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Old September 20th, 2011, 11:25 PM
Choochi Choochi is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Toronto
Posts: 304
Floppy your rant is so dear to my heart. Show and pet breeders have absolutely ruined and demolished so many working breeds it's really depressing. Part of the problem is that in many instances the opportunity for the dogs to do the jobs they were created for has been greatly diminished or just isn't there any more. Another part of the problem is that people fall in love with an image of a breed and then breeders breed for that image alone and breed out all good working traits in favour of a dog that will more easily conform into an average pet home.

I find it very disturbing when I see a dolled up working breeds prancing around the show ring. I do think there is great value to conformation and in an ideal world the conformation should also help maintain physical traits that aid working ability BUT when that is the only venue and the sole purpose for a breeding program and working ability of the breeding stock is never tested (or as in some breeds there aren't even any standards to do so), you only end up with pretty shells of what many of the working dogs once were.

In some cases the show line dogs and the work line dogs of the same breed look almost nothing alike. In some cases the show standards call for confirmation (or are interpreted) in such way that the dog's confirmation actually hinders their ability to work and function. The GSD is probably the most prominent example of this. You see this to some extent in pretty much every other working breed in the show ring. Boxers with noses so short they can barely breathe, bulldogs so grotesque they can barely move and can't even birth naturally, doxies with legs so short they can barely run... never mind things like instincts and proper temperament for the work.

Unfortunately in a lot of working venues, if you want a dog that has the best chances of performing the way they should, you need to not only pick the right breed, but also a breeder who specifically breeds for working ability and regularly tests for it. In the case of some working breeds, there are only a handful of breeders dedicated to restoring or maintaining a true working ability of their favourite working breed. Dogs like the Bullmastiff and the French Mastiff come to mind, good luck finding a quality working breeder of one of those.

There are still breeds and venues out there where function and working abilities of the dogs are the top priority to most of the breeders involved in the breed. In some of these cases the breeds still have open stud books or in fact no breed registries as most know them at all. These are for the most rather rare breeds that most people have not heard of.
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