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SkySoaringMagpie

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

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denali   
There is evidence of a small type of spaniel that was used to round up small game birds into nets in earlier centuries and the little spaniels were also appreciated by gentlemen in the 1800's for their working ability. The 'Sportsman's Review', published in 1820 describes them as "very delicate, small or carpet spaniels which have exquisite noses and will hunt truly and pleasantly".

Whatever their origins the small spaniels were popularas 'lap dogs' and 'comforters' with the royal and noble families of Europe for generations, and when brought to England they quickly became favourites in the courts of King Charles I and amongst royal and aristrocratic families.

This is their supposed history, though mainly the lap dog part laugh.gif

I do not really believe their lapdog-ness for a second, Henry is my only true 'lap dog' and thats just because he is old. Kokoda and Deniki run like there is no tomorrow.

We have never retrieved, and neither dog shows signs of being a bird dog in any way. However Kokoda will hunt out lizards in a second, so theres some hunter in there!

So no, i am not true to either part of their breed history. They don't hunt, but love being active, we do agility, hiking, and learn lots of tricks!

I suppose the latter is using them for a purpose other than what they were bred for.

Edited by denali

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Willem   

How important to you is your breed's original purpose?

not important as original purpose was / is herding; however, the abilities and characteristics associated with the original purpose are important: intelligent, tough, loves the outdoor, no couch potato...predictable size, suitable for agility sport...

... Have you researched it?

yes

...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?

...we do agility...

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

yes, we train her not to nibble for obvious reasons...

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I don't have any cows, nor plan on having any in the near future. So that side of their original purpose is not a requirement for me. We did give herding a crack, but as I'm much more interested in doing IPO with Willow we found that some of the things we want for that, aren't conducive to sheep work at this time. Perhaps at a future time when she's a bit older, who knows.

Now considering I love doing IPO, temperament is important...but considering the number of breeders of Rottweilers in Australia who test their dogs on the field is a very, very, very small minority (can't think of any off the top of my head), I have to make do with what I can. And while yes, there are breeders that import dogs with parents that have titles or use semen from dogs with titles, it's a next best thing scenario.

Haven't had to go against any of her natural drives or instincts to do any of the activities we've tried so far. And don't anticipate that I will have to, unless you count holding off on slobbering all over the adoring fans until you've done your days work that is.

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While I don't specifically do herding with Tundra or Cilla (I also live on a sheep farm & grew up on a sheep farm until dad sold the sheep to concentrate on cropping), they do more of less get to fulfil part of their origin which was as a ranch dog :) They come with me to feed the horses & chooks. Surprisingly, as a puppy Tundra had really good sense to stay away from horses back legs - I don't know if all dogs are like that but I was impressed :)

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My dogs are companions. We don't compete in sports or show so it's not really important in that sense.

However, I am interested in their backgrounds and have researched and read a lot on them. I also chose them based on some of the traits they possess so it does play a part in my choice of breed.

I don't try and train against their natural instincts. I accept Mosley will bark/protect and Lili wants to chase everything :laugh:

Edited by Dame Aussie

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mita   

Good questions. Original purpose of tibetan spaniels was to be close companion dogs to buddhist monks in monasteries of Tibet & also, with their acute hearing & eyesight to sit on the tall walls and alert to approaching danger (for which the tibetan mastiffs could be let out to sort).

Both those are important why I like the breed. Tibbies are so good at being clean, calm indoor companion dogs who love a routine ... which fits in well with our present lifestyle. Also they're sensible, but not mindlessly yappy watchdogs. Our tibs have lived up to that.... twice detecting & hunting out thieves coming into the house & also trying to steal the car.

But, it seems like many Tibetan breeds (including the horses!), they tend to have a strong mind of their own. I suspect this was because survival in harsh Tibet depends on quick initiative so tibbies can, in the 'gentlest of ways', follow their own assessment of a situation. Now that's good to work with in that they don't tend to be panicky dogs.... but it's got implications for training.

Anyone insisting on obedience 'because I said so'....even with the addition of rewards... might find a tibbie is not for them. But anyone willing to train differently will get a joy of dog. Trick is to work 'with' the tibbie... to convince them that the wanted response is actually what they want (if you're lucky!). So different from the working dog breeds we used to own ... in a different lifestyle.

Also their hare feet make Tibbies great runners & confident climbers (like little mountain goats). Was very useful in mountainous, rocky Tibet. So I tend not to let a Tibbie off-lead & when they go missing around the house, I've learned to also look up! Not me, but one of the US Tibbie owners was involved with aircrash rescue & he'd turn up at practice simulations of aircraft wreckage with a little Tibbie under each arm (to laughter at first). But his little dogs were able...& confident.... to get inside & over the mountains of wreckage, taking in camera leads & searching for people.

Edited by mita

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Jed   

The original purpose for which the dog was bred determines, to a large extent the temperament and character of the dog - and that is what I - and many others - like. I have 3 breeds -

I like cockers - they have soft mouths which is important, and they were bred to stay close, so if I am walking or riding, the dog is right there, not fossicking about miles away. A cocker's nose may lead him a little way from his owner but not too far.

