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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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It is at all times easier to photoshop less or more coat on a picture than adding coat on to a real live setter...you have picked the easiest one Camilla! :-)
To me a dog like Ballymoss seems to have such a very small head compared to his hight. But then at lot of things are photographs and how they are taken. Like Grandee seems to have a lot of loose skin on his neck that would not show up with a bit of talented handling....
I believe this is a very interesting question, Piret (and I just love Your dogs, with their perfect little heads)! And very interesting answers from most of you...

As obviously, most of us have a very strong opinion about it, and mine is very similar to Ana's! I would always choose an english type over american, and to be quite honest, I would never ever use an american type or a dog that has an am somewhere in his pedigree...
The differences between are more than obvious (and no one can convince me that it's only because of handling, taking pictures etc.) - the angle, the coating, moving... and most of all - the head! For me, the most beautiful part of an Irish is its head, it is what gives them their nobility and their charm... when I take a look at an am type, I just can't see that!

Off course, every breed is changing over the years, but the most setters you can see today in Europe are not very different from these beautiful Wednovers! I wouldn't my at all if my dogs looked like that with very little differneces. There are differences in preparing them for shows today (they would be differently trimmed than 30 + years ago, but... that is the type of Irish I adore!)
But I must say, I don't see much similarity in am type with this 3 dogs here.

Loma, it is very brave of You to put those pictures here! I appreciate Your breeding and effort You must've put in it during Your lifetime with Reds, but to be honest, I don't like Your dog. I would agree with everything what Henk ten Klooster sad about him + I don't like the head... The truth is, he is a dog that would catch anyone's eye, with his lovely coat and color... anyone who sees a dog like that must think to himself... "wow, what a dog!" But that's just not the vision I have for Irish to be like!

And speaking of hunting abilities of our dogs, I believe that an Irish is first a working dog with lots of energy and loves to run through the fields, it is what his dog enjoys the most, so a perfect Irish should be a combination of a great looks and great abilities as a gundog! It's a great thing that dogs have to have FTs to be able to be included in breeding and to be a champion in some parts of Europe (at the moment, I'm speaking of my country - Croatia). And it's very hard for me to imagine that am Irish are as good hunters as ours - if you mix them with a breed that is not a hunter (i'm thinking of afgans...), it changes their genetics, looses his abilities, sooner or later, especially if generations and generations aren't used for hunting or at least have their FT...
I'm enjoying this discussion and love looking at the photographs. I hope Camilla is right and that the Wendovers would still win today! I believe some of the Wendovers even qualified in the field to become Champions (vs Show Champions) proving they could also work. It is a pity the 'Show' title was created in the UK, making it unnecessary for a gundog to have to prove he was capable of 'doing the job'.

On a different subject, there is often the mention of the Afghan Hound having been introduced into the Irish Setter. I know some people being absolutely convinced they have seen the proof - not only in the US but also in the UK. Personally, with my little knowledge of genetics, I do not think that would really have been necessary. I think that just by selecting for certain traits you can bring about a significant change to a breed within few generations. Coat is probably one of the easiest you can select for, but also construction.
Maybe there is someone on this list who knows more about genetics and can tell us more?
I am no great expert on genetics, but I do know that by just selecting the "right" dogs for a number of generations, you can change an awful lot! So I dont think an Afghan was ever needed in the US!
Just look at the war-time german shepard. This breed today no longer resembles its rather square and and straightbacked, upright ancestors. And, as far as I know, no other breed is blamed for the total change of outline.
As for Champions needing field trials, well that is exactly the situation we have in Sweden. But ask (almost) any breeder of "english type" Irish setters in Sweden what they think of this. We now have quite a few Show Champions in Sweden that are as far removed from the english type as is the american. But in the oposite direction. Just a hint of feathering, small, with broad heads and highset ears. So I am convinced that most breeders in Sweden (of the english type) would welcome a change of rules, making it possible to make up a show champion WITHOUT having got its field-trail merits.
>>but to be honest, I don't like Your dog. I would agree with everything what Henk ten Klooster sad about him + I don't like the head...

I've always admired honesty, and if you knew me you'd know I've always said the one thing I'd change about my dog is his head. Its a little too refined for me, but he's matured in to a lovely boy. We can't have everything in our dogs.

