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Comparisons of working, conformation, & pets in your breed

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Comparisons of working, conformation, & pets in your breed
  • And where are these working Amline breeders?

    Well I was TRYING to allude to me and my goals, but apparently that point was missed :-p 

  • Xeph

    And where are these working Amline breeders?

    Well I was TRYING to allude to me and my goals, but apparently that point was missed :-p 

     I wondered if that is what you meant actually but wasn't sure. What lines are you getting dogs from to create working Amline GSDs? How are they doing in Schutzhund? Do you plan to outcross to German dogs?

     I will say I have seen some good performance Amline GSDs and Andaka kennels seems to have dogs which do well in performance and I'm sure there are some other such kennels around the US. But Amline dogs who are capable of Schutzhund or advanced tending style herding are few and far between and that is the true test of proper working ability in the breed (that point can't really be argued, as SchH was created by the breed's creator as a test of their working ability). I'm not saying Amline GSDs are bad, they just aren't bred for true working temperaments. Collies are the same way but I will still at some point have another - although I will seek out a breeder who has successful performance dogs for a puppy.

  • Daphne (Andaka) does have nice dogs, and I've met her, but the general style of the dogs doesn't appeal to me.

    They're nice...very nice...just not my style aesthetically.

    I posted in the other thread who I was looking at, but I think you saw that :-)
     

  •  Ahhh - this hits home with me.  One of my pet peeves is when a conformation person comes asks me what breed of dog I have.  When I tell him/her that she is a field variety of the English Setter, they assume she is a "bad" setter and then asks me is her breeder also breeds "real" English setters like the one below. 

    Bench variety of the English Setter

    bench e setter 

    Well bred Field Variety

    llewellin setter

     They look like different breeds altogether.  This field dog has no less quality that the bench dog here.  They are just bred for different disciplines.
     

  •      In my breed, if the lines are carefully bred, there can be a finer line between show/field lines in reagards to conformation. There are several differences however, and even the best bred dual purpose or field lines show some marked differences. Generally, there is moer "fill" to the muzzle in show lines, along with shorter backs, and tighter feet. The show breeders actually have it right with the feet, because that nice compact foot is more of an asset to a working dog than the hare feet often seen in field lines ... sometimes my hounds get bloodied feet after running all day, but you don't see that when the foot is tighter.

    This is typical show breeding:




    Note the particularly short back that slopes on the stack ... this particular bitch only has the sloping topline when she is posed in a stack, but it still does not make for good working conformation. She is a particularly well balanced hound for the under 13" variety, with good chest by show standards. Her legs are shorter than one would see in field lines, especially when breeding for foot speed but her bone is moderate. I've seen some weighed down with bone and with rottweiler-ish "fill" to the muzzle. She has far too much angulation to be conducive to endurance. But yet, she is a moderate bitch in terms of conformation.


    These are some field bred hounds - LPO style:











    And this is a field/show cross:




        
    Note that in the field bred hounds, the backs are all longer - although the first bitch is considered too long backed even from the field perspective. Even so, that longer back is required for endurance, as is the less angulated hocks. You tend to get better movement at a trot (i.e. show paced gait) with the build of the show hound, but the other three are build for speed, ease of movement, endurance. One main difference is the spring of rib in the field breds - it's ok in the show bitch, but more would be desired for lengthy runs. The field breds may not look as "clean" or appealing to the eye, and their gait may not seem to "flow" at a show ring pace, yet this is exactly why I believe form does not follow function.  The show bitch pictured here has very akward movement, especially in the front when running in the field. She cannot keep up with my pack and does not have the endurance they do. I have seen her get out of breath, because she needs more spring of rub. My field breds are a lightning fast speed and do not get sore after running all day. My field breds need slightly shorter backs and better feet.

