Exclusively Setters

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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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Replies to This Discussion

"I can't even believe a US ES was sent to Ireland"

It was, I have seen the dog running in trials. Actually it didnt look very different from the rest of ES running in Irish field trials (which look like a different breed from the show ES anyway), tail was a little higher but not very high
Was it a Ryman setter, if it was I can't make a comment. I knew a guy who used to hunt with them. He had three of them but he didn't trial them. They work very close to moderate range in the trials? Because you know the filed trialers here are obsessed with speed and endurance. They are good looking dogs also.
No, it was nothing like a Ryman setter. It looked very much like the rest of the working English Setters that one sees in Ireland,only with a 10 o clock tail .
Sorry, I cant remember the name of the dog, would have to and look at some old FT schedules
Maybe Larry will know?
Here ios a link to an advert for some fairly typical working setters from Ireland, maybe a little more leggy than some, probably no more than 22 to 24" at the shoulder or the bitches even smaller

I have never seen them. But they are beautiful dogs. I am sure they exist her. One has a little narrower heard almost like a US llellin. I like the one with the taller legs. I wish I knew the kennel. Im sure more are being bred here..
Lar did you like the dog?
Well I have followed this discussion with interest. At the end of the day the majority of true Irish Setter lovers do what they do for the betterment of the breed. However, lets all face it when you look at some of the setters now compared to what they are like in the country of origin (and sadly it is not just the setters nowadays) they look nothing like this type. We have breed standards changed (who has the right to remove, change wording, add breed points other than the country of origin). Now I am a passionate lady who was born in Ireland so the native breeds, all of them are close to my heart. I get the feeling on this site there are members who are becoming defensive because they know that the Irish Setter is losing all its beautiful characteristics the beautifully shaped head, that glorious rich colour, that devine soft expression and that lovely coat of MODERATE length be it straight of wavy. We ALL know that there are setters today with hound shaped heads, orange light dull coats, back end movement that is appalling and that they enter the ring bouncing like an Afghan Hound and an expression that could freeze the ice queen it is so harsh. So here is a question for all what are we ALL going to do to restore this glorious breed to its superb state. Thanks to exhibitors and breeders in general not being willing to acknowledge the good points be it field trial dogs, show etc and most importantly the judges who are quite willing to put up dogs that are so far from the standard, and I feel this is where the true blame needs to be placed. Now I have Swedish lines combined with UK and American lines and I am very very critical in my own dogs fault and always looking to improve what I have got. But there are people out there who are only interested in winning in the show ring and it is these I feel who will be the ruination and the final nail in the coffin for these wonderful dogs, hand in hand with judges who cannot see further than the length of coat on the dog.
Hi Joanne,
I am glad you responded. I repect your view. I have never been to Ireland but my sister has. We owned a beautiful field American Setter that we ran and hiked with for years. She was so beautiful to watch run. A hunting friend used to trial in Europe and had Irish working dogs she said they were beautiful and could run like the wind. She was at one time showing in the US before she got into the hunting side. She said as like the Ameerican dogs they were quite small had much less hair, were much faster and much shorter hair. This is from a show breeder point of view. She has seen both UK and US. And been involved with both. When my sister went to Ireland she saw said the same thing. She said they didn't look like any IS she saw in Show rings wether in US and UK. My dog was not a orange colored setter and she was American bred. In the photo I have up she was almost 12. She got a hormone disorder similar to cushings which increased her weight immensly, ruined the color of her coat and it also grew about an inch. I very much agree that it is the show people in both the UK and the US that have created horrible health problems in the dog. I actually watched a show how actually bone structures and jaw lengths were cahnged in various breeds to create breed standards, again both in the US and UK. They are not much different. As many show breeders on this board keep issinuating. How could this not effect a breed and its health in the long run. I can think of a number of analogies but I will leave them out. I also agree who is anyone to set a breed standard on any breed. There is already was a breed standard to people who truly loved the breed and used them what they were bred for. The irish setter had a number of various dogs that it was mixed with way back when to create the dog. When you try to alter dogs you get health problems. Gene pools become smaller and health issues start to occur. There are bad health issues in the US and obviously in the UK.
Kirsti "it is the show people in both the UK and US that have created horrible health problems". Please re-read my last comment (about 10 hours ago), reference health schemes DNA tests etc. all established with the hard work, dedication and participation of show people. Please take this on board. Working Setters have the same health problems, plus temperament issues (read comments from Margaret, Lar, Colette, Trudy). Read the same contributers reference the overbreeding and rearing of working Setters in Ireland.

"....bone structures and jaw lengths were changed in many breeds to create breed standards, again both in the US and UK. They are not much different. As many show breeders on this board KEEP INSINUATING"?????
What are you talking about because it sure as hell ain't about the Irish Setter. You make sweeping statements about dogs you have never seen and about breeders who have spent a lifetime breeding, owning and showing dogs and caring immensely for them. How dare you............ The fact that you cannot even tell the difference between show dogs in the UK and the USA just illustrates your ignorance. Read all the comments about the differences between the show and working dogs on this discussion from both sides.

"The Irish Setter had a number of various dogs that it was mixed with way back when to create the dog"?? Please read your breed history.

"There are bad health issues in the US and obviously (??) in the UK".
Another sweeping generalisation. Again, you know very little about the UK so please stick to what you do know.

By the way I have always known what puppy mills and back yard breeders are just couldn't get my head around what a puppy mill BENCH dog was but I now know you call them all bench dogs.

Gundogs are split into 2 catagories 'Bench or Field'. Bench dogs are show dogs (champ shows are benched hence the title). Gundogs that are shown can only become Show Champions unless they run a qualifier in the field and are successful, in which case they drop the 'Show' and just become Champions or Full Champions. Dogs that successfully win at Field Trials can become FT Champions. Dogs who successfully compete in both Bench and Field can gain the title of Dual Champion. Dogs sold as pets are called pet dogs or companion dogs. They can come from either show or working lines.
Jeez.... I went to Border Union for the day and the topic has all gone to pot. How did we get from breed change to shouting at each oher about rescues.

Is the topic finally exhausted???

Actually it must be cos Henk aint here!
Hey Ossian, Hope you had a wonderful time............
You are right, the topic seems to be exhausted, Henk has lost interest, it is all going downhill. Time it was pulled cos the debate has changed direction.

Henk come back!!!!!!! God I don't believe I just said that..........!!!!!!) Need to lie down in a darkened room.
How has the working setter changed. Because I know they are starting to breed them with the working US setters now. I don't like to see that because I like the look of the working IS. But I guess the hunters.. I have something that you mighty enjoy. I thought it was great.

There are two good Videos from Scotland.





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