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Did the breed change or not since the sixties?

Did the Irish setter breed change in half a century or not? In a topic elsewhere there is a statement  the breed did not change in fifty years.


What is your opinion? Did the breed change yes or no, if yes in what aspects (conformation, health, character, working capacities)? Can you document your opinion? Same for no changes in your opinion, can you document that?


Here is a kick off with an article on the Derrycarne Irish red setters, bred by Maureen Mc Keever, published in 2003 in The Leitrim Guardian, written by Kevin Mc Manus. Her activities cover a large part of the period mentioned in the statement. She bred more key Irish setters in both show and working nowadays Irish setters. Would these still be able to win - show and/or work?


Because there was some interest in Derrycarne history, on request a story is added on a daughter of Derrycarne Harp - Ailean O'Cuchulain. Its entitled Devils Dearest, written as a tribute.  On request as well a story Hartsbourne Flame was added. She was a shower of hail and littersister to IRCH Derrycarne Martini

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OK, I'm going to speak up, say my piece, then go back to reading. As an American owner (not breeder, not trainer) of AKC Irish setters for fifty years, and the owner of a dog that currently does both field trials and conformation shows successfully (including field trials against the "spotted" and "white" breeds), and as someone who does know reputable breeders here in the US, I cannot sit on my hands any longer.

Generalizations are never fair, particularly to the sincere, honest and reputable breeders that are working very hard with dedication and out of a love of the breed. Kristi, your passion is obvious and commendable, but please realize that you only have a part of the story, and that there are members of this group that are North American, breed AKC Irish setters, and who have both tremendous knowledge and skill when it comes to the Irish setter as a field dog AND/OR as a conformation show dog. And, believe it or not, sometimes that just happens to be represented extremely successfully by the same dog. This group is also a valuable resource for learning about the dogs. Actually, it is discussions like these that are invaluable.

To say that "the ex show or champion IS's are often sold off at auctions" is inflamatory, untrue, and, frankly, sounds awfully close to the jargon of the animal rights groups. It is simply too difficult to get the required major points to finish a show championship, too much money has gone into producing that champion (which, in the case of the Irish setter, often will involve the use of professional handlers at some point -- NOT CHEAP, I can tell you), and too much has gone into the breeding of those dogs. Retired show champions are sometimes rehomed to carefully vetted situations (I own one of those, who is approaching her fifteenth birthday, so I am writing from personal experience). Most simply live out their lives as beloved pets of their original breeders. There aren't *that* many Irish setters out there anymore, and even fewer show champions, despite what you may have heard - go back to "too hard to get the required major points" -- there are not enough dogs and bitches at any given show to make a major, the distances and time commitments away from home are enormous in the US and Canada, and when there are enough dogs or bitches for the major the competition is intense. Being also very familiar with the UK (but not Ireland, I will admit), I have to agree with much of what the British members of this group have put forward. The logistics in the UK are almost bad as the difficulties on this side of the Atlantic (which involve both cost and distance). A finished show champion Irish (or Gordon, English or Red and White) represents a significant investment of time, effort and money. For reputable breeders, the investment is absolutely worth it because it validates their breeding program. For amateur owners like myself who have no intention of becoming a breeder, it is simply fun and a way to help out the breeder in whose program you believe.

To say that "puppy mills are a large cash flow for the AKC" is just patently incorrect. In fact, the AKC has come forward in virtually every state *against* the practice of puppy mills. To quote from www.akc.org: "Dispelling the term "Puppy Mill": There is no legal definition for the term "puppy mill". The term "puppy mill" is a phrase coined by animal rights activists and supporters against anyone who breeds dogs, regardless of the care the animals receive. The name-calling is a means to turn the unknowing public against all dog breeders and to raise endless funds for continuous propaganda and money-making schemes by animal rights activists and organizations." If you actually look through things like Petfinder or even the local newspaper classified ads, you will find almost NO Irish setters (and those that are there are usually rescue dogs), so to insinuate that the modern dog is a product of that is absolutely absurd. Absolutely nobody I have met - at conformation shows or at field trials - approves of or condones the puppy mill industry.

