Form Follows Function?

Interestingly, the statement: form ever follows function as it appeared in the article titled, “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered” is credited to Louis Sullivan, American architect. I don’t know if that is actually the earliest citation of form follows function, nevertheless, he implied that the function should be the primary concern of anyone designing objects.


The principal of form follows function as it relates to dogs is assumed to be the basis of evaluating the outward appearance in the show-ring. Dogs that are exceptional in conformation and able to perform their original function are thought to be the epitome of excellence.


The only real method of testing the form is the function which further reveals the temperament and drive necessary for the work. Is the dual-champion (a show-type dog that can pass an instinct test) the embodiment of form follows function, or is it the true working dog?

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  1. I probably will not make any friends with this “know-it-all” post, but I feel very strongly about this issue.
    Perhaps there is no greater sin than to breed for either form or function to the diminution of the other.
    That philosophy is what ruined the Irish Setter, and what has split such dogs as Golden Retrievers into two separate (show vs. field) camps.
    A true dual champion, of which there are precious few at best, is a well-marked, properly constructed, perfectly proportioned, intelligent worker with the genealogy to have the potential to pass those traits forward.
    In other words, a dog with the beauty, construction, intelligence, and the desire expected of an Aussie.
    We can not pick one or two of the these traits, we must breed specimens with all of these traits.
    Anything less is detrimental to the breed.
    It is neither form follows function nor the reverse, form and function must be considered as equals. To apply what is a design standard to animal breeding is to build on a false dichotomy.

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