Working vs. Conformation

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by LappieLover, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. LappieLover

    LappieLover Crazy dog girl

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    For those of you that work your dogs and don't show, how can you be sure that your dogs are on "standard?"

    Hopefully, this won't offend anyone. I'm just really curious. :)
     
  2. Julie

    Julie Are You Blowing Me Off?

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    Who's standard?
    If they are sound in health and temperment, and they excel in their work or job, then that is what is important to me. :)
     
  3. doberkim

    doberkim Naturally Natural

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    By studying the breed standard and learning all there is to know about your breed.

    Rah will never enter the breed ring - aside from being a rescue, he is neutered. However, I can still appreciate his structure, both its flaws and its strong points. I can evaluate his temperament, I know his working ability, I can still health test him. I know that he is straight in front and rear, but he still makes a functional package because both are to the same degree. I know he is tall and long, but he is still square. I know his croup is rounded, which is accentuated by a low tail set, and aside from being straight in front, he also lacks chest and hes narrow.

    But he also has marvelous tight cat feet, he has great movement when he stops pacing ;), he has a great head, a well muscled neck that meets his withers well, he has full and proper dentition and a wonderful bite. He has well set ears and is in superb shape.

    I know he is stable and affectionate in the right situations, but will respond appropriately to a threat. I know he is trustworthy around all sorts of people, and that he is better trained than most dogs out there.

    I know structurally my dog is NOT standard. But I also know that in every other way, he exceeds most dobermans in his drive, temperament, and working abilities. Dogs can not meet standard and still be good dogs - its being honest and knowing where their faults are.
     
  4. Boemy

    Boemy New Member

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    I think most people who have working dogs don't care about standard. (I mean "real" work like hunting or herding, not someone who is doing agility training or something.) But if the standard was written up properly, it should reflect the condition of a proper working dog of that breed. Unfortunately, either this doesn't happen or people just ignore the conformation guidelines . . . For example, look at the heavily feathered show ring English setters versus the very lightly feathered working English setter. Obviously very heavy feathering would be a detriment in a working setter, so why do the English setters have them? Is it because heavy feathering got written into the breed standard or is it because the breeders ignored the standard and then were rewarded by the judges for their "flashier" dogs?

    Another example would be border collies. A conformation-perfect dog is useless to a farmer if the dog is a lousy herder. A dog with a crooked ear and mismatched eyes who is an excellent herder is a-okay with them.

    Or take Alaskan huskies. Not to be confused with Siberian huskies, Alaskan huskies are a "type" of dog, not a breed. They're mixed with many breeds, including hounds. They're bred PURELY for sledding and no conformation standard exists for them. But because a medium sized dog with a hearty coat is best for pulling sleds in a cold climate, most do look very husky-ish.
     
  5. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    Well the idea of the standard is that in order for the dog to excel in what he was bred to do he must be built properly for the job and so a dog who is awesome at his work should be very close to standard anyway. I like to see both showing and working but as long as the breeder does health tests and temperament tests and does one of those I'd say they're good. Of course not all breeds were bred to do work, like the Shih-Tzu was bred to be a companion. A dog like that I think needs to be a champion show dog.
     
  6. BlackDog

    BlackDog Guest

    Ideally, the best breeders would both show and work their dogs. That way, they are covering every aspect of what makes their breed what it is. Looks, working ability, health, and temperament.

    I'm not against non-working breeders who show, do health testing, and have mentally sound dogs. Nor am I against non-showing breeders who work their dogs, do health testing, and have mentally sound dogs. I wish they would do both but that isn't always possible. If they have a market large enough to place their puppies in either pet homes, show homes, or working homes, I guess what's the best you can do.

    I wish it weren't true but sometimes the breed standards in show judge's eyes can get off track from the actual standard for the breed. On the way token the working breeders standard for the breed can get off track from the actual standard of the breed, to best suite that breeders needs/lifestyle.

    Nothing is perfect. We are all human. We get off track sometimes. Sometimes it make the breed worse, and other times it makes the breed better.
     
  7. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    The work sets the standard for these dogs, and form (usually) follows function. If you look at border collies, there's a reason why they are generally a medium size, a slight/moderate build, with a stealthy stance and smooth movement. And it's not because of the kennel club's breed standard, it's just because that's the type of dog that is physically best suited to a certain kind of work, and that type has been unintentionally selected over hundreds of years, creating the sheepdog we have today. A dog that is physically unfit to work (poor, unsound structure) will not work as well, regardless of how much ability it has. People would normally breed to the first dog I mentioned, and remove the second from the gene pool.

