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On discussing the intelligence of dogs on the bbc this morning (9th August) Dr Roger Mugford when pressed on which breed was the thickest, replied the Irish Setter was mentioned, is this right? what do other Irish Setter owners think.

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I have heard it said that Irish setters are intelligent but stubborn...in other words they consider what is expected of them and then do what they want. I wouldn't say they were thick. I've had six setters over 40 years and all have been intelligent. I taught one to ring the doorbell in one try and she did it then each time she wanted to come in the house. Unfortunately, she did not have a lot of patience and would ring and ring and ring...
mine would always observe an action (dog or human) and see how it's applied and replicate it. Everything from opening doors using doorknobs ( the doors are still gauged from my old setter), to throwing a ball with the head movement, all through the pointing birds...
Quick to learn,very inquisitive and very selective with what to obey- always look for a gain in the whole equation :)
Gennadi, Have you owned both show and working strains of IRS? I'm just interested as you are so against the show type I would be surprised if you had owned one to know if it's thick or not.
But Gennadi, what makes you think that one should determine the intelligence of a dog by the way he reacts in the field? there are many forms of intelligence in the canine behaviour.
I have just read about this discussion and we seem to be at the same old rubbish...hunting v showing. thanks Aleks for the video wonderful and from one so young. Gennadi intelligence doesn't always come from ''hunters'' you are a hunter, does that make you more intelligent than say me, no it doesn't...just because a dog is from hunting strains doesn't automatically make it intelligent it means it has instinct, instinct isn't intelligence. It is something that has been breed into it for generations it is partially automatic...
And this debate is, I think, about Irish Setters being thick...Roger Mugford has had Irish Setters for many years, if these dogs are so thick why does he still keep getting them, he seems to be some kind of ''gluten for punishment''.
These dogs are intelligent any one of us that has done obedience with them realise that they are very intelligent, they learn quickly, being in the show ring is a form of obedience. We ask them to do a job and they do it willingly and with that wonderful Irish ''zeal'' that they have in abundance, this is what people mistake as ''stupidity''.Shame on him..
Gennadi, I would recommend you read a book called Canine behavior by Bonnie V. Weaver... then you will be able to understand the many forms intelligence will take in dogs. Instinctive intelligence has a part in it but is NOT all.
not all irish setter owners want their dogs to hunt gennadi but that does not mean they are stupid
Every irish setter and every dog is as stupid as his owner. Every thick dog I know is thick because his owner have no idea what to do with the dogs.
You can only measure the intelligence of individuals , not of breeds and races.
If one threw around claims that a particular human breed (eg Americans, Poles, Chinese) was the most stupid , one would be accused of being racist
I have owned only two breeds of dog IRWS and springers) - some of the dogs I have owned were/are more intelligent (or more stupid) than others. And the intelligence of the springers is different from the intelligence of the setters
10 to 15 commands...well I think that is due to the owner and not the dog.
What you need to do is to find out what makes your own dog "click".
If you are unable to do that, well there is (quite correctly) stupidity involved.

The stupitity of the owner.
Well said, Ursula! Thanks for backing me up!
A hunting dog doen't only need inteligence, it needs instinct... Border collies are considere the most inteligent right? Tell me when you last saw a BC hunting... And yet everybody agrees they are smart!
Show dogs may have less instinct and probaly are less trained...They're owners have diferent uses for them, but they show intelligence in diferent ways... You might have a great agility or obedience dog, that does not hunt at all... Is this dog stupid?
I agree that a hunting breed such the IRS should be able to hunt, it's only logical, but they do not choose the way they are selected... It would not help if your show dog tried to hunt down toy dogs or pidgeons (if you're outside), the same way it does not help that you're dog freezes during huntig, as it would be desirable with a judge near it.
It all comes down to the selection of the dog, you cannot blame it for not doing something he was not selected to.




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