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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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Hi Eva,
Wow I just got your post. I don't mean to insult you but it comes to dogs I have a lot of knowledge. I work with dogs for a living. But only one show dog as I stated. I owned a great working setter for years. I will try to answer some of your accustions as quickly as possible. First, I believe the IS as Joanne stated has changed greatly in the last 60 years. In both the UK and the US. I am not as unknowledgable as you believe. Obviously you see me as not that wise. Other then the long coat again I don't see much of a difference between UK and US setters. Neither look like the original dog. The only one that does are the field dogs in America. The European hunters like them They will be crossing there red dogs with US field dogs. It will help both gene pools and they both need that. It is already being done. Neither will go back to show dogs. Not Ireland or the US. As Joanne, the Irish born woman stated, who has a true passion for the breed how do we fix it. She also stated we all know the IS has a hound like head, different coat, the gait is off, are ears are much longer. All you have to do is look at it. They also show like Afghan hounds. I don't see why it's such a big deal. The original dog of any breed looks different then todays modern show dog. Did you ever see the original Afghan. That is why I don't see a hunting dog see any longer in the breed. It has changed to much. Who has a right to make these standards. Not the show people. They created a different dog. I am trying not to offend you. I have worked with dogs purebred and mixed. Working dogs and pets. I see a difference and a split now between all workers and pets. The pointers, Vizslas and GSP's are not as obvious but the setter group to me is very obvious. Again you can do all the DNA testing you want but when you change what the dog was made to be you are messing with nature. Do you know why the IS prances around the ring like an Afghan. It's a simple easy answer. Most show bred dogs have bigger heads then the working dogs. I explained this once before. I have always found working dogs more intelligent. When you breed a dog to have a more pronounced head the brain stays the same. This brings about less intelligience. The pituatary gland sends signals to the adrenaline glands which produces adrenal and cortisal hormone which protect the dog against physical stress, mental stress and protects the immune system. When you have such a small amout of adrenaline pumping out of the brain for such a large dog it weakens the breed. Again I don't want to insult you. I am not against showing dogs. But I do think when you make so many changes to a breed it weakens them against disease. I am attaching a few websites from Europe. One article from an Irish man and a lover of setters. He saw the glory days and the downfall. He wants to make them dog healthy again. At the bottom of the article will be a couple of paragraphs on show dogs. It is an older article from 1963 but it does fit into the time frame. Then there is a large UK Crufts site with very much information on replicas of breeds changes health issues etc. Theres a lot to read and it is very interesting. You know we can always agree to disagree. I like to be open.



I do have to say these dogs are beautiful

Please do not be offended but once again I have to remind you that everything you state is about dogs in the US and only the US. You have only had IS for the last 8 years but I assume you have worked with dogs longer than that.

Go on Joanne's page, she is a lovely lady who has had IS since 2003 and you might be interested to know that Joanne's Irish Setters come from the Amhurst Kennel in OZ and the Copper's Kennel in Seden. The Copper's boy has my ShCh C. Concept as maternal grandfather as has AMhurst (paternal grandfather) It is the US imports that she talks about in her comments not the UK dogs.

We have had many discussions on this Forum about US dogs looking like afghans. The UK dogs do NOT. They are of different type, they are not as big, their heads are not houndy, they do not prance or carry their tails high and they have the same amount and texture of coat that very many dogs had in the 60's and 70's when I started (the subject of this debate). Go on my page and look at the amount of coat my dogs have. It is wavy, which we have again debated at length, not strictly correct but hey, there are worse faults than coat. Joanne's young Coppers dog has a similar coat. They are nothing like the dogs in the US.

Did YOU ever see the original afghans? There were two types, the plains and the mountain, one carried a lot more coat than the other.....which one are YOU talking about?

The dogs that we had in the 60's have gone, life has changed, people have changed, dogs have changed.

The valuable work that is being carried out to eliminate health issues in pedigree dogs through DNA testing or any other means possible is with the total participation of only the show breeders, do not dismiss it out of hand.

I find it strange that every time you mention the Irish man or woman you follow it up with 'lover of the IS'???????

