Originally Answered: Should conformation dogs and working dogs be labeled as two separate breeds?
People who concentrate ONLY on conformations that please show judges have lost the plot.
People who concentrate ONLY on what pleases judges at a brief "working trial" have lost the plot, although they are closer to reality than are the "show-is-all" and "pet-is-all" folk.
Go study "The Dog In Action" by McDowell Lyon to start understanding the links between various conformations and the tasks those breeds were developed for.
A breed is primarily a combination of agility, attitude, biddability, character, coat, determination, endurance, instincts, muscle type, size - all of which MUST be suitable for that breed's tasks, whether digging along an underground burrow or running down game animals or tracking a fox for hours or swimming to retrieve a rope tied to a lost net or patrolling between hungry sheep and unfenced crops for up to 14 hours a day.
Although few nowadays realise it, the lap dogs & sleeve dogs that became today's Toy breeds had several functions: attract m'Lady's fleas to itself, amuse m'Lady and pretend to listen to her, bite any fingers that attempted to grope m'Lady's "interesting" bits, bark up such a storm that the manservants arrived to firmly escort the groper off the property and later report him to m'Lord. So any Toy that is timid, or is friendly to everyone, is unfit to be a Toy!
Just as any Dachshund that is scared of badgers is unfit to be a Dachshund, any Terrier that is scared of rats is unfit to be a Terrier, any Collie that can't fly sideways through a 5-wire fence to get from one paddock to another (AND land on its feet, not its side!) is unfit to be a Collie, any Labrador that won't swim to get a wounded duck (and bring it back wounded, not dead!) is unfit to be a Labrador, any Bloodhound that can't follow a 48 hours old trail is unfit to be a Bloodhound.
And you think breeds are broken into just 2 types???
Mine has, in addition to functional GSDs:
AlsatiOns, German Crouchers, NAmerican Ski-Slope Dogs, Prick-Eared Bassets, Teeth-on-feet, Titanic Tail Tuckers, all of which The KC, the AKC, the CKC register as "GSDs" without checking more than (1) "Are both alleged parents in the same Breed Register?" (they can't imagine that any breeder would LIE about things like parentage!) and (2) "Was the right fee paid?".
Yet my breed has a standard set of certificates that real breeders require before agreeing to breed from or with a registered GSD: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/The_G...
Your use of The KC and the AKC for "Standards" is foolish. The only breeds for which the arrogant The KC is entitled to invent a Standard are the breeds that were created in the UK. The only breeds for which the arrogant AKC is entitled to invent Standards are the breeds created in the USofA. Both those arrogant clubs plus the CKC cannot bear to belong to the FCI - heavens, they might get democratically OUTVOTED by the rest of the world! If you want the real Standard of any breed, the Standard agreed on by the member-nations of the FCI, look in http://www.fci.be/nomenclature.aspx
[Aphrodite]: It is a breeder's task to BREED what is required, not rush to remove bits here & there. E.g.: My kennel hasn't produced a rear dew-claw since Feb.'73.
[Donna Reed]: What is "working" about the 9½ months GSD pup in my e-group having completed its UKC Champion title? What is "working" about the UKC's "White German Shepherd Dog" breed? No way is any sheep farmer going to use a white dog for HERDING sheep - the white dogs are guardian breeds that sleep with the flock and require coat & gait that resemble a sheep.
Were I interested in the unrecognised UKC I could find other examples of non-working aspects of its operation.
No - I am not in the least a fan of the AKC - the best I can say for it is that it DID, eventually, recognise the value of the SchutzHund qualification developed by GSD clubs in Europe and adopted as IPO by the FCI. But, the negotiations having been conducted by arrogant Yanks, the name was changed from SchutzHund to Working Trial, and several preliminary stages were invented to encourage pot-hunters who want lots & lots of almost-meaningless letters after their pooch's name...
Les P, owner of GSD_Friendly: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/GSD_F...
"In GSDs" as of 1967