quality Hungarian
wine keeps reminding us of our friends from Hungary, and
the Italian pizza doesn't let us forget about our the
friends from there.
|Q: What are the
kennels you admire? Any special dogs in your life - both
dogs you owned and dogs other people owned?|
A: There are many kennels whose
dogs I really appreciate and admire. Probably each one
of them for a different reason.
Bereler Ries introduced heavy, but very nicely chiseled
heads and self-assured attitudes, especially through
their dogs Xanthos and Apoll. The Italian kennel Colle dell
Infinito came with an elegance and excellent movement,
and the Belgian Hazenberg kennel brought a wonderful
temperament and anatomical faultlessness. If I would
want to mention a longtime contribution to the breed, I
can´t miss such names as del Roxius, del Nettuno, Ipon
Saan, Sapho's Hoeve, Ewenement, Nostrum and many others.
Out of the dogs I was amazed by I have to
mention Xanthos v. Bereler Ries, but also his
son Nestor Hevelius. Of course I admire
the Italian line of Teck del Colle dell'Infiinito - David dell Colle dell'Infinito - Magnum di Massumatico. Especially
Magnum. He is the living ideal of a Boxer in my eyes.
Aside of his wonderful looks, he also has a wonderful
temperament (having successfully done SchH3) and is also
completely healthy. Among the best Boxers I also count
Saverio di Soragna, Plato v.d.Hazenberg, Vasko v.d.Hazenberg, Baron Rojo de Villalba and In-Petto v.German Dream.
Q: Please describe your ideal Boxer
as you see it.
A: The ideal Boxer, in my
opinion, is a completely healthy dog. We should pay the
closest attention to the heart problems, hip dysplasia,
and spondylosis. The ideal Boxer has to have a wonderful
temperament of a working dog and also of a family
companion dog. I admit that I didn't manage to know all
the famous Boxers in person over seeing them at the
shows or using them as studs, but out of those that look
wonderful and work wonderful I would mention Nestor Hevelius, Magnum di Massumatico and Vasko v.d.Hazenberg.
|Q: Do you think it is
possible to breed a perfect Boxer?|
A: We have a saying - everyone is a
general after the battle is over. I want to say that I
do not want to comment on any breedings of other
kennels, criticize their decisions if the litter was not
successful, or to say that if I had the same bitch, I
would've bred from her with more success. No. The passed
years have proven several truths to me. One of them is
there are no compromises in breeding: compromises are a
good way to ruin all you have previously achieved.
Another experience is that it doesn't take an
outstanding bitch to have an outstanding puppy, she
doesn't have to be outstanding, but has to have a
perfect pedigree and be bred to a wonderful dog. Only
breeding to the best dogs is the way to reach success.
They do not guarantee that all the pups will be
outstanding, but as a genetic bank they are very useful.
|Q: What do you think are
the most effective breeding tools and techniques? Do you
study pedigrees or do you choose partners because their
physical characteristics compliment each other?|
A: Inbreeding is a very sharp
tool in the hands of the breeder. With this tool the
breeder can quickly reach the success, but in case of a
wrong use or a little mistake it can do more damage than
good. I realize the dangers of inbreeding more and more,
and therefore I also like to go with an outcross or
linebreeding. I choose a stud dog with my heart, eyes
and brain. The heart sometimes leads you and you don't
know why. The eye of the Boxer person helps see if the
dog is nice, and the brain has to be used when studying
the pedigree and deciding yes or no. There is no recipe
for a successful breeding. Using the best with the best,
that is the most important thing, and the rest is a
matter of too many other factors.
|Q: What do you
see as the biggest faults a Boxer can have?
A: The European Boxers have a
wonderful temperament and many of the outstanding show
dogs also have working titles, often the highest ones. I
think that we have to pay the closest attention to the
health in our breedings, but also to fertility and
capability of raising healthy and vivid offspring. In
the conformation ring we have to pay more attention to
the bites, because we often see a very nice head but a
bigger undershot. If we want the Boxer to be successful
at the shows comparing to other breeds, we also have to
work on a faultless movement.
|Q: What is more important
- the looks or the brains?
A: If the Boxers didn't
have the attitude they do have, they wouldn't have so
many fans around the world. We inherited the Boxer from
our ancestors with this wonderful attitude and that's
why it is our duty to keep it that way for the next
|Q: What is your opinion
about dog shows. Do you think they help breed better
dogs or the opposite?
