Exclusively Setters

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" Could our setters suffer a genetic disaster"

I open this discussion from concern that if honesty and openness is not forthcoming, our beautiful Irish setters could once again be on the brink of genetic disaster in the near future, ( especially on problems where there are no genetic tests available).       

I love my setters, and I love yours too so don’t let this happen again, PLEASE.

                                                                                                                                                                          During the 1930`s, PRA began to appear in several prominent lines of Irish setters. As more and more, dogs became affected, PRA was widely debated over the next ten years. By 1940 it had been determined that PRA was indeed hereditary and would lead to partial and eventually total blindness.

By 1945 the problem had reached such proportions that The Kennel Club issued a ruling that no Irish setter could be registered or transferred without a signed statement declaring neither parents nor grandparents were actively affected with the disease, and that the dog in question had not produced a case of PRA.

Mr. Rasbridge, as secretary of the Irish setter Association, then devised a plan requiring test mating to identify carries and clear animals. Such a design was obviously not popular with the important breeders of that decade. As affected pups were identified, the breed was devastated with many champions, and other famous Irish setters retired after their test matings failed. In what may be the most energetic attempt to salvage any breed, conscientious Irish setter breeders  continued to test mate and clear their stock. The next ten years were spent rebuilding Irish setter lines and Kennels.Their efforts produced several influential dogs that carried the breed back from the brink of genetic disaster.


We are only a small number of setter lovers but we could make a difference if others follow, everthing has to start somewhere.

If we keep to the subject, we may learn so much more. Adding the source of any information posted will give more credibility to that post.

What do you think ?

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I was liking your idea's Finn until I read "even potential pet buyers" !  Without pet buyers, Irish Setters would be completely doomed as a breed!

Another slightly annoying sentence is " however, it would need people's identities protected as someone they could be reporting may be a important figure in the dog world, for example a judge in the show ring might fear repercussions" !

How does protecting identities encourage openness and honesty?

If anyone is breeding from bitches knowing full well they have serious health problems in their lines, then of course they should be identified. They should never be allowed to register another litter with the KC.

I didn't read Finn's comments the same way as you did Torie!  I guess that is the problem with written statements without the non verbals and face to face communication. 
"Even potential pet buyers" to me meant that even someone who hasn't bought a dog yet could provide a report!   I didn't get the impression that the pet buyers were being minimised in importance at all.  It is all a bit chicken and egg, isn't it?  No breeders without puppy buyers and no puppy buyers without breeders?  They need to work hand in hand and support each other, not have an "us and them" mentality.
The protection of identity I thought was referring to the reporter, not the breeder who was being reported?

Finn, can you please clarify?

I think Finn meant ' protecting the person reporting' surely NOT the prominent judge/breeder? Perhaps she can clarify for us?

I agree with Cheryl and Catherine as far as the interpretation of Finn's post. Very thoughtful suggestions Finn.

Finn, you wrote your first post in a hurry, so you said what you thought at the time.It makes such good sense. We must remember a breeder doesnt always know they have a problem, it is down to being open and honest when they do. Your ideas could work squeezing out the "profit only club". This would take many years, and maybe raise the price of pups, but if after the war when times would have been hard breeders did it with PRA then and we can do it now !!!!

I agree Cheryl....people often read things differently.

Maybe I have read it wrongly in which case my apologies to Finn

Hello Finn, in principle your idea is excellent.  It may be that there could be a slight change to your suggestions.

Also there would have to be a panel who would regularly "spot check" and oversee that the breeders are adhering to the ethics laid down, and if a breeder fails they should be down graded and likewise upgraded when appropriate.  It would have to International/Country. 

If a puppy was being sort by a purchaser and there was a health by breeder database open to them it would be invaluable. 

As you correctly suggest green would be for breeders who have registered with the database, declared any health problems they have encountered and what they have done to avoid repetition, pedigrees of the dogs and that they are prepared to discuss in full any concerns by potential owners. Most importantly that they are happy to give a backup and "care package" in the event that an unforseen health issue arose in a list of health conditions shown on the database.   And anything else anyone thinks relevant added to the list.

