Breeding for Performance Sports

Discussion in 'The Breeding Ground' started by mrose_s, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    I've seen this raised a few times, and I've been thinking about it a lot. It's more just a post of my thoughts a queries, not a preach or a lecture because I don't enough about it but I thought it might be an interesting discussion.

    Firstly, i was thinking about horses. A lot of breeding for horses is for performance horses. I know dogs probably differ but thats where my thoughts begun, breeding performance horses.

    I totally undersand wanting to keep the lines in breeds that reflect their original purpose (ie: herding BC's) but do wonder if therecould be a third ethical breeding pathway (the other 2 being conformation and work/original purpose)

    As performance sports gain popularity in society, would it make more sense to have specific performace lines. Dog's with speed, agility, willingness to learn, wanting to work in close with their handler, with an off switch, etc. In other word "instincts" that would help.

    I woudl say no, this is not a good idea, except then it comes back to conformation comps. Those dogs are bred forlooks, as opposed to working ability. Many working breeds in the show ring don't reflect what a good worker would be imagined to look like and may have little to no working instinct left.

    Like I said, not an argument. Thought it could be an interesting discussion.
     
  2. anna84

    anna84 New Member

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    If you don't mind me expanding on this a bit I was actually wondering what everyone also thought of crossbreeding specifically for sport purposes. Like flyball breeders who cross border collies with JRT's. If their being a bred for a specific purpose does that make them better then the usual designer breeds?
     
  3. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    I don't see anything wrong with breeding for performance sports, as long as it's done responsibly and for the full package. I'd rather see dogs bred for a purpose than just bred for the conformation ring.
     
  4. Labra

    Labra New Member

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    The way I see it, both venues have a purpose.

    I personally sway towards to breeding for performance. A well bred comformation dog may be lovely to look at, but if it cannot perform the task for what it was orginally intended, what is the point? we are seeing more and more hunting/retrieving/HPR breeds that have NO natural desire to hunt, point or retrieve. Herding dogs that have no desire to herd. Breeds which should be bold, confident and fearless riddled with weak nerves. Breeding for conformation should be about producing the all-round dog, but more often than not breeders who breed solely for conformation neglect the perfomance aspect. I know SOME breeders are striving to produce dual purpose dogs but they are from I have seen few and far between, which is a shame.

    In fairness, there are also performance breeders who are producing dogs that are too "hot" to handle. Dogs that resemble nothing their breed and are just working machines. Then when (or if) those dogs get sold to pet homes, their owners cannot handle them and the shelters start filling up.

    So it is a no win situation. I guess the ideal is a dog that can do both. But as I said, there are not many breeders competing with serious sucess in both venues. Enough to make a positive, large-scale impact on their breed, anyway.

    It is hard to make up that middle ground. Breed a comformation dog to a perfomance dog of the same breed and you are going to end up with a dog that doesn't have enough of the qualities (substance, bone, coat) needed for the ring, and that doesn't have quite enough drive and desire to excell at perfomance. Again, it is difficult, and I honestly don't think we will ever see much middle ground.
     
  5. 2dogmom

    2dogmom Pound Puppy

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    Why can't we have both? To me performance will always be more important than conformation. But from what I understand, it is not possible in Europe to win a conformation title unless the dog has already won some kind of performance title. Someone who knows the details might be able to elaborate better and I would be interested in learning more about how this works.
     
  6. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    IMO, breeding for obedience or agility or flyball is no different from breeding for the "original purpose" of the breed.

    It varies from one breed to the next, but in corgis a dog who has herding instinct and is athletic enough for agility and is has the trainability for obedience often makes for one very nice sport/working dog.

    So I think it comes down more to selecting a dog on the buyer end as well as the breeder selecting a dog for the buyer rather than isolating each sport into a line of its own. Example ~ if I'm looking for a dog specifically for agility, I'm going to look for agility titles in the lines.

    If a breeder wants to market to one sport over another, they should be out there titling in that sport, but just because that's where the breeder marketed and titled doesn't mean that's the only sport those dogs can do.

    Also, the ideal would be to have the working qualities and the conformation (after all, if the dog isn't structurally correct, his ability to work will be compromised).

    There certainly can be pet quality dogs out of working lines as well (lower drive, lower energy).
     
  7. OutlineACDs

    OutlineACDs Crazy Dog!

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    I agree with CorgiPower. I breed for both. Conformation/performance/herding instinct. In *my* opinion, the ACD that is sound and solid enough to work all day should finish in the conformation ring, and the conformation dog who can finish in the conformation ring will have the body to work all day. A good majority of ACD breeders still do both. I personally don't have access to livestock or a good trainer, but my dogs have been evaluated be other breeders/trainers/judges who do.

