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What do you think about field versus show divisions?

June 3rd, 2006, 12:02 AM
I was browsing around Wikipedia and came across this in the English Springer Spaniel entry:

"The English Springer represents perhaps the greatest divergence between working and show lines of any breed of dog. A field-bred dog and a show-bred dog appear to be different breeds, but are registered together. In fact, the gene pools are almost completely segregated and have been for at least 70 years [1]. A field bred dog would not be even remotely competative in a modern dog show while a show dog would be unlikely to have the speed or stamina to succeed in a field trial."

The English springer page said that while some show springers do hunt, the difference between them and the field springers is the difference between "me and Tiger Woods on the golf course"--in other words, they can be trained to hunt, but will never be as skilled as a field bred dog who has been bred for endurance and drive and who doesn't have the long coat.

Also, I found this page (good pittie site!) showing the difference between some show/field breeds:

Look at the difference between the show and field English setter, holy cow!

So do you think that show dogs should retain their original purpose? And if so, how can this be encouraged? In some circumstances, should a dog with "show faults" (like being the wrong color--NOT diseases or health problems) be bred, if it has exceptional drive in regards to the original breed purpose?

Also, what about dogs whose original purpose is obselete (like dalmations running behind carriages) or no longer appropriate (pit bulls, originally bred to fight bulls and later to fight dogs--unfair to both the dogs and the bulls)?


On a related note, here's an interesting article about the Alaskan husky, so named to differentiate it from the show-bred husky, which isn't used by serious dog sledders. (Alaskan huskies are defined by their performance.)

Lucky Rescue
June 3rd, 2006, 09:49 AM
I don't know that much about showing dogs, but I do think that a dog should look as though it's able to do what it was originally bred for. Many dogs in the show ring look absolutely incapable of doing that - obese Labs, collies with such huge coat they could never chase sheep all day, English bulldogs so extreme they look as though they couldn't walk to the corner, never mind take on a bull..etc. Working dogs are bred to do a job, and no one cares if they have a disqualifying spot of colour on their coats.

I think the AKC/CKC are destroying many breeds in their quest for extreme physical characteristics, fueled by fashion alone.

As for dogs like pit bulls, they are not elegible for conformation, but can do other things to show they retain the courage, strength, determination and stamina fanciers prize, like weight pull. And there is little resemblance between fiery little gamebred dogs and those huge, overblown blue mastiff mixes being sold as "pit bulls" these days.:(

June 3rd, 2006, 10:26 AM
I agree with Lucky entirely.

I don't see the point in showing and breeding dogs that do not and/or cannot perform the duties they were bred for. But more importantly, I do not see the point in breeding working dogs who very rarely get the opportunity to do what they were originally bred for.

Breeders will suggest show lines for people looking for a dog that won't be as high energy as field lines. While that sounds good in theory, I personally think it is ridiculous to divide a single breed into 2 - people need to make a decision - either we want these dogs to be able to do their job or because very few breeds still have the opportunity to work, then we stop breeding working dogs! Which basically comes down to doing what is best for the dogs instead of doing what we want.

June 3rd, 2006, 10:30 AM
I forgot to add, that if I ever felt the need to buy a purebred (which is highly unlikley!) I would only have one from working lines.

June 4th, 2006, 09:38 AM
This in an AKC show bred greyhound note the hip and how the depth of the chest is below the elbow, they tend to have mostly pointier chests and finer builds
one of the problem was the AKC line started developing severe heart problems so the started adding the racing lines in

Here is an NGA racer a greyhound bred for function, there are actually 3 basic body builds, some breeders have certain preferences as to bodybuilds that they like to use

My own greys are former NGA racers

Sunny was a short(both in height and body length) compact grey designed as a power runner, he has a very broad chest and powerful shoulders, when he runs the power is very much in his shoulders and when he runs he pushes off with his front legs, he has very short hocks which in a turn puts a lot stress on them but allows them to maintain speed but subjects them to a higher risk of hock fractures
In this picture you can see his chest width(he had recently been shaved for an ultrasound when the picture was taken)

Callie my bridge girl was a rangy tall leggy girl built for covering distance in fewer steps, referred to speed over power, her power was in her hips and where she pushed off from, when she ran, this gave her great maneuverabilty as she could make turns when only her hind feet was touching the ground, her back was very springly which allowed her a very great stride, she has a extremely narrow chest

Maya is the classical build a sort of blend of the 2

Lucky Rescue
June 4th, 2006, 09:56 AM
Here is a purebred and pedigreed field bred Lab. Very different from the big headed and blocky show Labs.

June 5th, 2006, 03:05 AM
Also find the show and field Beagle to have a huge difference.

June 5th, 2006, 05:07 PM
There are also field bred english cocker spaniels as well here is the description according to ECSA =

this is a field bred english cocker

and this is a non field bred english cocker big diffence. Not to much into hunting myself so choose the non field type. Although the non field types do hunt as well. Joey gets all excited when he sees birds.

June 5th, 2006, 05:17 PM
Im all for maintaining working qualities in dogs, I see no need to " judge " them on looks, conformation and so on, when a breed is developed its developed for a reason!!! There obviously was a need for a large, robust, energetic, soft mouthed retriever hence the Labrador was bred! What does a blocky head have to do with the origional lab?
If i was to seek a purebred it would MOST DEFINATELY be from working lines, then if i chose to "show" I would compete in field trials, to me its much more satisfying to know that my dog placed what ever place for being a great specimen of the the breed DOING WHAT IT WAS MEANT TO DO!. IMO

I see no problems with working dogs, (as long as they are treated like family members and not EMPLOYEES)