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The split between show dogs and field dogs is a common topic on this forum. So is English Labs vs "American" Labs (I guess that's what you'd call them).

Posted on Facebook Facebook လောဂ်အင်ဝင်ရန်, the Breed Education Committee for GRCA identified a couple of articles they'd provided regarding the breed standard for Golden Retrievers for Show Site magazine, a magazine devoted to show dogs Showsight November 2022. They do an excellent job of discussing what a Golden Retriever should look and act like, and I have to say I'm pretty tickled with their efforts. I commend the committee. The second article is titled Primarily a Hunting Dog, which is explicitly included early in the breed standard. Always a bugaboo of mine back when I was showing dogs, I always wanted to show outside in the rain so the dogs were wet. My dogs were hunting dogs, and you could really see it when wet. The contrast with some of the other dogs was stark, though when dry the judge had to feel them to determine that. The split in show vs field isn't as bad in Goldens as it is in Labradors, but its certainly there. At least for Goldens, the breed club is really trying to promote a Golden Retriever according to the breed standard - primarily a hunting dog in hard working condition.

The first articles ends with words from my buddy Glenda Brown whom many of you know and I think most of us will agree with her comments.. It also included a link to a Youtube video of a Scottish field trial
. I was struck with the terrain, but reminds me of some of the areas I hunt in eastern Montana.

Anyone that wants to see what an English Labrador Retriever looks like that can run a European field trial should take a look at some of these Labradors, of which there are several. There are the English Labradors I'm familiar with.

I thought the GRCA Breed Education Committee's work and that video was relevant so some of our recent discussions. Also that some of you might enjoy some validation regarding the breed split and what an English Labrador is.
 

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In the end, the classification system used to separate the various 'types' among a breed can be misleading at best. What the OP refers to as 'English' --- I refer to as UK FT lines - but they are still retrievers (golden or labrador in this video). I agree the UK FT dogs look like they should. Athletic, fit, not overdone. Built to work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I called those Labradors “English” (though perhaps British would be more accurate at this trial) to force the comparison with what is misleadingly labeled English in this country.

And Mr. Mike? Me too! Golden or Labrador, that would be a fun venue to compete in!
 

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The split in show vs field isn't as bad in Goldens as it is in Labradors, but its certainly there.
I think that is probably accurate. On the surface it seems the opposite. I think because I never see conformation Labs in the field but do see a few conformation Goldens.
At least for Goldens, the breed club is really trying to promote a Golden Retriever according to the breed standard - primarily a hunting dog in hard working condition.
It isn't working. I think most of the blame is on consumers. Goldens are in vogue among suburbanites. There is a high demand for pretty, but lazy, Golden retrievers to take on walks and give treats to.
 

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It isn't working. I think most of the blame is on consumers. Goldens are in vogue among suburbanites.
There is a high demand for pretty, but lazy, Golden retrievers to take on walks and give treats to.
Irish Setters, Afghans, Cockers - long haired dogs until the breed gets ruined.
 
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I think as long as there are folks out there working dogs there will always be working dogs.
EASY to find? I don't know about that....easy if you know where to look perhaps.

As soon as someone starts breeding for a different purpose, traits, charactistics, breeds start splitting whether that be for colour, size, even different abilities or whatever.
And that doesn't take long. 3 generations can produce significant change.

Knew of a famous breeder that barely regarded a different bloodline as being of the same breed, they had been selectively breeding for a set of traits long enough they likely had a valid point AND that was within a breed that one would assume everyone working the dogs was working toward a similar goal.

I think one of the other problems is misrepresentation, be it deliberate or out of ignorance.
About every show lab owner I've met really believes the only thing separating their dog from, lets say NFC FC Truline's Just Floyd is the training.
Which is simply not the case.
Now where would they get such a notion?
Same can be said for those breeding for fox red labs, chocolate, silver or whatever, if color is the primary objective in that case and not the specific working abilities required by the specialist which is what a field trial bred lab is.

Personally I couldn't care less about how show labs look or what they are good for. That won't make my dogs any better or worse so why worry?
The time to worry will be when there are no longer field trials or bird hunting that require the specialist.
Those that breed for those traits will stop doing so.
Then the breed will truly be ruined and lost.
And THAT will not be the fault of some show dog breeder.
 

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EASY to find? I don't know about that....easy if you know where to look perhaps.
Finding a pup that will rack up 200 all age points, not easy. Finding a Lab pup that will be a good working dog, very easy.
About every show lab owner I've met really believes the only thing separating their dog from, lets say NFC FC Truline's Just Floyd is the training.
There are conformation Golden people that believe their dogs could do better than any field trial Lab. In the next breath they talk about completing "positive only" basic obedience training in only 3 or 4 years.
 

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There are conformation Golden people that believe their dogs could
do better than any field trial Lab. In the next breath they talk about
completing "positive only" basic obedience training in only 3 or 4 years.
Those kind of people are not restricted to fluffy's. When they say that
it's time to converse where you can learn something/.
 

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Irish Setters, Afghans, Cockers - long haired dogs until the breed gets ruined.
Collies too, any breed with hair is ultimately ruined in the quest for more hair. There is no better example than the Irish Setter
Dog Carnivore Organism Dog breed Liver

Note the difference
Dog Liver Carnivore Dog breed Tree
 

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It has, but good labs are still very easy to find (thanks to Field trials). Other breeds have been ruined to the point where it’s difficult or impossible to find a dog that is capable of performing in the field.
But like norwester noted, there'll always be one or two that can bring home the bacon - or apropos today's preference, the dark meat
Dog Snow Liver Carnivore Dog breed


Chuck, I've been in touch with Our Glenda this week talking ponies (this one in particular),

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/22/sports/horse-racing/old-thoroughbred-horse.html
Farewell to the Horse Who May Have Been America’s Oldest Thoroughbred - The New York Times - nytimes.com
Rush may have been the longest-lived thoroughbred in American history when he died at 39. For three decades, his owner said, “He would fight for me, and I would fight for him.” Rush, known ...
www.nytimes.com

puppies, Elizabeth R. (a/k/a QEII), and per usual, a little CFB. At last count from the confines of Taxachusetts, she's working with a neighbour's pet conformation Golden on basic obedience and having a doggone good time of it.

MG
 

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Irish Setters, Afghans, Cockers - long haired dogs until the breed gets ruined.
Marvin,

Be assured that on this side of the Great Water at least, working 'Cockers have never been so well represented. MG knows the story over yonder.

I'm looking after a 4 month old tan bitch for a friend and she's a mini dynamo. And yes, positive only (clicker even!) training has given her a sit/stay on hand voice and whistle and a recall on arm signal and whistle from about a hundred yards. Following my hand and starting to develop a quartering pattern, but no retrieving yet, though she's happy enough to carry a puppy dummy around. A delight, I might just dognap her.

Meet Arla.....

 

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Be assured that on this side of the Great Water at least, working 'Cockers have never been so well represented. MG knows the story over yonder.
Good Cockers can be found here too but they are not common.
I don't know if a single good Irish Setter exists.
 
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