I do not believe in a breed being bred strictly for anything. This downplays the fact that many of the breeds we show have a purpose (although we are starting to say that many of the breeds show HAD a purpose). I am a huge proponent of the versatility of breeds. Some breeds simply were not bred to work (like in the field, or herd, track, etc). I'm not saying that I support just conformation shows with these breeds, but it wouldn't really be called "destroying the breed" by sticking to just one venue if the breed was never created to have a purpose beyond aesthetic value.
My breed was in fact breed to be the "gentleman's hunting dog". Sadly, there are pretty severe divisions across our breed. I would love a more uniform breed, but we have to realize that dog showing is a sport. As with all sports, it just gets more competitive over time. Having a dog that is a great balance of working/showing/companion events is great and deserving of praise (both for the breeder who planned the versatile litter and for the owner who made efforts to show the dog in multiple venues), but many feel that it is simply unrealistic especially if they want to do well. The angulation of show dogs, along with body substance and proportions simply do not make runs under 30 seconds. The same goes for show dogs in the field. They cannot go all day without tiring (for the most part). You can look at the situation from the other side. I would love to see more specials with higher obedience titles. However, in order to be a competitive special, the owner must (most times) hire a handler, keep their dog in exceptional show condition, and be prepared to have the dog shown about anywhere in the country on a given weekend. This leaves little additional time for obedience/companion training.
A good way to access the severity of the divisions in your breed is to attend your National Specialty. I recently attended (and showed) at our National and was surprised to find that the situation was not nearly as bad as I thought. Never before had I seen so many CH's in upper and competitive levels of obedience. I was happy to see many show dogs being fluffed up after coming out of the agility rings. One of the coolest things was to see past top ranked specials now showing in the obedience, rally, agility, track, and field areas.
We can stand back and contemplate or complain, but the situation in our individual breeds will only change if we make the effort to make the difference we want to see.
Dog show exhibitor and trainer. :)
· 10 years ago