Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
SkySoaringMagpie

How Important To You Is Your Breed's Original Purpose?

70 posts in this topic

This is a subject that has been on my mind for a while for a variety of reasons.

How important to you is your breed's original purpose? Have you researched it? For those for whom there are specific dog sports (eg, retrieving and field trials for gundogs, earthdog for terriers) - have you tried your dog out in these sports?

Finally, have you ever tried to train your dog to work against his or her breed's original function, and what were your reasons?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rebanne   

I thought it was very important and couldn't wait for lure coursing to start up. But with the number of injuries that have occurred, which included a broken leg, well I'm not prepared to risk my dogs for the sake of my ego. And these were very fit dogs. Fitter then I would be able to get mine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For us, it is very important. A border collie is a sheep dog first and foremost and I do not believe they should be bred unless they have proven themselves to be useful working dogs with good natural instinct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a Whippet owner, function fully informs the shape of the dog.

So if you want to test form, it seems logical to test function. Coursing to me is a test of drive, athleticism and soundness. I've got a natural and talented courser and I love watching him do it.

Some of the most common faults in my breed would impede ability to course but I expect that many dogs won't get the chance. Shame really but probably not in the interests of the dogs I suppose.

ETA: The other thing about coursing is watching the pure joy in dogs fulfilling their natural instinct. I love that.

Edited by Haredown Whippets

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought it was very important and couldn't wait for lure coursing to start up. But with the number of injuries that have occurred, which included a broken leg, well I'm not prepared to risk my dogs for the sake of my ego. And these were very fit dogs. Fitter then I would be able to get mine.

One thing about lure coursing is that it is new in Australia and so we don't have an existing population of dogs that have been bred and raised and trained to lure course. That hit greyhounds particularly hard this year, as they are built for power and speed and are trained to run in ways that meant that lure coursing was a real shock to their system. Having observed the last year my advice to anyone wanting to course greyhounds would be to train the dog up from a puppy and not to use dogs previously trained to race - whether rescue or otherwise. Having said that, all the other sighthound breeds managed without any major drama.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rebanne   

I thought it was very important and couldn't wait for lure coursing to start up. But with the number of injuries that have occurred, which included a broken leg, well I'm not prepared to risk my dogs for the sake of my ego. And these were very fit dogs. Fitter then I would be able to get mine.

One thing about lure coursing is that it is new in Australia and so we don't have an existing population of dogs that have been bred and raised and trained to lure course. That hit greyhounds particularly hard this year, as they are built for power and speed and are trained to run in ways that meant that lure coursing was a real shock to their system. Having observed the last year my advice to anyone wanting to course greyhounds would be to train the dog up from a puppy and not to use dogs previously trained to race - whether rescue or otherwise. Having said that, all the other sighthound breeds managed without any major drama.

Showbred greys were coursed and injured as well. It's not for me or my dogs. Each to their own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's absolutely critical for my working ESS. Whilst they aren't bred to be just retrievers I do love the sport of retrieving and get to see buckets of natural talent enhanced by training (marking, nose, movement, style, bird work). Em also gets to work paddocks for partridge and quail and her retrieving skills on pheasant shoots have been sublime. I'm hoping Ginny follows in her footsteps. I love agility but it doesn't reflect what my dogs are bred for. I did an ET with Ziggy as every Dally should be able to trot 20kms in their sleep. Of course some would say his agility champion title suggests that he couldn't possibly be a Dalmatian :laugh:

Regarding "against her instincts" - yes - ESS will quarter a paddock as easily as waking up in the morning. Running a straight line 150m to a mark or blind not so much! I put a lot of work in and Em does pretty well but she certainly reverts to her natural quartering behaviour when she's confused.

Edited by The Spotted Devil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
espinay2   

Original purpose and instinct is very important to me for my breed. In many ways I have changed the way I live to support that and to allow my dogs to express it. I have done a lot of research into working ability and the traits that support it as well as how the breeds structure supports its purpose. There are no dog sports that test the purpose or ability of a livestock guardian. In actual fact, most sports require traits that work against that natural ability. Mainly because they require the focus on and use of prey drive and an ability to work on command where's the breed is required to think and act independently and to have an almost non existent prey drive. For this reason I have done some work with my dogs, but no dog sports and have not aimed for or even tried to develop those skills in my dogs. A dog that is too prey or drive focussed is not something I want to see and can be a problem (chasing and injuring or killing stock or other animals they are required to protect for example). And it is not a direction I ever want to move my breed in. As an example of this, my breed is required to be able to produce bursts of speed, and if you saw them racing down a paddock in response to a threat it looks pretty impressive. I love lure coursing and have had a lot of fun helping out at trials. But I would never train or run my dogs in lure coursing as those drives are so against the drives that are necessary for my dogs breed to do its job and not something I want to see develop in them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dogsfevr   

The simple reality is world wide the answer would be different.