To say "humane societies and rescue groups are trying to get laws past to stop the massive breeding" is a half truth, and confuses two issues. Reputable breeders are not in the business of mass production of dogs in inhumane conditions. Some breeders I know have better living quarters for their dogs than they do for themselves! As for them mass breeding - it is laughable. They are working too hard to validate their program through competition. Sad to say, PETA and (worse) HSUS are behind this legislation, and unfortunately, given their vague language, reputable breeders of any breed, INCLUDING those breeds not recognized by the AKC (ASCA Australian shepherds, the red setters, jack russell terriers. . .any breeder who breeds dogs as a business regardless of their knowledge, skill or expertise) fall under their proposed terminology. By the way, please do not insinuate that all rescue groups are in support of this; be aware that almost every AKC breed (including all four setters) have active rescue groups that are affiliated with the breed organizations and not PETA or HSUS. I recommed a visit to www.http://www.irishsetterclub.org/rescue.html for an example of some very dedicated, hardworking *volunteer* efforts on behalf of dogs in need. There are similar groups for Gordons, English and the Irish Red and Whites. Breeders are *extremely* concerned about rescue, and are extremely concerned that the dogs do not fall into kill situations (ironically quite unlike HSUS), but that the dogs are placed in what they call "forever homes". Further more, as I am on several mailing lists which the rescue organizations use to network nationally (for example to arrange visits of prospective new homes, to alert each other of dogs being advertised on Craigslist or Petfinder, to send out an alerts of dogs found in shelters) -- I can tell you for a fact that plenty, if not most, of the rescue dogs are field dogs - and many are red setters and NOT Irish setters. However, the Irish setter rescue groups choose to treat them as any other IRISH setter, and attempt to place them anyway. Period. Join the setters-L mailing list if you don't believe me. Follow Petfinder.com.

To say it is "considered inhumane to kennel field dogs" is also incorrect. During the seasons, field trial dogs ARE kenneled, particularly those in the care of professional trainers. It is simply not possible to have 15 or more dogs in training -- of both genders, often entire -- in your house. The liability issues alone (not to mention human and dog health issues) simply prove this notion to be false. The field trial seasons are short - two or so months in the spring and again in the fall and the dogs do go home to their owners (and mine is currently lounging in the air conditioning on his favorite chair), but oh, yes, they are MOST certainly kenneled while in training and competition. On the other side of the coin - I do not know personally ANY breeder of conformation Irish setters who does kennel their dogs! In fact, most conformation only breeders are so enamored of their dogs they are spoiled pets in addition to being show dogs. Undoubtedly some do keep their dogs in kennels, but my personal experience points to that being the exception not the rule.

To say that "a field trial dog" can be determined in 3 months is rather demeaning to the hard work and what should be thoughtful and considerate training that goes into producing a finished gun dog -- I've seen dogs that were great for the first few months then -- as the competition became more intense -- hit bumps in the road that needed patience and good training to work through. Others are awful in their first few months of field trials, then they turn on and become winners. A skilled trainer has the patience and knowledge to know you can't cookie cutter the training of any dog, they are individuals and will learn at different rates. Just because their genetics say they are "hunting dogs", their natural instincts and talents do to be developed for the objective, and no setter owner will deny the intelligence of the breed and their ability to occasionally re-write rules. Training any animal is a process, they are not machines. Nor can every dog can be a champion open gun dog; field trialing is competition, after all, so that "FC" before an AKC dog's name means "Field Champion" and is genuinely an honor. However, many dogs that have been field trialed have also earned a prefix AFTER their name. . .MH (Master Hunter) or SH (Senior Hunter). Also very difficult to achieve and often in direct opposition to the training needs of a competitive field trialer. For dogs to achieve both shows that intelligence and field skill of the breed, AND the trainer. Most field trial trainers would tell you that it just icing on the cake when a successful field trialer becomes a beloved hunting companion.