Abbott's head is his head, not every dog in America's head. I have some wonderful dog who have lovely heads, but the bodies weren't strong. That's okay, I don't throw them away. I love all my Irish Setters for who they are, I can learn to love most anyone's dogs, but that doesn't mean I'd breed them if they didn't have something to give to a breeding.

We try to breed the most healthy Irish Setter we can find, and that meets the standard as closely as we can. We American's realize there is no PERFECT dog, something others can learn from I think.

I don't care for the look of the field Irish Setter, I think they are too weak, tails too high, coats too light in color, heads too small, ears too short and too high, coats lacking and too high strung. But that's just my opinion and in the larger scheme of things it doesn't matter. I DON'T HUNT.

I want a healthy dog with no CHD, no epilepsy, no blindness, no life threating health problems, and a sweet loving temperment. Most dog owners are pet owners, non show people, non hunters.

I love the pictures of Sh. CH. Wendover Ballymoss and SH.CH. Wendover Jeeves. Either dog would be a winner in America .

Would love to see more pictures of what you think is the perfect Setter. No hard feelings about your not liking my Abbott. He's not for everyone, but he's a good honest dog. Not a HUNTIN DAWG, but a Irish Setter none the less.

Be brave and post your dogs and lets see what they look like. I do believe the main question was whether we would mix a American and English type of Irish Setter and I'd say yes. Why not ?

Loma and Red Friends, USA
>>I would really like to hear your opinion about mixing american and english type in breeding.

I lost my train of thought for a minute, but I did want to say that when we're thinking of doing a breeding, we need to look at the pedigree behind the bitch and dog because that's what you're going to get. The grandparents and great grandparents give a lot to the litter as well as the sire and dam.

I noticed in some of the dogs pictures I've seen on this site , they have round eyes. Does the FCI standard discuss the shape of the eyes? I tend to like a almond eye better so the dog doesn't have a startled look. I also like a dry mouth, tending to breed away from the slack jaws. Loose flews Are those better mouths, soft mouths for hunting?

Interesting discussion, although I know we'll never have like minds, it doesn't mean we can't be friends and discuss pedigrees and our beloved sporting dog.

Loma and Red Friends, USA

I agree with everything Petra said.
Year is 1979. This is as you all know,famous Kerryfair Night Fever. Do I have to ask-would he be successful TODAY on shows? Is he still attractive enough? Oh,yes,BIS dog. BIS indeed.

I'm getting in on this late, but don't really have much to offer anyway :) I'm in Canada, and I have no idea how Canadian dogs fit into the differences.

Like Gene, I hadn't even realized that the types were so different. Way back when I got my first Irish Setter, I showed him a bit, but he didn't enjoy it & it showed, so we ended up sticking to obedience work which he loved.

Chester is a field Irish - at least thats what they called him at the rescue where I got him. I don't believe we have a field type in Canada as I had never heard the term before, but he came from the U.S., so we now have a Canadian field here. I just assumed he was a product of a back yard breeder.

Looking at all the pictures here, they just all look like gorgeous dogs with minor differences (IMHO) as do all the Irish Setters that I have had the pleasure of meeting over the years.

The FCI standard does not mention shape of eye, just colour and should not be too large! So I believe round eyes are ok! But most setters here in Ireland have almond shaped eyes with some a little more rounded. But this is not incorrect. The hunting setters in the US (from photos I have seen) seem to be quite different from their Irish cousins! A lot of hunting setters here have good tail carriage(I have seen a good few show dogs with high tails here and in England!!) and decent feathering, but eye colour and coat colour can be a bit too pale. I have also seen some hunting dogs with bad hocks(cow hocked) I think we need to improve breeding generally with all types to get better movement and better health!! And my favourite part of the setters is heads, more handsome and pretty heads please!!!
You know Loma, this may be totally potitically incorrect (for me) considering the "english" type of setter that I stick to, but I actually like Abbots head! Not as masculine as it could be, but I like it!
I agree too! Abbots head is very beautiful but is more like a bitch! I like a dog and bitch to be very different from each other! But he is a looker!!!!!!!




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