The showbred Irish setter is under fire. In his recently published book ‘The Irish Red Setter’, Raymond O’Dwyer states they “lack the conformation of a galloping dog that is clearly required of a setter”.
According to the author, chairman of the Irish Red Setter Club so motherclub of all FCI-countries, responsible for the standard in most of the world, differences in colour, size, conformation, energy and mental attitudes between showbred Irish setters in the English speaking world and workers/duals are “enormous”. He warns for the effect when this policy is continued.
What is your opinion? Is the showbred animal “just a red dog” and not an Irish setter anymore, like the book suggests?
Very,very interesting discussion,a little bit too spread out.Iagree with Susan Stone in most of aspects.The main and primary question was:Are the showbred irish different from their other relatives???????????????????
I would like to hear from somebody what is meant by "showbread"?More and more I have heard lately for the expression SHOWDOG!
What kind of a dog it is please?
Vojna brings the topic back to roots by asking: are showbred Irish setters different from their relatives?
There is one difference nearly everybody agrees on: the way an Irish setter is able to work like the Irish working style describes.
All other differences are nearly not discussed. Like colour, size, conformation, energy, mental attitudes. And "lacking the conformation of a galloping dog", caused in the eyes of the author by under more exaggerations in angulations.
Back tot Vojnna's question. The book portrays the showdog in many cultures (not dual cultures) as a result of lack of knowledge of what is required of a working dog. So in a nutshell a misinterpretation of the standard.
One of the causes is according to the author that many breeders have more attention for their wallets than for the welfare of their breed. Your opinions?
When there is money (and emotion) involved, lots of people will move their ethical borders. But that does not mean that this applies ONLY to breeder of show-setters.
I hope you are not trying to say so Henk?
Henk Wrote "are showbred Irish setters different from their relatives?"
They are so different that (in my mind at least) the show and working dogs are different breeds. The complication arises because everybody likes to think that their type of dog is the true Irish Setter. Naturally those claiming the true Irish are anything other than 100% field stock are sadly mistaken and completely delusional ;-))
Right at the beginning, when this discussion was started, as the very first reply, I wrote that show and field-setters were miles appart.
What I object to in this discussion is the word TRUE.
Yes, all irish setters were used for hunting in the beginning. Like for instance all german shephards once were used for herding. Are you trying to tell me that any german shephard not used for herding is no longer a german shephard? Any poodle no longer used for retrieving watergame is no longer a poodle?
And any new or other purpose/use found for breeds does not automatically mean that they are no longer part of the breed.
If we were to discuss breeds of dogs in that way, we have but a handfull of breeds left in this world.
They are all irish setters!
And yes, they look differant, they have differant temperament.
But just look around you....
People are very differant too, yet when do we stop calling them people? And where are the TRUE people?
(lacking a lot of the skills my ancestors had, and probably most of their stamina...I am probably taller and fatter...yet still considered human) :-)
Why is it that when discussing this theme we always end with two camps: 'The Show Dummies' versus 'The Intelligent Workers'???
Surely there are problematical aspects in both 'fields' that need adressing: not all is perfect in the world of the working irish nor in predominantly show bred lines. But rather than split the breed even more it should be possible to acknowledge the differences and work together, hereby appreciating the qualities of the other 'type' whilst at the same time seeing the defaults in one's own...
In the words of mr O'Dwyer a further split would be "lamentable". (pp 161).
In his Introduction he states after memorizing last Irish book on Irish setters was from colonel Millner (83 years ago): "books on the breed since that time have concentrated on the show aspects of the breed without dealing adequately with the function that gave rise to the physical form of the breed."
So students of the breed have missed lessons from the originators. For those of us who want to explore some of what the author calls his "journey of learning", there is lots to enjoy in 'The Irish Red Setter' whether or not you agree. So lots to discuss....
Its a pity that more responders take his arguments or opinions personnally. I am surprised to see that a majority of showbreeders dont come up with arguments challenging O'Dwyer saying "It is my belief that todays show setters are caricatures of their forebears" (pp 3), detailing exactly what he means.