To throw this back on topic, I would like to point out that, here in the US and Canada, and precisely because of an unfortunate and undeniable affirmative in North America to the original question (as a reminder - "did the breed change or not since the sixties") there is a strong and growing movement among the AKC Irish setter breeders and owners to breed and promote the dual-purpose dog as fundamental for the future.

Knowledgeable breeders are *well aware* of the extremes that have developed on both the field side and conformation side -- and I am speaking here only for the US. Neither of the extremes are beneficial to the long-term future or health of the breed, and has resulted in darned small gene pools for breeders to use. The products of both lines in the US have produced some highly questionable specimens of extremes. But to imply that all AKC Irish setters are not competitive in field trials is absolutely an insult to all the FC and AFC (Amateur Field Champion) Irish setters that are registered with the AKC. It is even more of an insult to the 23 Irish setters that have the title DC -- Dual Champion -- which means they are champions both in conformation AND field trials. It is also insulting to the hundreds of Irish setters with their Master and Senior Hunter titles. To imply that the field dogs are not competitive in the conformation ring also overlooks those breeders who have produced dual champions. Or the show champions with their Senior, Master or even Junior Hunter titles. Not every sincere breeder can afford the time and effort to produce dual champions, but that does not mean these breeders are not gaining respect. They couldn't win the necessary titles in either venue without respect. Or a quality dog.

So, not only is it unfair to say all conformation dogs cannot be competitive in field trials (or hunt) and visa versa, it is patently untrue. . .my young dog and several of his litter-mates are immediate examples with their field trial AND conformation placements and wins. Susan Russell Matsumoto's Rais'n (better known as BISS Can DC AFT CH Am DC Highfeather Raise 'N A Ruckus Can FDX CD Am MH CD VCX) is their paternal grandmother. Their maternal grandmother is Cassie Allen's DC AFC Mythodical's Runnymeade Rip. Both Susan and Cassie - and a growing network of breeders of Dual Irish setters, should be commended for their commitment, efforts, their attention to detail in the careful choices they make, and their love of and loyalty to the original purpose of the Irish setter.

Both Susan and Cassie are members of this group, and I do hope they will weigh in on this matter as I feel they have a great deal more experience and expertise than I on the issues that are being thrown about, particularly in breeding the dual purpose dog.
Eva I explained what a puppy mill was to Jennifer on page 34. I also explained bench and field setter adoption in the US.

kristi, although this discussion is about IS, you mention English Setters in your previous post - I must point out that IN MY PERSONAL OPINION what the Americans have done to the English Setter breed is abominable. It is even worse than the changes wrought in the US IS. The breed is almost unrecognisable as an English Setter.
Also, kristi - I am on a List which has mainly US members & it often puts up requests for help with Red Setter working dogs which have fallen on hard times. The rescues do NOT just deal with "show bred" IS either - they take IS mixes as well.
Please be factual in your comments. In today's world the internet provides worldwide connection between breeders & owners. It is easy to prove/disprove many things.
Look at my last post.
I understand Pat my comments are quite factual. I will never be an expert on everything nor do I want to be. Some issues I am quite passionate about. I love setters little one and big ones. I despise mass breeding and AKC's involvement in it.
Hi Pat can you let me know the organization. There are list for field dogs for every pointing and setter dog group. I have not been able to find a group that rescues mostly field bred dogs.
I did not mean to get you so angry. I am involved in the puppy mill awareness and rescue . I protest pet stores and belong to many organizations. I believe they have passed or are working on passing a law which will close all dog auctions in Ohio.hio. The law has already been passed in Pa. Most Pa mill breeders go to Ohio to attend auctions for their breeding stock. A law is being passed that all breeders selling at auctions will be required to put a USDA stamp on all registries. This will make all breeders think before they go to an auction. That includes some good ones that are broke and can't sell their dogs. In Missouri alone their are over 2000 puppy mills and by the way AKC has made a new name for them, commercial breeders. I am more involved in the mills then keeping up with the red dogs. I never said show dogs can't hunt I said I don't believe they stand much of a chance against field dogs. One is bred for looks the other for performance. Remember I eat meat and wear leather shoes PETA would not like me at all. Have you heard of the HUNTE CORPORATION in Mo. They are the largest pet broker in the US. They are the middle man for the puppy mills. Mills breed hundreds of dogs a year. The Hunte Corp purchases the dogs from the mill breeders.The Hunte Corporation checks the dogs and transports the puppies in litle boxes all over the US to various pet stores. Some of these dogs get parvo, pnemonia, worms because they are so young, usually around 8 weeks old and their immune systems are low. I work with dogs and see 3 out of 4 puppies are bought on line or in a pet store. If my dog had puppies they would never go to a pet store or be sold on line. I agree their are not many setters around anymore. Most of them now are out of the mills and with more reputable breeders. There is a woman that has spent years buying setters at auctions and busting mills that are breeding setters. And yes some of them come from champion lines. In the 70's and 80's and 90's there were many setters in the mills. They are useless to the mill owners now they are no longer popular and not profitable. Here is a website of an auction in Mo. Remember this is just one auction in one area. There are 100's maybe 1000's a year. I don't think this goes on in the UK. Here it is legal and a sad situation. They are ruining the reputation for all good breeders. There are seven AKC puppy mill inspectors for over 2000 mills in Mo.
Here is the website. After you read the first page click auctions on the left. You will see one kennels dog sellout.