         The field/show cross bitch is about 3/4 field breeding (SPO) and goes back to show lines known for producing hunt. At a glance, she is typy, moderate, and seemingly well built enough for perhaps the UKC or ARHA showring/bench shows as well as the field. Her main fault is that she's out at the elbows and believe me, this effects her endurance! Note the angulation in the hocks, but it's still more moderate than the show bitch. She has excellent feet, short muzzle w/ just enough "fill" to be passable in the show ring. Spring of rib could be better. Her hunt is lukewarm, though :(


    Below are some hounds that I bred for conformation/hunt that are 100% field bred:



    This is a standing pic of the pup above:







         You can see the line is much more blurred with field/show Beagles in regards to conformation, yet I have not seen a show/field cross or a show bred hound hunt like the best in my hunting pack. I have heard of some show/field crosses who were particularly hard hunting but did not pass this trait on consistantly. Case in point would be the uncle of the field/show cross I posted. Even with the lines blurred as they are, getting the best of both worlds is unimaginably difficult.






        

     

     

     

  • HoundMusic

    . The field breds may not look as "clean" or appealing to the eye, and their gait may not seem to "flow" at a show ring pace, yet this is exactly why I believe form does not follow function. 

     Actually form does follow function, in this case the field bred dogs have the proper form for their function, even if it isn't what is rewarded in the show ring. The excessive angulation/rear leg length is a trait of the "generic show dog" and is IMO becoming a problem in many breeds. I have seen Setters, Weims, Goldens, all types of sighthounds, GSP and more with near GSD looking rears that are winning big.

  •  Am i the only one that gets an irresistible urge to go sweep floors?????


  • AgileGSD
    Actually form does follow function, in this case the field bred dogs have the proper form for their function, even if it isn't what is rewarded in the show ring. The excessive angulation/rear leg length is a trait of the "generic show dog" and is IMO becoming a problem in many breeds. I have seen Setters, Weims, Goldens, all types of sighthounds, GSP and more with near GSD looking rears that are winning big.




         That's very true! I do hear show breeders in my breed, at least, who will claim the hunt should not be dead in their lines because they are breeding hounds that they believe are built for "the chase". LOL. This is the same group that swears a Beagle must have that white tip on the tail so the hunter can see them in the field @@ Anyway, she's an absolute mess when running even though she appears so much cleaner & more in proportion than my other hounds. Now, I readily admit I have a problem with too much length of back. I believe this effects performance to an extent, perhaps not as much as, but similiar to how the extra short back hinders maximum performance. Mine should have a more in proportion length of back & I'm in no way saying that the length they have is correct, but it is entirely more condicuve to efficient running ability & endurance. The problem is that the flashy angulation is very appealing to the eye, quite imperssive looking & wins the shows. So I doubt it will be done away with anytime soon in the showring :( 

  • HoundMusic
         That's very true! I do hear show breeders in my breed, at least, who will claim the hunt should not be dead in their lines because they are breeding hounds that they believe are built for "the chase". LOL. The problem is that the flashy angulation is very appealing to the eye, quite imperssive looking & wins the shows. So I doubt it will be done away with anytime soon in the showring :( 

     Sounds like they think function follows form LOL "They must be able to do their job cause they look like they can!". That is both kind of funny and kind of sad at the same time. I have heard similar views from show GSD breeders though, so it isn't limited to beagles. I agree the excessive angulation won't go away any time soon and I suspect it will be selected for in more and more breeds turning them into generic show dogs.

  •  

    excessive angulation won't go away any time soon and I suspect it will be selected for in more and more breeds turning them into generic show dogs.

    Can you explain this a bit more in terms someone not well versed in conformation parlance can understand.  Ie, me?  Wink

    I'm wondering whether this is the same thing that's been bothering me as I see the influence of top conformation dogs on more and more Border Collies I encounter.  Here's a grand champion BC from overseas in Australia, where the genetics for the conformation contenders is coming from (in other words, Americans are importing these dogs to put in front of judges here instead of our homegrown working type).

    http://www.borderfame.com/vern.htm

    I'm not going to link the picture directly because these people get very angry when their dogs are used in these comparision discussions - they don't want people to realize there is such a difference between working and conformation BCs.

