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Thread: What is "Breed Improvement"?

  1. #11
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    Breeds been around for 100yrs. did the job then does the job now. The performance venues are supposed to keep the function in the dog (best function breeds), the show venues is supposed to keep the structure(best structure breeds). The breeders are supposed to keep the temperament, health, and fix the problems when they develop. They are the keepers of the breed, we're not trying to develop a new breed, we have a great one already. It's not about breed improvement; It's about breed maintenance and not screwing it up.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member Sharon Potter's Avatar
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    Form and function aren't mutually exclusive. The form is there to allow the function. Good running gear, a body built to be athletic and sturdy, a muzzle suited to picking up birds without having feathers get stuck in the big, pendulous flews that some dogs have, just to name a few. There are traits that define a breed, like the wavy double coat of a Chessie or the length of hair on a Flatcoat or the otter tail on a Lab (the blunt trimmed clubs on some show dogs aren't any more correct than the whip tail on some field dogs), but overall, form and function go hand in hand.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member hotel4dogs's Avatar
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    I have a friend who has been breeding Goldens for a gazillion years. When someone asked her what she is doing to improve the breed, her response was that she would never be so arrogant as to think she could improve the Golden Retriever. What she's trying to do is improve her own lines, in order to maintain (or get back to) closer to the "old fashioned" Golden Retriever.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt'EmUp View Post
    Breeds been around for 100yrs. did the job then does the job now. The performance venues are supposed to keep the function in the dog (best function breeds), the show venues is supposed to keep the structure(best structure breeds). The breeders are supposed to keep the temperament, health, and fix the problems when they develop. They are the keepers of the breed, we're not trying to develop a new breed, we have a great one already. It's not about breed improvement; It's about breed maintenance and not screwing it up.

    Barb Gibson
    with
    CH Rosewood Little Giant UDX VER RA SH MXP MJP OFP VCX WCX CCA CGC FFX-OG
    also UCH HR UUD UJJ URO1 UHIT
    (golden retriever) born 3-10-07
    a.k.a. "Tito", "The Tito Monster"
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  4. #14
    Senior Member Swack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by windycanyon View Post
    Jeff: This, imo, is important. It's also important that they have good structure so they will hopefullly stand the pressures of time out there. Had someone today call me for a pup. Insisted on "British" (really English type) breeding. Ends up he does a lot of hiking on VERY rocky terrain. I told him if he was looking at litters to take a good look at FEET. The English types right now?? OMG. Will be arthritic by 5 or 6 w/ those pancake feet.

    There IS a reason for the standard folks, not just so we can bitch annually.
    windycanyon,

    I agree whole-heartedly. One thing that has bothered me is that people often believe the over-weight Labs with improper proportions are bred to meet "The Standard". As a result, not only does our Labrador get a bad rap, but so does the standard! There's not a thing wrong with the standard. It's the way some people are either misinterpreting it or just ignoring it that's the problem.

    The OP asks "What is Breed Improvement". The answer to that question may depend on who is answering. The serious show Lab breeder my equate breed improvement with attaining show championships and the pinnacle might be winning BOB at Westminister. The serious field trial Lab breeder might equate breed improvement with attaining field championships and their pinnacle of achievement might be winning an NFC or NAFC. But are those goals true measures of "Breed Improvement"?

    In my mind, breed improvement should meet the following criteria.

    1. Good general health and longevity.

    2. Freedom from heritable genetic diseases.

    3. Physical soundness.

    4. Sound Temperament which includes: A friendly outgoing personality. Lack of shyness or skittishness. Tolerant of children and other animals. Calm and well-behaved.

    5. Talent in the field which includes: A natural retriever with a soft mouth. A good marker. Intelligence and trainability. A great nose. Courage in the face of adversity. Patience and steadiness.

    6. Proper Labrador conformation which includes: Proper height and weight. Balanced structure, proper proportions and angulation. A good coat. Otter tail. Tight paws. Proper dentition. A nice Lab head with the proper expression.

    Neither show competition nor field competition require all of these traits for a dog to succeed. There are some breeders who are trying to producing the "Total Labrador" without being overly constrained by the highly specialized needs of show or field trial competition. Some show breeders are striving to maintain the working ability in their Labs and compete in HT's to learn where they need to improve their stock. Some field breeders are striving to produce field Labs who meet the standard of the breed as well as perform in the field. These people are to be commended for their efforts.

    I believe that the best measure of a Labrador isn't in the show ring or in the field trial. Those competitions were originated to identify the best dog for his job. His job is hunting! It's in the marshes and fields where they show their true worth; as well as in the home in everyday life where they enrich our lives as companions. Ribbons and braggin' rights are fine, but the purpose of those titles is to help identify the dog that is best suited to perform his job as a hunting companion.

    Swack
    Last edited by Swack; 02-21-2014 at 08:31 PM.
    Jeff Swackhamer

  5. #15
    Senior Member Sharon Potter's Avatar
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    Swack, very well stated!!
    Sharon Potter

    www.redbranchkennels.net

    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers...too many to list.

