Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

Hello everybody!
First of all thank you for this great site. As I see here is so many experienced breeders, so I would really like to hear your opinion about mixing american and english type in breeding. We must admit that there is different types of Irish setters (FT, American, English) and specially in England they really are worried about keeping the type at the same time for 7 years our special show judges were from England and american type setters usually get very high places (this year best bitch, dogs champion class winner etc). Our entry is about 80 Irish setters and most of them English type and not bad quality. So, at least here and already in Sweden and Finland I see people are mixing two different types and are more open to new things!

best regards,


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A couple things here. First, I hope we can keep this discussion civilized. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I would hope we could respect differences of opinion. If someone has a strong preference either way, that shouldn't be held against them and it shouldn't necessarily be a mandate for others to try and change their mind. I don't want to have to put anyone on double secret probation! :-)

Seriously, I am still curious on the differences between American and English. For those of you who are passionate about this, could you post photos of each and tell why you like or prefer one over another? Thanks!

I like english type, and one reason for that is their heads. On the photo is my dog Ruudi, whose father is from England and mother from Sweden. Look at his ears, how low set and ears are so long that there is no need to keep long hair on them. Expression, he can get everything with that, also eyebrows and he moves them and then you cant imagine what expressions he can have. You can really see the stop and head is parallel. I dont have american type dogs at home and I am afraid to use other photos, but I know in America irish setters have also nice head, but mostly their ears are shorter and ears set much higher, so when they listen something they are almost in the middle of the head. Eyes are much more far fom each other and the expression is so different, often they dont have enough stop and the head is not parallel.

I have mixed 2 types and reason was that I hoped to get better character from American lines. American type is stronger in character, they are faster, not so depending on their owners. I have owned 4 english type irish setters and only one of them is really happy, full of energy, love shows, with others, they always run after me in show ring and I have to hurry them up. They are so calm an easy dogs but this is not an Irish setter in my eyes! When I took my first Irish setter 13 years ago, I was told how much energy they have and it is not easy dog to have. Now in Estonia it is very popular breed, just because he is good dog to have at home, these are not hunting dogs, they are interested in birds, but not fast enough for hunting, after 3 year, also not enough energy!!
With this mix, we had, Jente had 7 puppies and they all have super character, when I read breed standard then every word in it is about them. I am very happy I found active homes for them. They are healthy, with super character, heads are mixed.
About movement. OK, you all must admit UK type has very bad movement too often (but it might be that dogs dont get enough exercise and are too fat). ALways when judges from UK come to judge here they mention that our dogs have very good movement and it is because we still have our Field Trial lines behind our dogs. I believe US is that big that also there is different movements. But again when they are trimmed and presented here in English way then judges prefer their movement, usually they have much more power and energy in movement. So movement can be different, but here I have seen really bad movents in both type and also really good movement in both type.

What makes these two types more different is the way we show and trim them. About tail. There is too many english type setters who carrie their tail too high, so we even cant say it is common to american lines. Its a problem everywhere.

OK, have to go. We take our dogs and drive to south Estonia and hopefully will have nice weekend
Gene, the easiest way for you to understand the differance between the english and the american type of setter (and at the same time not pointing finger at specific dogs) is to look at some of the show photographs on this site. Pick like two american breeders and look at the stacked dogs, then repeat the exercise with two breeders from the UK or most other places in Europe. Even a person not experianced in the show-world will be able to notice that there is a marked differance.
Note that I am ONLY talking about differance, nothing else :-)
Wow, talk about opening a can or worms here. We all love our Irish Setters whether they have the best stops or the most angled rears, or the biggest forechest. But I'd like to think we all can read a "standard" and try as best we can to breed a dog as close to the standard that we can.

I would agree that the Irish around the world do have different looks, but the personalities seem to still be the rollicking, devil may care Irishman, coat is still red, eyes still brown, tail still on the rear.

The show stack as seen in the pictures from the different countries is just that. A different kind of stack is used everywhere. We in the States do tend to want our Irish Setters to be very elegant. Elegant can still hunt, and I bet if one of my dogs went to your country and was groomed or not groomed to your style and stacked to your style he'd still be a winner. Same with your's here.

In the United States we do seem to be in love with as much coat as we can grow, doesn't mean our dogs structure isn't correct under all that coat. Our dogs can hunt, but to be honest, most of us don't live in area's that we can hunt or we don't care to even do it. I know I don't care to hunt with my dogs.

I love checking out all the websites I've seen off this site, and I must say I've seen some foreign dogs I'd love to take home, or breed to. Crossing the borders to breed to another country would interest me very much.

JMHO.............Loma and Red Friends, USA
Thats brave of you Loma, to post at last a picture. Hopefully you understand the critics here, its from the Irish (so: FCI) standard angle. I don't mind being criticised when my dogs are in, as long as there are arguments. So thats what I am providing, hoping for a good discussion.

First impression: far too big. Florence Nagle (in: "Mission Accomplished"): "I am wondering what size the Irish setter is coming to in America. They are rapidly catching up with the Irish Wolfhound".

The FCI-standard on height: Size (Height)
Desirable height at withers :
Males 23 ins. (58 cm) to 26.5 ins. (67 cm)
Females 21.5 ins. (55 cm) to 24.5 ins. (62 cm)

Second impression: far too much coat.

FCI standard:

Hair : on head, front of legs and tips of ears short and fine; on other parts of body and legs of moderate length, flat, and as free as possible from curl or wave. Feather on upper portion of ears long and silky, on back of fore and hind legs long and fine; fair amount of hair on belly, forming a fringe, which may extend to chest and throat. Feet well feathered between toes. Tail having a fringe of moderately long hair, decreasing in length as it approaches the point. All feathering straight and flat.

