Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

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

Views: 3826


Replies are closed for this discussion.

Replies to This Discussion

Lets shine a light on the sixties (dogs).

Watch bend of stifles, hocks, coat and fringes and compare to nowadays showwinners.
Henk, I am surprised that Colette, who incidentally has come into this disussion far too late in my opinion as we could all have done with her input much earlier, has written a very balanced and informative comment and all you can come up with is this. You are determined to prove a point no matter. Why don't you dig up photos of ShChs Norland Paddy or Wendover Gentleman or Scotwood Barabbas or Cornevon Prince Charming (very wavey) to name but a few, all dogs from the 60s all with much more coat and fringes and all who have been mentioned in this discussion many times over.
Tell me why oh why does it say in the standard "HINDQUARTERS Wide and powerful. Hind legs from hip to hock long and muscular, from hock to heel short and strong. Stifle and hock joints WELL bent and not inclined either in or out" if it doesn't mean it!!!!!!! Incidentally this dog could have a shorter hock.......... Perhaps you could have the courtesy to give us a name and date.
Thank you Collette for your input. The Derrycarnes are also behind my dogs (Ardbraccan). All of the Derrycarnes that I saw had some movement/wave in their coats and feathering. They also had good feathering, in fact, Derrycarne Courage had a lot of feathering, more, I think, than any other Irish Setter in the Show Ring at the time.
It should also be remembered that people who show their dogs these days, tend to protect the coat and feathering with frequent washing and conditioning. Whereas this would not be a priority in the working/field trial dogs, who would lose a lot of coat and feathering when out in the field.
Colette can't react under your post directly here - thanks for joining the topic. I've read and reread all of it and was surprised to see what was drawn from it in reactions.

To do justice to all of your remarks, I'll quote here everything (italic) and react under it. To keep long contents more readable some of it is in bold.

Henk I find it quite amusing that all these famous blood lines which are supposed to be extinct in England:- Sulhamsteads,Derrycarnes,Menaifrons, Mullencluins are still here in the background of the Mrs Tuite,s Rua Irish setters and my Porschet Irish setters.Maybe they play no role of importance in UK linage but that is your loss.

Amusing is always better than it makes you bitter.

Analysis of lineage in UK show-winners now learns they indeed play no role of importance anymore. Although we know now (and did in the past from our own topbreeders!) from outside objective experts about huge values of safeguarding different families in the breed, what a breed wins when it is still tested on mental and physical proterties and what it contributes to indepth knowledge of the breed for conformation only specialists.

I can look out into the garden and see my show dogs pointing wood pidgeons! In 1970 my Mother imported an Irish bred bitch Beggars Bairn Grand daughter of Irish Ch Mullencluin Missioner with many lines to Derrycarnes and lines to Red Sun Roland of the Rand. Mrs McKeever was very proud that her background lines featured behind the Crufts best in show winner Ch Astleys Portia of Rua.

I've enjoyed looking at your Ch Astley's Portia of Rua in the book of show champions (pp 151). That must have written history as since that year (1981) no Irish setter in the UK with a FTQ ever did that again and you can count champions since that date on the fingers of one hand. In my eyes Portia is not exaggerated in any terms of the standard.

Progeny of Beggars Bairn is behind all our working Irish setters as well through the association of Carol of Dunroon who brought in the Sulhamsteads and Menaifrons and later a further link was made to Irish ch Bagatelle Argot when Ruas Affluent Shannon was mated to Maid of the river.It is a sad fact of life that people do not realize the importance or value of bloodlines until it is too late.My Mother and I still have these lines!

Sad fact of life brings in something not very amusing. While reading breeds history before launching this topic, loads of sadness, tragedies, bitterness were chased. It seems relevant breeders are for some other reason "forgotten" or ended up in a corner.

To proivde a few examples: when a blogpost was launched here of a direct descendant of Edgar Rea (Menaifron) to help her chase up some history of the setter from which she still had medals, nearly no one from the UK reacted! Where-as mrs Mary Holt (follow up of Rea) was former president of the Irish Setter Association of England. Seems very sad to me!

Our working blood lines have integrated field trial animals which were of a nice make and shape with many good breed qualities over a period of nearly 40 years to get what we now have which is nice looking working dogs.

In my eyes breeding good looking working dogs is all about breeding true Irish setters.

In answer to has the breed changed in the last 50 years well i think so in both the show and working side. There is not the depth of type of dogs with the outline and basic shape that i associate with the typical irish setter show dogs.There is a large tendancy at the moment to get more short coupled curvacous animals in the show ring.

Documented here were obervations from experts all terrains on movement (degenerated) (Rasbridge), highlighting some specifics like overangulation. Nowadays show IRS is not built for galloping (O'Dwyer), last not only pointing to overangulation but exaggeration of the standard. What is your opinion?

At field trials some Irish have become so small,and a large number of working Irish setters have become yellowy in coat colour.(Maybe this is from progeny of a particular bloodline). However a few years ago i went to a field trial in the Dublin mountains and was pleasantly surprised by how nice most of the dogs were!

