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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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There is quite a few old Irish lineage (Derrycarne and Mullenculain) in French/Italian IRS. I am interested to know as well where others are.

Pictured is Derrycarne Harp, first postwar import from Ireland to the Netherlands, at very old age, seventies.

Somewhere else Derrycarne Red Admiral of Rye is mentioned, he is indeed born 1944 and outside topics timelines.

As well outside is Hartsbourne Flame, sister to IRCH Derrycarne Martini but interesting to mention here as she was a shower of hail.

Harp was one of their descendants. Is that type of head still seen in showrings?

A better picture than at topics start. From left to right Derrycarne Alcoholic, Liquer, Tia Maria, Velvet Mist, Idea. The book The Irish Red Setter (Dublin, 2007) lists their titles (pp 213): 1964 Idea and Tia Maria, 1970 Alcoholic. .
Sue, Harps daughter Ailean was my favorite Irish setter ever. I wrote Devils Dearest about her. Do you want me to post that here? Or other links?
Yes, Camilla, you explained this very well. Nothing wrong with your English.
I am enjoying this discussion. Really do not have much to say myself as I am a new to the breed.
Henk. The standard clearly states "(hair) on all parts of body and legs of moderate length........fair amount of hair on belly forming a nice fringe which may extend to the chest and throat.....Tail to have a fringe of moderately long hair decreasing in length as it approaches the point" Whereas I agree with you that many modern show setters outside Europe have coat which mat be described as long I think that your opinion of 'moderate length' differs greatly from mine. I was not the dog judge at the ISCN Show but I totally agree with the dogs judge. The working dog you mention had NO fringes on either body legs or tail. His body coat was short when the standard calls for moderate length and his colour was no way near rich chestnut. I could go further with this dog but, out of courtesy I won't. I also watched him move.
As far as wanting to find one recent winner that resembles the Derrycarnes well that is what you would prefer to see. I would prefer to see a recent winner who more closely resembles the Wendovers, or the Hartsbournes of Eileen Walker........it is easy to play that game. We all have favourites from the past.
My reasons for inviting opinion from working/field trial exhibitors was to find out if the working/field trial dogs have changed since the 60s. Are they faster than they used to be, or bigger/smaller......have the temperaments changed.........? It would be nice to know about them for a change.
Margaret has asked some interesting questions which I for one would also like to know the answers to. Never to old to learn.
The final point I would like to answer and that is regarding the beautiful and wistful head study of Derrycarne Harp..........yes Henk, there still are heads like hers in the in the show ring, funnily enough more in evidence in the UK and Ireland than on the continent and please let's have photos of her daughter Ailean on this dicussion for all to appreciate.
Yes we differ hugely over a fair amount. Analysing the book of show champions in GB, my preferred fair amount of fringes, is all in earlier decades. And Derrycarne Alcoholic (Irish show champion) has NO fringes at the chest, fully in line with the standard (MAY thats not MUST). And look at fringes of legs of Derrycarne Idea on the legs (Irish show champion), exactly those of the dog you describe.

We would hugely disagree as well over the ideal for the breed as portrayed by the Red Club France in Pretty de la Fougere Rouge, published in The Irish Red Setter (pp 148). By the way is this book, written by the chairman of the Irish Red Setter Club, Raymond O'Dwyer (Dublin, 2007) part of education of showjudges? Your Kennelclub does have Fit for Function programs. Asking this, because the conformation standard is a theory for the practice, the Official Description of the working style.

Well that was fringes, in my eyes thanks to your contribution a huge difference between interpretation of showjudges now and in earlier decades of topics timeline over fair amount, is documented here.

I'm surprised pleasantly to read your remarks on Harps head. I think a littermate of her -Carlsberg- was used in the Wendover kennel. My last visit to England was in the nineties. What I did note (in heads) was too pendulous, too square at the end, dull& too big eyes and ofcourse good ones, but not of this type!

You ask on Ailean, she was chosen by Johan Schouten chairman of the ISCN in that litter. But, those fringes....(!!!!) As far as I remember, only very knowledged judges (older category) appreciated the type.... And a brother only won a price under Jimmy James.

