Friday, September 29, 2017

Theory Vs. Practice in the World of Dogs

Show line black lab at top.

Working lab at bottom.

In theory, in the world of dogs theory and practice are the same, but in practice, they are not.


Jennifer said...

If it came to cold water retrieving, the show line dog might be the better choice. The 'dual purpose' ideal has been promoted by some Lab breeder since at least the 1920s, and many show line dogs are successful hunting dogs. Where I see the Lab standard as absurd is in hot climates, where a double coat and 'well sprung ribcage' are liabilities rather than assets.

Jennifer said...

Have a listen to Mary Roslin-Williams, author of The Dual Purpose Labrador. Your 'working' Labrador looks to me like the sight hound cross introduced for speed, to the detriment of retrieving.

PBurns said...

Jenifer, do you actually hunt birds? Own a shotgun? Please give us a link where we can see a few pictures of your dogs doing an actual retrieve, preferably with a few pictures of you with a shotgun in your hand.

There is no such thing as a "dual" purpose dogs. This is a term invented by show people who are "one and done" folks in the field. You select for type. Then for work. Then health. Then gender. Then coat color or type. If you put registry first (as you have to if you are showing), you are not selecting for work because show dogs are given ZERO points for health and ZERO points for health and ZERO points for temerament. If you have a "dock diving" dog that is not "duap purpose" any more than a "go to ground" dog is hunting, or an AKC herding test is herding.

Jennifer said...

Whether or not I hunt birds is irrelevant. Here's a link showing my girl's sire, Berolee William Trigg, retrieving. He did well in shows in NZ (came in first in the National) but was happier retrieving.

What did you think about Roslin-Williams' comments about hound crosses being unwilling to open their mouths underwater? Or about loss of retrieving function when greyhound blood was brought in to increase speed in field trials?

It's not surprising that dogs bred to work in cold and wet are stocky. I'm sure you know enough ecology to be familiar with 'Allen's Law'... gracile bodies do pooly in cold climates, especially in cold water.
I also bet you'd grant that guide dogs are working dogs... even if they don't hunt.
Point is the Lab is the most numerous 'purebred' dog... though the breed is anything but pure. Labs are quite diverse. There's no one 'working' Lab type, no size of the fox hole that sets an optimum size and shape. And the crossover between showing and working is stronger in Labs than any other breed I can think of. The dog you label 'working' is only one type.

In Western Australia, where I was heavily involved with the Labrador community, both Guide Dogs and police work with show breeders (bird hunting was nearly non existent there, but a significant fraction of show breeders also did field NZ many do hunt).
The ideal type for hunting varies with the climate and what is being hunted.

Tom Slater said...

Jennifer, that working lab is stockier than your average pointer, but you think there's some sighthhound in there?

PBurns said...

Jennifer, the title of this post is "Theory vs Practice." You have no practical experience it seems. "Whether or not I hunt birds is irrelevant." Well it would have to be from your point of view, right? Much amused. Thanks for sharing! :)

Gina said...

If these show-line Labs were so good for field work, you'd see them in duck blinds, in field trials and at the high level of hunt tests (Junior Hunter doesn't count).

But guess what: You don't.

Compare the top image of an Angus stud bull, er, I mean show-line Lab, to a Chessie, any Chessie. The Chessie's purpose was to be a market-hunter's rough-water retriever, day in, day out, all weather. Even show Chessiea aren't thick-necked, block-headed fat-covered blobs.

I was once waiting for a Sporting group to wrap so I could pick up a friend's dog (FCR) for her. It was a hot day and half the group was waiting in the shade for their turn to show. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dog and thought, "What on earth is that Rottie doing in the Sporting group ring?"

And then I realized: I was a champion black Lab.

If I'd shaken my head any harder, my glasses would have flown off.

Gina said...

Ha! Although *I* actually *do* resemble a show Lab, alas, in the above comment the "I" should be "It":

"And then I realized: It was a champion black Lab."