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In the effort to produce healthy dogs, we accept a regime of testing and selection on health issues and acknowledge that breeding closely related dogs concentrates their genes - the bad along with the good.

To get to the pitch where the COI indicates a high percentage of inbreeding and a threat to the future of the breed, outcrossing or crossbreeding with another breed or breeds is a remedy that is recommended.

How much will this alter 'Type' and does it matter anyway?

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As I type my reply, seventy members have viewed this and not one has replied, I think you can safely say that 'Type' does matter to most breeders who show.

I personally have a 'type' of IS that I would choose above others, but if I could get a similar 'type' who was from healthier stock with a low COI then I would definitely buy my puppy from that breeder.

I think puppy buyers are becoming a lot more savvy with all the information available on the net and it's very easy to visit the KC website and check the background of any dog registered.

I really don't like the idea of crossbreeding IS ( it has been done in the past with Afghans) but outcrossing for healthier dogs is sensible and I don't think the 'type' has to alter too much if more effort was put into choosing the stud dog to compliment the bitch rather than just using the latest over used show champions.

I prefer healthy type over kennel type. I don't get the curly coat fashion. I am also envious of the information UK companion owners have at their finger tips.


"Who crossbred IS with Afghans?"  I don't know for sure, I can only go on what other members have said on ES  but apparently years ago some Afghan was introduced.  Looking at dogs from some lines I am inclined to believe it.

I have seen litters advertised on a breeders website as 'accidental matings' between the two breeds.




Tracy, pedigrees are only a list of names.  Looking at the dogs in question is what brought the notion to the fore.  It was said - without proof that Afghans were introduced in Irish Setters post WW2 in order to enhance the coat and together with a coat of Afghan proportions it also introduced an Afghan tyoe head and ring tail.  Now I have not seen an example myself, but have seen pictures.  If you have " This is the Irish Setter" by Joan MacDonald Brearley, you can see pictures on page 147 and 453 for example. It has been noticed that certain imports from the US and Canada have a different type of head and coat from local Irish Setters. I'm not going to fret over this, but if true, it does illustrate that if you cross two breeds you will get unexpected/undesired consequences.

Crossbreeding does not just deliver the genes you want - it also contributes those you don't want!

Don't think so Sue, My scanner is playing up and any fiddling with it crashes my computer - like last week!!!  Sorry.

When discussing type we need to define what type is because a lot of people get it mixed up. Breed type is what seperates an Irish Setter from an Irish Red and White,from an English Setter etc. Kennel type is the difference betwwen the Wendover's and the Brackenfield's, the Shannonlee's from the Coolfin's and so on. Breed type is defined by the breed standard, kennel type by personal preference. In red and whites a few years ago it was once easy to see who bred what dogs without looking at a catalogue by their kennel type, litter mates looked alike and when choosing a stud dog or a puppy life was easier cos you went with the type you liked. Nowadays you would be lucky to get two dogs in a class that look anything like each other. Breeding for low COI only can only make this worse.


I realise there are IRWS breeders whose priority is to perpetuate their breed type. Unfortunately , continuing to inbreed over further generations to maintain that type will inevitably lead to health and genetic problems . If there isnt some planned reduction of COIs or use of outcrossing, we could find the breed disappearing in the UK within 10-20 years. Using a less related dog, or outcrossing to a working red Irish Setter,  might change type slightly  in the first  generation, but it isnt difficult to breed back to desired type in IRWS, or even improving on it,  within 2 to 3 generations. If that mean better health and fewer genetic problems  in the longer term , or even the survival of the breed in the UK, that should surely be the priority?

Personally, I am glad to see some variation in type, not only in the show ring, but even in a single litter.  It  is evidence of some genetic heterogeneity, which is healthy. Seeing ten identical puppies in a litter who are clones of  a much used sire, and dozens of half siblings  , would worry me a lot more!

I agree with you Margaret, a huge proportion of the litters bred are sired by the same stud dogs over and over again. 

Chosen, I am sure, more because of their winning in the show ring than for the health benefits to the puppies sired by them!

I think the answer lies in the hands of the buyers as well as the breeders but unfortunately many potential pet dog owners like to see loads of show champions in their puppy's pedigree even if the same names are repeated over and over in five generations.  You only have to look on the puppies for sale lists to see that the dogs with most champions in their pedigree or sired by the latest Sh.Ch. sell faster than the probably equally well bred and healthier pups sired by a dog who compliments the bitch but is not the latest, show winning stud dog.






Dogs who are recently made up to Sh.Ch. status always become the most desired stud dogs and that is a fact.

Check out the number of litters sired by Sh.Ch. stud dogs on the KC records.

The same dogs names come up over and over again.  Were these dogs really only used soley to compliment all these hundreds of bitches?

How many breeders who's goal is to produce their own Sh.Ch. would use a lesser known stud dog no matter how healthy and good looking he was if given the opportunity to use a well known Sh.Ch. stud from a glittering background even if this dog came from lines known to have more health problems than the lesser known dog?

Not many I think!






Torie, the answer to your last paragraph ref breeders using a lesser known stud do is to visit the KC Breed Record Supplement. You will be pleasantly surprised. My own "Popular Sire" was fathered by a dog who never even won a RCC. Facts need to back up sweeping statements. Please......do you have facts. I will be the first to agree with you if you do.
The other point I would like to clarify is ref your comment that breeders flock to newly made up ShChs. Well as most gundog breeds are slow maturers and seldom get made up before they are 3 or 4 years old you will find that many have already been used, possibly many times, before even their 1st CC. The other point I would like to make is there are males who will only produce to certain lines and there are males who produce across the board. ShCh Kerryfair Night Fever was a great example of such a sire. He was an outcross himself.

I know Kerryfair Night Fever was a outcross which proves a point.  Breeders don't have to closely linebreed or use the most popular stud dogs to breed champions which after all is what most breeders want to achieve.

Even your own boy didn't come from a Sh.Ch. and look how well he has done!

So popular Sh.Ch.dogs are not over used in your opinion Eva, even though the records show hundred's of litters sired by a handful of studs.




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