    My dogs both did the HIC at nationals in 2006 and while I realize that's not a testament to true working ability, or really anything of the sort, there were dogs there who didn't pass. My girls are both biddable enough to do agility, obedience, rally and that also plays into the want to please people part. One day, when I save up enough money, I will make the 5 hour trip to the herding trainer and really learn how to do this, I just refuse to send my dog out with a trainer/handler because I love trialing with my dogs.

    I'm a very firm believer in the all around dog, and conformation is part of that. You can go to the pound and rescue a dog thats a great herding/farm dog, but that doesn't make it an ACD.
     
  8. I think wise breeders insist on both.

    A dog who looks like it should who can also perform.

    When breeders begin to select for one thing, such as performance (or conformation), then large splits can happen between working dogs and show dogs. (Labrador Retrievers or Border Collies might be good examples of this)

    JMO as always.

    :)
     
  9. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

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    Also, German Shepherds have been split down the middle as well. And then coming off THAT split is the White Shepherd. So, yah.

    Personally, I'd prefer a solid dog that can do a hard days work, every day, to a dog that would be a stunner in the ring. In the breeds that I know, and am familiar with, that doesn't happen. It's unfortunate, but its the truth. If all breeders had to make sure their dogs that went into the ring could still work, it might be different.

    Unfortunately, we would then have some tests, like the SV rated GSDs in Europe, that are scraping by with the minimum. There is even a difference in a show European/German line and a working line over there. The tests for those dogs are easier. If you were to put the ones who are getting the higher SV ratings into the real competitions, I highly doubt the majority of them would make it.

    The SV dogs have to pass a test for their litters to get papers, but the working dogs do not have to rate highly in the ring to be bred. Of course, it goes without saying that their hips/elbows etc have to be acceptable as well. But, the show ring doesn't always play a factor in that.

    Sorry, I'm rambling. :p
     
  10. PAWZ

    PAWZ Agility Junkie

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    I totally disagree with breeding for sport, it serves only, at least in the world of bc's, to produce dogs that are neurotic, hyper, have no ability to settle, and more often than not end up in rescue because the family that bought the pup in the first place can't handle the dog and turns it over to rescue...which is exactly what happend to my pup Whim at 10 wks of age! Although he is not neurotic, he is very high drive, and can settle in the house only because I've taught him how to.

    There are without a doubt some very very nice agility bc's out there, and I know a few very experienced handlers that have gone to sport breeders for their next pup and ended up with temperment problems out the whazzzoo, not that it cant happen from a working breeding but is in my opinion less likely. Working breeders breed because they either need or want another working/trial dog. Sport breeders not so much, where as most working bred pups end up in either working or sport homes with the rarer pet home, the sport breed is more likely to end up in a sport or an unsuspecting pet home. Fortunately at least here in the Mid Atlantic area agility people are turning more and more to the working breeder for their dogs.

    Let's consider the Border Jack - originally bred to be a height dog with speed for flyball ---EEEEKKKKK--Cute? YES. Blazingly Fast? YES. Neurotic? YES OCD? Definately. Good family pet? In most cases definately not. Take the terrier temperment, drive and the work they are to train, and the border collie drive, speed, and ocd combine them and stir in a little SMACK for good measure and you have a border jack. Plus just how many border jacks does a flyball team need? What happens to the pups that dont go to knowledgeable families?
     
  11. drmom777

    drmom777 Bloody but Unbowed

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    But the same can be said of a gun dog- how many dogs bred to hunt pheasant do we need? Or any other breed that was vreated with a specific purpose in mind, especially the sporting breeds. The sports have changed, but the general idea remains the same, and the dog world is not static.

    I have no problem with it at all. Historically dogs have been bred with various purposes in mind and that is why we have such a delightful array of breeds to choose from.
     
  12. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    I see a point, and I guess I can say that I'm "okay" with it. I agree with Red.

    BUT - why breed a for performance when there are so many high energy dogs in shelters who don't typically get adopted? Unless the adopter does something with them, has a job in mind, etc. jmho
     
  13. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    I have heard of some horror sporter collies, but I'm talking about breeding this responsibly. Breeding for dogs that DO have off switches, that double as nice pets and fantastic performance sport dogs.
    Our girl Mac makes a great little flyball dog, our guess on her breed is whippet/kelpie/fox terrier. She has the Fox Terrier tenacity (sp?) whippet speed (well not quite, but she's fast) and the kelpie drive. But if its raining, she'll stay inside and sleep all day. She's small enough to be a pretty good height dog, but long legged with a good judge of the jumps so she clears ground fast. You hold her and wait and she just stands and stares, the second you tell her to go she's off full speed. But... she was a glamble, a pet shop puppy we got lucky on.

