He regularly blasted the AKC for what its judgement policies had done to the various types of dogs. I did some exploratory reading, and saw comparative pictures of working dogs versus show dogs.
This is all too true of many breeds today. Here are a couple of examples:
Show line herding dogs tend to have bodies whose shapes and lines are not conducive to long hours of herding work. They are also less energetic and don't have the heart for the kind of training that is required of a good herder.
In sporting breeds there are some breeds that are more extreme than others. In Great Britain there is a breed of hunting hound that, when compared to prime examples of the same breed from 100 yrs ago, don't even look like the same breed nor are they as capable a hunter.
In labs (something I'm personally very familiar with) field labs are slenderer and tend to have longer legs than their show counterparts. They are also slenderer and longer of head and muzzle too. Energy wise the field dogs are considerably more energetic than show dogs and they are less heavily muscled with a great deal more stamina. Trainers like me would also argue that the field dogs are also smarter than show dogs as well. Between the two the field dogs are called American and the show dogs are called British.
In Springers (also one of my favorite breeds) the field lines have shorter fur, longer legs and are also slenderer of build. They are also higher energy dogs with more drive and more endurance for hunting. Their coloration is primarily white with spots of black, liver or a combination of both as well as a good deal of ticking (tiny spots of color) all over. A show dog of this breed would have a large solid blanket of color on the entire body and have little ticking if any. These dogs have much longer fur, shorter legs (generally) and are of a thicker body build. They also do not have as good of noses, are not as energetic and have much less stamina.
I could go on and on but frankly I think that conformity shows are ruining dogs all over the world. Breeders breed dogs with visual characteristics that judges have decided are the perfect visual ideal of that breed (according to THEIR opinion). These dogs are then peddled as being the ideal of the breed despite the fact that much of their actual physical performance is being bred out and sometimes the visual characteristics that are so pleasing to the show crowd actually impedes the dog in the task it was originally bred to do.
IMHO we're talking about a bunch of breeds that aren't ideal for a first time dog owner. OP, if that's the case I'd recommend a lab. I'd also recommend a breed specific rescue group as a potential source of finding a dog. A good rescue group can help you select a dog that will fit into your lifestyle.
First off this is not a first time dog owner. The OP currently has a border collie and has owned in the past a samoyed. Neither are what I would consider "first time dogs". I don't believe that a Pyrenees is beyond the OP's capabilities as an owner. In fact a Pyrenees, when allowed to do what it was bred to do and given basic obedience training, is a VERY easy dog to own... well a working line Pyrenees anyway. Show line pyrs tend to be VERY high maintenance regarding their coats.
Labs aren't exactly easy first time dogs either unless you're talking about a show lab. Field labs are VERY energetic and VERY eager to work and hunt. They require a very experienced owner who has the time and energy to take the dog out every day to work and play for long periods of time. That alone eliminates MOST average dog owners in the country despite the lab being the most owned dog in the country.