Ok Christa,
I will cover the next topic. There are a number of red setters that were registered with the AKC. I am not positive of the year that the ISCA told AKC they wanted the regtistries stopped. One of the main competitors is Brophey. He runs his dogs in most of the AKC trials. A few other hunters trial their red setters. There are a ton of red setters that are not able to participate. So imagine if a bunch more participated. I think they would take over the field trials. This would definately put the breed in two different categories. Many hunters feel this is why ISCA told AKC no more refgistrations. The AKC wouldn't let the Border Collies partipate in any events unless they joined the Border Collie Club. They held out for years because they didn't want their dogs rearranged. I really don't care if the big setter can hunt or not. Agian I never see them in any trials a side from AKC. I didnt want to make you upset but this is what I see. I would never want to put you or your dog down. I didn't trial with my dog. I learned a lot about it through hunters. I think it would be nice to see a field dog in the show ring and a big setter running against field trial pointers and english setters. You know as well as I do AKC would laugh at a field setter in the show ring. They won't even register them. If a dog is pointing, birdy and running by three months a hunter determines wether he will train him for trials or he will be a gun dog. I know that as a fact and have heard it from hunters that trialed their dogs against pointers and setters. My dog came from trial lines on one side only she was long gone Sailor at 6 months. I never saw a dog off in the horizon like that in my life. Kenneling while being trained and with handlers is not what I was talking about that is different. I know that. Most of the trialers I know keep their dogs as house pets also. I know that as a fact. The first thing you will hear is he or she is a good house pet.
Here are some field traiI stat I found AKC 2003 - 2009.


Great mostly show Junior hunters


Quail Classic Field and big dogs. Who ever breeds running mill dual setters they are winning a lot



I have looked on pet finder, and a number of setter rescues and all I see is big dogs. I also see show and field crosses. Field dogs are far and few between. I want to adopt my next dog and I look all the time. I am not saying breeders don't put a lot of money into their dogs or love them I never said that. I used to go to Westminster every year. I love dogs and loved the show that is until I found out about AKC. Good breeders a lone could never support the AKC. They have almost a one million dollar a month rent in a huge building on Madison Ave. They have chief executives, writers, editors, trainers, seminars, all sorts of classes. Who do you think is paying for this. Would you say it's good breeders. Take a look at this.


What's the Hunte Corporation?

Simple: the Hunte Corporation is a "puppy bundler" business which gathers together very young puppies (typically 6 or 7 weeks old) from puppy mills in Missouri and around the mid-West.

These very young dogs are too young to have full immunity, and are too young for shots, but time is the enemy of the puppy industry, and so they are gathered up at a very young age and mixed together, helter-skelter, in trucks.

The dogs are then sent to a Hunte facility where they are given shots, looked over, groomed and washed, and moved out the door, as fast as possible, to a pet store near you.

