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    1. #1
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      Splitting the Breed

      Full disclosure: I own field labs.

      Is there still any talk about splitting the breed into the two phenotypes or has that talk gone away? I think it blew up the last time the breed standard was revised and the field people felt put-upon, so to speak.

      What's up with that?

    2. #2
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      I doubt that would happen, anymore than we'll see a splitting of the breed in English Setters, Golden Retrievers, or numerous other breeds where competitors have bred for specific features that they feel best represent the breed or which best fulfill their performance requirements, resulting in wildly different structures/coat length, etc. There are extremes on both the show and field sides.

      I don't think the field people felt "put-upon" the last time the standard was revised. The LRC, Inc. was mostly (and largely remains) field people, and the changes that were made the last time were likely intended to benefit the "American" or more fieldy-type Lab over dogs being produced from imported English conformation lines at the time.

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    4. #3
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      Really? That is interesting. Just going by the griping I've heard on my end of the spectrum, you'd think there had been a conspiracy to take over the LRC by the conformation breeders. That's funny.

      BUT... there was also general approval (again... I'm just relating the jawboning I've followed in my circle which doesn't matter at all, really) of the winner of best of breed at WKC this year. The thought was there was a little less adipose and the dog looked in a bit more athletic condition. It would be a nice trend if it continued. The standard does call for a body that is "strong and muscular."

      With regard to that end, when you see a mature field dog that is trained almost daily on land and water, they have really prominent muscles in the chest and back end. A conformation bred dog could show the same way (except with more coat.)

    5. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by tumicks View Post
      really? That is interesting. Just going by the griping i've heard on my end of the spectrum, you'd think there had been a conspiracy to take over the lrc by the conformation breeders. That's funny.

      But... There was also general approval (again... I'm just relating the jawboning i've followed in my circle which doesn't matter at all, really) of the winner of best of breed at wkc this year. The thought was there was a little less adipose and the dog looked in a bit more athletic condition. It would be a nice trend if it continued. The standard does call for a body that is "strong and muscular."

      with regard to that end, when you see a mature field dog that is trained almost daily on land and water, they have really prominent muscles in the chest and back end. A conformation bred dog could show the same way (except with more coat.)
      this!

    6. #5
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      There is one standard for the breed. Not a lot has really changed w/ regard to the content of the standard over the years, just the "interpretation" of what such words as "moderate" etc , mean and the fact there is a height DQ there (Goldens and others have one too). Certainly the weight ranges that have been listed there support a more moderate dog. Excesses aren't correct.... but neither side is w/o their guilt. Field labs w/ narrow bodies, heads, fine bone, no front angulation, skimpy coats, round eyes, poorly set eyes, etc aren't right either. Some field breeders are looking closer now, which I think has been helped by the CC (conformation certificate) to a degree, so it's a start there too. It won't change w/o complete honesty on everyone's part.
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    8. #6
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      I agree with Anne's post, but wanted to add that if neither side is happy with the standard, it is probably a good compromise!
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    10. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      Really? That is interesting. Just going by the griping I've heard on my end of the spectrum, you'd think there had been a conspiracy to take over the LRC by the conformation breeders. That's funny.

      BUT... there was also general approval (again... I'm just relating the jawboning I've followed in my circle which doesn't matter at all, really) of the winner of best of breed at WKC this year. The thought was there was a little less adipose and the dog looked in a bit more athletic condition. It would be a nice trend if it continued. The standard does call for a body that is "strong and muscular."

      With regard to that end, when you see a mature field dog that is trained almost daily on land and water, they have really prominent muscles in the chest and back end. A conformation bred dog could show the same way (except with more coat.)
      I suspect that there would still be plenty of griping about "fat" Labs taking best of breed at Westminster, even if they were in equally good condition as a field trial champion. Even if their muscles were as prominent, they would never look as impressive as those on a typical field-type Lab, when viewed under the correct double coat. A judge could certainly feel the difference upon examination, but plenty of people viewing from afar would see just another bulky show Lab.

      There are primarily field people who care about conforming to the standard, and there are primarily conformation people who care about doing field work with their Labs. Splitting the breed is not the answer to any issue within the Labrador world IMO.

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    12. #8
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      After I posted that question, (probably after a glass of wine...) I started to think about what would happen if AKC recognized a "new breed", "the American Field Labrador Retriever". Knowing how human nature is, everyone would compete to make them look leaner and faster and pretty soon, you'd have black, nearly hairless Saluki's.

      If a "show lab" was as muscled out through daily swimming and significant land work like field labs are, they would have very, very broad chests, made to look more so by their coats. I think the same would be true for their back ends. It could be pretty sexy looking, in fact. You guys shouldn't be forced to pork your dogs up.

      I know several people who do Obedience with their show dogs and I worry about what the jumping does to their joints when they're carrying too much weight.

    13. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      After I posted that question, (probably after a glass of wine...) I started to think about what would happen if AKC recognized a "new breed", "the American Field Labrador Retriever". Knowing how human nature is, everyone would compete to make them look leaner and faster and pretty soon, you'd have black, nearly hairless Saluki's.

      If a "show lab" was as muscled out through daily swimming and significant land work like field labs are, they would have very, very broad chests, made to look more so by their coats. I think the same would be true for their back ends. It could be pretty sexy looking, in fact. You guys shouldn't be forced to pork your dogs up.

      I know several people who do Obedience with their show dogs and I worry about what the jumping does to their joints when they're carrying too much weight.
      Nobody is forced to pork up their dogs to win. Lots of "show" Labs are out swimming/running/working daily. There are plenty of fit conformation dogs who are their owners personal hunting dogs and/or who have hunt test and obedience titles, etc. who are still jumping soundly into old age. A "very, very broad" chest is not correct in a Labrador -- they are a breed with a moderately wide chest; a sprung rib cage tapering below as you run your hands down underneath the dog.

      Luckily, there are breeders producing every shape and size of Labrador under the sun, so we can all be happy with our own dogs.

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    15. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by dxboon View Post
      Nobody is forced to pork up their dogs to win. Lots of "show" Labs are out swimming/running/working daily. There are plenty of fit conformation dogs who are their owners personal hunting dogs and/or who have hunt test and obedience titles, etc. who are still jumping soundly into old age. A "very, very broad" chest is not correct in a Labrador -- they are a breed with a moderately wide chest; a sprung rib cage tapering below as you run your hands down underneath the dog.

      Luckily, there are breeders producing every shape and size of Labrador under the sun, so we can all be happy with our own dogs.
      Not being a conformation person, sometimes I am foggy on the whole form-function thing. There is a "moderately broad chest." OK... I'm guessing you're speaking about an inherited, skeletal thing. I'm good with that. We aren't breeding draft animals. I understand that.

      But... bench people breed for that plush coat whose purpose is to keep the dog warm when in cold water (and we field people are often delinquent on this issue.) But that big chest and shoulders you see on FC's is very much the result of swimming. (See video of the dog's "stroke" from the front as a dog swims toward the camera and the anatomy makes perfect sense.)

      So... let me ask you a question, if you will. Do you think a dog would be disadvantaged in the ring for having a very well developed musculature?

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