    I think that to most people who rely on their dogs to work, their conformation to the breed standard isn't important. But if you really wanted to know, then read the standard and evaluate your dog from an objective state of mind. Have someone else do it for you, a bonus if it's someone who is a judge, breeder or professional handler for your breed.
     
  8. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    Along the same lines, if your conformation dog isn't out actively doing the job it was bred for on a regular basis, how do you know the dog has the correct working ability and ethic that it is supposed to?

    If I had to choose, I'd rather buy a dog from lines that were truly doing the work the breed was bred for and take a chance on not meeting "standard" than buy a dog from champion show lines that met the standard, and not get the temperament and ability I was looking for. As others said, form follows function.
     
  9. Bahamutt99

    Bahamutt99 Dafuq?

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    If the standard is written based on a working dog, then someone who works their dogs would be preferable over someone who shows their dogs. Although ideally, they'll do both.
     
  10. oc_spirit

    oc_spirit Snow Girl

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    You gotta remember too that today's standards keep changing to suit what breeder's are bringing into the show ring. If this weren;t true then how did we get the English Bulldog of today? Why is it that the one that looks the least likely to be able to catch a bull is the one that wins BOB??? The standard gets interpreted differently by each person and then that breeder breeds to suit their interpretation. If all breeders interpret the standard differently from what it is supposed to be (ex. accentuate a certain trait because its what draw's the judges eye and then eventually it becomes the norm) then the breed club feels compelled to change it which IMO is very wrong.

    IMO on average those who breed for work have dogs that are more similar to what the breed looked like back in the day and those who breed for show have what's flashy and pretty enough to catch the judge's eye whether or not it could survive a full day's work.

    At the kennel we have one dog in particular who is way out of standard for a Sibe but looks a lot like a Seppala Siberian. Just for sh*ts n' giggles one day my mentor decided to enter him in a show just to see what would happen. The judge that day does competive sprint racing as well as showing and judging. After the day was complete she came up to my mentor and told her "That dog is a STUNNING animal - for a sled dog, but I never want to see him in a show ring again because it will just be a waste of your money." My mentor knew that from the start. This boy is phenominal in harness and can give Alaskan Huskies a run for their money but he will never win ribbons in the ring. Why? Because the Siberian Husky standard has changed soooo much over the years that what wins ribbons in the ring (especially in AKC and CKC) is almost a completely different breed of dog from what places on the trails. The dog I am referring to will likely be bred, and if he isn't then his brother will be because their goal for that line is NOT show dogs, but rather sled dogs. They dont care if he is a bit out of standard, his conformation and health is amazing for a sled dog and that is what they care about.

    I personally would take a working breeder over a working/show or show only breeder on average. RD has explained to us on another thread how if you take a working line BC and cross it with a show line BC you don't get the best of both worlds, rather each side gets compensated by the other. You get a lesser herding dog than the working line parent and you get a lesser show dog than the show line parent. It's a good idea in theory to excel in both worlds but with a lot of breeds, each world has been so seperated that it's hard to excel in both with the same dog. You pretty much simply need to have two lines in your kennel.

    This is why puppy buyers really need to research the kennel they are thinking of going with. Lets say someone is looking for a Siberian Husky and they decide on a working line kennel, they are very likely going to get a dog that temperment-wise is exactly like what a Siberian Husky should be BUT then the looks may not be what they were expecting if the only Sibes they have seen were the ones in shows. If they go for a show-line husky then they may end up with the looks they were after, but then temperment-wise, they may be very watered down in order to make them calmer for the show ring and more accepting of their lack of work. Heck they may not even have any drive to work at all!

    The nice thing about going for working line dogs is on average, if you are looking at reputable breeders, they will be healthier and more sound because an unsound or unhealthy dog will not be able to perform very well and a dog that doesnt do his job properly will not be bred as it is no use to the owner. Heck, the owner may not even keep the dog. Whereas some show breeders, so long as the dog can make it around the ring and win the ribbons, there is a good chance of it being bred regardless of health tests (not saying ALL show breeders, but some).

    At the end of the day and the end of my rambles though, everybody has their preferences and I guess if everybody is happy and their dogs are well taken care of, then who am I to judge who has what? All I know is what I want and what I look for.
     