Why the rush to collect such young dogs and get them out the door so fast?

Simple: puppies are like fruit; they go rotten with age.

Most people want a puppy; they do not want a dog.

An eight-week old puppy is very saleable commodity. A 12-week old puppy is not.

A 16-week old puppy will be marked down 90 percent.

And the result of this push to gather up young dogs?

Well, think about it.

Parvo and distemper do not incubate overnight, and so it should come as no surprise to learn that a significant percentage of puppy mill dogs supplied by Hunte end up coming down sick.

The problem here is the same one as occurs with hamburger: take one pound of Listeria-infected beef and mix well with 500 pounds of "clean" beef and what comes out the other end is a lot of sickness.

It only takes a one parvo- or distemper-infected dog from a puppy mill to infect every other dog in the truck going to Hunte.

It takes only one dog at the vaccinate-and-sort center run by Hunte, for a lot of disease to spread and then shoot out to five or six states over a three-day period.

And does this happen? Almost every day.

Remember the dogs are not being held at Hunte long enough for them to do much more than give the puppies a cursory look-over, quick grooming, and a first vaccination shot. Then it's out the door.

Everyone in the business understands that puppies "go rotten" with age.

To the credit of the British Kennel Club, their web site tells you what the Hunte Corporation and the AKC leave off:

Puppy farms are like factory farms where dogs are bred purely for profit. The dogs are normally bred too often, many are unhealthy, and often live in unbearably poor conditions. The puppies are generally removed from their mothers far too early and sent by rail or van to ‘dealers’ or pet shops in the big cities to satisfy the public’s demands. Many are severely traumatised by the transition, and some do not make it alive. Do not buy a puppy or a dog from these sources, as they will have had the worst possible start in life, and are far more likely to have health and temperament problems.

Many ‘puppy farm’ puppies come with complete pedigrees, however, a pedigree in itself, is not necessarily an indication of quality.

‘Dealers’ are agents for puppy farms. They buy puppies and sell them on, advertising them in newspapers and magazines, often masquerading as breeders. If an advert lists more than one breed of puppy for sale, then the person placing it is probably a dealer....

Does this mean the UK Kennel Club refuses to register puppy farm dogs? No. They too pocket the money. That said, they at least are not a cheering squad for puppy mill misery like the American Kennel Club is.

For the record, the Hunte Corporation's web site is co-branded with AKC on every single page. Check it out at the bottom of their home page.

The Hunte Corporation's web site also features a picture of a Border Terrier. Is Hunte puppy farming Border Terriers now? Apparently.

As the Hunte web site notes:

Hunte routinely offers over one hundred different breeds to pet retailers who understand the importance of providing a broad selection of breeds to families in search of the ideal companion.


Next hunting stats for AKC field trials. As I said I don't care if it is a big setter or field setter who wins the trials. But as you said my info is not correct here are some stats on the AKC site.

Im going to bed. I am worn out.
Kirsti, we all know that the 'puppy mill' trade is deplorable and your passion is commendable but please do not tar every breeder of dogs with the same brush. I am glad Christa has responded to all your comments because we needed someone to balance the view. This discussion is on it's 37th page and if you read it from the beginning you will see how passionate breeders of pedigree dogs are, how much they debate every finest point, involve themselves in health programmes, conformation issues, etc etc. They eat breath sleep dogs.
This Forum is titled "Did the Breed change or not since the sixties" and even though it has veered at times away from the subject it is essentially that which we are debating. The majority of members who have contributed to this debate have direct experience of the last 30/40/50 years while others have researched and their contributions have been immensely valuable.
As Christa said, too much time money and effort is invested in the breeding of both working and show dogs for breeders to then just dump them in the way you suggest. We in the UK also have breed rescue schemes and breeders take back and re-home unwanted dogs they have bred, certainly, those that breed for show. Yes we too have puppy farmers and our KC register dogs from these establishments but organisations like the RSPCA vet them and pass them for licence so until that stops and the County Councils start to close them down, they will carry on. We do not, to my knowledge have puppy auctions. I cannot believe your AKC profits from puppy mills, I believe that is propaganda. Do not believe all the propaganda you read. Much of it is true but much of it is exaggerated.
All the health programmes for pedigree dogs have been set up by show breeders. Without their contribution and participation there would be no DNA tests for known inherited diseases. The Animal Health Trust stores blood samples from our dogs for future reaserch as it becomes necessary, Most of us hip score our dogs and breed only from those with low scores, our dogs are clear of PRA and CLAD and we provide schemes for eye testing etc. So please take all this on board and re-evaluate and direct your criticism to those areas that deserve it.
"Why will they not find pet home in Ireland and yet manage to in the UK? "

