Exclusively Setters

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Like Dee, I have been thinking about a forum post for a while and did not quite know how to get started... but not wanting to add a different theme to the serious problem of CSNB (Congenital Stationary Night Blindness) I've decided to start a separate discussion.

Much as I am worried about this new eye condition, my fear is that CSNB may lead to a certain narrow minded view within the breed, causing breeders, owners and breed clubs to concentrate on this one 'new' problem alone. After finding out about CLAD, and with swedish scientists discovering a DNA test for the condition, I feel we maybe like to be a bit complacent saying 'didn't we do well' in eradicating CLAD from the breed... (Sorry, that sounds a bit nasty I know). We like to put our breed to the fore by saying how good we were in addressing this one problem, whilst at the same time our breed has no reason to be complacent about hip dysplasia - but there is still no code of ethics for breeders requiring that all breeding stock should be x-rayed...

I recently had my dog Glen scored under the BVA/KC scheme. When I got the score sheet back I also received the list of the Breed Mean Sores (at 01/11/2008):
What shocked me was that in last 20 years (roughly, as no exact time scale is given) a total of only 1038 Irish Setters have been through the scheme, compared to English Setters 2'730 and Gordon Setters 2'293. Judging by these numbers one would assume that English and Gordon Setters are by far the more popular of the setter breeds... Comparable to the number of Irish Setters scored is the Italian Spinone, both easily beaten by the Weimaraner with 1836 scored dogs.

I feel breed clubs should take a much stricter stance when it comes to obligatory hip scoring for ALL breeding stock! There are many dogs out there suffering pain due to hip dysplasia and every year Irish Setters are put to sleep due to this painful condition.

It has also been brought to my attention that a breed mean score calculated over 20 years, enclosing ALL dogs of that one breed since the beginning of scoring, is not a very good method for showing any kind of improvement over the years. It would make more sense to calculate the breed mean score for every year. It would then be possible to compare Breed Mean Scores every year.

Looking forward to hearing your views on the subject.

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yeah...In february I had 2 dogs done at 300e for x-rays and(if I remember good) 120e commission....more than 400e only for two dogs!OK,no problem to find this money-I did not enter my boys for two shows....
I have always despaired of these people that walk their puppies for miles on a lead, when you say something they just say that the vet and the breeder said that the dog needs at least 2-3 miles a day and these are just little babies. I have always told my puppy buyers NOT to give formal exercise until at least 6 months of age.
As far as the food is concerned it makes sense that too much protean isn't good for anything, but we have been lead to believe that the 'dry food' is completely 'balanced'
I think that the thing about ALL the litter being compared, this is the way to go, I said before that there are dogs out there with many offspring that have siblings that have horrendous hips. It is obviously a very complex mode of inheritance, you can hear the cries of, ''so why bother???''
Members interseted in genetics and genetic disorders may be intereste in the following website Canine Inherited Disorders Database www.upei.ca/~cidd/intro.htm
Thanks Kirsty, I found this very interesting and have added it to 'favourites'.
what do you all do when looking for a male for stud , only looking at his score or also the lines behind and , if xrayed , what the litter brothers and sisters have?
overhere i see , in the gordons , that they only look , not everyone , at the dog they wanted to use but not to the brothers /sisters and lines behind , we see so often that A x A gives C/D hips .
also PRA is now spotted in the Gordons
just curious
In my first litter I did the very bad mistake only looking at the males hips. Bad mistake! Other litter I was looking very much on the whole litter or those of his sisters and brothers who was x-rayed. Was also looking at his parents and their previous litters. The hard thing here in Sweden is that not so many dogs are x-rayed and even if some of them are they still have siblings who aren´t. I have done a lot of searching on the Kennelclubs database and found out that in some litters NOT a single on is X-rayed. Just wonder why? Maybe some are X-rayed but the plates are not sent in to kennelclub, that is my conclusion.
I can honestly say that EVERY one of my breeding that has been X-rayed, has got the results officially registered at the kennelclub.
Unfortunatly I find it difficult motivating most pet-owners to X-ray.

The ones that want to compete in for instance agility and obedience will X-ray, but then they are few and far between.
Yes I realise adding the X-ray-cost on top of the puppy-cost would perhaps make more owners more inclined to X-ray, so that is a way to go.

Booking all puppies of one litter in at the vet at the same time (as I tried one year) was no success. The ones that turned up would have X-rayed their dogs anyhow. So all I ended up with was having to cancel a lot of booked X-ray times.
Most peoples excuse is the fact that the dog has to be sedated...they all seem to have come across horror stories of dogs not waking up again. And if they feel their dog is moving ok, jumping about and displays no signs of anything being wrong...well they lack the motiovation for X-raying a dog that is not going to be used for breeding anyhow.
I agree with what you say,Camilla. Only sometimes I think passing on the information via the breed clubs is just not enough. The information re HD has been there for all to see for many years now. But as long as there is no 'code of ethics' that practically forces breeders to x-ray their dogs, then there will always be too many people saying 'if he moves right, he can't have a problem'... until they see him no longer moving at 6-8 years due to arthritic pain caused by HD... And here I'm only talking of the individual dog, not his progeny. As you say, looking at progeny and siblings would be even more important.

Other breeds can do it so why can't we??? Look at Gordon Setters in the UK - they seem to have a system that works. Not many litters are advertised without the hip score of both parents being published.

Yes, it would certainly be great if whole litters where scored but I think to start with at least ALL BREEDING STOCK must be scored.
From: http://offa.org/hipstatbreed.html

Hip xrays for 10,471 Irish Setters have been evaluated by OFA, with 8.6 % dysplastic and 12.2 % excellent. This page http://offa.org/hipstatbreed.html?view=2 shows the change in those two categories from 1980 to 2004. There has been a 45.9% reduction in the incidence of hip dysplasia in the Irish Setter hip submissions to OFA and a 168.6% increase in the number of OFA excellent hips in the breed. Of course these figures do not include hip xrays that were not submitted to OFA, but failures are showing up in the database so people are submitting them. One conclusion that can be drawn from the above figures is the number of OFA Excellents have increased significantly and dramatically over the past 23 years - no doubt the majority of those xrays get submitted.

Wendy, I have checked this link, and I must say that the figures do not relate to Scandinavian figures.
But then it is difficult comparing one "reading-system" to another. I find it strange that the scores should be so much better in for instance Canada.
How does the system relate to the A, B, C etc?
In fact I seem to remember Susan once publishing a chart so that we were able to compare. Time for a rerun of that chart Susan?
See the bottom of this page for the comparison chart for various hip registries:


Thanks Wendy, it is an informative site.
Unfortunately the comparison chart comparing FCI letters to BVA figures is not correct. Maybe it is correct when comparing OFA to FCI or OFA to BVA, but not both...




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