Wednesday, March 5, 2008

More thoughts on Breeding

This shamelessly lifted from the Terrierman site, and modified in content to apply to the Gordon Setter.
Working Dogs are working dogs.. regardless if they are working fur or feather. And, the same techniques apply to breeding both, and, working dogs in general....

Of the thousands of Gordon setter owners in the United States, most do not breed dogs, and that is a good thing. I am not particularly enammored with those that do, as most have no idea of what they are doing, do not work their dogs at all, and essentially treat the whole thing as a lark -- or a way to move up in the "pecking order" of the show-ring community. Breeding dogs is not a sport, and if you are not working your dogs a lot, please do not tell me you are breeding working dogs or have the slightest idea of what is needed in a working dog. In fact, when it comes to working Gordon setters, you are probably the problem! You are the reason the dogs are getting too big, do not have good noses, and are (increasingly) stupid, especially when it comes to bird intelligence. Please, do NOT confuse the Junior Hunt test with real work. The fact that a dog can run 50 ft., flash point a planted quail 6 inches in front of its nose does not mean you have a dog worth breeding! I am happy that you are at least doing something with the dog, but this is the most minimum of beginnings. If you were looking to breed a running horse, surely you would ask more than an ability to trot?? The idea that most show-ring Gordon setters are a load on the gene pool of their breed is so alien to the average breeder that they do not understand the words, much less the phrase. If a dog looks fine it is fine -- never mind that it does not use its nose, has no gait, cannot work a running pheasant, and has enough feathering to choke a horse! Never mind that the breeder is a man or woman with so little mucle tone he/she could not plant a dozen tulip bulbs, much less go on a four to eight hour hunt in prime pheasant or grouse country! In the world of Gordon setters, the end result of such selection and breeding are the over-large, brain-befogged dogs we see in the show ring today. Their owners do not take them hunting or trialing (much less anything else), but they will tell you they are great at barking at song birds outside the picture window! Doing it wrong (and lying to yourself) is simply too easy, while doing it right demands a ferocious level of sustained committment.

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