    Team Huntsmith

  6. #16
    Senior Member waycool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon Potter View Post
    Form and function aren't mutually exclusive. The form is there to allow the function. Good running gear, a body built to be athletic and sturdy, a muzzle suited to picking up birds without having feathers get stuck in the big, pendulous flews that some dogs have, just to name a few. There are traits that define a breed, like the wavy double coat of a Chessie or the length of hair on a Flatcoat or the otter tail on a Lab (the blunt trimmed clubs on some show dogs aren't any more correct than the whip tail on some field dogs), but overall, form and function go hand in hand.
    I would disagree somewhat... Form will eventually follow function and I would argue HAS over the last 100 years give or take. The issue with shows is they (those that judge or write the conformation standard) "believe" they "know" what the correct form is.. like it's an engineering calculation. EPIC FAIL IMO. I would agree with breeding out blatant conformation flaws.. that's about it. The working part of a breed comes from actually doing the work over a hundred years or so.

    .02

    I would also add.. that the difference between shows and FT .. is that breeding to what wins in FT/Test is breeding to what functions. Breeding to what wins in the show ring.. well... no guarantees. I doubt the founders of any working breed said "Ok FIRST.. we want the dog to look like this" I would expect they said.."Ok FIRST We need a dog for this job"
    Last edited by waycool; 02-21-2014 at 02:39 PM.
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  7. #17
    Senior Member Scott Adams's Avatar
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    Swack, thanks for that excellent answer.
    I think that any dog with a job should need to prove itself somehow, before being awarded a title in the show ring.
    Proven to what level? Hard to say but certainly to a level of competence that demonstrates the working qualities that the dog was originally bred for. An ugly dog can be healthy and of good working value. A pretty dog that can't get the job done because it is lacking in brains or brawn has no business being promoted as the future of the breed.
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  8. #18
    Senior Member Mary Lynn Metras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Adams View Post
    Swack, thanks for that excellent answer.
    I think that any dog with a job should need to prove itself somehow, before being awarded a title in the show ring.
    Proven to what level? Hard to say but certainly to a level of competence that demonstrates the working qualities that the dog was originally bred for. An ugly dog can be healthy and of good working value. A pretty dog that can't get the job done because it is lacking in brains or brawn has no business being promoted as the future of the breed.
    Scott I agree with your statement! The pretty dog still gets bred due to ?ignorance? or ???. The Westminster dog hasn't had to prove anything to support a true working Labrador. IMO
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  9. #19
    Senior Member windycanyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swack View Post
    windycanyon,

    I agree whole-heartedly. One thing that has bothered me is that people often believe the over-weight Labs with improper proportions are bred to meet "The Standard". As a result, not only does our Labrador get a bad rap, but so does the standard! There's not a thing wrong with the standard. It's the way some people are either misinterpreting it or just ignoring it that's the problem.

    The OP asks "What is Breed Improvement". The answer to that question may depend on who is answering. The serious show Lab breeder my equate breed improvement with attaining show championships and the pinnacle might be winning BOB at Westminister. The serious field trial Lab breeder might equate breed improvement with attaining field championships and their pinnacle of achievement might be winning an NFC or NAFC. But are those goals true measures of "Breed Improvement"?

    In my mind, breed improvement should meet the following criteria.

    1. Good general health and longevity.

    2. Freedom from heritable genetic diseases.

    3. Physical soundness.

    4. Sound Temperament which includes: A friendly outgoing personality. Lack of shyness or skittishness. Tolerant of children and other animals. Calm and well-behaved.

    5. Talent in the field which includes: A natural retriever with a soft mouth. A good marker. Intelligence and trainability. A great nose. Courage in the face of adversity. Patience and steadiness.

    6. Proper Labrador conformation which includes: Proper height and weight. Balanced structure, proper proportions and angulation. A good coat. Otter tail. Tight paws. Proper dentition. A nice Lab head with the proper expression.

    Neither show competition nor field competition require all of these traits for a dog to succeed. There are some breeders who are trying to producing the "Total Labrador" without being overly constrained by the highly specialized needs of show or field trial competition. Some show breeders are striving to maintain the working ability in their Labs and compete in HT's to learn where they need to improve their stock. Some field breeders are striving to produce field Labs who meet the standard of the breed as well as perform in the field. These people are to be commended for their efforts.

    I believe that the best measure of a Labrador isn't in the show ring or in the field trial. Those competitions were originated to identify the best dog for his job. His job is hunting! It's in the marshes and fields where they show their true worth; as well as in the home in everyday life where they enrich our lives as companions. Ribbons and braggin' rights are fine, but the purpose of those titles is to help identify the dog that is best suited to perform his job as a hunting companion.

    Swack
    Where is the "Like" button? You get a virtual cookie from me! Anne

  10. #20
    Senior Member .44 magnum's Avatar
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    Making a Labrador that fetches a beer from the Fridge and delivers to hand

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