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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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Sorry Cheryl for misreading your post. I just haven't seen many hunting setters able to just track. Just thinking of my setter she could never do that. She was much to independent and always looking for something a live. She was very birdy when I first got her. I never trained her to hunt so over the years she became completely versatile. She would track until she found an animal. She would hold point for long periods of time. I think she would have made a great hunting dog. She was very loyal. Although her range was quite wide and she was extremely fast she always came back to me. At times I did have to use a shock collar because she was doing dangerous things with wild animals but it was not often. I probably should have given her to a hunter. Her passion was just to hunt and run. As is said first and foremost the IS is a hunting dog. She was a great house dog and always a lot of fun. I will only get another setter if I am close proximity to wide open spaces with lots of birds.
"If you don't give people a chance even to learn with their dogs how can you possibly know what the dogs are like. "

Who is stopping you ? . If you really want to learn, and find out whether your show dog still has working ability, and whether you have the ability to train it, just get out there and do it.
There are successful field triallers who started out with show dogs. Some of them continue to work hard with dogs who are all or mixed show breeding, others start to realise after two or three years that they will go further and faster with a working bred setter.

People with working setters may sound sceptical about claims that show dogs can still work from people who have every excuse in the world about why they dont actually do it , but if you are willing to get out there and at least try to train your dog, you will find people in the working world who are only to glad to help and encourage you.
Oh here we go again, banging the same old drum!!! Margaret, I think you are being patronising. There were many things stopping me when I first started and, unlike you, I would never send my dogs away to a trainer in the UK let alone Italy,or wherever you send your dogs. For me, this is too high a price to pay. My dogs are taken out on heathland every day. I spend most of that time walking alone as they are off hunting. They have instinctively pointed birds and backed each other many times and it is lovely to behold but they are show dogs and I ABSOLUTELY refuse to apologise for this. They are never crated, do not know what a kennel is, have NEVER been subjected to shock collars or any other instruments of submission and I ABSOLUTELY refuse to apologise for that either. I too have IRISH SETTERS, what ever the field trialers among you say, they have the same devil-may-care, tongue-in-cheek, laugh-at-you nature, they cannot be tamed, even after generations of show breeding.
This holier-than-though attitude is really starting to piss me off. What is the subject of the Discussion?......oh yes "Have IS Changed Since the 1960's". Let's carry on arguing about that......
Oh and by the way, Kristi........my dogs are not oversized, hairy monsters with ears and coat down to the ground. My champion dog is 65cm at the shoulder, his young son is smaller. My two bitches are 57cm at the shoulder and both ShCh's.....all well within the FCI height standard (though the UK, as you maybe know doesn't have one). You do not need to be a giant to win in the UK. Their coats are not excessive and their ears are of moderate length without long fringes (ugh!). Their heads are NOT deep but refined with gentle eyebrows, beautiful almond eyes......are you getting the picture? Please do some reaserch before you start jumping to conclusions!!!!!!!
Eva Hi,
I work with dogs. I don't know all but I do know some. You discussed the Golden Retriever. Yes at some point the goldens conformation was changed. The dog became two inches lower to the ground but the weight was left the same. They lightened the coat and enlarged the head. So all in all they created another oversized dog that is known as brainless that can't run. Goldens cancer rate is very bad. The hip dyplasia is also very bad. They are even having aggression issues with the breed.That was unheard of when the dog was originally bred. The breed again is practically off the field. If you go to a blog called retriever man you will see the history and changes of the breed. This guy is a fanatic of bringing the goldens back to the field. As far as the Cocker go that is a complete mess. The dog was destroyed. End all. I can't even waste my time explaining. A beatiful breed stuck in puppy mills, developing cocker rage etc. Those dogs do not belong in the sporting dog ring nor do the goldens. Again they are complete replicas of the breed.
In my experience aside from the bigger sight hounds and AFBPs most huge breeds cannot keep up with the smaller racier breeds. That is springers, all four setters, cockers, etc. The gates of all these dogs are different. Probably most noticable is the show setters. They gallop and are known for the show ring gallop. Hunting dogs are racier. Again in Ireland grouse and snipe were not as plentiful as in the English and Scottish Moores. They needed a dog that could quicking range the land.
Eva if someone is using a show dog as a hunting dog that does not bother me a bit. I do not think they can compete in trials but I do believe many can hunt. That would not be fair.
My concern of the show setter are their enlarged heads and their backends. When I had my little red who was smart as a whip. And I mean smart. People were constantly asking me if she was dumb. They would always say they had a setter that was dumb as a door knob. Then my sister in law met my dog. She had grown with bench Irish. She was so impressed with the beauty and brains she said it was amazing. She again repeated very nicely that her dog was really not a bright animal. I defended them for many years then I just let it go. Also another interesting thing about the bench setters. I found this prticullary interesting. I noticed they will retrieve sticks and balls. I mean for long periods of time. My dog would never do it. I tryed so hard to get her to retrieve the toys but it was a no go. Unless it was a live animal she was totally uninterested. My friend owned bench reds growing up. We went hiking and he said she ran like an ethiopan runner, lol. He was amazed at her lack of interest in sticks. He said his dogs would retrieve sticks for hours in a lake or river.
Hi Sue,
LOL, I think we are all great debators also. But if the internet wasn't between us we might be in trouble. I try to respect everyones opinion. I know we all can be bull headed about our dogs, :). I see great dogs of all breeds. I can get attached to just about all.
Kirsti, The setters in the USA are not the same as those in the UK The UK dogs are nowhere near as extreme.
Are you talking about field or bench...
Eva, I don't see a difference between the two. They look quite similar to me. I am talking about the show dogs. Here are some champions from Ireland and the UK. I am not an expert can you tell me the main difference.

