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Did the breed change or not since the sixties?

Did the Irish setter breed change in half a century or not? In a topic elsewhere there is a statement  the breed did not change in fifty years.


What is your opinion? Did the breed change yes or no, if yes in what aspects (conformation, health, character, working capacities)? Can you document your opinion? Same for no changes in your opinion, can you document that?


Here is a kick off with an article on the Derrycarne Irish red setters, bred by Maureen Mc Keever, published in 2003 in The Leitrim Guardian, written by Kevin Mc Manus. Her activities cover a large part of the period mentioned in the statement. She bred more key Irish setters in both show and working nowadays Irish setters. Would these still be able to win - show and/or work?


Because there was some interest in Derrycarne history, on request a story is added on a daughter of Derrycarne Harp - Ailean O'Cuchulain. Its entitled Devils Dearest, written as a tribute.  On request as well a story Hartsbourne Flame was added. She was a shower of hail and littersister to IRCH Derrycarne Martini

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Ricki.........Where did you get Boxers from??????
CLAD didn't exist as an identified inherited defect in those days. American IS had PRA too and it still exists in the USA, ditto Hip Displasia. They also have problems we don't have in the UK but could start to emerge on the continent with the importation of American dogs.
Interesting point you made "we do what looks best and use either standard". Cherry picking? Henks worst nightmare and just adds fuel to his argument that show dogs are being manufactured to suit trends. When you put it that way I must agree with him!!!!??????.....................................
"we do what looks best and use either standard".

I certainly don't agree that "we" use two standards here in Australia. This is a very generalistic remark. Australia's official (AND ONLY) standard is the UK adopted standard.

Given what Rick has said, some swing between the two (?Official Australian Standard and the American Standard?) to try to meet the standard (in their opinion), I find it interesting that even if some breeders and exhibitors do jump from one standard to the other, there are still some Irish being exhibited that don't conform to either!! Hackney gaits; exaggerated toplines; incorrect heads;

There are some moves afoot in Australia to introduce a "Breed Standard Extension" to clarify some points in the standard. Unfortunately, I think that many of the comments in this document will add confusion and not clarify anything!! If you are interested, I can post the first draft here?
Cheryl, just responding to Ricky's comment about doing what looks best. Please tell me if the Australian official standard is the same as that in the UK than why are many dogs trimmed and presented in accordance with the American standard. You are right about the confusion. It would be of interest to see a draft of the Breed Standard Extension. My gosh you must be spinning!!!!!!
"Please tell me if the Australian official standard is the same as that in the UK than why are many dogs trimmed and presented in accordance with the American standard."

I wish I had an answer, but unfortunately I don't. I could presume that someone somewhere who had American bred dogs decided that they should trim and present them the same way that they do in America!!!???? and this trend has continued with people who all show and compete with American bred lines.

I am not permitted to attach the Breed Standard Extension (BSE) due to copyright. Anyone who would like to read it, please let me know. A number of meetings and submissions have been put forward since the original document and I'm not aware of where it is up to at this point in time.

"Spinning" is one word, but I could think of a few others!!!!
I agree with you, Cheryl, regarding the proposed BSE here - which I think has now been submitted?? While I concur with some of the document, much of the wording is flowery rather than specific, and does little to actually describe aspects of each point of the standard. Nor do I think it really expands on the existing standard enough to warrant publication. Not only so, but in my very humble and sure-to-be-criticised opinion, especially by those who have been around longer than I and who may feel that this entitles them to more of an opinion, the BSE spells out many faults which are arguably exhibited by many of the winning American-line dogs - rears greatly exaggerated and over-done, non-parallel, flattened plains of the head, very upright fronts... That is not to say that the UK-line dogs do not exhibit faults!! No dog is perfect, after all. One could then hope the BSE is intended to bring such faults to the attention of trainee judges. But perhaps I am being overly bitter and skeptical when I doubt it will have any effect whatsoever? Until canine anatomy is made a fundamental part of the trainee judges' programme, I don't think BSE's (or dare I say even standards???) have that much of an impact compared to glamour in the show ring.