Third impression: angulations back not ok.

FCI standard: Hind Legs : Long and muscular from hip to hock, from hock to ground short and strong.

Fourth impression: ears far too long.

FCI standard: Ears : Of moderate size, fine in texture, set low and well back; hanging in a neat fold close to the head.

General impression: a dog not fit for a days work, a luxury dog not a sporting one.

FCI standard: General Appearance : Racy and athletic,full of quality, kindly in expression. Balanced and in proportion.

Working angle: probably not fit to do the job.


The Irish Red Setter Club was established in 1882 to promote the Breed. The club issued the Breed Standard in 1886, and has organised field trials and shows to set the Standard for the Breed since that time. In 1998 the club published the Working Style for the Breed. The Standard and Working Style together describes the physical form and working ability of the Breed.
The Irish Red Setter is a hardy, healthy, intelligent dog, possessed of excellent working ability and great stamina.

Just my opinion and the standard covering half of the world, FCI.

Henk ten Klooster.
OK so Loma posted an American Bred Irish Setter, which I think is a spectacular looking dog by the way. But, I am far from any type of critic, just a passionate Irish Setter fan. One of the many things am in awe of about this site is the collective knowledge about the breed. If someone could post an English bred Irish Setter, that would be great.

One thing that I do think is great about Europe is the versatility of the dogs. Sounds like for some shows it is a requirement to have some level of FT experience. Plus, it seems like a lot of shows are outdoors. Th only shows I have been to here have been indoors. I could be wrong, because I don't know a lot of Irish Setter people and most of those are rescue owners. But those I do know that do shows or agility, most all do one or the other, not both.

I feel like we are debating on who is the most beautiful supermodel. I don't know about my dogs angulation or working habits, but I know 99.9% of the people we come in contact with make some sort of comment on how beautiful or elegant they look, even if their coat is not combed out and they haven't had a bath in a while. Even rescue dogs like the ones in my profile photo get a lot of positive comments, even though they are not show quality like my current two, who have spent time in the ring.
Most of the shows here in Ireland are outdoors(in all weathers!!: this year wetter than usual!!) But we are a hardy bunch!! As to what we think of our setters looks! Well at the end of the day the personality is still very important and for the companion dog they are one of the best breeds in the world! And I am not biased at all!!! I could not be without my red heads!!
My Milo having a heart to heart!
Gene you are right, many people do not see the differences between the types. And yes this dog looks spectacular. But don't forget that a lot of Americans started missing their "true Irish setters", when a dramatic change of type was in!

America has by far the longest and most interesting literature on this topic. If you read Horace Lytle on Smada Byrd you can't find a better story of bonding between setter and a human being. HE was the founder of the war that is still raging your USA!!! Add other creative Americans - a long list!!!!!

Jim Kjelgaard (Big Red, Irish Red, Outlaw Red) was inspired by this war. That was by far the most popular youthbook of more generations of Americans!

For the UK it was T.H. White (The Goshawk) who started working his Irish with goshawks out of anger what happened to the breed over there. Do you remember Like a candle in the wind? Comes from this books.

Anyway maybe this site can get it on terms of logic, like standards. And pictures.

Your conclusion "we are debating on who is the most beautiful supermodel" does not do justice to the best of creative Americans . Their lives and ideals, as you might notice from posts on this list, were even noticed in faraway European cultures. Just think what happens when you read this to be described as a "can of worms".

Henk ten Klooster.
I was in the middle of answering your post and lost it some how. Hope it doesn't pop up and make a double post from me.

I will agree the American Irish is a bigger dog. But our standard calls for a male to be between26 to 27 inchs and our bitchs 24 to 25, give or take a inch. My Abbott is a standard 27 inchs and weighs in at 75 lbs.

As I've said we American's want a elegant Irish Setter, most of us do not hunt . We love a full coat, but usually only the dogs that are being specialed have a full coat. Its too much work for most to care for. I've babied Abbott's coat for over 8 years, but I don't mind.

We also like our ears long and set below the eyes, and I do believe when Abbott was a younger dog he could had done a full days work in the field, but at almost 9 I'm not about to give him a shot at it. Oh my ,that would ruin the coat I love.

If you were to look at the Field Irish Setters in America, I do believe you'd see what you're looking for and they can hunt and do look like your FCI standard. The show Irish does not. Neither does most of the non show Irish .

You said..........

>>The Irish Red Setter is a hardy, healthy, intelligent dog, possessed of excellent working ability and great stamina.Just my opinion and the standard covering half of the world, FCI.

I agree with the above and I do believe the American Irish Setter fits this also. Might not look like a mirror image, but the dog still has the heart, still has the intelligence, but only lacking in owners who want them to hunt. Our fault, not the dogs.

I like my luxury dogs, but still think they are a sporting dog. I've always loved to hear about the Irish Red Setter and the FCI, and no hurt feelings on my part because you don't like my dog.

Can you post some pictures of the dogs that you believe fit the standard of half the world?

In friendship, Loma and Red Friends
It may be of interest to look at these thre oldtimers....All from the Wendover kennels in England. I got the cards from Mr. James who was the breeder, and I wonder how many of these dogs would become champions today? Plenty of feathering to be had even so many years ago. Im not too certain as to the exact years these photos date back to, but they should have been around the 1960s. Even the "english" (and true?) type has undergone some changes over the years...
A more precise date for two of the dogs: W. Jeeves = 1971 and W. Grandee = 1969. W. Ballymoss is the sire of W. Jeeves, so he would be around mid 60`s (at a guess).
For an interesting backgroundstory of Sh. Ch. Wendover Gentleman (who was a rescue-dog) see my blog!




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