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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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This photo shows a nice type of dog with proper head(with defined stop) and moderate coat length but is not typical of the american setters usually shown!! I have no problem with different presentation, but with different heads,high tail carriage(on the move) and much too much feathering! I know there are some nice american dogs , but not enough nice heads!!
I agree in everything you said.
I'd like to join in - and am still waiting for Laura's declaration of war...:-) I fully agree with Ursula on saying standards still need human beings to read & interpret. Unfortunately many people end any discussion by saying: "well, there's a standard- isn't there?" If it were only that simple...
Our 'irish lady' Carmel puts forth an opinion which I think represents the intention of the irish 'mother club': any excess is untypical for a working breed - the most obvious being coat! I think 20+ years ago the british show scene changed markedly to dogs having more coat, something previously only seen on the photos of american champions. On one visit to Crufts around that time I remember feeling quite upset about the winners!

My experience of mixing types is limited to a swiss breeder friend who has crossed her english stock with an american import. And yes, some aspects of body structure have been improved. They have lovely firm toplines and a good width of hindquarter. But three to four generations down the line the heads still have that very 'different' look that allows you to pinpoint the american influence. What is it exactly? I think stop/brows are not as marked, different placement and shape of eyes, then the lack of parrallel lines in head panes and possibly a more rounded appearance of muzzle, sometimes also a tendency to roman nose? There are other marked differences which show it is not only a matter of presentation. Looking at the photograph of american vs english show style I also noticed that the angle from which the picture is taken varies greatly. The 'american' picture is taken with the photographer aiming at the hight of the shoulder, the dog being on a table. The 'english' is taken from above, looking down on the dog. This alone gives a completely different impression - so it is not just the style of handling that make the dog look different.

There is one point in the FCI standard which to my mind conveys the impression of a dog capable of working: Behaviour/temperament: KEEN, intelligent, energetic, affectionate and loyal. Of my 4 irish I'd consider 3 to be KEEN and one to be a bit dopey (sorry Bramble!). Unfortunatley it is not necessarily possible to asses this point in the show ring, but it certainly is an important part of the Irish Setter and it would be sad if it were lost (in the show world). Obviously a working dog that is not KEEN will be no good at all...
i don't declare war. what i meant was the strong emotions coming up with this subject and the debate following it... everybody has his/her own opinions about this, and usually they are quite strong ones (see examples above). i still need time to write my input. maybe during the weekend, after our setter-gardenparty on saturday ;-)
oh, yes I am sure a wine induced argument will be most informative :)
just joking ;o) Wish I could be there!
Seeing that I work with my dogs and only show as little as I can get away with (for breeding purpose I like them to at least have been to a few shows), I also strongly feel that the temperament is of great importance. Mine have over the years become less KEEN but on the other hand easier to handle for the average owner. But then even my KEENEST dogs have been frowned upon by the Field-trail dominated breedclub in Sweden for not being fast/keen enough. Even here we have a problem of definition...OK, Ill stop right here...Im splitting hairs. :-)
I also agree that temperament is very important!! I have a mixture here :all 3 of my dogs are intelligent and affectionate, but Rua would be quite a lazy setter!! Her children are alll energetic though and as far as keenest, well Megan is tops!! We dont hunt but you should see her do an agility course(speed and enthusiasm!!), and all to please me!!! Milo is also keen but doesnt like agility(prefers to be out in the woods looking for birds) They are like children ;all different!!
Scanning your posts a few questions arise.

Susan (UK) clearly describes that the UK showtype has changed as well....Still Ana (Russia) thinks that same type is original and needs to be defended against alien Americans:-)))

Question: what than was the right UK showtype in your eyes? Can you define it? Can you send pictures of UK's leading winners now and compare them with Ch Brackenfield Hartsbourne Bronze/H.Popsy and Ch Wendover Beggar/Romance?

Carmel says Irish setters are different just like kids. But can you tell what exactly in your eyes changed from days of dual dogs like the Derrycarnes (Maureen Mc Keever) and Mullenculains (Laura Dunne) in nowadays Sheantullaghs (Ray O'Dwyer) and your own Clanrua's? And what "kid" and why do you prefer for breeding?

In this topic I miss reactions from American showpeople with experience - like Barbara and Loma.