Cavaliers - sporting spaniels, and the smallest of the spaniels. A great lap dog, but with a bit of get up and go - happy to run about the paddocks, but very companionable and great as a foot or lap warmer. easy to pick up, but big enough to run around.

Boxers - companion/guard dog. Again, a dog which is not far away if you are riding or walking (or ought not to be) which is friendly and companionable, but will stand up and guard if necessary without being a driven biting barking maniac. A boxer is a friend to your friends, and a nasty foe to your foes - and he will change without any commands. A trustworthy dog with kids and friends, a dog which may go his whole life without raising his lip, and who doesn't bark all the time. I like a guard dog, but am too lazy for a dog with a lot of drive, so a boxer suits me well ... and people are not frightened of them, as they can be of other breeds.

People should buy their dogs on the character of the dog. Many do not. When people come here to buy a dog, I make sure they know what the dog was meant to do, and how he will behave, if this is the first of the breed they have had.

There are many breeds I love - but alas, don't have enough time to own them all. I love the look of some dogs, but not their personalities. I think a foxie is about the nicest dog I've ever seen, but I know if I owned one, I'd probably kill it within the first 20 seconds!!

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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.

They also have a history in France as truffle hunters! I think my Lily could find a truffle (or anything vaguely edible) through 6 foot of concrete.

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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.

Hi Christina, why are toy poodles not recommended for agility? I only ask because I'm researching breeds.

My boy is a whippet and I guess I'm not really qualified to answer because I didn't choose him for myself and I'm still getting to know the breed. :) I love this kind of discussion though - breed histories and functions. Sorry to go OT and not to add more to the discussion.

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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.

Hi Christina, why are toy poodles not recommended for agility? I only ask because I'm researching breeds.

My boy is a whippet and I guess I'm not really qualified to answer because I didn't choose him for myself and I'm still getting to know the breed. :) I love this kind of discussion though - breed histories and functions. Sorry to go OT and not to add more to the discussion.

There have been some cracking agility toys over the years. Obedience too. My Lily, while no star, got her CCD, AD and JDX.

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LisaCC   

I picked an Aussie (herding breed) because their traits suited me for a companion and multi disciplined sports dog. I would love to do herding with him and test his instinct out but haven't been anywhere near training yet. This may be changing next year, and I'll jump on it. There are herding titles in his pedigree and I know his litter mate went to a 3 sheep trialer, so he might have some potential in there.

I think it's important for breeds to retain the instincts of what they were bred for. I think we may possibly lose other characteristics we love as we lose instinct.

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Willem   

I picked an Aussie (herding breed) because their traits suited me for a companion and multi disciplined sports dog. I would love to do herding with him and test his instinct out but haven't been anywhere near training yet. This may be changing next year, and I'll jump on it. There are herding titles in his pedigree and I know his litter mate went to a 3 sheep trialer, so he might have some potential in there.

I think it's important for breeds to retain the instincts of what they were bred for. I think we may possibly lose other characteristics we love as we lose instinct.

I assume this is the challenge for breeders, I'm sure they try hard to get rid of some now unwanted characteristic instincts associated with some breeds, e.g. when it comes to aggression. Some breeds in the past were just bred for aggression, fighting and killing. Even some now highly rated family pet dogs had a 'dark history' as fighting dogs (e.g. bull baiting)...so sometimes it's better to lose unwanted instincts.

Edited by Willem

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Lhok   

The original purpose for Akitas was hunting bears with the Matagi hunters in the Japanese mountains in pairs or as a solo dog.

However they haven't filled this role for a while now, the characteristics that made them good hunting companions still make them excellent home guardians and pets for the right homes.

--Lhok

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gillybob   

Basset Fauves were bred to hunt small game, dear ,boar, hare, rabbit and they love to run after a scent.

Not all come with the nose that Cedro has, but even if they are rabid hunters they are still wonderful companion dogs. Very gentle and love people.

A ps about Tibbies I saw heaps around the temples in Laos, lots of crosses and purebreds everywhere.

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My breed's original purpose has become very important to me in the past 5 years or so.

I nurture their herding instinct (both driving and fetching) and continue to work to showcase our breed as the very talented herders that they are. I intend to work cattle very soon as this is where my breed really excels.

One of my Rottweilers is the highest titled Rottweiler in herding (both sheep and ducks) in Australia and is working to progress on a weekly basis. I travel 160kms each week to do so which is a huge commitment.

Also as butcher dogs Rottweilers pulled butchers carts. I now also train and compete in Weight Pull as another way to continue my breed's original purpose by developing and maintaining strength for this tasks.

I really enjoy continuing on with my breeds original purpose as closely as I am able given what is available to me nowadays and feel it is very important to me. :)

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Edited by Starkehre

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I think it's important for breeds to retain the instincts of what they were bred for. I think we may possibly lose other characteristics we love as we lose instinct.

This is a very important point that is often lost on people who think they "just want a pet". To be quite frank, it gets lost on some people breeding for the show ring also.

