We get this debate every year. I agree about the sad split in the Labrador breed, however, both sides need to take a good look at what they have in the backyard.
Labs are supposed to be good hunting companions
- not overdone show dogs, nor fireball field trial dogs.
It is so sad to sit in the gallery at a hunt test and hear people asking what kind of dog that is on the line only to see in the catalog that it is a Lab. They gasp and just shake their heads. Some look like a cross between a Lab and Grayhound - others are so small that the wicket would be called on them in the show ring. Yes, they can run 400 yds and not break a sweat, but they don't look like a Lab. :? The overdone show dogs may make a 100 yds -once.
You talk about the heavy coats - well it saddens me when I see a Lab shivering in 35 degree weather. A lot of folks in the south won't do water work in the winter because it is to cold. My dogs LOVE to swim - no matter what the weather. They have the proper double coat. That comes from show breeding. **There shouldn't be any "FLUFF" going on with a show Lab's coat - They don't need anything more than a bath so they don't stink like the swamp they were just swimming in.
There are a lot of people in the show world who are recognizing what they have lost in the field and are really trying to bring the Lab back to what it is supposed to be. Can the field people say the same thing? There are quite a few CH/MH out there. I have a Lab bitch that has 14 show points and needs a major to finish her CH. She will be running Masters this spring. All of my Champoins have advanced obedience titles and at least a JH. I know you turn your noses up at a JH.
In the past I did not have the means, time, or ability to take my dogs further than a JH = most had the talent and drive - it was me that held them back. Does that mean they were not good working dogs?????
There was a judge that really liked my girl and wanted a puppy "if" I would breed her to an FC. I told him he would need to take the whole litter because the field people would not want a puppy because she is out of show lines, and the show people would not want a puppy because the father is out of field lines. So, how are we going to get the two extremes to come together?
Each side needs to give a little - it will take several generations to do it.
All of these intense feelings about what is correct should be used to compromise and bring the breed back together instead of driving it further apart.