Many breeds have agonized over the question of which path they, and influential breeders, have wanted to proceed along.
All the Setter breeds have had their share of difficulties along these lines.. But, are they always truly difficulties?
I see many "Show" only breeders competing in the ubiquitous AKC hunt tests in hope of putting a "field title" on what is basically a show dog, to increase the value of their puppies and attempt to pass them off as "duals"... But, that's not what we're really talking about here... With thye qualifications necessary to achieve an AKC JH title basically the dog's ability to fog a mirror placed beneath it's nose, that question is a moot point.
What I am more interested in is the attempt by field breeders to hit the "sweet spot," where the designations between true field dogs and larger show dogs overlap. As far as the Gordon goes, the breed I'm most familiar with, I'd be in favor od splitting the breed, having the Field side conform to the 1939 standard, and giving the show side full reign to increase their standard, which continually calls for a bigger and bigger dog, to whatever degree they feel necessary.. Why give up any field performance for pure eye appeal, if that is the appearance that one likes?
Now, we've discussed this before on these pages, and I won't speak to the English Setter where the situation is a bit different, or the Red... again a bit different, but has taken a road pretty similar to the demise of the Gordon, but was thankfully saved by forward thinking individuals.
Which way would you take a breed? Are folks taking the right path seeking unification of the two factions??
Everyone is entitled to run the dog of their choice, but field performance should be "Job 1" as in the old Ford commercial...