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Thread: The Lab split: when, how, why?

  1. #1
    Senior Member kindakinky's Avatar
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    Default The Lab split: when, how, why?

    As a person interested in retriever and sporting dog history, I've often wondered about the Lab split.

    I know a little bit about Lab history (Dave Elliot, the Whygin retrievers which were some of the foundation for Shamrock Acres, Dual Ch. Shed of Arden, etc.)

    But why, when, how did the split between field and conformation occur?

    Was the difference in British and American Field trials a factor?

    Dog breeds are constantly evolving but when, how and why do you think Labs split?

    I have no dog in the fight never having owned a lab but did hunt with two different sons of a NAFC and have "babysitted" a couple of lab pups and two adults.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Billie's Avatar
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    I think it happened somewhere between the 70s and 80s. I have some old Ret. Field Trial News's and see that in the 70s we still had breeders breeding FCs to CHs and they were the same dogs. Now a CH and an FC are two seperate breeds,unfortunately.
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    Senior Member ErinsEdge's Avatar
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    The biggest change according to my sources was in the 80's with the English Sandylands imports. Previous to that Labs were more moderate. Briggs had the most BIS in breed history http://www.tealwoodkennel.com/LightBrigade1.html
    Nancy P



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    Give yourself credit, some don't even recognize there is a split. My guess folks are simply breeding toward two separate goals. One group breeding for what the show ring judges were looking for blocky heads, short tails and legs, and generally "chunky". And the field trial group bred strictly for the best dog in the field. Their only standard is blue.
    P.S. IMO the field bred Labs look so much better than the dogs from show lines. And if I was looking for a good field dog capable of doing FT level work. I would pass if there was a CH in the recent pedigree.
    What its prominence suggest, and what all science confirms is that the dog is a creature of the nose- A. Horowitz.

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    Senior Member Bob Gutermuth's Avatar
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    Accodring to Richard Wolters, in his History of Duckdogs, the split between show and field was largely caused by Helen Warwick and her love for the British dogs. She began importing dogs from the UK and also had enough influence to get lots of British judges invites to conformation shows. You can give her lots of 'thanks ' for the pigadors that we see today.
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    Senior Member ErinsEdge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gutermuth View Post
    Accodring to Richard Wolters, in his History of Duckdogs, the split between show and field was largely caused by Helen Warwick and her love for the British dogs. She began importing dogs from the UK and also had enough influence to get lots of British judges invites to conformation shows. You can give her lots of 'thanks ' for the pigadors that we see today.
    I certainly believe that because they had to import the judges in the beginning to put the English imports up.
    Nancy P



    "We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made." M.Facklam

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    Senior Member Joe Brakke's Avatar
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    I was surprised at the look and style of the FT dogs at the first FT I worked. I grew up with Labs all my life, that being in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and I was surprised that the top performing dogs were smaller, sleeker and damn fast. From the side they looked like grayhounds not the Lab I remember working pheasent in MN. That being said, confirmation Labs are not what I'd remember seeing in that same field in MN. Both are pushing on different ends of the Standard for different reasons. And thank goodness for the breeders we have working in the middle or we could loose the bred all together. What I have learned is that beyond the looks or purpose of breeding you can line that school Lab great temperment, high loyalty and great field ability in any CH or FC bred litter.

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    Senior Member Bud Bass's Avatar
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    Just Wondering.......What would it take to change the guidelines for conformation......much like they changed the crieteria in the 60-70's. Could we get some field trial/hunt test judges to judge conformation and gradually base thier judging criteria on the good sleek looks of a modern field lab, and move away from the "tanks" of the show ring. Are there any field judges who are interested in show judging also? Would this be a possible way to preserve the breed rather then split it? Would this even be remotely possible. It would be a great thing in my mind if leading field dogs also represented what the show people said labs should look like. Like I said, I am just wondering about this scenario. Bud

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    Senior Member Brad Slaybaugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gutermuth View Post
    Accodring to Richard Wolters, in his History of Duckdogs, the split between show and field was largely caused by Helen Warwick and her love for the British dogs. She began importing dogs from the UK and also had enough influence to get lots of British judges invites to conformation shows. You can give her lots of 'thanks ' for the pigadors that we see today.
    if you added 30 extra overweight pounds to the average field dog, would they compete in the ring?

    If you took 30 pounds off the average show dog, would they compete in the field?

    just food for thought?

    Brad
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    Senior Member ReedCreek's Avatar
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    if you added 30 extra overweight pounds to the average field dog, would they compete in the ring?

    If you took 30 pounds off the average show dog, would they compete in the field?
    If "Would they" were changed to "could they" the answer would be No and No.


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    Last edited by ReedCreek; 02-22-2011 at 04:27 AM.

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