I can tell you this from my experience,todays chessy is not the chessy we had back in the late 60`s and early 70`s.They seem to be much softer now.
Don`t get many goldens but the goldens I`ve had have been a dream to work with.
Let me say this about the labs,now we are talkin about labs that hunt nov. dec. jan. in ice and very cold water in the north.We had very little negative feedback from clients in the old days about labs no-going in cold water.I get quite a few nowadays.
One of my jobs as a kid was introducing pups to water,it involved 2 or three pups and a puppy dummie walkin back to grandma`s pond and wading in letting them follow in running water then pitch the dummy,all would swim and two days of this that was water intro.Nowadays I can spend a week or two before I get the same results.
I realize,I`m not getting the cream of the crop to work with but alot in the old days weren`t either.
When a breed gets popular ,people see a way to make money and spit pups out not paying attention to ability around water,trainability (biddable) and a host of others and I think people need to pay closer attention NOWADAYS in their purchase.
You mentioned "holding a grudge"in dogs ,my experience has been the chessy holds that honor!!!!
I`ll tell you a breed that I thught very highly of from a gundog standpoint is the Flatcoat.Just don`t see them anymore.
Back in the early 80`s I was approached by Vern Vogel (now deceased) to bring his showdog Flatcoats to senior or even MH level .HisKennel name was Bolingbroke Kennels.I might of had 6 or more at one time and there was a ton of natural ability in those dogs.Nuff rambling on my part...Jim