Not all breeds can simply go out & do what there breed for nor would it be ethically supported .

Other breeds are very lucky that there jobs are still very much allowed & doable .

I have gundogs & in a perfect world working them would be great but the seasons are small,events often cancelled & the training is dedicated .I still expect my guys to show birdness though .

The flip side is rarely will many pups from every litter go & do a job they where breed for so there next important job is to be suitable for pet owners who simply want a loving companion in there lives & be able to live with it in harmony .

Australians don't allow many activities to let dogs do there jobs .

Barn hunt testing would be great here but that will never happen .

Lure coursing i see the good & bad .

I did obedience & agility many moons ago when the courses suited all dogs but like many dog sports emphasis has turned to speed & agil ability instead of that good trusty realiable worker .

I won't do agility with my current dogs as the course are not all breeds friendly

No matter what the outcome is whether working or what ever if the dogs need to be rehomed via rescue as there not good enough for there job they need to take on a new role

Edited by showdog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Casima   

Very important to me, I have Border Collies, my main sport is agility but I do some sheep work with them too and I would never buy a border that wasn't specifically bred for herding ability or breed from a dog that didn't have the instincts and physical ability to work all day on a property. I haven't personally had a problem with my dogs herding instincts working against me in agility but it can happen with the dog being overly sensitive on the handlers motion or trying to head them off. As a pet sometimes their motion sensitivity can cause unwanted behaviours but if you recognise it early and nip it in the bud it isn't too much trouble to work against.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve   

With my Maremma absolutely definitely important .No point in having a working dog here if it isnt thebest of the best at doing what it needs to do.

The beagles- definitely not. In fact the more drive a beagle has to scent the harder they are to live with as pets. In 40 years Ive never sold a beagle for hunting - would be a bit silly if thats what I was selecting for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kirislin   

I suppose the thing with lure coursing is no matter how hard the course designer and lure driver try, it's artificial. I'm not complaining about that, live coursing is illegal, but I wonder how many injuries were sustained with live coursing as compared to lure coursing. Our sighthounds were not bred to lure course, but it's the best we can manage with our laws.

I'm trying to learn as much as I can so I can identify a safe course and drive and if and when I prepare my dogs to course I still might pull them out on the day if I didn't like the look of the course.

My pedigree whippets were from generations of show dogs and I raced them with great success. Both the breeders were thrilled when I told them as no one before had done this with their lines. There was no lure coursing here back then so round track racing was my only sporting option for them. I had no interest whatsoever in showing, and I still dont. I love sighthounds for their athleticism and speed, so I suppose in answer to your original question, yes, it's very important to me

Edited by Kirislin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gillybob   

I would love to be able to use my breed to do what they were bred for. But it is impossible here so they are pets.

Just to be able to see a pack work would be just amazing.

Im lucky that although they have big drives they are also wonderful companion dogs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kavik   

I don't breed or ever plan on breeding, but I choose to purchase dogs from breeders who breed their dogs and work their dogs in their original roles. For me, the traits that make them good sheepdogs should also carry over into making them good dogs for sport. I have only done a little bit of herding, not easy for me to access and I only have so much time.

Some traits do work against me in agility. Sensitivity to handler pressure/liking distance from the handler has led to running around jumps at times (have seen it in many Kelpies, not just mine), not liking to come in close, and I have to be careful not to crowd with eg weave entries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose the thing with lure coursing is no matter how hard the course designer and lure driver try, it's artificial. I'm not complaining about that, live coursing is illegal, but I wonder how many injuries were sustained with live coursing as compared to lure coursing.

I don't think you could usefully compare them as the injuries would be different enough that it would be apples and oranges. For example, very unlikely that a dog is going to rip itself up on a fence or break a leg in a hole on a properly audited and laid out lure course. Nor is a coyote likely to bite back at them. If you're interested tho' I'd recommend Dutch Salmon's book on open field coursing because he talks a lot about injury management.

