Originally Posted by Kempt
Take a foxhound (american/english) for example. I think they are great looking dogs, they are friendly, loyal etc but as companions only they aren't good choices. Their working instincts are so strong they can't really be trusted off leash and most people just don't have the time or inclination to exercise that strong side of them.
I would think problems with keeping a foxhound would go beyond not being able to trust it off-leash. Anyone who owns a fighting breed like an APBT or Tosa MUST keep it on leash at all times in public, yet they make excellent companion dogs otherwise. I would surmise that a foxhound kept as a predominantly indoor companion dog would suffer severe separation anxieties (given their strong pack drive) and become generally frustrated, neurotic and destructive. I had a Beagle for 13 years back in the '50s. Although he was extremely cute, he was by far the least satisfactory dog I ever owned.
Now take a Lab or a GSD, they run the gamut from full on hunting/guard/protection etc dogs to companions only that go only for daily walks and the occasional play. I think they have been bred for so long that there's a great diversification across the lines.
But so often the companion/pet lines lose everything that is admirable about the dog to begin with. I have tremendous respect and admiration for working-stock, hunting-type Labs. Most of the urban companion Labs I see strike me as greedy, overweight, good-for-nothing "Pigradors," as I've heard them called, when they're not total screwballs like the famous (or infamous) Marley. The pet-stock GSDs I've seen in obedience classes certainly belied that noble breed's reputation for excellent trainability. They were generally squirrels! I've seen a lot of hysterically aggressive pet-line GSDs as well.
If you look at the English Springer Spaniel for example they have essentially become two separate breeds, one being the field and the other the bench (my old dog was a ESS, bench type).
A number of the bench type Springers I've encountered have been extremely dog-aggressive, which seems very counterproductive for a bird dog that often may have to work in conjunction with other dogs.
There are a great number of breeders (and very uninformed potential owners) that like the aesthetic of some of the dog breeds that Jan and you have talked about in this thread that breed/purchase them and really don't know what they are getting themselves into.
I don't think the problem is so much uninformed breeders as dishonest breeders who will say anything to make a sale. I know in the Tosa world a lot of people would be taken by the Tosa's beauty and mellow, attractive temperament and then be taken in by unethical breeders who would downplay the Tosa's potential for dog-aggression and sell Tosas into multi-dog households, often with tragic results, both for the other dogs, the owners and the Tosas.
As you said there's a lot of difficulty in breeding these dogs and a lot of times breeders are just trying to recoup some of the costs and sell them to people that have no business owning them. I'm not for restricting sale/breeding of particular dogs as I think that is no business for government to be in in the US.
I think it's very difficult for a hobby breeder of pet type dogs to make much money due to the nature of the business. However, I also know that a breeder/trainer of working lines of certain dogs can make very good money. Not too long ago I visited a mutual acquaintance of a good friend of mine that had an amazing GSD. This was a wonderful dog, amazingly well trained a great companion. After we left I was speaking with my friend who knew this person well about the dog, he told me he paid upwards of $30k, with sales like that, yeah a breeder/trainer can make a good living. Most breeders don't fall into that category I would assume.
Mighty hard for an ethical breeder to make any amoung of money, much less a "living" off breeding dogs. At least that's my observation. I am assuming the $30K GSDs were sold as already trained young adults.