    Anyway, I've been watching with concern as it looks like the back is sloping back from the withers and this has become something that is consistent among the dogs that are influencing the AKC version of the breed.  You're saying that's a function of angulation, in reality?  I am very interested in your proposal that this is another quality that is coming to be expected of show competitors.  I've seen many times the difference between how a conformation bred BC moves while attempting to work sheep, starkly contrasted to those that are purpose bred for work.  I simply cannot understand how anyone could see the two together and not realize how badly disadvantaged the conformation bred dog is.  And then they claim to be "improving" the breed by moving away from the form that has proved its worth for 150 years.

  • brookcove
    Can you explain this a bit more in terms someone not well versed in conformation parlance can understand.  Ie, me?  

     I'll try my best! I am actually familar with the show BC vs. working differences and the imported show lines. BCs (work bred ones) are and have always been a favorite breed of mine :)

    brookcove
    Anyway, I've been watching with concern as it looks like the back is sloping back from the withers and this has become something that is consistent among the dogs that are influencing the AKC version of the breed.  You're saying that's a function of angulation, in reality?  I am very interested in your proposal that this is another quality that is coming to be expected of show competitors.  I've seen many times the difference between how a conformation bred BC moves while attempting to work sheep, starkly contrasted to those that are purpose bred for work.  I simply cannot understand how anyone could see the two together and not realize how badly disadvantaged the conformation bred dog is.  And then they claim to be "improving" the breed by moving away from the form that has proved its worth for 150 years.

     It is the angulation and the length of the rear leg bone - the thigh and stifle bone tend to have or at least appear to have excessive length and the bend in the stifle is more exaggerated. When the dog is stacked, this causes the rear legs to be further behind the dog's body than a dog of more moderate build. This is because they will not be properly "stacked" (hock needs to be perpendicular to the floor when the dog is stacked) if the legs are not pulled backed. This is a lot harder to see on hairy dogs than it is with shorter coated dogs. To position the rear legs back from under the body, gives the topline a sloping appearance when the dog is stacked. Generic show dog movement is exaggerated reach and drive when viewing the side movement. This "big movement" produces a pretty, float-y looking trot that is "structurally correct" but that doesn't mean it is correct for that breed or the job they have to do. Often you also see a higher than usual head carriage with generic show dogs.

     Yes I do believe this is what you are seeing with the dog your posted. You can see the same thing, to greater or lesser degree in these dogs of a variety of breeds:

    http://www.smokeycityweimaraners.com/

    http://www.nordictouch.net/Our%20Champions/sabrina8.jpg

    http://triskelionirish.com/Logan.htm

    http://www.antiguashowdogs.com/poodles.htm

    http://www.kebecs.com/uploads/images/clients/Sollie/bryce01.jpg

    http://members.tripod.com/Tailwind10/

     http://www.bisdrummer.ca/drummer-kids/amy/saturday.htm

     I am not at all trying to pick on these dogs or say anything bad about them/their breeders. Everyone has their breeding goals and many of these dogs are very well accomplished show dogs.

    A show greyhound person told me that one of my Belgian bitches is balanced but her movement "didn't go anywhere". So " just because it was balanced it didn't mean it was good." IOWs she felt she was lacking reach and drive. The breed is supposed to have moderate build and movement. the bitch in question has very sound movement but it isn't the far reaching, driving movement this breeder selects for in her dogs. But that comes back to the generic show dog thing - who would expect a Belgian and a greyhound to have the same movement and why would you want them to? I think that kinda sums up what generic show dog movement is.

  • Since I did not take these pics, I'll just link to them.  (Keep in mind Africa is a big place and differences may be due to differences in regional native dogs.)

     

    Fresh off the boat in 1936 (one of the earliest)

    http://www.basenji.org/african/Bongo.htm

     

    1941   http://www.basenji.org/african/Kindu.htm

     1959  http://www.basenji.org/african/Fula.htm

    1988  http://www.basenji.org/african/Elly.htm

    http://www.basenji.org/african/Diagba.htm

     

     

    2004  http://www.basenji.org/african/Afonhaan.htm  (love this girl!)