As for why dogs here are presented in the American fashion - again, I would state that not EVERY Irish Setter in Australia is presented or shown in that way. The thing is, most judges here are now used to American presentation (or something similar) and dogs which are not trimmed and shaved subsequently present as under-prepared. I think many judges are often compelled to simply award the better-presented dog, rather than taking stock of what they feel going on structurally (again, where is anatomy in training programmes??). And I can see how this can happen when you have dogs stacked against each other in a line-up and one is flawlessly presented and the other is presented with less "show." Very easy for your eye to be drawn to the immaculate dog. And as many will argue - it IS a dog show. For those of us who cling to the belief that dog showing should be mostly about the dog meeting the overall standard, as opposed to just being a glamour-fest, then we can hope that good judges will still recognise the better dog, in spite of presentation. Sadly, this happens less often.

Personally, I like SOME trimming and SOME shaving (of the neck, for example, as I love that clean look to the neck and throat). But I also believe dogs should always look realistic and true to the breed.
Michelle, please go back to the beginning of the discussions, maybe it might shed a light on some of your questions. Movement in coat is not a new phenomenon many of the early post war dogs from the Wendover, Sowerhill, Fearnley, Timadon kennels had waves. Your current dogs are from Greg Browne. Greg's foundation was from the Timadons and they were closely bred to the Wendovers. He also judges in the UK...........ask him for his opinion of the UK dogs past and present and how they compare to the Australian dogs past and present, especially in head, type coat and conformation. Greg judged here last year at Birmingham. Most of his winners had movement in their coats.
Well said Michelle Many of the videos of seen of english shows including crufts have rings the size that a toy wouldn't be able to get a full head of steam up. Also I haven't seen any dogs with feathering on toes or feet (cav style) .This is a good topic . Cheers Rick
oh unfair! If you are going by video then you havent seen a good perspective. Crufts and the major ch show rings are a good size. I just watched the US Gordon Setter Club of America vid and their rings were a lot smaller than out Ch tings
Hi Ossian
The only rings that appear to be of decent size are the specials ring.We also have barrier and dont use seated people as a boundry . Iam also critical of the size of the Westminster ring in USA. Rings here are generally over 30m x 30m. Let them move,not labour!
Cheers Rick
How strange - at the GSCA show you can clearly see people seated all around the cheap plastic fencing you describe as barrier.

At our ch outdoor shows there is usually white wooden fencing and some rings have tape which carries the name of the sponsor.

Try to temper your comments a little. We are jus' lil ol' UK and we have to try to fit everything in. How many dogs entered your last Championship show?

When you are processing 12 and 13 thousand dog entries then talk to us about the amount of space!
I think it is very difficult to comment on the size of the rings from photos or videos and I know here in Aus, we have had some small shows with small sized rings where you just about run into the dividing fences before you can even get your dog gaiting nicely. Whilst this may be a debate that some think is worth discussing, I would love be discussing the structure of the Irish Setter.

We have talked about the coat and the forechest. What about the heads of Irish? How come some Irish have such long narrow heads with lack of profile and good planes. Does the UK and Europe have as much variation in heads as we have here in Aus with the UK and USA types? From a lot of the photos I have seen on ES, I see so many dogs over in UK and Europe who have still maintained the lovely heads of yesteryear! Have you seen much change in the head shape over the years?
I think the questio on ring size came up as a reason perhaps why a dog did not move well - it "couldnt get up a full head of steam"

I am not a judge but I suspect that a bad mover will be a bad mover. However like you I am much more interested in the question of "change" in the breed.

Gordon heads have most definitely changed over the years but ours was initially because we were breeding out health issues (we thought).

Irish heads? I worked with a Turkish couple who had a ten year old Irish Setter about ten years ago and he was beautiful. He was a big boy with a gorgeous head, a "melting expression". I would say I have never seen his like in todays show or pet home




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