Let's Put the "Sport" Back in Sporting Group

There's a discussion over on the always-interesting _Upland Journa_l forums concerning last night's winner of the Westminster Kennel Club's sporting group category. If you haven't heard (and quite frankly you probably haven't because most field dog owners pay no attention to dog shows, myself included) the winner of the group was an American cocker spaniel that well, how can I say this tactfully...looks more like Cousin It's lovechild than a gundog. His name is Beckham, he's very pretty and I'm fairly certain he takes more showers and owns more hair product than I do.

Now, I know that most of the individual dogs competing in the sporting group are show dogs rather than hunting or trial dogs, and I know many of the breeds represented in the sporting group have distinct splits (often to the point of looking like completely different breeds) between field and show lines.

I won't debate whether the American cocker should even be included in the sporting group. I have a friend who swore his American was the best flushing dog he ever owned. When it comes to dog breeds, I ain't a judger. But do you think there should be some minimum performance for the dogs who compete in the sporting and working groups? I do.