Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

Just out of interest, I have just been looking at the inbreeding coefficients of some of the litters currently available and have discovered that many of them are way over the breed average of 13.4  one litters coefficient is way over 25.

I am wondering if breeders are bothered that they are producing litters with these results? If not can somebody please explain to me, as a Setter pet owner why this is so?  If I was currently looking for a puppy, these kind of results would make me look elsewhere.

Views: 7352

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I no longer vaccinate mine annually. When dogs have problems such as hypothyroidism they shouldn't have boosters anyway, or if they have any auto-immune condition.  My Lotte had an undiagnosed auto-immune condition, so when she was boosted everything went downhill very quickly from then on. Since then, my dogs have their primary vaccinations and then their titres checked every 3 years. Vets know that our dogs don't need annual boosters, but continue to do so because its a quick way of making money for them, and then try and make you feel guilty when you don't go.  The immune system has a memory, and that memory doesn't start forgetting as soon as a year is up. There isn't a built in clock.  Many vets are now recommending 3 year boosting, but there is even evidence that this is not necessary and that the primary's can last for life, hence the fact my guys have their titres checked.  A lot of people are also in the dark that when the dog is vaccinated for leptospirosis, it might not cover the strain your dog might pick up.

Even if annual boosters do no harm (to some), they are certainly a total waste of money at worse, but it makes the vet a very happy person......

This really worries us too. We've been looking at inbreeding coefficients for months trying to find Irish Setters and Irish Red and White Setters with low results, and most of them are shockingly high. The only Red and White we managed to find with 0% was in the 1980's! 

Other than that, there have been a couple that have been below 10% but they have all been foreign dogs. 

It's a real shame that so many of this breed are being breed without much thought for the future of the breed's health. It also makes finding a puppy (I would love a R&W as my next dog) near impossible, unless you're willing to have a highly inbred dog :\

A lot of people seem to be saying that its ok to have a high coefficient providing there is nothing coming down the lines to  cause a problem.  So how do  they know there aren't minor genetic faults being passed down which could suddenly explode into something one day.......  the problem with Red and White's is that the gene pool is so small anyway that outcrossing is a real possibility (eventual probability), with red there is still the chance of lowering the coefficient.  From what I have been reading, or not reading, I have get the impression that people really aren't worried.......


You have two different problems in your search.

Irish Setters have a huge population, but because popular sires are the vogue, COIs are relatively high in certain lines,

IRWS have small population and because there are so few founder dogs since the Revival (less than 10 to be generous) they had to be closely bred in the 1980s.  (I'd guess the one you found with a 0% was a complete outcross or one with an incomplete pedigree.)  Finding an IRWS with a 0% COI, I'd say, is not possible today - not because breeders have wickedly ignored the breeding behind their dogs, but because they are looking at the whole dogs involved - their health, their conformation, their temperament, their working ability, their colour as well as COI etc.  If breeders don't take all these things into consideration and make the best of what they have, no one would breed at all - then where would you look for a puppy?

The 30+% COI litter was bred in 2010 - against advice and was a half brother x half sister mating with 8 dogs at least twice in the pedigree and appearing, of course on both sides. Unless we live in a Dog Police State, strongly worded advice is all that can be done..... Persuading certain breeders that this is not a good thing is very difficult!  The publishing of COIs is a good thing - it makes this information available to everyone - and makes them think!

But do not run away with the idea that IRWS breeders are not concerned they are getting their heads round the science behind breeding... IRWS breeders DO take care not to breed close and anyway first degree consanguinity is banned by the KC these days.

Susie, I really hope breeders will look further afield than the dogs they see in the showring, but take note that the same dogs  are in the back of the majority of the pedigrees - even the working Reds of Europe and Scandinavia! -  and take care they have all the health tests required!


And Fran, You can't know what minor genetic faults are passed down and could explode any day in any dog!


Here's an interesting bit of info - The Effective Population size for IRWS is 28 - where 50 is acceptable (rare breed) The Effective Population Size for Irish Setters is 20 !! - where the acceptable size is 100....


Hi, We breed IRWS and have a bitch with a COI of 6% she is a mix of working and show strain and has some lovely dogs behind her. She is **possibly** in whelp at the moment and the COI will be 10%. Our previous litter off of her also produced the same COI. We were trying so hard to find something lower but it was pretty much impossible as our priorities are health and temprement also and we'd rather use a dog with good health test scores that we can look back the generations for and find out about the offspring etc. Also the dog we used the first time is becominging increasingly popular so we are using a dog this time that hasn't been used before.

We are pretty stuck though as for the next generation (the girl I kept from the first litter) we already have 1 dog doubled up in her pedigree and he is from some of the lowest COI lines - but obviously we can't go in that direction again.

it looks like we could be off to Europe/ Scandanavia for a stud dog for our homebred girls in the future, but there are more dogs coming into the UK so maybe in the next year or 2 something new and exciting will arrive......

I might be wrong but I thought there had been COI's as high as the mid 30's in the breed recently?

As Ann said earlier COI's are not the whole story, a dog with a higher COI that comes from health tested stock, where lots is known about the dogs, health tests are all good and there is a record of long lives, good temprements etc.

Would be better than breeding for with more health problems etc. not as good temprements just to keep the COI down...

I quite agree, but I am sure there are good dogs out there who could lower the coefficient even if you have to do an outcross? Genetics is a very strange subject, nature seems to like diversity, and the more inbred dogs are I become worried that there will be somekind of kick back from nature as time goes on.  I absolutely love Setters,.but I am becoming more worried about getting another one in future. It is so heartbreaking when things do go wrong, not just for the owner, but for a really caring breeder too.

Please don't get so hung up on the COI, other things are important too, otherwise you may just breed a 'big red dog.' Type is important too, otherwise it's not the Irish setter that we love so much :-)

Totally agree Deb. My dogs are all bred for breed type, temperment and good health COI don't figure high on my list not because I don't care.

 I am lucky to have been in R & W's since 1982 and know just about everything there is to know about the dogs in my dogs pedigree. If anyone who is considering getting a R & W and are concerned about high COI can I suggest talking to people who have been in the breed along time, most of us are happy to talk and can hopefully put minds at rest.

"Breed type, Breed type, Breed type! If one loses sight of that, then it’s not an Irish Setter."


Sorry, I must live in a different world. That kind of message sends shivers down my spine as a dog  breeder. Health , fitness and function come top of my list.

More shivers if you team it with Popular Sires.

Dont take it personally, it wasnt intended to be personal.

But when breeders become obsessed with "breed type, breed type, breed type"  , it ends with breeds like the Kennel Club's fifteen High Profile Breeds. Dogs with such exaggerated conformation that their health and welfare are compromised. With the KC trying to change breed standards to avoid exaggeration, and imposing vet checks at shows.

I would hate to see setters going that way




© 2024   Created by Gene.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service