Can anyone tell in a nutshell why America's leading type changed from Irish setters like athletic Milson O'Boy (on the cover of Thompson: The New Irish Setter) into what is now winning? And comment on both with pictures, this is supporting Gene's post. That would certainly raise the quality of posts...

As for posts mentioning the "True Irish Setter", they were described into detail by under more W.J. Rasbridge and Florence Nagle. There are also reports of Eileen Walker (Hartsbourne) and Nagle (Sulhamstead) on developments in the USA scene when it (started) changing the type. In first "movement like Afghans" was described. Comments?

This type is nearly not present anymore in shows, it is still present in the fields.....

Henk ten Klooster.
I don't know if you ment me,but I'm not from Russia!!! Of course it is original type,it is called IRISH setter not American setter,country of origin is Ireland,but England take breeding long long time ago (yes,before americans). I don't know how many types you have in America,but those who are winning are different from European. Of course BREEDS CHANGE with time,we won't standing in one point and never move,but to improve the breed and keep their original purpose. From my experience, real irish setter is a hunting dog( show succses don't exlude that),so you can't expect from irish to be working dog like malinoa,rotweiler.........you can't expect to do agility like border collie...you can of course but with bigger effort than in those breeds. It is originaly hunting dog,that's what he does.That's what he enjoyes. I'm aware that he looses some of hunting skills or some of exterier-it's metter what you do with breeding-shows or hunting. But every irish ,must have something in his genes when you put him in the field. Here,your dog can't have litter if he doesn't take his FT,He can't be a champion if he doesn't have at least B field trial,not only FT. That's a good things,so irish wouldn't become some show dog with lot's of hair and no skills.Dog for family.
I read before something.....yes,stupid me....it is probably the way of taking photo...........They have heads like that because camera didn't take their stop right,back angles are because of the way of presentation....and the moving...I was probably accidentely click on afghan on the net...And in live...moving...yes,I was probably crazy and blind that day....
I expected all on this theme-but claiming that there's no differences between them....big big differences....I didn't expect that in my dreams. I have two healthy eyes,see very well with them. It is humiliating to talk like that. Afghan sorry,afghan and again afghan. Don't make us fulls,please.
Hi Ana,
I hope you did not misunderstand me concerning the angle of the photo. I am talking only of the picture of Sametsuz Ard-Righ, a british dog shown here in different styles. He looks so very upstanding and tall on his 'american' picture and this effect is also caused by the photographer's angle to the dog as well as the handling. I've taken many photos of my dogs and sometimes get a completely wrong angle, changing the whole dog... making me think 'ugh' I don't like that!
Of course there are differences, I don't think anyone can argue that point. There are usually many different types within one breed, and I don't mean just in our breed. Have a look at the Brittany Spaniel in the US and compare to the french Epagneul Breton...
PS Oh... and Hank, I am not UK but CH.... Switzerland, although born in UK many years ago;-)
I wasn't refering to you only Susan,but all written things here. I know what you mean about taking photos. I can't even recognized sometimes my dogs hihihi;))
I have some pictures in my computer with am. dogs ,i also have a picture of someone making joke on the net of some irish setter from America. It is edited in photoshop with light changes and you have the afghan on that picture:)So funny and sad at the same time ...I would place it here,but was worned not to put somebody elses dogs.
I rest my case,said all what I wanted about this theme. I ADORE ENGLISH TYPE.
Well you may adore the English type Ana from Slovenia (sorry for Russia), but quite a lot of what you object in the American type came from your beloved English type.

Susan from Switzerland but born in the UK is that a Rolling Stone describes a head. Look in Thompson The New Irish Setter and study the daughter of Hartsbourne Sallyann of Tirvelda (from the UK), Ch Tirvelda Nutbrown Sherry (page 115) and and her descendants....

Just like the UK scene does now, it was prolonged linebreeding so inbreeding in the USA that stamped this feature on lots of nowadays Americans. She was a key-bitch so after umpteen generations nobody knew anymore they were in fact inbreeding to her.

The exaggerated coat in nowadays American showwinner uhuh, certainly partwise English made!!! Just a question of SELECTION. Even more exaggerated coats were in Wendovers and Hartsbournes and their mix in Cornevon as well, but not much used for breeding.

In the field the type-discussion is also entered. America got its best from the UK in AmFCh Sulhamstead Norse d'Or. High tailed and although its family is behind all nowadays winningest field trial Irish, in European fields there is a war raging against high tails.

Henk ten Klooster.




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