The Steynmere Boxer kennel was first officially established in 1949 although
the first Steynmere was born several years earlier, on VE day, 8th May 1945.
She was called Steynmere Vinco (Latin for I conquer) and was a full sister to the third post-war
UK champion, Cuckmere Krinetta.
Vinco was the beginning, but could also have been the end. She would not allow herself to be mated under any circumstances, to any dog, at any time - and she was given a choice of the top imports - so a puppy that Bruce was promised did not materialise. As a result he was finally allowed to buy his own youngster. This entailed a long train and bus journey down to Wisbech where the one litter advertised at that time was available. It was a large litter, all the pups were solid red with barely a white hair amongst them.
The first 'official' Steynmere
But Steynmere Sandra to be, by Ch Panfield Tango ex Mellostones Christine, came home to Newcastle, ultimately to do some tidy winning under judges like Tom Scott and Leo C Wilson, but importantly, she normalised Vinco - too much perhaps.
We travelled miles together, by train usually, coming home with huge silver trophies from shows like the Merseyside Boxer Club, the Mancunian Boxer Club, or Leeds, to compete with Joy Malcolm and all the biggest names in Boxers of the day.
Mellowstones Cerne Cynic
Champus vd Fischerhutte
Droll v Taubenhäusl
Ajax vd Holderburg
Lobelin v Neu-Drosedow
Luzi v Pfarrkirchen
Kuno v Pfarrkirchen
Andl v Zainach
Jacoba of Bramblings
Panfield Dolla of Bramblings
Muscade of Maspound
Barrie of Cremyl
Kim of Birkendorf
Siegurd of Luckings
Birka v Emilienhorst
Demeter of Bramblings
Ajax v Muhlenberg
Carmen of Bramblings
Marienlyst of Maspound
Maspound Amos of Fieldburcote
Kaspar of Fieldburcote
Gold of Uttershill
Stainburndorf Florri v Dom
Vinco now mated easily. She was first mated to a Ch Holger v Germania son owned by pioneer Boxer breeder in the North-East, Bill Craggs, only to take on a marauding Irish Setter a few hours later. When the litter was born, it was thought there were 5 fawns and 3 brindles, not realising at the time that fawn x fawn does not produce brindles. And of course the sooty black marking on the 'brindles' soon disappeared while the 'fawns' became more and more red, masks faded and ears grew long. The real fawns grew up to resemble their Boxer sire and were obviously pure Boxers, but they were never registered. So the first Steynmere litter was mixed crossbred/purebred and this experience probably sowed the seeds for Bruce's later career in genetics. Vinco's pedigree is shown below.
Arras v Neibsheim
Arras vd Magdalenenquelle
Hansl v Biederstein
Donna vd Magdalenenquelle
Laura vd Kraichgau
Arko v Inselguelle
Frica v Kraichgau
Cuckmere Anita vd Konradshohe
Hannibal v Deutenkofen
Hansl v Biederstein
Anita v Ingersheim
Gusti vd Boxerstadt
Maxi v Friedenheim
Ickimaus vd Ickstadt
Stainburndorf Zunftig v Dom
Lustig v Dom of Tulgey Wood
Blanka v Fohlnhof Se Sumbula
Bessi v Trauntal
Tanko v Haidhausen
Fricka v Berggeist
Rex v Durrenberg
Alarm v Brabant
Ora v Durrenburg
Bessi v Trauntal
Tanko v Haidhausen
Fricka v Berggeist
Shardagh (handled by Bruce's mother)
The next of the early Boxers was Steynmere Ringboy (by Ch Panfield Ringleader ex Vinco) who was one of the big local winners of his day and the sire of Steynmere Kara, Robgay Starlight and other local winners. And then Sandra produced a classy litter to Ch Winkinglight Venturer, the eye-catching pup of which was Steynmere Shardagh. But a little later, Vinco produced a fabulous litter to the imported American dog, Mazelaine's Texas Ranger, brother to the famous Bang Away of Sirrah Crest. A brindle bitch, Steynmere Tosca started to win very early, taking BIS at a Scottish Boxer Club show, but the more slowly-developing Tania did much more winning at championship shows.
