Blackdog, you have an excellent point, but I don't really see how a labradoodle is going to be less trainable to work than a lab, or how a mixed-breed dog is less possible to be trained to work.
It's more about inherent ability and drive moreso then training. A good trainer can bring out the best in a dog and train it to do a task......whether the dog has the ability to do it well or not is entirely up to genetics. I'm not saying mixed breeds cannot be trained to excel in careers, many do and do it very well....as you said, it comes down to the individual dog and his or her drives. That being said, there is more consitancy in a purebred dogs tempermant. What I mean by that is, you are more likely to find a dog suitable to do the work in a litter of purebreds whos bloodline has been excelling at the said task for many generations. I'm not saying every shepherd can gaurd, and every GP will protect a flock from predators.....but you are more inclined to find an individual suitable for the job within breeds specifically designed for that task. Purebreds also have the advantage of recorded lineage, this is a great bonus for anyone looking for a working dog. Proper research of a pedigree only increase the odds that you will get what you are looking for.
All of that being said, even with extensive research on the bloodlines and the right "breed" there is still a huge possiblilty that the dog will not be suitable for the work..as ultimately it depends on the individual dog and his drives.
It comes down to the handler as well. I have not met many serious proffesionals willing to take on a mixed breed.....too many question marks about the dog. But of course, a serious proffesional is not going to turn down a good dog either, be it mixed or pure!
I guess it all comes down to personal choice, but I think a quick look at the dogs doing the real work prove that we still need purebreds, and they do their respective jobs very well.
Not every sheppard is a good guard dog and not every lab is a good "eye-seeing" dog. The general idea is there, but I don't discount the possibility that given a chance and a proper training the mix-breeds would do just as well.
It ultimately comes down to 3 things, genetics, training, enviorment. A good working dog cannot have one without the other. Plain and simple, mixed or pure. Being mixed makes it impossible to explore genetics, you basically have to 'hope for the best'. Training a mixed breed for certain specialized jobs is a crapshoot and not often done for obvious reasons
Last edited by Blackdog22; April 16th, 2009 at 12:18 AM.