And I couldn't agree more. I watched a specialty last year and the "winning" dogs were well over 20# overweight and were all *winded* after going around the ring. Come on, that's not even what, 50 yds in the end???? :'(Originally Posted by YardleyLabs
My 60# bitches, at the bottom of the actual height standard (21.5"), are waifs in comparison, yet well within the weight standard, esp for their height. Leg length is equal, btw, but they look "leggy" in comparison to the show dogs. Some of that is the weight difference, but not all.
I took some notes from the owner of the 3xCH/2xMH I bred into. Said dog was only 68-72# while competing for his 2 MH titles (which he did in short order), but had to carry 10# more for the show ring. He didn't look thin in his field photos either! -Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
If a show-type labrador could be infused with the drive and athleticism to be comparable to a field bred dog (in drive and athleticism, not talking about instinct because CH/MHs obviously have some instinct)...
Would they last? Show dogs supposedly have better structure, but they are also a lot heavier (on average). Incorrect structure on a 70lb frame or correct structure with the added stress of a 90lb frame?
(I'm not a show or field person, just an agility/rally/obedience person who currently has a lab)
Zeke RN, agility miscreant and CGC failure
What a truly sad statement in so many regards. So much for "reaching for the stars." How disappointing.t would never be a goal of mine although a CH/MH certainly is.
IMO, field trials are too artificial and to repeatedly excel at field trials I think you need to breed a dog with a high temperament that is not correct for the labrador retriever.
Correct structure is structure that allows the dog to do its job successfully. If the dog's job is to win at field trials and the dog indeed is successful, then it is very likely that the dog has correct structure for that job (with minor faults of course as no one is perfect). For example, many field trial dogs that I've seen are leggier; at field trials, the terrain is often harsh and being a bit taller helps the dogs to navigate the terrain easier. A dog with shorter legs would expend more energy breaking through sage brush as compared to a dog with somewhat taller legs. So, taller legs in this example would be correct. You can break down almost every part of a dog's body by function and adjust it accordingly. I don't think you can describe "correct" structure in a vacuum without referring to function and terrain. The standard is there as a blueprint, but it has to be applied to the dog's function. At least this is my understanding.Incorrect structure on a 70lb frame or correct structure with the added stress of a 90lb frame?
Personally I like the looks of my field/hunting dog Ace. I know he has his faults but I get comments on his great looks all the time. He has his winter nose going, and he's a little shy on coat, but he picks up quite a few birds every season.
Here is a picture of my field trial dog. She'll never win any beauty contest, but she's beautiful to me... Both parents field champions and finished the national open championship multiple times. I feel very fortunate to have her.
Well said. Form should follow function. The qualities needed in a field trial retriever, or hunt test dog, are the same things needed in a GOOD gun dog also. A Lab is supposed to be a working gun dog.Originally Posted by Tatyana
Originally Posted by Tatyana
Well eeeeeeeehhhhh........... Correct structure is that called for in our breed standard, not that called for by a particular venue/job. Let's take agility for instance, something I've said I'd never breed FOR (though I've produced some nice ones anyhow). We all probably agree the fastest dogs tend to have less bone, good leg length (standard says equal from withers to elbow, elbow to ground). They are also kept leaner, and that coupled w/ good spring of rib would allow for more lung room, etc., which is good if you've ever seen the posters of what an obese dog looks like w/ all its organs smashed inside the fat. :'( The fast ones are muscled to the hilt, just as the faster field trial and hunt test dogs are. Good, tight feet w/ nice strong toes are an asset to both as well. Don't need much of a coat for the agility, though it helps in hunting for sure (though we often see poor coats on hunting dogs).
I have a 3 yo I bred running for MACH at the moment that fits the above description pretty well. He's an Intl CH, JH, CD, RA. Wouldn't be near "enough" dog for the AKC ring today, but he's pretty darned nice looking. I understand they plan on showing him for the dog for all reasons award at the LRC shows in Oct.... I begged them to put him in the Hunting Dog class, lol, as he'd look like the Ethiopian refugee in any other class (and may still!). :-[ :-\
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
The problems with today's Labrador RETRIEVER is with the type of dogs that both Field Trial and Show compete with.
Not only is there a clear seperation of the breed, neither side understands the concept of the "total dog" nor "moderation"!
Successful Field Trialers breed for one purpose only, they want to produce animals that can win, period. There is no regard for Conformation. Field Trialers are looking for athletic animals with superior intelligence(the ability to learn complicated concepts), superior ability to mark multiple birds at one time, biddable personalities and have a burning desire to retrieve. In the USA, there are only a handful of successful Field Trialers that take the "total dog" into consideration.
Successful Bench folks breed for one purpose only, they want to produce animals that can win, period. There is no genuine regard for the animals retrieving ability. WC, WCX, and the lower Hunt Test titles does NOT mean that the dog is a fine working retriever or that the dog meets The Standard in this area. That is because, the standard of work is so low. If a Poodle can do it, then the expectations for a Labrador should be much higher.
As an avid waterfowl hunter, I know that today's Show CH's are not suitable for hunting. Show judges need to not only learn more about the breed, they also need to strickly enforce The Standard. No dogs or bitches over the weight limits should be considered!
I would suggest to anyone looking for a Lab to;
1) Make sure that both sire and dam have all health clearences.
2) Look for sire and dam that are moderate in build, dogs that fit the breed standard. Bench folks brag about structure, it is a myth. One can find the proper structure among the working dogs. Those are the animals that, "have to perform".
3) If you are looking for a dog or bitch that will have to "learn and think", look to the performance titled sire and dams.
There are many poor speimens of Labradors in Field Trials. Many narrow types that could pull a pickle from a jar. However, the educated eye can identify wonderful type and moderation among the FC AFC's. That is your best chance of getting an animal that is moderated, fits The Standard, has the abilty to learn difficult task, potential for a great tarining attitude and the abilty to be athletic.
The "Total Labrador"!
So going back you my original question, has the breed standard changed or the way it is interrupted?
Well, with all due respect I think that this statement is crap.Originally Posted by FDR
Most show breeders care more about the working instinct of their dogs then field breeders care about the conformation of theirs.
How many show bred dogs 'could' get to higher field titles if trained? vs. How many field dogs could get show titles?
Thing is, field trials at the higher level are impractical, I've been, and sorry, they are.
My girl is just starting to retrieve reliably, so let me tell you, when I breed her, that is one thing I am going to breed towards.
I have the most wonderful field boy, and beautiful show girl, I understand the differences and appreciate them for that.
The total picture of labradors hasn't changed. The mental picture that Joe Public sees is different. They see Lady breaded to Bubba up the road puppies, and assume that is what they are supposed to look like.
I know I have seen the differences in other breeds too, German Shepherds have a distinct 'Work'/'Show' divide. Cocker Spaniels (both English and American) etc.