Cocker Spaniels are one of the oldest recognized dog breeds in Europe with origins as early as the 17th century in the UK and Spain. They were bred as hunting/gun dogs to point and retrieve small water fowl. They were intelligent, agile, energetic and excellent swimmers with large, webbed feet. Fast forward to the last 100 years, the dogs have been bred for show. Ears have gotten bigger and fur has gotten thicker and silkier and eye sight and hearing have been compromised.
The reason I'm ranting about it is that I have a CS (see gallery). Lady has all the intelligence, focus and agility, not to mention swimming ability, needed to be a really excellent gun dog. G-Man would love to train her and take her bird hunting. (Note, G-Man is NOT a sport hunter after trophies or bragging rights, he hunts for food and every usable part of the animal is used.) However, she has been so overbred that her eye-sight isn't that great, her ears are so big they impair her hearing and her fur! As soon as she jumps into the water she's soaked to the skin! Her fur is anything but water dog fur. If G-Man took her hunting, she could very possibly suffer from exposure and get very sick. Hunting is a fall and early winter sport and a 20lb dog just doesn't have enough of a metabolism to keep herself warm when she's soaking wet!
It's just so frustrating, because Lady is really coming into her own as a good candidate for a hunting dog. When we take her out for her daily wilderness hike, she's so focused on the stick that G-Man uses to train her, she'll ignore other dogs and people completely. She's tracking movement with her eyes, she's determined and using her nose to search in the brush when G-Man deliberately "hides" the stick so she can develop her tracking and scent skills and she fearlessly goes into the water to retrieve.
It peeves both of us off that Lady's opportunities to actually be the kind of dog she was originally bread to be are so limited by recent breeding programs to produce a "lap pet" as opposed to a hunting dog.
What are your thoughts on the matter?