In my eyes, knowledge of a part of breeds heritage is vanished in nowadays showjudges. You would probably never ever give a price to shower of hail Hartsbourne Flame (bred by Maureen Mc Keever). Quite a few dogs you admire, would never have been born under nowadays show only system. The owners would have stayed home (I chose fields).
"Your Kennelclub does have Fit for Function programs"

When the Fit for Function Campaign started, its logo on the KC website featured a show type Irish Setter
I believe there were comments about this from some working gundog people and the logo quickly disappeared
Henk, you might also be surprised that I agree with you about heads because an Irish should not have pendulous flews but a "muzzle moderately deep, fairly square at end, jaws of nearly equal length.......nostrils wide".......(a joy when you can find it). There is also much debate whether "brows raised showing stop" means a definite stop. Bill Rasbridge's 'two bricks' didn't help matters especially when you visualise what two bricks look like....there would be a step.........I personally find heads with too deep a step untypical but here you have to be careful because not enough renders the head plain. Much depends on the expression and the UK standard calls for "eyes hazel or dark brown, not too large, preferably like an unshelled almond in shape, set level, not obliquely, under brows, showing kind, intelligent expression". Luckily not many show Irish have that 'Chinese' look we used to see in the 70s. So much food for thought and maybe further discussion.
While we are on the head let us mention ears which should be "of moderate size, fine in texture, set on low, well back and hanging in a neat fold close to the head..........feathers on upper portion of ears long and silky". I do think that many working dogs have short ears set on higher than required and not hanging in a neat fold close to the head. I also think that many exhibitors leave the ear fringes far too long on the lower part of the ear when the standard clearly calls for feathers on the upper portion. This for me alters the whole proportion of the head and ultimately the proportion of the dog and in a strange way changes the expression to "aloof" rather than "kind and intelligent". For me aloof comes with afghans not Irish...........I open this up for comment and discussion..........
Henk just to say that Derrycarne Carlsberg was mated to Wendover Gentleman, by Maureen McKeever, and this produced 'Wendover Derrrycarne Pink Champagne' a dog I knew; and when you go on the Pedigree site you will see that the 'Carlsberg' line is still behind many many of the Uk show dogs;
Also note on talking about the curly coats - Maureen used 'Gentleman' and those of you who remember Gentleman will agree that he was one of the dogs with the most curly coat of his time and even now; But the hair was not so long so didn't strike you too much; Another funny thing I remember was when 'Twoacres Tambourline' won at Windsor show - he was critized then for having too much coat and feathering.
Another curly coat from the past was 'W. Ballymoss'; so in the sixties there were curls, no wonder we still have them!
But no I don't remember seeing any waves on the Hartsbourne/ Brackenfields I knew at that time; But one dog Brackenfield Oliver Twist had loads of coat; And my own first home bred bitch T.Golden Ambition, from a mix of Hartsbourne/Irish dual purpose dogs/Wendover lines had plenty of coat and featherings and that's late sixties;
Frances.........Some of the Hartsbournes of Eileen Walker did have movement in the coat but certainly the Hartsbourne/Brackenfield dogs of Sybil Lennox that I remember were all straight coated.

Thank you for joining in the coat debate. I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall because I also remember well coated dogs in the early 70s I would have loved to have seen the dogs in the 60s. I saw Gentleman as an old dog and yes, he was curly.

So, if we ask the question "have the dogs changed much since the 60s not as much in coat and feather as people think. The leading winning kennels have all gone now so you can argue that the dominance of type has been diluted though there are breeders who still try to keep as true as they can to the dogs they had in the 60s and 70s.

I am still trying to spot feathering on the photos of the working dogs and "stifle and hock joints well bent" would be nice.
Yes, sixties: some long coats, curls/waves.

But NO judge penalizing fringes like Derrycarnes! Correct - because the FCI/UK standard did not change on that aspect (AKC did). On the basis of no showfurnishing many a UK showjudge would probably trash type of coats of most famous IRS ever bred.

Good to see people active in all of topics timeline joining. It would be nice to read notes on other changes (or not) on construction, movement, type as well. Maybe a count of number of worlds spent here on head/coat compared to for example movement documents a focus since seventies in UK showworlds.




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