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.
Im not going to be defensive on this one, well ill try not to be.
Im on my 6th generation Irish Setter, all of them except one i have bought abroad. My first one when i was 22 and living in Stuttgart germany, he lived to 16 went thru quarenteen here in the UK and was DEF not THICK.
The 2 i have now are Spanish born and bred, very BIG and sooo instinctive with lots of hunting traits still bred in them as well as being of show looking quality. Also NOT THICK.
Now the only Irish i bought in England was sired from Rachel Shaw's Crufts 97 winner Casper Intrepid.
No instinct No Brains just sheer BEAUTY. he had undershot jaw and a slight arched back, this didnt bother me, what bothered me was he died at 5 from torsion.
So for me in the future i will always go abroad for my irish.
In my expirience and this is my opinion the show ring in the UK has killed the brains from the Irish.
Norwood Green Halifax
Roger Mugford actually owned two Irish Setters - Sam and Pollo which he used - like I do with mine - in behaviour modification programmes.
Why there is a need to compare breeds of dogs is beyond me - it is complete and utter nonsense!
How can anyone possibly say one breed is more intelligent than another when dogs are as individual as we are!
They have been bred for generations to carry out specific tasks - some breeds use their sight more than their sense of smell and for others their sense of smell is more important than their sight for the job they were designed to do.
I work with all breeds of dogs and their owners, and in the majority of cases, it's the owners skills and knowledge
(or lack of) which finally makes or breaks a dog.
the IS's greatest achievement was fooling the world that it was daft. Mine refused to fetch a stick so my friends declared her stupid they abandoned their hotdogs on there table and went to try again - so whilst they were gone she ate their hotdog - and they called her dumb!
I am always having people say to me "beautiful dog but mad as a hatter, stupid, scatty and untrainable aren't they"? I at first use to get very defensive that people thought they could insult my dog so openly but now I retort with "oh do you own one then "? . Of course 99% of the time the answer is no and then I gratiously bore them to tears what my Reuben is really like and I bet they wished they never spoke, haha...
I really don't know myself what makes a dog intelligent or thick and having never owned a dog prior to Reuben I can't compare him to anything. I do know that out of most of the dogs I know he is one of the best behaved and coming along nicely with his training. However i did not want a Robot pet or a fixated/ball obsessed Collie (sorry if insulting collies but I am referring only to what I see in my area) as I wanted a loving companion who would behave nicely, respect me and make me laugh a lot. I do agree that dogs are individuals and it is the owners knowledge/training/skills etc which to an certain extent shape that particular dog.
I also think that due to the Irish Setters lovely doey eyes, floppy ears and smiley faces (esp when running) they can be perceived as stupid as the do look so daft!
Wilful yes, thick not...
I have owned Irish Setter all my life and they are some of the most intelligent dogs I have ever been around. I think people may interperate stubborness and being opinionated as stupidity. There is nothing stupid about a dog who knows how to outsmart their owner ;) My parent's 11 year od female will lay on the couch with one eye cracked within view of the kitchen waiting for someone to look over, think she is asleep and walk out of the room long enough for her to snag treats off the counter!! That's not a stupid dog. There was a lot of harm done to the breed in the US after the movie Big Red and I think uneducated people owning this wonderful breed of dog have given it a bad name. I currently have a 17 week old female and she can already sit, come, lay down, stand(stack), "down"(get down off counter, person, furniture etc.) among other things. However, she does know exactly how far I have to be to reach her and reinforce a command before she actually HAS to listen ;) That's not stupidity!! It's the people who do not train their Setter and then let them run loose that are stupid!
I didn't enter into this 'discussion' back in August because I couldn't believe that Gennadi was being serious.....such a narrow viewpoint, must be a wind up merchant I thought! So sad that someone who owns our lovely breed is so critical of it....somewhat ironic that. Has he never heard of Phyllis Pollards 2 full champions or Wendy Morley's? all these dogs were show dogs but were also field qualified...just because people who own show dogs don't choose to train or use their dogs in the field does not mean that they don't have the ability to hunt out birds & sett.
I can't believe that he totally writes off IRWS as a breed because of something he has seen. Similiarly I cannot believe that Steve3dreams has written off the irish setter breed in the UK as unhealthy because he had one dog who died of torsion.
Presumably all of us who visit this site do so because we love 1 or more of the setter breeds...so why decry them on here, that's really shooting ourselves in the foot!
As for the thing which started this debate off...dog's intelligence, I totally concur with Catherine Carter who has several times tried to direct people to reading the research on this subject....science not anecdotes...read the book she recommends.
Personally I prefer Barbara Gladwish's approach to setters & setter people, she clearly adores her 'boys' & enjoys them out in the muddy woods as much as she does training them for their KC certificates & their gundog training....she also loves everyone else who loves setters & that is why she has put in so much effort into getting us all together at Crufts...so Gennadi you have your opinion & attitude & Barbara has hers.....I know which I prefer!!! I look forward to meeting all who truly love our noble breed at Crufts.