As to the properly laid out and driven course, that becomes a bit chicken and egg. Drivers and trial officials need practice to become good at it and you can't practice without dogs. However, I think you can practice on breeds that are more flexible and less prone to injury (e.g., Salukis, Afghans, CAT dogs).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think toy poodles were meant to be a lap/companion dog otherwise they wouldn't have bred the size down.

However they are generally very active little dogs & not generally couch potatoes. They will chase birds & react to wildlife.

The biggest problem with them being lap/companion dogs is people letting them get overweight. They do like exercise, can walk a long way with those little legs & run like the wind. Not recommended for agility though.

So temperament, being affectionate, good natured & loving people is the main purpose for them I guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kirislin   

I suppose the thing with lure coursing is no matter how hard the course designer and lure driver try, it's artificial. I'm not complaining about that, live coursing is illegal, but I wonder how many injuries were sustained with live coursing as compared to lure coursing.

I don't think you could usefully compare them as the injuries would be different enough that it would be apples and oranges. For example, very unlikely that a dog is going to rip itself up on a fence or break a leg in a hole on a properly audited and laid out lure course. Nor is a coyote likely to bite back at them. If you're interested tho' I'd recommend Dutch Salmon's book on open field coursing because he talks a lot about injury management.

As to the properly laid out and driven course, that becomes a bit chicken and egg. Drivers and trial officials need practice to become good at it and you can't practice without dogs. However, I think you can practice on breeds that are more flexible and less prone to injury (e.g., Salukis, Afghans, CAT dogs).

Yes, you're right. I should have worded it as 'I wonder what type of injuries were sustained with live coursing as compared to lure coursing'

Actually I dont even think sustained is the right word. My mind's a fuzz right now, but I think you understand what I'm trying to say, I hope so anyway.

Edited by Kirislin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
huski   

Working ability is critical in our dogs especially when pups go to homes that want a personal protection dog or to do bite sports like IPO.

While I hope I never have a reason that my dogs have to take a live bite, they are trained and tested on multiple decoys in different situations, environments and trained to have skill.

Our puppy owners who do sport will test their dogs in the ring but IPO bite work is very different to personal protection. In places like Europe where ring sports are much more popular (and you have a bigger variety) it's much easier to test the dogs skill and purpose.

ETA: Regarding the question about going against the dogs natural instinct. I expect my dogs to have excellent life skills (leash walking, recall, behave in the house etc) and I also expect them not to bite people unless I tell them otherwise or am directly threatened. I work with their natural instinct and genetics a lot, which is what allows me control to tell them when to use those instincts and when not to.

Edited by huski

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JulesP   

i would say not very important, I don't have a sheep farm :) I guess if I wanted to buy a puppy to go on and compete in herding then that would influence what puppy I purchased but my dogs are pets. But then I do enjoy their natural tendencies to do certain things, like drop quickly or the ease that they can be redirected when loose, these are trained of course but they have the instinct to cast out etc

In saying that I have trained the last 3 dogs on sheep. Herding wasn't really available when I had my first 2 border collies or I would probably have taken them too. I did it for the dog's own fun. Brock wasn't too fussed about it but Poppy loved it. Will never forget the first time she saw sheep, was amazing to watch. So I did ANKC herding with her as far as I could go without having good access to sheep.

I always try and work with their natural instincts not against. Mine don't do anything very annoying anyway. Probably the most annoying thing is looping behind me on walks, which is pesky on onlead walks. I've tried walking with a couple of people that walk slow and that was a little embarrassing when the dogs would keep nudging them on the heels :laugh:

I did think about this too the other day when I was trying to walk down a steep slope. They both just start walking very slowly and waiting for me without me having to say something. Being part of being a herding dog is not just rounding the sheep up it is making sure the flock is ok. This instinct is really sweet. Over the years they have alerted me a number of times to problems, things like horses stuck in fences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends I guess.

Labradors were bred to retrieve. They also were bred to be superb companion and service dogs.

Ernie won't push ahead of me going up or down stairs as I'm unsteady. Instead he leans into my bad side to lend support. I didn't teach him this, he does it on his own.

When I fell while walking him, he had the perfect opportunity to race off and play with his mates. He didn't. He sat beside me and let me use his poor back to lever myself up.

He comes from both show and service dog lines.

So I guess, given his breeding heritage, it is important. Or I'm just really lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×