  11. doberkim

    doberkim Naturally Natural

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    The standards do not "keep changing" for all breeds. The FANCY THEMSELVES set the standard, not the AKC. The dobe standard, for instance, has had VERy few revisions over the past 5-6 decades!

    And I take exception to the statement, that someone who does REAL work with their dogs - agility, obedience, etc is often just as strenuous and requires a significantly LARGER amount of training than some "real work" as you put it. By slighting those that choose to show their dogs in some performance venues over others, you do every breed a disservice. The fact remains, there aren't enough working homes for what breeds were originally intended for, period - we don't live in a society where people all inhabit a large farm that requires dogs to gather and tend the flocks, where the tax man needs protection as he goes from house to house in the form of his dog, or where we need dogs to protect us from lions out on the safari. For many dogs, the original work is simply not possible or practical in this day and age - and their working abilities can be tested, tried and extolled in many other venues. Athletic ability, drive, biddability, intelligence, etc is not limited to one or two venues.

    Assuming that just because a dog is from a "working breeder" that is is healthier is also an incredible injustice. In the working world, MANY people believe IF IT CAN DO THE WORK, its healthy - ignoring that a dog with incredible drive will often continue to work even though its hips are ruined, its heart is giving out, etc. "Healthy dogs" drop dead from heart attacks on the field every day. Health testing is not limited to the "working" breeders, and in fact many breeds (my own, for instance), the working breeders do little to no health testing period aside from hips.

    Trying to create lines where none need to be is never going to do ANY breed any good. "Working" or "Showing" - every dog has multiple aspects of its breed that need to be evaluated, and responsible breeders address them all.
     
  12. oc_spirit

    oc_spirit Snow Girl

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    True, I did make it sound like its changing every month or quite often which is my mistake, but for some breeds it does change often enough (every few years or so????) I mean, why should the standard have to change at all if the goal is to PRESERVE the looks of the breed???????
     
  13. planet molosser

    planet molosser CASSA

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    If the standard calls for a working dog than a breeder should show and work.

    Show the dog under a breed qualified judge to learn about the dogs faults and to breed away from it.

    If the standard was changed from a working dog to a show dog than the working dogs cant be shown.

    Comformation in standard has ALLOT to do with a Working dog.
    Often backyard breeders of "working dogs" breed dogs with less than required teeth and some breed missing testies..

    Severe easty westy, hocky dogs will bred in most cases HD AND ED.,
    Im proper angulation will bred easier to pop ACL's.

    Sagging toplines again breed unsound dogs that have been known to require surgery for compressed discs.

    Temperment for working dogs require the to dog to example.
    Amendable to handling .
    Often than not backyard breeders use the excuses to not show for many reasons. The dogs are OUT OF Standard, are not controlable in public and or have serious health issues.

    Form follows function.

    I do not require my dogs sold a potential breeding dogs to be championed
    They are required to pass a TT, be OFA and or PH, and be rated Excellent
    under a FCI expert judge certified to judge the breed at national levels.

    Only breeding the champions and the winners and ignoring the working dogs is what killed and changed most of the working breeds today.

    However if every NOVICE dog breeder is allowed to BREED what ever is in their yard .
    Never proving the dogs in any way shape or form to the standard written for the ideal of the breed.
    Then they will in affect change the breed and create thier own breed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2007
  14. planet molosser

    planet molosser CASSA

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    2nd Post I could do nothing with the Tons of BOB BIS ribbons I have.
    It does not make my dogs better than anyone else if the judge never seen the breed before.
    <I am very proud of the WRITTEn critiques over 50 from the Top judges in the world experts in my breed they mean more than any Best in Show.>

    What it does PROVE is A. I spent more money on proving my dogs in work show and temperament then the ones sitting at home breeding UNPROVEN dogs claiming the dogs "work" in a kennel or a yard.

    B I learned a great deal about breeding m handling and training by networking at these shows. The value of this is PRICELESS to a breeder.
    i have such great friends that I met at shows. Ethical breeders that I can call them and get a dog of my breeding networked back to me in any 911 case threw out the USA. When I needed to learn more about whelping it was those breeders I met that taught me more than any BOOK i own and i own over 400 books.

    C In Working guardian breeds I PROVE at the shows not that I can win but that I can handle and train all my dogs to be Good Citizins i public and PROTECT when called upon,.
    What use is a breeder who can NOT control thier own dogs to a buyer needing help?.