     

     

    and mine:

    no relation to new (after 1980) stock and not a year old, so she's a bit gangly

     

    this one does have some relation to the 88 import stock but is mostly pre 88 lineage

     

    no new Af blood in this one

  •  Thank you so much.  That was very clear.  I think I have a better idea now why working BCs come in all shapes, yet seem equally capable of a minimal level of athletic ability (enough speed to get around sheep properly in a large field, enough endurance to work for fifteen minutes or so, enough physical flexibilty to control stock) - but strongly conformation bred dogs seem to fall just a bit short.  If a dog doesn't have that rear assembly flexion, there's no way they could be comfortable and confident controlling stock for any long period of time.

    Now I know why dogs like Cord here make the "structure" people shudder:

    He's built to do this - notice how he's leaning to the side to catch the eye of the ewe to our left.  The dogs never work straight on - it's always canting one way or another, sometimes twisting the hind one way and the front the other, sometimes at a walk, sometimes at a run, almost never at the trot.

     

    I think this is a much better test of the functionality of structure for what a herding dog needs to do, than the eye of a judge in a show ring.

    This happened during one of the supreme tests of herding on our continent - the Meeker Invitational in Colorado.  During this phase, the dog and handler are required to sort five ribboned sheep from a group of 15 other unmarked sheep, inside a circle marked on the ground.  Once an unmarked sheep leaves the circle, if she returns, the handler and dog start from scratch.  The dog is not allowed to touch the sheep to keep her out of the circle.  All he can do is communicate that he's willing to go to any extreme short of that.  This dog has managed to convince the sheep to stop forward progress literally in midair (if you are a horse person you can probably tell that sheep will drop in front of the dog).  In the last frame, the dog is already preparing for a final movement to cut off the sheep once she's on the ground - before the sheep lands the dog will be in front of her nose, blocking the way back to her friends in the circle.

  • brookcove

     Thank you so much.  That was very clear.  I think I have a better idea now why working BCs come in all shapes, yet seem equally capable of a minimal level of athletic ability (enough speed to get around sheep properly in a large field, enough endurance to work for fifteen minutes or so, enough physical flexibilty to control stock) - but strongly conformation bred dogs seem to fall just a bit short.  If a dog doesn't have that rear assembly flexion, there's no way they could be comfortable and confident controlling stock for any long period of time.

     The dogs never work straight on - it's always canting one way or another, sometimes twisting the hind one way and the front the other, sometimes at a walk, sometimes at a run, almost never at the trot.

    I think this is a much better test of the functionality of structure for what a herding dog needs to do, than the eye of a judge in a show ring.

     Great pictures! Cord is the type of dog I think of when I think of a BC. I have a hard time seeing the show bred ones and thinking of them as BCs to be honest. Don't care for the performance bred ones either because I don't believe the breed is supposed to be bouncing off the walls 24/7.  I've been around some very nice, work bred BCs and they defined the breed for me before they were fully AKC recognized and before people started breeding them for sports. They were driven, intense, very trainable, always ready to work but they could chill out too when it wasn't time to work.

     The excessive rear angulation does cause a problem with agility/flexibility. This was talked about in Clean Run once, as someone wrote in and asked Dr. Chris Zink about excessive rear agulation and if it would help or hinder the dog in agility. I can't remember the exact quotes but it was along the lines of it produces a dog who can cover more ground at a trot in fewer steps but beyond that it hinders the dog's ability to turn quickly or tightly, makes them less flexible and makes their structure "unstable" over all. 

  • I've read that CleanRun article, and I think it's true that it *does* impede quick turns- but you know what? Not ever breed SHOULD be as agile as a BC. Is breeding for better performance in agility superior to just breeding for conformation alone? I'm not so sure it is.

     Right now in collies, we are seeing a lot of UNDER angulated dogs with no drive from the rear. This is one of Mal's strongest assets- and he's *far* from overangulated. (Wll get pictures for ya'll this week.)

     
    I'd really like to try Mal on sheep and see what he'd do. I think he *could* be a useful small-farm dog, if I had the farm to use him on- he's a quick learner and he's very good at figuring out what I want from environmental cues, which were traits that seemed to play a role in Wings' figuring out how to help me catch goats. Failing that, I'd like to try and put at least AKC titles on him. :P