It is not fair to bring it back to what Susans calls 'Show Dummies' and 'Intelligent Workers'. If only because after 83 years of silence from Irish sources, its logical that some issues arise when -at last- the Irish speak up. But I do share Susans note "acknowledge the differences and work together".
A lot of 'working knowledge' could enrich conformation circles - like for example the logic of the right conformation for galloping. That must be -certainly because O'Dwyers view was before done by other experts like Rasbridge and Nagle- of concern to showring-fanciers. You don't want to rob a breed from its wheels do you?
Whatever your opinion might be, future will not be the same like it was in last 83 years without a view from Ireland..... It seems this time, the Irish have time on their side where it concerns Irish setters. No longer a country of poverty belittled by ex-colonial powers asks in humility for attention, but a proud nation called a Celtic Tiger claims a cultural heritage.
Henk, its a bit dificult not to take this personally if the heading is "Are showbred red setters ‘just red dogs, not setters’? And then trying to point out that in fact no questionmark is needed.
On the other hand I dont feel upset about you or any other FT-person attacking my type of irish setter. I still think there is room for them all and that I try to follow what I (personally) consider to be the breed-standard. And try to stay in the middle-path...and avoid the extremes on either side.
I would no more mate a FT-setter with one of my bitches as I would an extreme showdog.
Well we do discuss opinions in the first Irish book on Irish setters since 83 years not persons.
Mr O'Dwyer writes (pp 3): "Should your interest lie in the showworld, I hope my concerns with exaggeration, lumber and the move away from true type will affect your thinking and your eye" and ...."If you are interested in all aspects of the breed, I hope to keep you engaged."
As for personal, everyone can draw its own conclusions by reading all posts in this topic by the way thanks for all joining especially Rob. I've read answers, listed all arguments and on that basis conclude that the author of 'The Irish Red Setter" makes a few engaging points.
If you will or will not 'back these points', is up to you ofcourse.
All setters and other breeds can not be show dogs---but what is the MUST?
Every dog shown must be as close as possible to the breed sandard ,as there is no perfect dog,but
then among them there are those who are more or less showy.Once upon the time the beautiful girls could be actresses only,,now they must have talent first-a little bit different by dogs-first the standard like appearence allover,the size,the difference between the male and female,the expression etc.,etc.Then comes the way of showing,the game in the ring,the attractive behaviour,but nothing without the real type,good conformation,proper way of moving/how many are there with "hackney",with too high carried tails ,not to mention hard expressions, who still are winning as they and their handlers know to SHOW!
Is that right?I am not sure.Please tell your opinion dear colleagues!
With best wishes Vojna
I am fairly new to the Irish Setter show scene but have been a faithful admirer at dog shows since 1993.I was totally amazed when attending a show Down Under as I gazed upon a working Irish Setter (Irish bloodlines),several UK/European lines and then heavily coated,light in colour dogs that had been purely bred for glamour and the show ring.Now firsty I will state that each of the exhibitors thinks their dogs are correct and this is their perogative.
My first thought was how can any breed have such a difference in head shape,colour,amount of coat and most importantly movement.Even facially the expressions varied dramatically some having the kind expression and others with harsher exprssions. As the dogs moved around the ring not all could cover ground the way one would expect from a working dog.As the judge made their decision I was surprised as the dogs I felt were furthest from the standard were placed.
I appreciate every dog has their good and bad points but are we all guilty Judges included for moving away from the standard and forgetting the true purpose of the beautiful Irish Setter thinking only of coat,glamour and forgetting movement in some parts of the world.
I admire many breeders for the stunning and true to type dogs that are bred and they are to be congratulated.My preference is the UK/European bloodlines,however,I am a huge fan of 1 or 2 of the American line dogs here down under.
My reply may not have the finesse of the more experienced Setter enthusiasts but the Irish Setter is most definately a fascinating breed to be involved with.