    During my breeds transition from a ancient Working landrace to a dog shown in the late 50-s under the USSR rule.,
    All dogs WORKED ALL dogs had jobs and once a year they were taken in front of dog experts to study comformation NOT breed type.
    The dogs were rated and if missing teeth or if limping due to HD they were DQ. After the show they were asked to do a PRotection TT and obedience basic kin to a CGC without # 10.

    So they did not have OFA but the dogs were asked to work and if not work they were SHOT. The show was held in stadiums not up and downs not L's or T's the dogs ran in a circle dozens about dozens of times and if the dog showed lameness it was rated GOOD not a breedable rating.

    If someone wishes to breed a purebred dog they owe the breed the chance to cut mustard againest the standard.

    Again all the above is for working standard for working breeds.
    Not what they have done to many of these breeds like example
    making a Taller JRT so they show better thus removing the shorter legs they need to go to ground.
    If I had ratters I would NOT show under a standard that wanted a taller dog for more reach.
     
  15. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    some breeds bred to "standard" are almost a completley different breed form the same breed bred to work.
    for example border collies, good show borders are pretty much a compleltey different breed to working borders in both looks and personality, i saw some show borders at a show i went to a while ago and they were a lot shorter and a lot hairier. they just didn't look like they'd make champion working dogs.
     
  16. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    To save me writing my essay again...

    read my post http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53623&page=4 its post # 36

    It is interesting 99% the working breeds we have looked very different back in the day when they worked. And people promote conformation shows as preserving the look. No they are preserving todays idea of what a working dog should look like.
     
  17. Psyfalcon

    Psyfalcon Fishies!

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    It may not be the AKC's fault that the standard keeps changing, but there are several breeds which have many revisions, usually led by the show dog faction of the breed club, that detract from the working ability to suit the aesthetics of the show ring (more feathering, angulation, larger size.

    It reminds me of an old teacher of mine who bred Mals. One day after learning that Mals should be sled dogs a student asked if hers pulled sleds. She stammered for as second and pretty much said "sure, why not."

    If thats the weight a WORKING dog breeder (Mals of all things, with weight pull available too at the fraction of time spent training a Pointer) puts on working, I don't want their dog.

    Two of my all time favorite dogs never had a huge split, American Water Spaniels and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. If I was dictator of the dog world, we'd be having working trials on Saturday morning and showing on Sunday. And no, not the other way around, "you're" dragging that show coat around the woods!
     
  18. planet molosser

    planet molosser CASSA

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    Breeders with money who put handlers on out of standard dogs will in affect change the breed.

    If the dog is at the min or max of the breed they will breed under of above the standard.

    Under the right show kennel this out of standard line will get the standard changed if enough money and politics are behind the dog.

    Once it is changed all previous breeders are forced to get in line and breed to the new standard or separate from the AKC parent breed club that voted the change in.

    Then the sub division of working vs showing is set.
    Like it was with the JRT.

    My breed has voted in 7 years ago only in Russia a previous out of standard bite. FCI who governs Russia has REJECTED this standard for over 7 years thank god.

    Yet the breeders in these countries are breeding OUT of standard dogs.

    When not if this standard is accepted I will be that WORKING person who refuses to change the breed after thousands of years and after 100 years of a working dog standard.

    Then as I am will be accused of " creating my own breed" when in fact I am preserving what god himself created.

    Now that my breed has gone to the show ring and the fighting ring.
    Thus removing their working abilties and altering the correct comformation and size.

    We will follow down the same path most guardian breeds have.
    Big fat drop dead cant work a dime show breed.
     
  19. MafiaPrincess

    MafiaPrincess Obvious trollsare Obvious

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    To me 'work' requires instinct.. When searching for a breeder.. kennels of just agility dogs didn't impress me, as my puppymill dog is learning pretty fast and eventually I'm sure we can get at least low level agility titles..

    So 'real' work being easier.. well, it requires instinct or serious over handling. I doubt Cider has the instinct to flush and retrieve a bird for me even with some severe over handling. So I wouldn't consider sports to be enough when any dog of crappy genetics might be able to excel. I mean to many people the perfect agility dog is a border jack.. Doesn't require a dog being within any standard to be good exactly.
     
  20. MafiaPrincess

    MafiaPrincess Obvious trollsare Obvious

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    I have a friend who breeds afghans. Last few years the dogs who are placing are above the height standard. She has a nice pointed male who ceased doing even mediocre in the ring, because he wasn't big enough he was in standard, but on the smaller size of it. Finally put him away for a while because it was becoming hopeless least for now.
     

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