A recent topic about the BIS winner at Westminster (James, the ESS) got me thinking about the different breeds that have split into distinct lines: bench (for show) and field dogs.
Which breed do you think has developed the widest difference between lines?
I nominate greyhounds. The bench style has a more exaggerated chest, but is smaller. I bet the retired racers could wipe the track up with the bench-bred lines. I wish I could find pictures that highlight the differences better -- here's what I found.
Well it's hard to pick just one. English and Irish Setters come to mind. Are there any Cockers that even work anymore? When I had Goldens (field) they were smaller, lighter boned and darker colored. They had a lot less feathering too. I don't know about now, all I ever see advertised are blond (white) big boned and more hair than is practical in the field.
I know there are distinct "types" of labs, but don't know if those differences are due to breeding for different purposes. ______________
I grew up where Labradors were bred for field work. Nobody around the area was interested in show dogs whatsoever. I noticed a few things about the people breeding this breed:
The dogs wren't to AKC standard as it is today. The Labrador is not meant to be a huge oaf of an animal, but it is meant to have stock to it. It shouldn't be a skinny lanky breed that looks more like a shaved setter than a Labrador.
I saw a lot of these lanky Labs that most people these days just call "field" Labs. I don't agree with this. These lean skinny dogs I saw, that are being bred more often and being called the "real working Labrador" do not seem built for the whether that the breed was created for. They were not a breed perfected for the fields of the southern or mid-western United States. Nor were they meant to be barrels on tree-stump legs. They are a water-loving retriever bred in frigid temperatures, they are meant to be somewhat stocky and have a nice thicker coat on them with a distinct otter tail meant to be a rudder.
I see very few of the common "field" Labs that look anywhere near the original dogs. And probably not by coincidence, I rarely see these field Lab breeders anywhere but America.
I don't really like the term "bench", because to me, it refers to a show dog that couldn't be worked. But I see show breeders use the term all too regularly, about their own dogs. I'd rather see, this breed especially, the dogs being bred to their original standard, and able to do their original job. I'd love to see more of the breeds bred to hunt and herd with titles on them, too. Labs especially...as I'm interested to see if this new type of bull-Labrador could do the job as effectively of some great Canadian breeders I've seen.
english setters and english pointers are 2 i see a difference in between show and working. people at my work have the working variety of both breeds and they are nothing like what you see in a conformation show ring. they show them in field trials, where they are excelling.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.