Publications read show a tendency to (a lighther pale of hue - O'Dwyer), attributed to one of the most succesfull sires post war in working, IRFTCH Moanruad Brendan. Prepotent stud forces like IntFTCH Derrycarne Red Admiral of Rye and IntFTCH Ballymac Eagle show a darker version.

I have never in 36 years of field trials (with some breaks in between) ever seen a working Irish with a wavy coat.The working Irish and Irish red and whites seem to have adequate coats and fringes.

This is a statement I do not see reflected in reactions on your posting. But it is my experience as well - just like Frances I did not see any wavey and or curly coats/fringes like the dogs Eva mentions in any of the working setters, neither in those of Hartsbourne or Brackenfield. They did show up in descendants (like D.Courage?) where a mix was made, as we know the trend ot most middle decades in topics timeline.

In Mrs Nagles's day at the spring trials on Partridge and Pheasants dogs would be required to be methodical in their ground work.and would not range too far ie the beats were much smaller than the beats allowed in todays trials.Alf Manners the handler for Lord Ranks pointers commented once to my Mother about how thorough her Suriats Sweet Syllabub of rua was in her ground treatment and advised My Mother not to lose that.A slower and tighter quartering dog was more likely to find the Partridge in the furrows of the ploughed up field. Nowadays most of the trial dogs come back from the early spring trials in Scotland on grouse and run in the same manner without adapting their style of work,consequently they may be far to far away from the handler when they point and thus the game rises without the dog getting to work it out.

Read/reread this. In a large part of continental Europe the style is Quete a la Francaise, pointers and setters are in one group (A) and the difference with the other groups is under more in their beats (numbers of meters left and right) plus speed. The best, one expert once noted, are those that will adapt to circumstances of terrains. So you can use a speedy Gonzalez in a smaller terrain as well.

The Grande Quete is most spectacular in both distance and speed. Just a few IRS were able to compete on that level with pointers and setters, quite a few experts had question marks whether this system would be the right one for selection of best working IRS.

I have witnessed slower larger animals particularly Irish red and whites being penalised when the first prize was with held and they were awarded a 2nd.
I remember a Ch stake on grouse some years ago where it was very windy,again in those circumstances a slower dog would have the advantage. One could even argue that the dog who can adapt to the weather conditions deserves to win, yet there is still the demand for speed and that usually equates to a smaller lithesome athlete.Not some lumbering beast!

My favored type (working tops, looking good) was different from the rather smallish racing machines. Still, quite a lot in first category could succesfully beat the top a few mentioned here or portrayed (Apache).

Some years ago there were a lot of very snipey headed Irish setter in both spheres but this seems to have improved enormously.

Agree on this. Trend is towards the opposite: the end is not what an ES or GS shows. One of the few describing exactly what I mean, was captain Verwey (Setters en Pointers, Amsterdam 1949) maybe tells all in a nutshell.
Sorry, but I see here a fairly upright and stiff-looking dog, with a short neck, flat feet and a rather blocky head. Taking absolutely nothing away from this dog, who may well have been a wonderful worker, or good quality show dog at the time. The stifle angulation is more reminscent of a horse, than a dog.
Melinda/Eva, your comments on the dog portrayed show in a nutshell changes in the breed since the sixties. Not in standards of the breed, but in YOUR interpretation.

The dog shown from the sixties -Int etc. Ch Shandon O'Cuchulain- was nearly never beaten in a show, judged by experts from all existing groups in the breed one of the winningest ever in start of topics timeline on the European continent. The picture shown was in more books dealing with the standard considered to be a must have (studied) for all specialists.
Henk said "Melinda/Eva, your comments on the dog portrayed show in a nutshell changes in the breed since the sixties. Not in standards of the breed, but in YOUR interpretation"

I'm not too sure that it is just so easy to make such a statement that the comments represent a change in interpretation. I have just gone back and had a look at some pictures of dogs from 1960's in Janice Roberts book "The Irish Setter". The pictures of Sh. Ch. Cornevon Prince Charming and Sh. Ch. Wendover Gentleman both born in the 1960's show them with a better return of stifle than the dog that you have posted here, but other points. Also, the sketch in this book of the points of the Irish Setter is the same sketches used today to show the points and structure of the dog... a dog exhibiting a structure the same as this sketch would certainly win in the showring today. Another dog pictured in this book, Sh. Ch. Moyna Michelle shows a lovely structure and similiar to dogs I have seen in recent years. I will scan these three photos hopefully before the discussion is closed.
Another dog to consider. Timadon Jaunty (Imp UK) born in 1970.
Cheryl I have forwarded this picture to the breeder. He is not on this list but I am sure he will reply with his comments.
Timadon Jaunty (Imp UK) (to Australia)

Thanks Ossian. I fiddled with the pics and attached them differently. I would be interested to have his comments.
Hopefully these pics show well enough. They have scanned a bit dark and grainy.

I think we can all look through these old books and pic out dogs that represent our own point of view and the type that we believe represent the breed.

I have also been looking at W. Thompson's books and note some American dogs of that era with some of the same traits we see in the American lines today!




© 2024   Created by Gene.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service