Amber would be for breeders who have agreed to all of the above but have health issues that they are currently experiencing and trying to resolve but they are clearly responsible breeders and they would be recommended with caution.  The breeder would agree from "most importantly etc.

Red would be applied to anyone not registered but would be considered if, after advising them of the health database, were prepared to follow the steps as in green.   These breeders would only come to light if a purchaser was aware of the database but the person from whom they wanted to purchase a puppy was not listed.   The database ought to have a caveat that suggests potential purchasers tell the breeder of the system and either ask them to contact the database directly or ask their permission to pass on the breeders details to hdb.  Any genuine, non profit seeking breeder worth their salt, would be only too willing to participate.

The way to spread the word of the hdb to the public interested in purchasing a setter puppy would be by members who could print out a "fly sheet" and pass it to the local vets or pet shops.  

I think you have given us thought for a positive step forward and would alert the public as to how responsible and caring Irish Setter breeders are.

Like Henk, if anyone feels that any statements I have made in the blog are offensive please let me know directly.


I don't think it is workable Finn. Its a nice idea, but open to so many abuses. There should be some way of reporting issues which are taken very seriously.  Our lovely Setters are standing on a precipice and something needs taking in hand and very soon.  I walked away from German Shepherds years ago because of their health issues, I see Irish Setters going the same way. A friend of mine has just got a puppy. She asked for my advice and I said I think with an Irish Setter puppy you take a chance and see what happens. It really should not be like this - at all ! Its time for those with their heads in the sand to be dragged out kicking and screaming if necessary.

You are quite right and in this day and age, people per se, expect to be able to access information on whatever they intend to buy.  

If IS were able to establish a database they could be the breed who spearhead the future for puppy purchasers.  It would raise the profile of the breed  and more importantly that Irish Setters are only bred by people who wish to follow a moral code of ethics both towards the puppy and it's potential new owner.   Wouldn't it be wonderful if that came into existence.  Potential IS owners would be reassured that there would be help/support if there was a health problem.  Again I will say that there would be a caveat that there is always "the living creature syndrome" or worded in a more appropriate professional way and that health is not 100%, the same way as a vacuum will work most of the time but then it may not.

Your comment that you would love a red setter but....  is really what future breeders should be listening to and accept that you have a valid point.  Regrettably in this day and age the patient, Trust, is unwell and needs nursing back to health.  A health database would start the convalescence.

It has become very apparent to me that there is resistance to a database, and in a way they are correct because until breeders/pet owners willingly offer the data in an open and transparent way without fear of litigation the prognosis on the database is that it is sick and may become terminal.

Setting priorities for certain illnesses is irrelevant because  all illnesses  are important, I don't honestly know about funding, I do understand that there is research and that it has to be financed,  what I have been trying to say is that before the outcome of research is known, breeders can avoid adding more to the numbers of sick puppies by being able to access data before making a breeding decision. 

I have been banging on about that the illnesses are not just words, they are painful, agonising, distressing, conditions and the sooner they can be hugely reduced or eliminated the better for our dogs. 

The reduction of genetic pools is inevitable I would have thought because there will be less animals from which to breed (if there is to be an attempt to maintain kennel type) because the animals who should be available for breeding will be dead because of the illnesses.  Or am I totally nuts.   When I say attempt to maintain kennel type, I am not being derrogatory, because a setter could be crossed with other breeds and a form of setter maintained.  I believe there are Poinsetters out there and others Yorpoos yorkie/poodle, spandals spaniels /dalmations or even god forbid shepherdpys GS/Pyraneans and lots of  other designer dogs available.

And until someone else can come up with another suggestion, I still agree that the "colour coding" system is valid for consideration if and when a database is established.

Kind regards G



Removed by staff.

Removed by staff.

Mmm, you asked to be friends with me, yikes to be associated with you would be very bad for my reputation and my health.   Crikey me, no thanks.




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