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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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We attend one of those enlightened ringcraft classes where they do a little bit of everything. A couple of weeks ago we all had to bring toys which the trainer hid in a box and then we had to send the dog to "find"

Norna is a complete little lady at class and when it was her turn she went out and went to the box, leaned forward slightly and then lay down. The silly training woman is by now jumping round, "fetch it, pick it up" so Norna very politely stood up and walked back to me, executed a perfect recall and came round behind to sit at my heel. Her little face was quite frosty and the trainer's comment was "does she think she is royalty or something".

My response was simply, "she knows she isnt royalty but she wonders if you know that she is a Setter" LOL
Margaret......Could you please give me titles of the books you mention and references for the accounts that you have on netting with dogs and of training setters for shooting. I would imagine many of the books are out of print and difficult to trace or obtain, especially now that 'Doggie Hubbard' has retired. I can but try.
Clifford Hubbard is sadly long since dead and his fabulous collection of books sold off and dispersed.
I have a fairly good collection of books about setters , pointers, gundog breeds and dog training. Most of the ones I referred to are hard to find and expensive., but I dont mind doing an occasional photocopy of relevant pages for anybody who is seriously interested
I know of only one copy of the little book written by the keeper at MidMar , but have a photo copy of the pages about training setters.
The article about training setters from ca. 1760 is from the Gentleman's Magazine of which I have the original
James Watson's Dog Book has a very good chapter on the origins of setters, and of course there is Gilbert Leighton Boyce
I have Gilbert Leighton Boyce but would love to have photocopies of the relevant pages of the little book by the keeper at MidMar and the article about training Setters from the Gentleman's Magazine and would gladly send you a cheque for your costs.
God Margaret where did you come about all your books! Was Doggie a good source for you? Doggie was a great source of information on the afghan hound (when I followed afghans...years ago) I don't have a copy of James Watson's book.

Ossian....maybe the way forward with this discussion is on from Cheryl and Margaret's comments with a bit of Henk thrown in though I think he is floating along the Candle in the Wind....been listening to too much Elton John. Him probably now in spirit with the Netherlands as they attempt to vanquish Uraguay.

I think there is mileage in the old dog yet.......certainly if it goes back on track.
too true!
Netherlands 3, Uraguay 2..........Henk will be a happy bird dog. Him in the final!!!!
Thanks!!! This topic was a winner as well. A win/win one in my eyes, for the first time that I know of, worldwide debate from all cultures was on history&future of the Irish setter. Sorry for not being able to play myself in the second half.

Still a few points. A Candle in the Wind and even Harry Potter is generated from Irish setter history. There is no standard for the spirit of a red setter. But it inspired art, UK T.H. White, USA Jim Kjelgaard Big Red, Irish Red, Outlaw Red.

We could win all in knowing how you can lose all by analysing USA Irish setter conflicts, because that might be next stage for other cultures as well. Who-ever will be winners, it is the breed that might lose in such a scene.

For win/win you need to know what is lost and why. Reading all posts here provides some insight. Can we close the topic in saying in a few sentences what we would wish for breeds future? I'll close this topic Saturday. Yes, before the Final.
Loads of excellent posts here. You really got something started, Henk;-)

My wish for the breed's future? my list is long... but I'll limit myself to just a few:
I'd wish for the breed to have a healthy future with breeders avoiding extremes and breeding for diversity to hopefully improve on health issues
I'd also hope the breed can maintain it's original working instinct and for owners to be aware of the original function setters had.
Then I'd hope for more diversity in landscapes and 'soft' agriculture to enable species like partridge, quail, pheasant to regain a natural habitat in Switzerland, where these species are practically extinct. Hereby the setter's "raison d'être" would not be lost.
Now that the main thrust of this discussion seems to have gone I cant help note over the last few days there have been some posters being extremely "candid" in the content of their mails. If you were not there then you are repeating hearsay.

This is the kind of gossip mongering that does no one any favours. Either return to the original thread or close the discussion.
Yes, I've been to see it. There are photos of it, which I took, on the Irish Red and White Setter club of Ireland website.


The dog , which is thought to be from around 1880, is remarkably similar to modern IRWS. It is probably around 24-25" at the shoulder, well marked, very clear coated (no ticking), muscular in the hindquarters, the head tapers but is quite broad across the forehead. The colour has faded slightly so it isnt as dark red as the modern dogs.
It is also a beautiful piece of taxidermy. it was done by a family of taxidermists in Aberystwyth, Wales, the family kept dogs and did a lot of shooting to provide birds for the business, so it is possible it was one of their own dogs. I believe it was brought back to Ireland comparatively recently, maybe in the 1980s, by an Irish antiques dealer who bought it in Wales
It is definitely an IRWS, several people from the Irish breed club have seen it and confirmed that it is, John Nash also saw it
This link is about the Hutchings family in Aberystwyth, the family of taxidermists who may have owned the IRWS preserved in the museum in Co Laois
From the photos, the family appear to have been dog lovers, who shot many of the birds they used in their work. It is such an exception piece of taxidermy, not only the dog but also the partridges, and the beautifully painted Welsh hill landscape behind it, that one feels this was not just a paid commission but a much loved dog. Also it turned up in an auction in the Aberystwyth area around 1980, suggesting it had stayed in the family

Reminds me of the taxidermy of the English setter Count Noble in the Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, Tennessee. His body resided in an 11-foot lighted glass and wood-cased diorama for nearly a century in Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in 1999 moved to Tennessee.

Noble was from the 1870's, so probably around the same time as the red and white setter preserved in the museum in Co Laois.

When compared to modern show setters its in a glimpse telling how art became plastic.




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