I do not have the inclination to debate with you your ideas on the physical evolution of the dog, size of it's head relative to intelligence etc. They are particular to you, I will just leave you with them, otherwise I will be here all day and night and I have a life to get on with.
The information I sent you was not from the US Eva, Take the time out to read the websites I attached. Are you ignoring Crufts and The Irish Herald. As I asked you when was the last time you had a duel champion in the UK. Joanne stated we all know the breed has changed read her post again. Again it is not only a US thing. That is why they are working so hard on the working lines all over the world. Again not only in the US. I attached those websites purpously. Did you even bother to read the Crufts website, replicas, modern breeds, un healthy dogs, straying away from origin. Maybe you should. This is going on in your country. I would go back to the website before you make staments. Joannne has US lines in her dogs also and she made the Afghan statement which I truly agrree with. Please go back to her to question it. I have watched Crufts for years. All Irish Setters go back to their original pedigree which no one really knows. The Irish never kept pedigrees nor did they care about them. They did not inbreed, they just created a dog that could hunt. Beauty had nothig to do with it.
Now Kristi that is the big difference. I have no doubt that the Field setters IN MY OPINION are bred for their purpose and I know many breeders who are looking for that number one important facor in their dogs MOVEMENT because lets face it if a dog lacks this fundamental asset be it a working, show or most important pet then it is worthless. What my real gripe is with those breeders who beed and breed and breed and breed again from stock that has straight shoulders, appalling movement, hound head shape but they do this to WIN WIN WIN and stuff the health of the dog and the poor pet owners that purchase the pups when they turn out to be nothing like those lovely photos in the breed books or have the energy that the breed standard states. Kristi myself along with other breeders in Australia and indeed New Zealand have had to look to Europe to obtain dogs to try and improve what we have got. Yet all of us know that we will most probably not be great winners in the show ring and will witness time and time again over sized, bad moving and light coloured dogs winning and sometimes from European judges who would rather "do as the Roman's do", but why have we chosen to look to Europe for our dogs because we do not want to be part of the demise of this lovely breed.
I understand. I don't know why they did this to the breed. As I said I had a lovely field IS that was very smart. My friend used to say she understands sentences. I would take her running in the fields and in the woods and she obeyed hand signals. LOL, not to say she didn't give me gray hair for tracking and smelling out any wild animal there was. She always came back. She never destroyed anything in my house even as a pup.
The IS was a fad in the US in the 70's. Everyone thought it was beautiful and I don't understand why the ISCA and AKC couldn't just leave the dog as it was, beautiful. Westminster went nuts when the IS showed, Practically a standing ovation. The people loved it. The show people wanted it to Win Win Win so they rearranged the breed. Soon everyone wanted a red dog. The movie Big Red was released and everyone went out and bought an IS. These people knew nothing about the breed. They had no space to run the dog. They left them locked up in houses and apartments. The dog would chew the house apart and end up in the in the pound. Then came the puppy mills and it was all over. They bred them over and over again transporting them to pet stores all over the US. The puppy mills were breeding dogs with PRA. People didnt know where pet stores got their dogs from and the dog became known as being sickly. Thank god there are very few IS's left in puppy mills. There is still one mill in Wisconsin the rescue people have been trying to bust for years. She is breeding everything and anything. She has dogs from all different lines. I heard she even has a field bitch from Ireland. She now bred PRA into a line and now it's here again. Irish setter pets are not popular in the US. I posted earlier I saw one in a park that was massive. Huge head, long red coat and just shy of a female great dane in statue. He was quiet, not to active and looked like a nice dog. I really don't like to call any dog dumb. In the US people will just blurt out IS's are dumb regularly if dogs are the topic of conversation. They also say it about Afghans. Due to irresponsible breeding, unknowledgable owners and the show people the dog really went down hill. This is why the hunters formed the NRSFTC, They are always afraid of losing the hunting dog. Many hunters are impressedwith the way they hunt , but feel you cannot see the the IS in the brush so they stick with the white dogs.
Again you make sweeping generalizations and tell me to do this or bother to do that when you don't know whether I have or not.........and I don't feel inclined or bothered to defend myself.

"I have watched Crufts for years". Yes Kristi...watched but never seen. you have to be there to see.

"All Irish go back to their original pedigree which no one really knows. They did not inbreed, they just created a dog that could hunt. Beauty had nothing to do with it"

If that is the case then tell me please why a specific breed for specific hardy terrain with a specific breed standard with specific recognisable characteristics exists. If all the Irish wanted was a hunting dog then they could have just cross-bred to produce this but they didn't, they took pride in their Setter. You do them a great disservice by implying they didn't care.

There are comments from you elsewhere, and I apologise if I haven't got this quite right, but are you saying that the Norwegians, Dutch and Irish are 'heavily' using US dogs....I believe working dogs to improve or extend their gene pool? Can anyone from the working members verify this?

I know this is a cheeky question but several of us are wondering how old you are. Would you be prepared to divulge?
"All Irish go back to their original pedigree which no one really knows. They did not inbreed, they just created a dog that could hunt. Beauty had nothing to do with it"

I have to ask the same question as Eva here. Why then did the Country of Origin create a breed standard in the first place.

I also don't actually understand your statement above. How can they all go back to their original pedigree which no one really knows. If they don't know the pedigree, how can they go back to it and if they are going back to it then they are linebreeding????? Not clear ..... don't know where you think you are going with these comments..
The first pedigrees that were done. The old Irish men didnt keep pedigress I know that. Original meaning as far back as they could go on a pedigree. Meaning After the old Irishmen.
Is it several of you wondering my age like a high school girly gossip hour. Do you need all your little friends to back you up. Or can you ask me yourself how old I am. Eva Im really not interested in this. I have to be honest.
The Irish Setter could not have just been a land spaniel or a red spaniel. Yes the Irish took pride in there dog and they bred a dog that could handle all types of terrain. Although ppl have an idea of theier ancestry.
Acually Eva there are three strains of Afghan hounds and they are called Tazi dogs. Are you looking for a fight.
Oh give it up Kristi, try taking happy pills or something. No I am not spoiling for a fight but if you are.......go fight someone else. You mentioned afghans, I responded. This is not a site for afghan hounds. However.....

There are two strains of afghan hounds the Tazi or Bell-Murrey or plains ot desert coursing type call it what you will, which carry the lighter coat and the Taigan or Ghazni or mountain type which carry the heavier coat. The Bell-Murreys were imported by Maj and Mrs Bell-Murrey and Miss Manson into the UK in the 1920's the Ghazni's by Mary Amps were also imported into the UK in the 1920's. They form the basis of the hounds of today. There was an earlier type, the Barukzy or Persian Greyhound but that was shorter in coat and ceased to exist by the 1st World War. I briefly showed afghans before Irish, couldn't cope with not being able to let them off the lead.

Please let's stick to the subject of this site and this Forum discussion. I apologise for the digression.




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