|Barked: Tue Jun 19, '12 7:57pm PST |
|"HOWEVER, I have been starting to wonder if some of the arguements presented might be more "right" than my opinion. (I'm talking about YOU, Trigger! big grin)
I was "window shopping" just for fun and looking at breeders. Many of the better breeders I see are talking gun dogs and retriever training. Not talking pets. I was thinking sometime in the future I would be looking for a more carefully bred Lab, and also one that is more standard sized, since Savvy is super jumbo.
But are all the "good" breeders going to be breeding for field work? Or on the other hand, for tubby "show type" Labs?"
Any good Labrador breeder will be breeding for field work. Field or show bred, they should all have the drive to perform AND possess the capacity to be a well balanced domesticated family pet at the same time.
I hate the split. It's incredibly misleading and has led to such a wonky public perception. Field lines should never be out of control maniacs, show lines should never be incapable or disinterested. Because they've been defined and polarized misguided individuals have taken things to the absolute extreme.
Although they did indeed originate as water dogs retrieving in general is what they've otherwise always in some capacity been bred and driven to do.
"Chubby" or thicker lines don't usually lend well to doing what the breed is bred to do whether they're driven to perform or not. Across the board the bigger the dog the harder the body has to work and the more damage that work they are intended to do will will do to bones, joints and organs. That applies to every day life situations too, just going up and down the stairs shouldn't be a struggle at the age of 10. For far too many Labradors it is.
It's only fair to note, weight =/= fat necessarily. In Hoyt's lines there are individuals who pushed 80lbs. But those 80lbs were straight muscle. Muscle makes a dog heavier than fat does, so a disproportionately tall and large boned individual who's made of mush can actually end up weighing far *less* than a dog who is standard height but conditioned to perform. Just because one is heavy, doesn't mean they are ill suited to perform. Weight alone doesn't determine such a thing. Size (height) and body condition are what I would focus on most when determining if an individual is of appropriate breed size, not weight alone.
Hoyt's breeder refuses to recognize the split, they breed for performance and performance and temperament alone. There are both "field" and "show" lines woven throughout.
When you're talking about bettering any breed most would agree ability to exist and perform as intended while being a reasonable domesticated pet to boot is at the top of the priority list. Those not breeding for any sort of original performance are typically going to fall short. Especially when talking about those who's work is still very relevant to modern day life.
Does there HAVE to be well bred "pet bred" terriers? Yes. If there weren't many would cease to have a purpose in a family home. But is there such a thing as a well bred "pet bred" cattle dog? That's where things get mighty muddled.
Can there be individuals that don't perform as well as others in any well bred litter? Of course! But those are individuals (or entire lines) who shouldn't reproduce more like them intentionally. Only those with the best instincts AND temperaments should be duplicated.
Those without working knowledge and enthusiasm of what a breeds "best instincts" actually are, and the ability and desire to give their dogs the opportunity to revel in them, aren't going to know the breed on it's most basic level. When looking for a good breeder that wouldn't be acceptable to me. At least no more so than any other breeder who advocates trying to turn a Rottweiler into a Pomeranian, or a Terrier into a Pug. Square peg meets round hole. That's not what they were ever intended to be, nor should be encouraged to become. So why people today are insisting and even demanding Labradors should be loafs is beyond my comprehension.
Labs aren't meant to be marshmallows. And while I agree there are other activities that can enhance and in certain circumstances act as substitutes for traditional instincts and behaviors, I don't believe they can ever replace that which a dog was inherently meant to be.
Obviously that doesn't apply to dogs in rescue situations, but you specifically referenced "good breeders" here, and that is my opinion. There is no such thing as a good Labrador Retriever breeder who doesn't breed individuals intended to perform as they were originally intended to. The show/field line split is irrelevant to me, it's an across the board belief. (There is also no such thing as a good Labrador Retriever breeder who doesn't do rescue work in some capacity. So although you may not be interested in buying a well bred pup a good Lab breeder will certainly network with loads of people who can connect you with a dog in need of a home and big heart just like yours )
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