Anonymous asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

what changes have people noticed in dog temperament from working dogs to dogs bred only for show?

I am looking for character/temperament changes within a breed as breeders have concentrated on what the dog looks like rather than their temperament. Have any breeds become less stable, more aggressive, or dominant, nervous, or anxious? Any examples of generalised character changes would be helpful.

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There has been a great push for the "Generic American Showdog". This is a dog who is upbeat, happy to bait for the same piece of liver for HOURS, glad to have some stranger put his hands all over it and has the ability to fly around the ring with tremendous sidegait (whether the breed standard requires it or not).

    So, if you have a breed of dog that is naturally aloof (say a working or herding breed) and you have bred the dog and have selected for the proper temperament, under an uneducated judge, you can be penalized for not having a dog who is outgoing.

    I had this very conversation last night with a friend. When I asked about a judge I may show to she reminded me "She likes a dog that is showy, well-trained and will interact with her." Which pretty much means I have to have my dog do tricks (wagga tail at the judge sweetie) if I want to win, despite the fact that the Breed Standard says "The Bernese Mountain Dog should stand steady, though may remain aloof to the attentions of strangers."

    Quite frankly, given the fact that these dogs (Bernese) were originally farm dogs/carting dogs, if *I* were judging I would want a dog that would stand to be examined but who really wasn't all that into me, a stranger. Aloof works for me.

    Even in Samoyeds where the section of the breed standard on disposition says "Intelligent, gentle, loyal, adaptable, alert, full of action, eager to serve, friendly but conservative, not distrustful or shy, not overly aggressive." if you attempt to show a dog who is "conservative" you are at a disadvantage... and frankly, one has to doubt the intelligence of a dog who is willing to work endlessly for the same dang piece of liver.

    I believe MY place in breeding is to maintain the integrity of the breed whether other breeders, or judges, are doing it or not. I'll stand firm that breeding is not a popularity contest and the purposeful production of dogs who do NOT fit the standard in every way is a detriment to the breed. My duty is to the breed as it was historically developed.

    Winning is not everything.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Anecdotally, I have noticed that people who believe that there are "character/temperament" traits within dog breeds tend to be the same type of folks who believe that there are "character/temperament" traits among human populations. It's just not true, but you can always fulfill your prophecy or fantasy. Character and temperament are all in how you train the dog, not in it's breeding. Breeding only gives abilities to be adapted towards uses. Hounds can trail and bay naturally (but you can train a poodle to trail and bark). But the temperament comes from how you raise the dog.

    Consider this. If you adopt a child from New York City, will it grow up to be loud and obnoxious? I've seen beagles (Beagles!) that are meaner than a junkyard dog. So there is no character/trait that is affected by breeding.

    But show breeders never breed for "train-ability". Put a well groomed, working police K-9 in an AKC show and watch the dog finish dead last. Take the winner and sure, you can train him to be a K-9 unit as well, but the training will take at least twice as long, and he'll always be retired from the force early with bad hips.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Your best bet is to have your dog ultrasounded by your vet. At 35 days, puppies will show up on an ultrasound quite easily. We cannot tell you as we cannot see your dog. What you are describing could be a false pregnancy. You can still exercise her for a couple more weeks without doing damage. You really do not need to worry about increasing her food until after she whelps if she is pregnant. Feeding her a lot now will most likely make her fat. Overweight dogs have more potential for having whelping problems. She will not need extra calories until after the litter is born. If she is not pregnant, it's not a big deal. Just breed her on the next heat cycle. Some dogs have to be AI'ed. So talk to your vet about that. Also find a good mentor. You can only learn so much by reading books. A good mentor can really help you because she will have some practical experience. A mentor really doesn't have to be a person that breeds labs (although that's best) but it can be a successful breeder that has good dogs. I'm going to assume here that you had your dog Pennhipped and not OFA'ed. A a dog cannot be issued an OFA number until it's at least 2 years of age. Hopefully you have had the eyes CERF'ed thyroid tested and the elbows cleared of dysplasia on both of the parents.