Lets take Golden Retievers for example as they are so popular AS pets. In Canada, they just about top the bite statistics on kids. You could write that off as just sheer numbers (which is true) or, you could dig deeper.

People who breed dogs for hunting need a soft mouth and a fairly high level of activity. Those dogs work HARD. People who think its a great idea to breed quieter dogs as pets might choose calmer dogs. What seemed to be happening for one researcher (and I can't find it now) is that what ALSO went out the window with breeders breeding away from function was bite inhibition and what increased was resource guarding.

So does being a "retrieving breed" matter for a Golden Retrieve as a pet? Absolutely it does. You don't want it guarding food (something a hunting dog cannot do if retrieving to hand) and you do not want a hard biter. You may not think it matters when buying a family dog that your Golden Retriever comes from lines with good instincut but it actually does.

Function matters. Function determines bite threshold, bite inhibition, independence or people focus, levels of reactivity and protectiveness, and aggression to dogs and people. This is why you need to do your homework on breeds AND find a breeder who has done it on breeding to a specified breed standard informed by function.

The whole rationale for pedigree dogs is about predictability of these traits increasing the chances of getting a dog fit for function. I think sometimes that gets lost.

Edited by Haredown Whippets

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I think it's important for breeds to retain the instincts of what they were bred for. I think we may possibly lose other characteristics we love as we lose instinct.

This is a very important point that is often lost on people who think they "just want a pet". To be quite frank, it gets lost on some people breeding for the show ring also.

Lets take Golden Retievers for example as they are so popular AS pets. In Canada, they just about top the bite statistics on kids. You could write that off as just sheer numbers (which is true) or, you could dig deeper.

People who breed dogs for hunting need a soft mouth and a fairly high level of activity. Those dogs work HARD. People who think its a great idea to breed quieter dogs as pets might choose calmer dogs. What seemed to be happening for one researcher (and I can't find it now) is that what ALSO went out the window with breeders breeding away from function was bite inhibition and what increased was resource guarding.

So does being a "retrieving breed" matter for a Golden Retrieve as a pet? Absolutely it does. You don't want it guarding food (something a hunting dog cannot do if retrieving to hand) and you do not want a hard biter. You may not think it matters when buying a family dog that your Golden Retriever comes from lines with good instincut but it actually does.

Function matters. Function determines bite threshold, bite inhibition, independence or people focus, levels of reactivity and protectiveness, and aggression to dogs and people. This is why you need to do your homework on breeds AND find a breeder who has done it on breeding to a specified breed standard informed by function.

The whole rationale for pedigree dogs is about predictability of these traits increasing the chances of getting a dog fit for function. I think sometimes that gets lost.

Well said HW. Could not agree more.

Sadly however, it seems the bulk of the "pet people" don't share the same opinion or knowledge.

And to add another similar point but in reference to herding and my breed, I gain much value, experience and knowledge about a dog, it's temperament and character whilst herding. I see how this assist me in selecting temperament which will go on become an excellent pet in a pet home. A good herding Rottweiler respects stock and other animals and also has excellent impulse control. As we know herding instinct is modified prey drive and I am really liking what I am seeing regarding prey drive levels in my foundation bitch and will be using this knowledge in my breeding program.

This particular bitch spends the majority of her days (when not showing or working) on the couch, on the bed or noodling around in the back yard, very much as a pet and would suit any pet environment. Doesn't bark, loves kids.

Rottweilers that exhibit OTT drives and are too busy simply do not suit the average pet home and should never be placed in one. Nor are they supposed to bred that way in the first place. Breed Standard calls for a calm dog.

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Well said HW. Could not agree more.

Sadly however, it seems the bulk of the "pet people" don't share the same opinion or knowledge.

Always a challenge when you don't know what you don't know. Popular depictions of dogs simply have them as the same animal in different sized and shaped suits. Of course, that's not the case.

I see it as the role of pedigree dog breeders to educate them. :)

With some of the more challenging breeds, you're not just buying a dog, you're choosing a lifestyle. I think if that message got better coverage the pounds would be a lot less full.

Edited by Haredown Whippets

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Willem   
Well said HW. Could not agree more.

Sadly however, it seems the bulk of the "pet people" don't share the same opinion or knowledge.

Always a challenge when you don't know what you don't know. Popular depictions of dogs simply have them as the same animal in different sized and shaped suits. Of course, that's not the case.

I see it as the role of pedigree dog breeders to educate them. :)

With some of the more challenging breeds, you're not just buying a dog, you're choosing a lifestyle. I think if that message got better coverage the pounds would be a lot less full.

:thumbsup:

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Well said HW. Could not agree more.

Sadly however, it seems the bulk of the "pet people" don't share the same opinion or knowledge.

Always a challenge when you don't know what you don't know. Popular depictions of dogs simply have them as the same animal in different sized and shaped suits. Of course, that's not the case.

I see it as the role of pedigree dog breeders to educate them. :)

With some of the more challenging breeds, you're not just buying a dog, you're choosing a lifestyle. I think if that message got better coverage the pounds would be a lot less full.

:thumbsup:

+1 :thumbsup:

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