working v show
Depending on the breed and the breeder, there are often no differences between the two except perhaps temperment and eagerness to work/learn. I also notice that when people talk about the differences they tend to find the most extreme examples of each.
Dont get me wrong, I often see/hear differences in breeds, and there shouldnt be. Each breed has a standard, which has been developed many years ago by people who knew and understood the breed. They selected characteristics that were the best for the type of work done. Unfortunately many breeders who are only producing dogs that will work, dont really care what it looks like, as long as it resembles it in most ways. Take labs for example. They are supposed to be tough solid working dogs. They do not need great speed, thus the need for long legs is reduced. They are swimmers, so short thick legs are best for that. Dog that need to be fast, have longer toes (Greyhound, Saluki, etc.) but dogs that need more endurance have shorter cat-like toes.
Those looking for a dog can find a breeder that will suit their needs, they may just have to work hard to find one. Some breeds are not used often for their original purpose, which is sad, but there are still some breeders that trial the dogs to ensure working ability. They are out there, you just need to find them. I suggest that anyone looking for a working dog should visit tests/trials for that breed. There you will find breeders who work to keep their lines working.
Keep in mind that many of the original purposes of these dogs are no longer popular or acceptable (fox hunting for example). Even hunting dogs are becoming less popular due to a reduction in hunting lands and people who are joining this sport. Not a lot of farmers still use dogs to herd, ATV's are quickly taking their place. And how many people are able to use a Greyhound to hunt antelope, not in North America anyways. So tests, although not always realistic, are the only way to determine working ability.
I am please to say that our dogs are both show and hunting dogs. Just this past weekend I took two of our dogs to a Field test for pointers. Our female, Xena, who in 2009 was the #5 Vizsla in Canada (CKC) and has won a UKC Best in Show, earned 2 passing scores for her Field Dog junior test with results of 88 and 93 out of 100. Our boy, Monte, who is also a show dog and has won both a UKC Best in Show and Reserve Best in Show earned a quilifying score of 83 in the intermediate level. These dogs love to work, and I am proud to say that many of the breeders I see at shows, I also see at field tests, running the same dogs they show.
There are some breeds that have really changed, and I am sorry to see that, but dont assume all have. Many breeds still look very much like they did 50+ years ago. You cant look at 2 photos and go with that, look at many, as there are always good and bad dogs, no matter what decade you are in.
Last edited by hazelrunpack; September 19th, 2011 at 06:13 PM.
Reason: No self-promotion, pls