    I suppose it would depend on whether they were bred only for sports or for herding or for comformation. I do think a lot of lines differ so much they are almost speerate breeds. Like Kelpies for instance, a show kelpie and a working kelpie are 2 completley different dogs IMO, breeding them together would only create more crossbreds.

    I was thinking about this, but it goes the same with dogs with say, herding instinct. There are lots of dogs with instinct in shelters loosing their lives, but we still need breeders to keep a "guarenteed" instinct alive. My next dog will most likely be from a breeder, I would like to know what I'm getting, unless you go for an older dog that you already know its temperment, it can be lot of guesswork. Then if you get an older dog, your looking at possibly sorting through its old issues first before you can even start on training.
    My other reason is health, I love Buster to death and I will DEFINETLEY be rescuing in future, but he isn't very drivey and he does have HD developing. Which does limit us.

    It all gets very complicated when you start thinking about anything in depth
     
  14. doberkim

    doberkim Naturally Natural

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    It comes down to careful placement - some dogs are not MEANT to be family dogs. If you are breeding high drive active dogs that aren't suitable for your average family that will not work them then DO NOT PLACE THEM WITH A FAMILY.

    Responsible working dobe breeders don't seem to have a problem placing their dogs in working homes - they have huge waiting lists. If you don't have enough homes available to place all the pups, then don't breed the litter.
     
  15. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    Where is this "Europe" of which you speak?

    You do know it's made up of a kabillion countries? All with their own ideas of what's what?

    Just a point... it grates on me when people say "Europe" as all being the same... it's not.... AT ALL.

    Would be like me saying.... You know, I heard that in the world, you can't do X... Y.. or Z...


    Anyway.... carry on. :popcorn:
     
  16. HoundedByHounds

    HoundedByHounds Oh, it's *you*

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    Again...what do you do with the one's that don't have "it" then? If a person is seriously competitive enough...to breed TO WIN...what is to become of the one's that do not make that high high cut? They might not have IT...but they do have enough of IT to not make a good pet...

    What alternatives are there for these dogs...if not families? One could say...the casual sport person..but again...how does that impact the active dogs, in shelters that might've worked just as well for those people?

    In conformation the "dumb" stereotype that I see persists even here...does not at least make these animals unsuitable for family companions or casual sport...in fact it might make them more suitable.

    I know plenty of folks with hunting line hounds that have the very devil of a time with them. The hound was not a good enough one for the hunter to keep...but it is good enough to need HOURS of run time per day and be an escape artist to follow scent. I admire the drive and interest the hunting hounds have...but agree that they perhaps aren't the best pets. But being that they are often sold for a lot LESS than a conf. hound, or even a rescue hound...what are the alternatives?
     
  17. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Unless you're breeding a new strain that is planning on becoming its own breed bred solely for sport, then I don't think it'll work.

    Sports do not normally define a breed. Many breeds are good at it and I feel you'd lose a lot in the way of what makes the breed unique and move towards faster, drivier dogs which is not always appropriate.

    I have two very performance based breeds- shelties and papillons. Both excel in sports because of what their breeds already are. I love seeing breeders breeding these two breeds with sports in mind. They should be capable to do these sports. However even though that is true there's also a correct temperament, look, etc that these breeds have.

    In working breeds a dog is defined by what it can do, in companion breeds they're defined by a temperament as well as a look. Many times these are not entirely compatible with the best dog for sports.
     
  18. pitbullpony

    pitbullpony BSL Can Be Beaten

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    Performance horses like performance dogs?

    I would be careful looking to the performance horse world as an example.

    Just as the lead and feeds often have no future beyond conformation classes; some highly bred performance horses have no future beyond what they are bred for, their conformation and disposition can sometimes preclude them from a "pet" home; when the competition is over ~ not as much as dogs; but still a problem that horse breeders have to address ~ there is too much focus in the horse world on specializing vs. all-around. You would definitely want to know where your market is.

    Balance is key; whether we are talking about dogs, horses or fish (Bettas are lovely to look at; but those fins man!)Too much breeding for pretty and you lose brain; too much breeding for brain and you may lose pretty, but you also lose a great portion of the pet-owning public who can't handle a dog that "driven."

