"a dog is a dog" is something i've read a few times here.

In one thread someone mentioned that hundreds of years of specialised breeding would have produced dogs with different behaviours.

So, to what extent do different breeds of dogs differ in (untaught) behaviour?
Fundamentally i suspect that indeed "a dog is a dog" in so far as they have essentially the same natural responses to stimuli, but i can appreciate that dogs bred for guarding and those bred for the 'toy' group would, for example, be bred to have different temperaments 'built-in'.
So, essentially the same behaviour, but 'weighted' differently in different breeds. not sure if that expresses it well. How would you explain it?
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So, essentially the same behaviour, but 'weighted' differently in different breeds. not sure if that expresses it well. How would you explain it?

That is a fairly good way to put it. In Dogs (A Study of...) written by the Coppingers, she describes the differences in the following way: (I don't have the book in front of me, but I recently read it, so it is still kinda fresh)
All dogs have the same drives in them. Just in some breeds, certain drives have been atrophied and certain drives have been exaggerated.

When I get home I will re-read that section and post more detail.

Marcel and Moogli
All dogs have the same drives in them. Just in some breeds, certain drives have been atrophied and certain drives have been exaggerated.

It goes further than merely diminishing or increasing drives; drives- in particular, prey drive- have been MODIFIED in their expression.

For example, the herding behaviour of Border Collies is a modification of the stalking and driving aspect of prey drive - but with the killing part supressed (in most dogs).
Retrievers have had prey drive so far modified that in the most properly bred dogs, there is a NATURAL inhibition against biting down on prey. Pit Bulls' prey drive has been modified to extend to their own species.
And so forth..
Fundamentally i suspect that indeed "a dog is a dog" in so far as they have essentially the same natural ... bred for guarding and those bred for the 'toy' group would, for example, be bred to have different temperaments 'built-in'.

That covers the basics. Even between closely related breeds (such as the Retriever family), there are differences between the dogs that mean that we should take a different training approach.

A Labrador Retriever's boundless enthusiasm for work means that he is often trained with repetitive drills that reinforce the lesson. Since Labs are dominant in the field game, most of the literature written about training has been written with the Lab in mind. But a dog is not a dog is not a dog. Individuals vary, and breeds vary, and we bend techniques to meet the individual and the breed.
A Flat-Coat (originally bred to be somewhat more independent - a gamekeeper's "pick-up" dog, intended to hunt up and return fallen game after a British upland shoot) in the same drill will get bored after a few repetitions and start making up its own, more interesting way to handle the situation. When the handler corrects the creativity, FCRs sulk... so we re-tune training programs to allow for less repetition and more variety.
Goldens often have fantastic noses and will scent a hidden bird before we have a chance to direct the dog to it. When the object of the game is to show that the dog is going where the handler sent it (not necessarily where the dog might want to go), we put extra emphasis on teaching concepts that help the dog succeed at taking direction in the face of nice, stinky diversions.

Kate
and Storm the FCR
"a dog is a dog" is something i've read a few times here. In one thread someone mentioned that hundreds of years of specialised breeding would have produced dogs with different behaviours. So, to what extent do different breeds of dogs differ in (untaught) behaviour?

Sometimes profoundly different. Prey drive is a good example. Regardless of someone else's statement that "all dogs have prey drive" it isn't true. There are some breeds that can be pretty much counted on to yawn at a moving object, while other breeds are so intent for the chase of it that all civilized thought disappears.
Herding instinct is another, often very clear behavior set that is either there or it is not. Not very much you can do to teach it.

And whether and how that particular instinct is expressed can be very stimuli dependent.

Diane Blackman
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Fundamentally i suspect that indeed "a dog is a dog" in so far as they have essentially the same natural responses to stimuli,

Yes. In the same way that "a human is a human."
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All dogs have the same drives in them. Just in some breeds, certain drives have been atrophied and certain drives have been exaggerated.

It goes further than merely diminishing or increasing drives; drives- in particular, prey drive- have been MODIFIED in their expression.

not nonsense.
For example, the herding behaviour of Border Collies is a modification of the stalking and driving aspect of prey drive - but with the killing part supressed (in most dogs).

Maybe. The killing part doesn't have to be suppressed for the stalking "eye" to be accentuated.
Retrievers have had prey drive so far modified that in the most properly bred dogs, there is a NATURAL inhibition against biting down on prey.

Nonsense.
Pit Bulls' prey drive has been modified to extend to their own species. And so forth..

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That covers the basics. Even between closely related breeds (such as the Retriever family), there are differences between the dogs ... extra emphasis on teaching concepts that help the dog succeed at taking direction in the face of nice, stinky diversions.

Right. The same concepts apply to the herding breeds. Shepherds used to training Border Collies often insist on a "down" or "full stop" regardless of breed, an approach doomed to failure or at least constant conflict with the dog's natural approach and instincts. Taking the different herding styles of the different breeds into account is much more productive and successful. Tsuki is not a border collie and does not herd like one, and most of the troubles I've had have been from training him as if he were a border collie. Our gradual success has come from PAYING ATTENTION TO THE DOG. And modifying the approach appropriately.
As for retreiving ... well the challenge of teaching sighthounds of various types (not all of them) a retrieve as consistent and solid as any herding or retreiving breed is well known.

Diane Blackman
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A Labrador Retriever's boundless enthusiasm for work means that he is often trained with repetitive drills that reinforce the lesson.

My first dog was a lab/dal mix. Strong willed, but very enthusiastic and not at all soft. Drilling was an excellent training method for him. It works for Lucy (lab/gsd) as well.
A Flat-Coat in the same drill will get bored after ... the situation. When the handler corrects the creativity, FCRs sulk...

I think an awful lot of FCRs are very soft dogs with a very high energy level and that creative way of thinking. Corrections for Franklin walk a very fine line. In some ways he needs to be given a "heavy" (verbal) correction for his ballisticness, but if it's too harsh, he melts and shuts down and starts offering even weirder behaviors. Lindy was very much like this, but without being so nuts.
Goldens often have fantastic noses and will scent a hidden bird before we have a chance to direct the dog to it.

Yeah - my golden could find anything in a flash.
All in all, he was the easiest, but the lab mixes have been reliable, and Franklin, well.. I know I'll keep my sense of humor!
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