I've been researching a lot of information on a number of heritage breeds in both chickens and rabbits and I'm very conflicted about something: Can you 'improve' on traditional shortcomings of a heritage breed and still preserve it? For example, I just found this interesting link to a book about strains of domestic poultry in the early 1900's: Races of Domestic Poultry It basically says the Russian Orloff has little economic value, as the hens are poor layers and though there is a fair amount of breast meat for table birds, it tends to be tough and stringy. It seems the breed has had little to no historical commercial use, and may have been, essentially, of little value to anyone outside of providing a few eggs here and there and a stringy bird for dinner every now and again. At the time of that writing, even then, the focus of what little intentional breeding was happening with the bird seemed to be focused on color, etc. In order to "preserve" this "heritage" breed, then, should I continue breeding strictly for physical appearance...or would I be departing from tradition by seeking to improve the breed as a dual purpose layer and meat bird, far past what I can find it has been in the past? (As it seems most current breeders I've seen are.) I personally am attracted to it due to its reputation for extreme cold hardiness...but if I continue striving to work towards a great dual purpose breed, even if it retained key hallmarks of the traditional breed, would it still be a Russian Orloff? And this is just for example. I've often wondered the same thing with other breeds of chicken and even other species of heritage animals. Where do you draw the line between preservation and creating an animal that is useful in current context and 'earns it's keep'?