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KC backs outcrossing for English Setters and IRWS



So the KC and the AHT have recognised that the English Setter and the IRWS are two of the five most vulnerable breeds, with effective breeding populations which are so low that they are at risk of extinction. Strategies to be put to breed clubs will include outcrossing, importing new dogs and less breeding from popular sires

The Irish Kennel Club have recognised this already and accepted an outcross programme for IRWS last year, which the IRWSCGB objected to. Two articles criticising the IKC  outcross were published in a recent club newletter. So how are the breed club going to respond to this KC statement, based on research at the AHT?

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" I was told on the day that this current outcross was merely being done so that one irish gentleman (I don't know his name) could increase his working IRWS stock and so should not happen"


Completely untrue of the current IKC outcross. The lie probably refers to Jim Sheridan who was very much involved in the earlier outcross around 1990, which WAS all about improving the working ability of the field trial IRWS, and did so very successfully. The IRWS have been much more successful in field trials since that outcross

Jim is not on the IKC Outcross Committee, nor was he involved in the early stages of planning and research for the current outcross. He did attend the later stages of consultation before the plan was approved and made some useful suggestions. His own previous experience had helped him see where previous outcrosses had problems and how a new outcross could be done better. All good stuff! And he is extremely knowledgable about about both IRWS and working reds all over Europe as judges internationally at field trials (as Terry O Leary and David Byrne also do)

But from the start this IKC outcross has been about widening the gene pool for health and genetic reasons. And however often one keeps repeating this, it seems Ann and others in the UK remain deaf . Have they even read the outcross proposal, which says  very clearly it is about health and genetics

Martin, I think you have only recently come into IRWS?

The International Outcross Programme has been discussed for some 3 years on line and official questions asked by at least 5 IRWS breed clubs and countless individuals from many countries.

There is total misunderstanding by a great many people due to lack of communication by the Country of Origin to the Breed outside the FCI.

Outcrossing to Norwegian/Swedish/other Scaninavian dogs being rejected, French Irish Setters have been selected and the programme published.  The main stumbling block perceived was dealing with the introduction of Irish Setter inherited disease into IRWS - Bloat, MO, Epilepsy, PRA etc and the fate of those crossbred puppies that did not measure up to the expected.

I'm afraid it is not my place to publish official correspondance between the GB club and the IKC on line, you could ask the IKC or the GB club itself.

As far as I know, the IRWSCGB position is that they can have no influence on what the IKC do and provided that UK owners are made aware of the possible importation of the crossbred puppies, that's the end of the matter.

I don't go to many shows so I have not been personally lobbied by anyone - I think I did meet you at one where I explained that there is gundog training available in the Midlands that you could perhaps be interested in for your young dog.....

Where the expanding of the UK IRWS gene pool by outcrossing to another breed is concerned, this has been brewing since the 2009 GB International Conference and as soon as there is anything concrete to report, the membership will be informed and the debate begun!  In the meantime, don't be misled by the speculation of others.

I hope to see you at the AGM?

"Outcrossing to Norwegian/Swedish/other Scaninavian dogs being rejected, French Irish Setters have been selected and the programme published"


Where do you get this misinformation from? No FCI country has been "rejected", . Nor have French Irish Setters been "selected". The IKC has made the programme open to applications from any FCI country. The countries that have shown positive  interest so far have , not surprisingly, been those with dogs imported from Ireland , a genuine working/FT interest , a good relationship with the breed club in Ireland, and a concern with the genetic health of the breed

Martin it seems that you are a new member to the the IRWSCGB and that you went to the clubs show. Well done for getting involved in the breed club, supporting its events and being concerned about your breed. In important matters it is vital that the clubs committee keeps its members informed  and in consultation on the position being put forward by the club. It is important to speak out when an action is taken that puts a committee member's own preference above the interests of the clubs and the breed.  There does seem to be a lot of rumour and misinformation around this subject. Keep asking for clarification as this can only help your breed.

"the IRWS was revived from 7 IRWS"

This is a myth. There were only about a dozen registered red and whites left, but rather more unregistered red and whites still around. Dermot Mooney alone owned more red and whites than this number

I guess you find yourself between a rock and a hard place , Ann? On the one hand the KC now who think the breed has problems, and need a strategy for survival, and on the other hand  a breed club who think everything is just fine, the dogs are healthy as long as we keep on testing , not worried about falling registrations or high COIs?

I've been saying for years, this is a breed with problems, which has  been denied by people like yourself.

I sit back and watch with interest how this will develop.



I see from this article, I'm not the only person to find themselves no longer a breed club member for raising concerns about health problems and breeding practices.

For the sake of the health of the breed, do not sit back Margaret. This is an important issue for your breed. A breed club may only reflect a portion of the people responsible for the future of the breed. The public meetings sound like a great solution to this problem.

totally agree with you Rhonda 

Having watched the new Pedigree Dogs Exposed Three Years On Programme last night, it left me with a slight sense of shame about not being MORE outspoken about the health and genetic problems of IRWS with their very small gene pool. Not so much those that are publicly known, but also those which  breeders deny and  in some cases are covering up, like the cases of HD going unrecorded. I have tremendous admiration for people like Margaret Carter in Cavaliers, and Julie Evans in Dalmatians and Wendy Smith in Gordons who are prepared to stand up to their breed clubs and do the right thing . It is very hard to stand up and do the right thing - Margaret Carter who was not only a successful breeder and exhibitor, but had also served 20 years as club committee member, found herself voted and hounded out of the club, in spite of all that she had said about the extent of syringomyelia in the breed, and how affected dogs were being knowingly bred from,  being shown by research to be entirely accurate. As she said in the film last night, breed clubs can be like a cult, with the membership being brainwashed into accepting without question the club's view that the breed is healthy and has no problems, or if there is a problem , it is not widespread, and under control, so no need to worry. With a cult, one is either inside it or outside it, if one wants to remain inside, and to win at shows and maybe eventually become a show judge or a breed club committee member, one doesnt argue with the cult leadership

After the film was shown last night, I see the Kennel Club were getting quite a hammering on Facebook, not all of it  entirely fair. I think the KC are making cautious steps in the right direction, but so far, where breed clubs, top breeders and show judges  remain like small conservative cults resisting change, and the KC are reluctant to confront them and force change, the KC are not going  to change things very fast. Clubs may accept DNA tests, but are very reluctant to change the breeding practices which caused the problems for which they need the DNA tests!

I'm coming to the end of my life as a breeder, maybe another two or three litters, then finish, so have little to lose :)) If I leave some healthy , fit and functional dogs to contribute to the gene pool, thats the most important thing.

Perhaps I should stop looking at the Irish Red and White Setter Club (of Ireland) website?  I thought that is the official site for information and there is a certain emphasis as you say, on working dogs.

No keep trying Ann you may get it right someday after all you cant always get it wrong unless it suits you to do so ???




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