Shepherd's Way

Ed Emanuel, founder of IESR, wrote the editorial below for The National Stock Dog Magazine:


Working Breeds --- Workers or Wall Flowers

HAS 50 YEARS OF CONFORMATION SHOW BREEDING completely smothered the once present HERDING and WORKING INSTINCT, until the title "WORKING BREEDS" is a FARCE and GROSS MISREPRESENTATION?

Some breeders agree and say, "We no longer claim that our dogs are Stock Dogs." While others of the same breeds proclaim in no uncertain terms, "My Show Dogs still have it. If you doubt my words, then come out to my farm, and I'll show you."

Then there are those, who for various reasons, have been "long on Conformation, and short on Opportunity to Prove temperament working ability." Most of these folks honestly admit, "I don't know. But I believe that our breed still possesses at least a portion of the Herding Instinct of their ancestors, and would work IF they had the chance. I would welcome the chance to train my dogs and enter them in some kind of local Stock Working Trials."

WORKING TRIALS are MORE than just evidence that your Breed still has its share of the ORIGINAL HERDING INSTINCT of its ancestors. It is the MOST RUGGED TEST OF GOOD TEMPERMENT. "Temperment" in dogs as I see it, "is the possession of calm, steady conduct, during times of trial, combined with willingness to obey, or the absence of these desirable qualities, and a show of undue excitement and rattle headedness."

Of late I have noticed that even the most radical Conformationists agree that the individuals that enter the show ring in full possession of their GOOD TEMPERMENT instantly attract the attention of the observers and Judges. However many of those admitting this point have overlooked the fact that Field Trials are one of the BEST places to test for good temperment.

Stock Working Trials are one of America's cleanest, and most humane sports. (Dogs that are under control, never need injure the livestock or poultry.) These trials may be conducted either outdoors or indoors, where reasonable space permits.

I predict that it is only a matter of time until "Stock Working Trials of one form or another will be in progress right along with Obedience Trials (and will attract a much greater audience) at practically ALL of the Major Conformation Shows." To anyone who cares to challenge that statement, I say, "just write it down on your cupboard door, along with this day and date, and then stick around, and keep your eyes and ears open, and see what happens."

Let's all adopt the slogan: "WORK YOUR SHOW DOGS -- SHOW YOUR WORK DOGS"

~ E.G. Emanuel
The National Stock Dog Magazine


photos in article: Ohio English Shepherd owners at farm trial, 1958
Header photo: HTCH Peaslee's Honey
photographer: Elsie Rhodes