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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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Margaret, there are many members who contravene the breed club's codes of ethics (even though it is supposed to be only an advisory document....bulldog without teeth, but a selective bulldog nevertheless!) in the way they keep their dogs, breed from under age bitches etc etc and who remain members yet those who voice concerns about health issues are stripped of their membership. I could never get my head round this and still can't.

I have just studied the INTERNATIONAL OUTCROSS PROGRAMME FOR IRISH RED SETTERS AND IRISH RED & WHITE SETTERS which currenty appears on the Irish Kennel Club website.

As an International Scheme, any country with a Canine Governing Body (in our case, the Kennel Union of Southern Africa) that has reciprocal agreements regarding Registration will have to resolve whether to accept and place the progeny from litters bred between Irish Reds and Irish Red & Whites onto their Registers - whether they are first generation - X1 second - X2 or third generation X3.  Many, like SA. are affiliated to the FCI, what is their joint resolution on this matter?

In addition to the Breed Register KUSA has a Development Register, this having been used for "breeds in transit" as far as phenotype is concerned i.e. Boerboels (a large mastiff type breed, initially bred by SA farmers) which now boasts its own KUSA Breed Standard.

I note the clause concerning 'Irish Red Setters FDSB' and bring to the attention of those concerned that a Field Register was opened in 1983 to accommodate the South African Field Trial Club setters, enabling them to compete in trials run by KUSA, but not Register their stock on the respective breed registers as there was a history of cross-breeding between the the setter breeds with such colours as 'liver and white', 'lemon and white' black and 'red' appearing on pedigrees of that era. Breed diversity at the expense of phenotype?  The SAFTC continues to snub the Field Trial Register and is not affiliated to KUSA.  I presume, therefore, that their SAFTC breeders Setters would also not be considered as potential candidates, even if exported from Ireland as pure bred IRWS or IS of working strain with export pedigrees, but not breed registered with KUSA.

But, has the "net" been cast widely enough to assert that there is no population of Irish Red & Whites in the world where offspring from good quality specimens with working ability, could not be imported?  What about Australia and New Zealand, Canada and I recall seeing a photo of an IRWS being exhibited as a rare breed at Westminister in America some years ago?

Of greatest worry in these protocols is the omission of DNA Testing and Clinical Eye Examination of both Setter breeds entering the scheme.  PRA rcd 1, the emergence of PRA rcd 4 with apparently another type as yet unidentified, add to the mix PPC and the results of the 20ll UK Irish Setter Health Survey concerning entropia and the cost of genetic diversification in working setters may be just too high for both breeds?



Bridget, there are no IRWS in New Zealand, and nothing that would be considered as working for the purposes of the IKC outcross in Canada or Australia. There are some in the US ,that come down from working dogs imported from Ireland, used for hunting or have done a hunt test. The main source of working/FT IRWS is Ireland and some European countries (Norway, Sweden, France, the Czech Rebublic, a few in Italy, Germany and Austria) , also one kennel in Argentina, and thats about it. And the European ones are fairly closely related to those in Ireland. The Czech and Argentine IRWS are probably the least related to the Irish FT dogs

I thought it wasn't about 'working', but about breed health, discouragement of inbreeding, the widening of the gene pool... etc <VBG>

In other words it's about Genotype not Phenotype! - not outcrossing for one specific trait?


The outcross isnt only about working, its about health, genetics ,conformation, type, temperament, and working - any dogs used have to ALL the attributes required. They have good working and FT IRWS in Ireland, and it would be a shame to risk losing that working ability by using dogs with less of it or none

There are some new IRWS  being imported into Ireland, Jim Sheridan has imported a bitch from Poland, Ann Miller has got a dog puppy from the Devlins in the US, and Terry is just about to get a dog puppy from Sweden, all from different lines, all bring something into the Irish gene pool

Margaret, Your response to my question '...is there no population of Irish Red & White Setters in the world where offspring from good quality specimens with working ability, could not be imported'  was largely negative and you added  'and the European ones are fairly closely related to those in Ireland.' Thus I am somewhat confused by your reply to Ann in that that there have been imports of IRWS from 'Poland, Sweden and US' recently ' all from different lines'.  I presume these dogs have sufficent outcross in their pedigrees to satisfy breed diversity and the desire for "working ability".  If that is the case then the outcrossing of Irish Reds to Irish Red and Whites is not of paramount importance and should only be entered into when there is no other option.

"Different" meaning different lines from each other, they all go back to Irish dogs. So they add a little diversity, but when a gene pool is very small, it takes more than this to make a significant  difference

I've imported four dogs from Ireland and twice gone over to Ireland to use a stud dog, which added something to the UK gene pool, and three other UK breeders have each imported one dog from Ireland recently, one has imported from Canada, and one has used an Irish stud dog, but our effective breeding population is still only  28. It takes more than than an import to make a difference when the gene pool has reached this level

Makes one wonder what the effective population of IRWS in the UK might have been without any imports in the last ten years. Maybe better not to think about it!




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