In Australia some judges and a lot of breeders don't give a toss for soundness and working ability, or even for breeding to the Standard conformation wise. That was a very interesting article, Erykah, and echoes my grievances for the past 35 years. Regarding the skull of the ACD, the Standard asks for " a slight but definite stop with skull and muzzle on parallel planes" , which allows a kick from a cow to glance off over the skull. Some breed, and judges will put up, dogs with a very deep stop and, viewed in profile, what I term a domed forehead. A kick from a cow would almost take the top of the skull off. Eyes should be "neither prominent or sunken", yet we see pop eyed dogs whose eyes could be easily injured when working through rough scrub. The muzzle should be medium length, deep and powerful, but we see short muzzled dogs that can , without exertion, on a warm day, be standing there panting like a Pug with the tongue curled up, while my longer muzzled dogs aren't even panting. Don't worry, I won't go point by point through the Standard and what's gone wrong but universally, with both my breeds, bad fronts are a major problem, and dogs with bad fronts do not have the true, free, supple and tireless action a working ACD needs to cover the distances it would have to in the outback. Instead, these dogs with bad fronts go around the showring like wind-up clockwork toys, going fast with very small strides. I have always tried to get pups from each litter I bred into working homes to know how they perform, and no-one will tell you faster than a farmer will whether your dog can do the job he was bred for. For instance. I was sold an atrocious dog once, short, stocky, legs stuck out on 4 corners .... anyway, took him with my foundation bitch down to a friend's place, a farmer who used dogs to work his Hereford cattle. When my two got out of the car he didn't even say hello, he said "I don't know whether you own that dog, but I don't like him!". ROFL. I just laughed and replied, "I don't either Jack, and he won't be used at stud." No way did he offend me. He didn't think that, as a worker, that dog would have made it to morning smoko, while my bitch would have worked all day.
I think it's sickening to see the damage show ring fads do to working breeds.