The last litter from of this early Boxer breeding was by the American import, Rob Roy of Tomira ex Tosca when two notable winners, Steynmere Vena and Steynmere Viscount (see news headline). Viscount went to Mrs Sykes (Jonwin) as I quit Boxers to attend university but a damaged foreleg ended his show career prematurely. So ended the first stage of Steynmere Boxers.
A big winner in the early '50s " Ringboy " Photo taken at 6 months
Bruce Cattanach and four early Steynmere Boxers
Dogs from top left;
Steynmere Tania, Steynmere Shardagh, Steynmere Tosca, and Steynmere Kara who was Best Opposite Sex on the day. Photo taken at a Tyne, Wear & Tees Boxer Club Open show judged by Connie Wilson-Wiley, 1955.)
Below: one dog generation on (progeny of Tosca) winning at the Tyne Wear & Tees Sanction Show judged by the famous Andrew Thomson. (for those too young to remember, Sanction Shows were for dogs whose wins were up to Post Graduate only)
Dog breeding had inspired an interest in genetics and this was to become Bruce's
career, initially taking him away from dogs to gain degrees in genetics and
to work for several years in the States.
Returning to the UK in 1970 to
continue genetic research at the then Medical Research Council Radiobiology
Unit (now Mammalian Genetics Unit), Harwell,and with an American Boxer
Black Rose of Cherokee Oaks in tow, Steynmere Boxers restarted.
A string of champions were produced over the next few years. The most notable
were the Black Rose g'son, Summer Gold (exported to the States),
his grandson Night Rider who was one of the principal sires in the '80s, and
the Night Rider son, Gelert who attained the BIS award at Bournemouth in
Over the years Bruce has had numerous judging appointments in the UK. These include Crufts, the British Boxer Club, and the huge LKA show twice. I have also judged abroad, Holland (twice), Spain, the United States and Ireland (twice), Norway (six times, including their KC show and the Breed Club show, twice), Sweden twice, Finland, Holland and the Australian/New Zealand circuits twice.
Boxer breeding stopped briefly in 1996 with the untimely death of Bruce's wife, Margaret, but restarted 4 years later when he remarried. Despite a non-dog upbringing, Jo's similar background in genetic research stimulated a new joint interest in Boxer breeding and showing. The result was the big winners, Ch. Steynmere Just So (6 CCs, 9 RCCs) and her brother Ch. Steynmere Just William (3 CCs 4 RCCs). These were followed by the Just So youngsters, Steynmere Just Is, and Steynmere Top Notch both of which had successful championship show careers.
And then there were the bobtails. Boxers created through a cross to a bobtailed Pembroke Welsh Corgi and subsequent back-crossing to Boxers. These could be KC registered from the fourth generation and in this and subsequent generations could be exhibited at shows with increasing degrees of success, Several qualified for Pup Of The Year competitions, and also won well at championship show level. But all breeding and judging ceased in 2008; it was time to stop.
Bruce's genetics background had become of immediate practical use in 1980 when the horrendous inherited disease, progressive axonopathy (PA) appeared in the breed. A rigorously applied control scheme led to its demise. Subsequent Boxer health activity focused on the heart defects, aortic stenosis (AS) in 1990, Boxer cardiomyopathy (ARVC/BCM) in 2002, and recently a juvenile kidney disease (JKD). He has similarlydealt with inherited conditions in other breeds.
As his direct activity in Boxers ceased, Bruce has become increasingly involved in the new genetics of finding genes responsible for specific diseases and at this level has been highly engrossed with studies on ARVC and JKD.
Bruce was genetical advisor to Boxer Breed Council from 1980 to 2002, and served on the Health Committee 2006 - 2011 to deal with ARVC. He also served on the KC/BSAVA Scientific Advisory Group for several years and was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Bateson Inquiry into Dog Breeding.