Excerpt from Dogs in Review – January 2006
Comments by Pluis Davern in response to the question “Are you seeing less or more of a split between field and bench specimens in certain breeds? Which ones? Can anything be done to encourage more participation of show people in the field?”
As I mentioned before, I think that Goldens, Labradors and American Cockers have split most definitively.
I had hoped a number of years ago that with the advent of the AKC Hunt Test program the very polarized field and show factions would be drawn together. In some measure I think it did and breeders who wish to demonstrate that their show lines are still viable in the hunting arena have certainly proved their stock through this venue. For it to be truly meaningful, of course, the level of certification should be at least a Senior and preferably a Master title.
Sadly, the diehard field trailers are less apt to modify their breeding programs to more closely approximate the breed standard.
I think that this is partly due to the way trailing has evolved in this country. The original concept of a “gentleman’s shooting dog” has been transformed into a sport of its own where speed, marking ability, and acreage covered have little relevance to a hunter out with his dog for the day. The selection of dogs to fit this Olympian concept has been largely responsible for the deviation from the breed standard.