Recommended book by Spaniels In The Field
“The English Springer Spaniel In America”
written by Henry Lee Ferguson, in 1932.
written 72 years ago !
Here is an excerpt from the book, which talks about difference between FIELD and SHOW dogs:
A large number of people believe that bench shows in the case of sporting dogs are of little or no benefit to the breeds. To be a winner at a bench show, a dog must be sound and of good type and must be able to show himself on the end of a leash. A perfect specimen he may be, but few of these dogs are ever good in the field. They are bred to conform to a certain standard and from this breeding they do not inherit what a sporting Dog should have, the blood of generations of trained shooting dogs running in their veins. A winning show dog is bred to a winning show bitch, and the resulting puppies to the get of other well known show dogs. Seldom does a field trial dog, or even a good shooting dog, go high in the show-ring; a few do, but they are the exceptions. Those who show dogs often get away from the true requirements of that particular breed in nature. If a dog is meant for speed, he must have legs; if for trailing, he must have nose; if for hunting he must be of sufficient size to do his required work in an easy manner. It is on this account that they see little advantage in bench shows for shooting dogs, except that possibly it is rather a good thing to have one body of enthusiasts counteracting the breeding ideas of the others who at times go to extremes. I wanted another person’s opinion on the above and wrote to a breeder whom I thought was in a good position to answer my questions. He replied as follows:
“I would not worry myself and waste my time trying to breed a top-notch Field Trial Springer and a top-notch Bench Springer all in one. Probably it can be done, but it would take years to do it. The good Field Trial dogs of today have been bred for generations from Field Trial dogs irrespective of their Bench qualities, and the Bench dogs have been bred from Bench champions without a thought to their field qualities. I expect I have bred more Springers than any person in the United States, and I gave up the idea of trying to figure what I would get before the litter was born. I might get one good pup in four litters and he would not be a dual-purpose dog. They have been neglected too far back in one way or the other to breed dual purpose dogs in the first several litters… It is a certain fact if you put the Bench Show type, bone and substance into your Trial dogs you are going to slow them down.”
From: “The English Springer Spaniel In America”
By Ferguson, 1932