UK and US setters are definitely not the same! Come to Australia and see the differences...... heads, gait, structure.... Some examples: lack of angulation in shoulder; over angulation in rear; heads too long and narrow; hackney gait and then there is the coat!!!
Eva I think that post is unfair.
Having first been attracted to Gordons for their looks and then having been caught up in the show world I realised that my setters could offer me much more but as a "show" person there were few offers of help to explore the hows and whys of training in the field. I did NOT want to compete in FT I wanted to see my dogs working and being shot over in real conditions.

I read and worked alone, never quite sure what I was looking at and it wasnt until I moved to the Scottish Borders that I finally met someone who forgave my faults and recognised good dogs. I could have done what many owners do and complained that I couldnt get "started" but I did ehat I did when I wanted to learn obedience. I went and watched and I learned.

So many of us treat our dogs like our children and yet, when a child shows enormous potential that we ourselves could not develop, we will send that child to the best and most relevant school. Is it so different to see enormous potential in a dog, know that your own skills will never fully develop that - and choose a different path?

I dont see why you should apologise for having just show dogs. I had a Border collie and I neither moved sheep nor did agility with him.... go figure!

BUT I do take exception to your generalization "They are never crated, do not know what a kennel is, have NEVER been subjected to shock collars or any other instruments of submission ""

NEITHER HAVE ANY OF MINE. I enjoy all my dogs abilities. I do not compete in FT but the dogs are quite capable of working for their supper. I find it rewarding to exercie my dogs and train with them. With my trainer's hat on it makes me anxious that you are "walking alone while your dogs are off hunting" As pack animals if they are not interacting with their human they can very easily be getting into trouble.

And you are right we have strayed off the topic so many times now that it looks to be eating its own tail.

Perhaps we should more readily acquiesce that it may well be the owners that have changed their attitude to the dogs since the sixties!
Ossian. My comments are in response, and even defense of the same old same old irritating b.......... that every Discussion degenerates into......ergo......Irish Setters are not Irish Setters unless they are worked AND ONLY WORKED. I absolutely do NOT apologise for having just show dogs, my dogs may go hunting but they come back to the whistle every
If you have followed the Forum discussions you must remember the photos Henk posted of his dogs wearing shock collars and the amount of support he got from the working members. Kirsti has herself mentioned using a collar in this discussion ........
Show people are constantly being accused of crating their dogs or kennelling them "while they go out to work" etc. etc......... I am not generalizing, just collating all the information I have gleaned from reading and participating in these discussions.
As for your point of a "child showing potential that we cannot develop ourselves being sent to the best and most relevant schools" That is absolutely right but for the point of this argument may I equate sending a child to Boarding School with sending a dog away for training. I have never agreed with Boarding Schools because they remove the fundemental and most important development of a child's life and that is family interaction and I will never agree to sending a dog off for months at a time to train for exactly the same reasons. I have, over the years, seen too many come back skinny, bald, covered in sores and afraid of their own shadow........you will never change my opinion on that, no matter how much uproar I create among the working fraternity. I am like you and would far rather see dogs work and be shot over with a gun than compete in FT. This to me is what they were originally bred for.
I nor any one that I know who just shows has ever criticised other dog owners for wanting to develop the relationship with their dog, be it in the ring, at FTs, trailing etc. The sad fact that is that the reverse is not the case. Iar has done it, so have Margaret and Kirsti to name but a few and of course Henk, who is the biggest critic of the show dog. Why the hell should I or anyone for that matter just roll over and take it. Please re-read Margaret's latest comment to Sue Humphrey and her response!

Now back to the Discussion at hand!!!.....




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