Page 116 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 116

There is a natural tension between how we view show dogs and field/working dogs and dual-purpose (show and work/field) dogs. How does the evolved morpho- logical form relate to past and/or current function?
How and why is it that some breeds have developed different types for field/ work and show?
Long before written standards were developed for the breeds (AKC, UKC, FCI, etc.) we recognize today, humans potentiated the work to be done by dogs by selectively breeding for traits that would benefit their masters. These traits included chasing down prey (the eventual meal) and catching it, or discovering its location via scent and keeping it at bay until the hunter could dispatch it, guarding the master’s family, home, livestock, or belongings, assisting the master in carting items to market or for distribution, being a second, third, or fourth shepherd as livestock were moved from location to location or kept in a variable boundary, or dispatching vermin that destroyed feed stores or could infect humans and/or livestock. The topography, climate, and culture of the region also impacted the development of breeds and this further refined breed evolution.
Today, a small number of breeds, relatively speaking and across the spec- trum of purebred dogs, do the job for which they were developed decades, and sometimes centuries, ago. These jobs may have been eliminated due to a fundamental shift in the way the breed’s target work is now done, perhaps due to the advancement of machinery, technology, knowledge, or social and ethi- cal mores. Think video surveillance cameras instead of guard dogs, all-terrain vehicles instead of herders, semi-tractor trailer insulated milk trucks instead of carting dogs, vermin traps instead of vermin-dispatching Terriers, farm raised and processed duck, rabbit, turkey, geese instead of hunted with the aid of dogs and gun (or nets), or dog-fighting which has, thankfully, been mostly eliminated due to ethical considerations and laws. Through it all, the lover of purebred dogs has, or should have, an undying respect for and dedication to uphold the form and, where ethically and lawfully able, the functional intent of the breed as developed for its original purpose. >

   114   115   116   117   118