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It’s quite possible for a FT dog to win in the show ring with judicial feeding and the right type of exercise providing it has correct conformation. I’ve friends in the USA who breed a very much dual purpose type lab, along the lines of Janice Pritchard. They achieve their hunting titles in hard form then move on to the show ring. Take a look at Kerrybrook in the USA.
What do you mean by judicial feeding? Surely if a dog is fit for function it's fit enough to work and the right shape for the show ring? Feeding can't alter shape??
 

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Not something I know a lot about but I’m in a US Dual Purpose group and this is what one of the breeders is trying with his master hunters. The dogs have to have the correct conformation to start with. A question of sculpting apparently. Not necessarily more food but different levels of protein and different types of exercise.
Ah right, I get what you mean now, although I have heard of people who show their dogs and work them, pile the weight on for show season after the shooting season, which I just think is wrong.

I've only seen a couple of field trials and I have to say it's incredibly impressive, way beyond most of what I'd be asking of my dogs out on a shoot working them. The level of steadiness and taking directions/commands is incredible. I think trialling both in Europe and the US is different to the UK, it's even becoming more different than a walked up shoot to some extent in that the degree of difficulty is greater and obedience must be absolute, and then of course handling has to be spot on.
 

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I do very little retrieve training at all, I just encourage a 'hold' so they know bringing anything to me is good. I stick to the basics and then build on those when they're old enough. Rhuna, my flat coated retriever was always a swot at training and working, I still remember a particular hen pheasant she found after the gun had told me he'd pricked her and she landed some distance behind him. Unseen, she'd gone down a stream bed and tucked herself up into some brambles, the gun was adamant she'd run alongside the stream, as that was where he'd last seen her running. After sending Rhuna twice and recalling her as she kept going into the stream, I let her have her head and off she went, got to the massive mound of brambles, pointed, wagged furiously and BANG, pulled the hen pheasant straight out. The gun (and me) were amazed at her natural ability. This is Rhuna doing a memory retrieve over approx 1/4 of a a kilometre.

Rhuna, memory retrieve
 
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