Because working setters In Ireland are not bred to be pets and not a breed that is regarded in Ireland as suitable as a pet, while in the UK 99% of Irish Setters are bred for show and pet homes, and those that come into rescue have usually come from pet homes and were bred and sold as dogs suitable for pet homes
You need to get your head around the idea that in Ireland most setters are working setters, and the prevailing working gundog culture is that setters are outdoor dogs who live in kennels. People who want show and pet setters are a small minority, that is completely different from England where the Irish Setter is overwhelmingly a show and pet dog
Margaret, I am assuming your response is to Sue.........I have read so much about this subject today my poor senile old brain is frazzled!!!!!
If you read my post I said quite a few times that I know that all breeders are not puppy mill breeders. There would be no good breeders if they were.I also stated that I have seen beautiful IS that don't come out of puppy mills. Obviously several people on this board did not know what a puppy mill was because they asked. You yourself put in one of your posts that I still didn't answer what a puppy mill is. Please do not deny that AKC is not hooked up. AKC is a huge organization with much clout in the US.Although some people believe it is losing its clout. I no This has viered off the topic but I will answer the last few posts that were left reguarding this topic. Puppy mills are all across the US. Mainly in the midwest. This is where Christina lives. No harm against Christina but I find it hard to believe that she would not know how dentramental this is. AKC could never pay its bills with just good breeders registries. The AKC started in PA. with just a few sportsman who loved their dogs not for money. AKC tried to get more strict with the puppy mill and asked for at least 3 generations of lineage before they would register a litter. The puppy mills immediately said bye bye to AKC and started their own breed groups, ckc, ukc, etc. This is what was stamped on the regisrations. This happened I believe in the late 90's. AKC lost so much money they had to stop their demand. Many people don't want to face the truth but many are onto what is going on. Such a huge organization that is paying there bills on good breeders a lone would be entirely impossible. Again I will state I know that there are many many good breeders of various groups but again they still could not pay the way AKC has lived. They have a huge building on the swankiest Ave in NYC, Madison. There rent alone is almost 1 million dollars. This is NY the cost of living here is alnmost as high as London the salaries are huge. They have all types of events that demand more high salaries please be open at least. AKC is worried about this getting out and it has. This is why they are losing clout in the US. I can guarantee you within the next 10 years there will be a new breed club that pops up in the US they are getting way to much bad press. Without the puppy mills the farmers are claiming they cannot pay their bills. Without the puppy mills AKC cannot bring in the money they do!!!!!!. I am not so passionate about it. I just learned the facts from first hand experience and that is when pandoras box was open. I was just as ignorant as the rest. I was very disillusioned. I loved the dog show I brought my mom there on several occasions for her birthday. I watched the dogs get groomed. I took off of work to go. I was quite sad to learn all this. Again the breeders of show dogs have nothing to do with this. I worked with a show Sheep dog. The owners loved him to death. He lived beautifully. He was groomed by the best breeders. I see the show dogs when they are in NY. They actually come into dog runs with their owners and they are gorgeous. For you to think at one moment I am not aware of this that is wrong. I also know the expense behind breeding any kind of pedigree. I am aware that they have many health problems. I work with mix breeds also and for the most part the are healthier. I will answer to anyone else who commented on this topic and then end it. I am sorry if I veered off the subject. many people asked me what a puppy mill was. I did not mean to offend anyone and I did state I know therte are many good breeders. That was before christina got so offended. I did not mean to offend her either. These are simple facts.





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