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Hi all,

we read with sadness the news that the English setter is facing extinction (234 new puppies registered in the kennel club last year).. Does anybody knows what is the situation for IS and Gordon setters (i.e. how many puppies are typically registered in the KC in these years)?

I am just wondering for personal curiosity, since we dont see many of these wonderful dogs around.. :(

best, silvia

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Margaret, it is VERY hard, VERY disheartening - my English Setters are all UK lines but most here now are a combination of US & Australian lines.   I prefer the "English" English Setter & this makes it almost impossible to find a suitable stud dog for my girls.  Importing a "live" dog from the UK would be my first preference, but until I win Lotto that plan is on indefinite hold LOL!   Importing frozen semen is the only practical choice - I am planning on this - hopefully this year.   Luckily there is a simply SUPER vet 75km away who is a canine reproduction specialist - she provided me with my litter of 5 "frozen' IS babies (God bless her & Rosie Dudley!).  I am keeping some straws I froze many years ago from a dog I bred for the day when the inevitable abyss opens up one inch from my toes...

Are the ES becoming very inbred?  Actually, not really, as we've had to be very careful with what matings we do here - we're all conscious of the pitfalls, believe me!   In my lines there simply isn't the choice unless I use an outcross that will be a mostly US line. BUT I don't want to!!! 

The problem being that us older breeders are dying out - I'm nearly 67 (ouch!)  - & the younger exhibitors really don't go for English Setters now - it's all glamour, show wins, & the breed isn't "fashionable" plus they're not really interested in breeding to preserve the breed (yes I know it's a generalisation, but it's true)

Should any English Setter breeder in the Northern Hemisphere feel like making a spermatic donation to our Kiwi genepool I'd be eternally grateful - let me know & I'll send you my vet's address...

I am so saddened by this... my beautiful breed is in danger in it's own native country...

ES numbers have dropped dramatically in Australia since i got into the breed in 2002, with few imports of recent times.  In addition, they are all american lines and even the older type from the 80s has disappeared...

The cost of importing to Australia and NZ is rediculous, combined with new regulations mean it's even more difficult and time consuming.

With regards to those of us in the UK, does anyone know the costs involved in extracting semen from our dogs, having it frozen and exported to those countries that need our bloodlines?

I would also add that, despite what the newspapers stated, I think there is demand for puppies, there just seems to be an increase in bitches missing or only boy pups being born.  I wonder if it is because there is so much importance put upon only using a stud dog that is below the average hip score or is a top winner in the show ring, our gene pool is becoming diminished.  If a dogs hips were even and not too much higher than the 18 breed standard, and he was a sound mover, good temperament etc., I would certainly use him rather than a top winner or low scoring dog that was either too close to the bitches lines or just didn't do anything for me.

I get, on average, 3-5 calls or emails a week with people looking for ES pups, that increased to those numbers per day once the news broke.  The demand is there, it's the pups that aren't.  The media would have us believe that the breed is out of favour, but I beg to differ.

I think that some of the breeders of ES in the UK are not interested in importing to Australia/NZ, and the semen thing even more difficult as I understand it's not the "done" thing in the UK? or wasnt until recently.

A few years ago when I was considering importing in the future, I contacted several breeders and none of them responded.  I am now in contact with a few more thanks to being persistent and also thanks to social networking sites, but now I myself face the dilemma of the expense of importing, coupled with the lack of lines in Australia meaning I'd likely have to later import semen just to have the line I import survive...  I don't want to mix lines with the current US type lines in Australia, so I'd be cutting back even further my choices in the southern hemisphere. I think that this has been the case for many people and they have simply gotten out of the breed or moved onto another breed, perhaps more numerical without the expense.

Even myself after having two ES who have been rife with health issues moved onto another breed which is more numerical and is "doing things" in Australia. More breeders, more dogs coming in etc.  I love ES, but I'm ready to face the fact that unless I win the lotto, I may never have that "english line" I so desperately desire. 

Anyone down here want to start a "rescue the ES" fund???  Only half joking...

I fear that sooner rather than later it will be necessary for breeders of the English type to look elsewhere so as to widen the gene pool. It does not have to be the US type, there are many other english setters of different breed lines if the breeders are willing to change their views. Maybe as in all other breeds we need to look at the breed population rather than at the individual show winner. English Setters are obviously very inbred and the lack of puppies plus other health issues are signs that should be taken seriously.

Litter size in English Setters has always been way below the average litter size that would be expected of a dog this size. Looking at the breed's origin from very close matings maybe breeding policies should be revised.

Do you mean NZ/Aust breeders of the UK type, Susan?  Have you any suggestions as to which other lines we should be looking at?

Actually no, I was not primarily thinking of NZ/Aust breeders. I was thinking more of the breeders in the UK but obviously the same goes for all limited gene pools worldwide.

Margaret mentioned the breeding policy of the IRWS in Ireland, they are planning an outcross. I do not think really think the English Setters (or the Irish Reds for that matter) actually need a complete outcross but I am sure they would benefit from a lowering of the COI.

I'm currently looking into what is involved and the costs of extracting semen and importing it.  I will happily share the information I glean with everyone so that people can then decide whether it is financially viable for them to take that route in order to ensure the survival of the ES as we know it.

I know there are some breeders in the UK that already freeze semen of their dogs, but no-one seems to want to talk about it for some reason.

Looking around the show ring there are so many different lines that would compliment each other, but many of the breeders here just want to stick to the same old lines, if and when I start breeding again I shall go right out so that any pups of mine have a real mixture of lines, then do the same again.  I won't be looking at top winning dogs unless I specifically like the dog and think my lines would benefit from the genes.   So long as the attributes of sire and bitch compliment each other then I think that is the healthiest option to take.

I have costed sending semen several times ,but it worked out more expensive and more time consuming  than exporting a puppy. But I'm  a day's travel  from the nearest place that will collect semen and even further  from international airports. If you can find a setter breeder who is close to a collection place and an international airport , it would be more feasible

I was initially shocked when I received a reply re my enquiry this morning, Margaret. Here are the prices I was quoted for sending to NZ for example:

The prices are as follows:
Semen collection, evaluation and freezing: £310
Export licence £130
Shipper return £610 (or half that if shared).
 
I suppose, when you compare it to a stud fee, or the cost of importing a dog, it is probably very competitive and, if anyone wanted to use my dogs frozen sperm then I would certainly go ahead if they were happy with the costs involved.
 
If my boy proved to be an influential sire then I would possibly go down that route myself to store for future use as I don't think the £300 odd is that expensive, I would have to find out about storage costs but think it would probably be very reasonable and a bonus to some breeders who have a dog that is maybe getting on in years and wants the opportunity to have a litter sired by him at a later date.
 
I was very impressed at the speed in which my enquiry was answered and how helpful the lady in question was.

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