A: It is a common thing,
not only with the Boxers, that people overvalue the show
results, that is a fact. But on the other hand the shows
were created for presenting animals. For the best
breeders it does not matter who wins, but they can get a
good opinion about the quality of stud dogs by watching
their offspring in the ring. I think that especially the
ATIBOX world show is an annual meeting of the true
friends and specialists of our breed. If a breeder
starts to go there, he finds out that he keeps meeting
the same people, and out of those people he finds
friends. It is a good feeling to belong to this big
family of the true Boxer friends.
Q: Who are the Boxer judges you respect and think
they know the breed very well.
A: There are many
outstanding Boxer judges in the world, there is no doubt
about that. As a judge, I learned the most from the
current president of the Slovak Boxer Club Mr.Imrich
Sopko. I have always admired the judging of the
president of the German Boxer Club Mr.Gunter Karg.
That's why I am very happy that I will see them judge
together at our Club Specialty that will be held along
with the World Championship in Vrbove this year.
|Q: What in your opinion
the health problems the breed has in general?
A: The health should be
more important than the look! We must especially watch
the health of the heart, but we can't forget about other
health problems that show up either. It is upon each
breeder not to use the dogs with hereditary diseases in
their breeding programs.
|Q: Do you think health
tests are necessary in Boxer breeding?
A: The health tests are
needed, but if we worked with a dog until his old age
and there were no health problems showing up, that is
the best way of testing the health.
|Q: What is
your opinion about white Boxers?
A: The ancestor of all Boxers
was a white bitch. Everyone who has studied color
genetics knows that there will always be the white
Boxers in the litters if we keep using dogs and bitches
with elegant white markings. The standard makers were
the breeders from Germany, so we don't have the right to
tell them what to do, but I will be happy if they once
legalized the white Boxer for showing and breeding
|Q: What is your opinion
about ear cropping/tail docking bans?
A: Our ancestors have started
cropping and docking basing on the experience that even
in the nature there is no canine animal that does not
have their ears erect. They decided that the Boxer will
do better with the ears standing too, even for the price
of cropping it. The undocked tail also does more harm
than good to a Boxer. But this is only my personal
opinion, and if there will be docking/cropping bans in
my country one day, I will be able to do nothing else
than stop docking/cropping. The temperament is what
makes the Boxer, not the tail or ears.
|Q: What in your
opinion the best diet is for a Boxer?
Homemade or industrial-made, it has to be of a high
|Q: What do you think is
the best environment for a Boxer?
A: The Boxer is happy to
be in the house, but is even happier to go for a long
walk or run with his owner.
|Q: Are you
familiar with the Boxers in America and if yes, what is
your opinion about their structure and type?
A: We know the American Boxer
mostly from the pictures, and I have also seen about
three imports. They are of course different than the
European Boxers, but that doesn't mean that the way that
our American colleagues go is a wrong way. Maybe we can
one day reach the ideal by connecting these two ways.
Today I would say that in Europe the type is the most
important, then the head and then the anatomical
correctness and good movement. That is why they do not
place in the group rings very often. Except of that, the
European breeders pay more attention to working with the
breed, and can produce a Boxer that has a World Champion
title and a SchH 3 title to boot.
|Q: What would be your
message and advise to the young breeders that just come
to the breed now?
A: Don't give up with the first
failing. Fair and hard work will give you wonderful dogs
and what's more, you will have true friends all around
the world. That's the best what the world has to offer.
|Q: What qualities of
character do you think a good Boxer breeder must have?
A: Breeding the Boxers, or
boxeromania, if you wish, is at first a hobby, thanks to
which we have many friends. Therefore a Boxer breeder
should be friendly and nice. He/she should not in any
case be envious of the success of other breeders. Each
outstanding dog is a great addition to the Boxer breed
as a whole. Too bad there are many of those people out
there who forget about this and they act like they can
never breed a successful dog with some honest and hard
work. Yes they can!
Q: What in your prognosis the breed will become in 50
years from now?
A: The Boxer has been keeping
its popularity for a long time. It is not a "fancy"
breed, and if a person ever had a Boxer, there is no way
back. Boxer will continue being an excellent companion,
and will be used for sport or working purpose by all
those who want to have the dog as a trustworthy partner.
I am not worried about the future of the Boxer. So many
wonderful people are spending their time by breeding,
training and promoting the breed that it can only bloom.
Q: Please tell us your plans for the future.
A: According to my
possibilities, I would like to keep on working on
improving the breed by using the best stud dogs and
especially care for the health.
Edited by Alexandra
©2003 European Boxer Zone