  • 1 decade ago

    Very few dogs are bred 'just for show'; most show dogs also compete in agility, obedience, search and rescue, hunting, tracking, field trials, earth dog trials, etc. The entire point of being a good breeder is to breed a dog that looks as it should, and can perform the tasks it should be able to- which nobody would know unless they tried. I haven ever heard of a breeder who only shows and breeds and doesn't expand her dogs education in any other way. I suppose they must exist, but they're probably in the vast minority. If you read the AKC breed standards, working/hunting dogs even have stipulations in their standards regarding scars, loss of teeth, etc. that are allowable due to field work.

    Now, if you want to venture into the world of irresponsible pet-quality breeding, there are PLENTY of breed changes that have occurred when the dogs were removed both from the show ring and the field trials, because now you have dogs being bred just to breed them, without and regard to form or function. I could probably list changes for every breed in the AKC if that's the route you want to go, but it would make for a very long answer.

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  • 1 decade ago

    In a lot of breeds, there are two branches or types you can find out there... (excluding all the BYB dogs)... those bred to work, and those bred to show. Most pure breeds originated to perform some function or job. Certain temperments would allow them to be really good at that job, but those temperments weren't necessarily good if you wanted the dog to live in your home with you. As the world became industrialized most of their original jobs became obsolete and many breeds transitioned into the job of being a pet instead. Resulting from that, a lot of breeds' temperments changed through selective breeding to become more suited to being pets, ie, more mild.

    Dogs bred for show tend to make the better inside pet dog. That's because usually the breeder doesn't require the dog to work (but many show breeders DO still use their dogs to perform their original work, hence earthdog or herding or lure coursing or hunting or tracking, or whatever, competitions). Also, show dogs may go to shows on weekends, but their primary role is pet. I think a lot of people don't realize this; when a show dog goes home from the show, it's just someone's pet. It sleeps in their owners' bed and plays with their kids, and all the normal pet things.

    When the breeder wants a working animal, they're looking for those traits that make the dog really good at its job,and like I said, these traits often don't make for an ideal pet. Also, because these dogs are for work, they often live outside, so it's even less important that the dog be great with kids, for example.

    There are always exceptions to these. Some dogs are bred to be pets and to work for fun on the weekends (dogs that fall into this category can be bred by "show" breeders OR "working" breeders). So, best bet is to ask the breeders you're interested in what kind of temperment they strive for in their breeding program.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think the dogs change as the desired characteristics for the dogs change. The American Lab, for example, is much, much bigger than the Labs found in Europe. I think the trend for the Smooth Fox Terrier was making them a little smaller and not as aggressive as their counter parts from England.

    A good breeder is going to try to breed their dogs to meet all of the breed standards - physical and on temperament. If a breed of dog is becoming "less of itself", then it's up to the national clubs to modify the breed standard to restore the breed. And that becomes the responsibility of the top breeders and the judges. After all, ultimately it's the judges that determine what the ideal dog of each breed is supposed to look and act like.

    The breeder of my dogs went to Great Britian to get a few Champions to add to her stock because she thought the American version of the breed was becoming too whimpy.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    An excellent question!! Yes, there have significant changes in the temperament of the breeds that I have been interested in and/or work with because of the trend to breed more for looks then working ability.

    One has to look at what happened to the Doberman in the last 20 years of so to see that the dog that was once considered one of the top working dogs ever created has become a useless animal in that area because of lack of drive, nervousness and sharp/shyness.

    The German shepherd came next and has suffered also in the quest to breed "better" looking dogs instead of better working dogs. You only have to look at a winning show dog to see the physical changes in the breed, the slope on their back, the cow hocked rear and the lack of any working ability.

    Most domestic shepherds I look at are totally lacking in serious drive and other qualities that once made the shepherd the premier working dog that it was. Even European lines are suffering from the same affliction in that breed. The German police are no longer purchasing their dogs from the SV club in Germany and are instead going to Holland and Belgium to get malinois. That is sad!!

  • I haven't noticed any difference in temperament between Basset Hounds bred for hunting and those bred for show. The temperament faults of shyness or aggression would be considered undesireable in either venue. Perhaps the hunting dogs may be more energetic, but I'd think that would be more due to getting more exercise and often they have a lighter build.

    Comment made by one guy who met my crew:"Those fancy show dogs act just like NORMAL bassets!"

  • 1 decade ago

    temperament is an important factor in a show dog, it must allow the judge to run their hands over it. Also spectators like to pat and touch the dogs outside the ring

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