    I think the dog world has many breeders who are producing well rounded dogs that can reflect the breed standard and still go out and do the job; and pass health clearances; I think what we need is smarter consumers. Stop buying the JRT because it's cute; no that BC is not going to be happy in a crate for 8 hours when you are at work; your Chi is not a purse ornament (only); your APBT is quite possibly going to be dog aggressive and yes that is normal and he hasn't been abused. Too many people do not take into account all that is necessary to adding a sentient being into their lives.

    Yes there are idiot breeders out there who don't know what they are breeding; creating mixes who are supposed to have the qualities of one breed carefully mixed with the qualities of the other, breeding over-the-top high performance breeds or miniaturizing already tiny toys; but if you do your homework as a RESPONSIBLE OWNER you can find something that works for you.

    From the various performance forums that I visit; the concerns of over-the-top dogs are often discussed; but many of Joe Q Public wouldn't get to touch the offspring of the over-the-tops; many of these pups are given to friends to work with, sold to people who are already in the sport. I imagine it is the same with hunting dogs; the good dogs are already spoken for before the female is even bred.

    I don't know how much of a problem over-the-top purebred dogs arriving at shelters is; if anyone wants to put together a poll re: what is at their local shelter; that might prove interesting.

    We have 3 shelters near us; 1/2 million plus people living in a 1/2 hour driving square;
    In the biggest city; the dogs available are; 22 in #

    9 are alleged puppy mill dogs that are in for fostering
    3 are 1 yr and under pups that are described as needing more training and "active"
    7 are adults and are described as family or gentle

    There is a ShepXMalamute that is described as hyper
    There is a GSD X that is described as active
    There is a ShepXBeagle that is described as an only dog.

    The next shelter has; 8 dogs

    4 LabX - req training or high energy (some are pups though)
    A BoxerX described as protective; a GSDX - high energy, a ACD - nervous, the only purebred dog is a beagle described as a sweet dog suited for a family.

    The third shelter is very much the same story; a lot of crosses, most younger pups to 3 years, high energy. A few older dogs whose owner's have surrendered them. This shelter actually had 2 purebreds that were problem dogs; an eskie who was pushy/energetic and a Shih tzu that bit kids.

    Very few purebred w/problems, many 8-12 mos dogs surrendered; that to me says volumes about owners handling capabilities; as opposed to what the dogs are actually like.

    Better consumers would be more to the point.
     
  19. HoundedByHounds

    HoundedByHounds Oh, it's *you*

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    Of course that's the ideal solution.

    Using Beagles as an example...many people I know from meetups etc got their puppies from the paper. "Good Breeders Don't Advertise" so most of these pups are firstly BYB and secondly...hunting leftovers from JoeBob who has a small pack he hunts with on weekends. I have seen pedigrees on a couple of the BYB hounds...and it was enlightening.
     
  20. Miakoda

    Miakoda New Member

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    Well, then maybe these breeders need to quite breeding or quit selling to pet homes. Not every breed of dog should be nothing more than a pet to a lazy couple who want nothing more from their dog than to lie quietly on the couch when not playing a 10 minute game of fetch or going for a short walk down the block.

    I am TOTALLY against changing an entire breed to suit the whims and fancies of a few people who want to own the breed, yet do not want to own or deal with all the qualities that the breed entails.

    I've got an elderly family member (husband & wife) that got a BC because they love the way they look. Too bad they got one from a working breeder (shame on him for even placing the dog in this home....money needs to quit being the driving force behind breeding). Blu is an extremely hyperactive and "neurotic" dog to most. To me, he is frustrated and miserable because he is expected to play fetch a few times a day in a small backyard and then be a couch potato in the house the rest of the time. Instead, this dog needs to be living on a lot of land with someone to train him and work the devil out of him. That's what would make that dog happy.

    As for working vs. conformation, the working dogs should be the basis of the conformation standard. After all, form follows function. And I'm sure in the beginning that's how it was meant to be. But over time, people decided they liked certain looks of certain breeds and began to exaggerate those feautures. They were then rewarded in the show ring by judges thus over time the breed's standard has indeed changed. I've seen some ASTs in the show ring, that while cute dogs, were basically a disgusting representative of where the breed originially came from. Being muscle-bound, overly stocky, with a blocky head the size of a bowling ball is NOT the tell-tale signs of a dog that came from a working background. Instead it's the signs of a dog that came from people's personal fetishes on what they wanted the breed to be like.

    If you give me a field Lab and a conformation Lab, it's easy to tell the difference and I'll take the field Lab any day. Same goes for the working BC and the bred-strictly-for-the-ring BC. And the Greyhound. Hell, most of the hounds have changed. I'd really like to see one of those fancy-prancy little Beagles in the Westminster show actually prove itself as a hunting dog.
     

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