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Old 06-17-2013, 12:23 PM
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Default Breeding for sports

I know we've had this topic before but what is your opinion about breeding outside the standard on purpose for sports?

Does it change your opinion if the breed in question was originally meant as a working dog or companion dog?

I am talking to more and more people about sports bred papillons. I know of several breeders/people going to breeders specifically for oversized dogs specifically for sports. There is a real market for them, honestly. On one hand it makes me giddy because a 15 lb pap with drive is my ideal for the breed. And I could get that if I wanted. But it's not the show standard and its not the breeds' original purpose.

I also know one agility papillon breeder that is focusing dogs at the upper end of the standard but going for dogs that can show too. Maybe not the highest levels but her dogs champ.
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:32 PM
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I don't have a problem with it at all, personally.

Mostly, performance people breed to cater to other performance people and they know what they're getting into. ;-)

Some people prefer bench temperaments, but if you want a dog that you can FOR SURE put on sheep or do agility sometimes you have to go to someone who produces that specifically.

I do think that health testing is really important no matter what you're breeding.

ETA- I think that a breed's standard can be interpreted alot of different ways. For example, our standard states moderate rear angulation. Which, in order to be balanced, would require moderate shoulder angulation. That doesn't mean that's what wins in the show ring; nope, judges like Cardigans to move like German Shepherds.

I'd much rather see a good, moderately angled, moderate boned Cardigan with the drive to herd then a long, low, heavy, extremely angled cardigan. That's just my opinion, though, and not everyone agrees with me on that. lol

Last edited by Cardiparty; 06-17-2013 at 12:38 PM. Reason: did someone say meow?
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:34 PM
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To an extent I'm all for it, in my breed, honestly, I don't care about the standard beyond the basics of approximate size, traditional colors, and it's nice to have a square build with a good head. That being said work and sports take priority and I am far more comfortable with a big eared, gay tailed, over or under sized Malinois with white paws and light eyes than I am with a small triangular eared, proper tailed, perfect sized, dark eyed, fawn malinois with drive, stability, and stamina issues. There should be a happy median but like I said, I place far more value on the workability.
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:41 PM
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My next dog will be one out of sport lines, for sure. However I can see both sides of the coin when it comes down to whether sports breeding is ethical or even a good idea.

On one hand, breeding for sports is at least as ethical as breeding for the show ring. (However, in some cases, that doesn't say much.) Assuming all requisite health testing is done and the dogs are of phenomenal temperaments and not overbred, I like the idea. Breeding for structure, soundness and performance can result in some truly amazing animals in the short term.

On the other hand, issues crop up when you start looking at the long term. What will several dozen generations of breeding for sports result in? How will these dogs compare to their predecessors in generations past? Will they be too wired to be able to exist in a companion home? What about sports prospects that don't make the cut? What happens to breed when you start breeding for something else other than its original purpose?

I think it's a slippery slope, and I think that it creates a situation where even the very best of the breeders can be contributing to a bad outcome. In sports culture I see way too many people breeding their dogs willy-nilly, and it's widely accepted as just one of those things that people do. Accepting that as part of the culture does not sit well with me. I think "does it do sports good?" needs to be a very small aspect of what's considered when analyzing breeding prospects. I don't believe that's always the case.
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:41 PM
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In this case it wouldn't be so much of things falling to the wayside for workability to be the top concern, it would be deliberately breeding dogs for a trait that is out of standard because out of standard would favor better agility dogs.

I think I am for it. I would be hypocritical because I'd kill to get my hands on an oversized dog with good drive and I know many agility folk would. On the other hand the breed is a companion breed....
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post

I think I am for it. I would be hypocritical because I'd kill to get my hands on an oversized dog with good drive and I know many agility folk would. On the other hand the breed is a companion breed....
15 lbs is still small and well within what most people would consider to be easily travel-sized. An awful lot of people, myself included, would much prefer a 15- pound companion dog over a 7-pound one.

