Thoughts From Faye Strauss – Working Group Breeder-Judge
I have been showing and breeding dogs for over 40 years, and judging them in Conformation for over 25 years. During this time, I have seen the Working Group divided, with the Herding Group being formed. I have seen Agility become a sport along with Barn Hunt, Scent Work, Rally, Lure Coursing, and Dock Diving. These are all venues that our Working Dogs perform in.
I have shown in Conformation and bred some amazing dogs. Now I am training in some of the new venues. Our dogs are companions and they love to learn and work with us. My dogs love Agility, Barn Hunt, and Scent Work. (If I was only as smart as they are.)
Each of our Working Breeds was bred for a purpose and, through years of proactive breeding, our preservation breeders have made sure that our breeds can do what they were bred for. I know many sledding dogs that enjoy time in harness, pulling a sled, and flock guardians that are out with the livestock or protecting the Toy Dogs that their owners love.
We have our Newfoundlands saving people in the water and Saint Bernards doing the same in the snow. The Portuguese Water Dogs are working in the water from their owners’ boats. Our personal protection breeds are protecting their owners. AKC Breed Standards describe the conformation needed to do the job they were bred for and we are so lucky that there are breeders upholding our Working Dog Standards. Each breed does each sport a little differently, depending on where they were bred and the total scope of the breed’s work.
In judging the Working Group, I am very impressed with the overall quality of the dogs. Many times, I wish there were more ribbons. Whereas in the past there were a few outstanding dogs in the Working Group, today I find there are more outstanding dogs in each breed. Unfortunately, many times, I am disappointed in the quality of the Class animals and it is surprising that the Breed dogs are much higher in quality. I just hope these good dogs are being used in breeding programs. Maybe breeders need to help their fellow breeders by allowing their good dogs to be used at stud.
In a day when doing activities with our dogs is so much fun, I do hope that people realize that breeding is also very rewarding. The art of breeding purebred dogs is what allows us to have our wonderful, unique, purposefully bred dogs. I salute our preservation breeders and the lovely Working Group dogs they are producing.
The art of breeding purebred dogs is what allows us to have our wonderful, unique, purposefully bred dogs.