There's a limit to it, sure. Start getting into say the 30s and that's a pretty big dog considering a Papillon's light frame. Kind of a different thing altogether. But the teens? Doesn't seem like anything to sweat over, to me.
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shai View Post
15 lbs is still small and well within what most people would consider to be easily travel-sized. An awful lot of people, myself included, would much prefer a 15- pound companion dog over a 7-pound one.
Me too so that's why I wasn't sure if I was totally biased. Sheltie-sized papillon? Yes please!
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:16 PM
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I think it's fine. Historically, if you want a certain look and purpose, you simply find appropriate breeding stock and breed towards it, and historically I don't think anyone split hairs about it. I really don't see why we should today. Creating animals that are useful and desirable to people should be top priority.

However, if people want to eg breed a 15 lb agility papillon, I think ideally they should let go of the idea that what they're breeding is a "papillon."

Appearance and temperament will change as you breed the best agility dogs, so why keep the same name? Just for the legacy? because that I find annoying and I'm sure the authentic papillon people would be annoyed as well. If you're going to expand the definition of the breed to include "small size sports dog" why not "short-haired, lazy toy dog" as well?

Pick a different name, embrace the fact that it's different than a papillon as per the standard. Call it a Sporterfly or a Buttersport or some other related name, at least colloquially. It may be easier to use the papillon registry, especially at the beginning, so the official name may not change.

It's fine to acknowledge that what is being bred will be A VERY CLOSE COUSIN of the papillon, because that's the truth. But I don't think breed definition should be expanded to include multiple types, even if just for practical reasons (annoying breed purists will reduce the available breeding stock).
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:50 PM
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Standards have never been a priority for me. I tend to like breeds better when they're not within AKC standards anyway, lol.

If there was a well bred 15lb Pap, I'd be much more interested in them. But I'd want a good off switch too and while I love a dog with drive and energy, the dog would primarily be a pet for me. So the only bred for sports thing would probably be a turn off too. So I guess I can't win!

Jackson is about 17lbs and really the perfect size for me. I can't imagine going under 10lbs. And still, 17lbs IS a small dog. I'm reminded of it when I see Jackson next to another breed lol. I am paranoid enough with his size as it is, I think I'd be much more nervous with smaller.

On the flip side, there's lots of breeds I loooveee but too big is an issue. Mini Golden Retriever would be amazing.
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xandra View Post
Appearance and temperament will change as you breed the best agility dogs, so why keep the same name? Just for the legacy? because that I find annoying and I'm sure the authentic papillon people would be annoyed as well. If you're going to expand the definition of the breed to include "small size sports dog" why not "short-haired, lazy toy dog" as well?

Pick a different name, embrace the fact that it's different than a papillon as per the standard. Call it a Sporterfly or a Buttersport or some other related name, at least colloquially. It may be easier to use the papillon registry, especially at the beginning, so the official name may not change.

It's fine to acknowledge that what is being bred will be A VERY CLOSE COUSIN of the papillon, because that's the truth. But I don't think breed definition should be expanded to include multiple types, even if just for practical reasons (annoying breed purists will reduce the available breeding stock).
Well in many parts of this country, AKC is the only competitive game in town for agility, for example. So there if you want to breed toward the purpose of super-agility-dog, your options are to either keep the name and breed outside the SHOW standard (which may or not really reflect the breed's original purpose) or to make up your own name and then s/n any get that actually are going to compete while your breeding dogs are barred from competitions since they can either be intact or compete under the unrecognized name, not both.

I'm stuck in sort of this predicament now. I'd love my own Traveler, but I couldn't compete with him without chopping off his dangly bits. Which I don't care to do anyway, plus it would remove a potentially good dog from what is already a small gene pool in this country, doing the breed no good whatsoever. So I either stick with the two recognized breeds that I like for agility, or I get a Koolie from a domestic litter whose littermates can carry on the genetic line. Which immediately limits which pup I could on good conscience take home.

Part of the problem is the system, but that system is also reality as we currently know it so can't be ignored.
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