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Media highlight Irish setter as a sick animal

The image of the Irish setter got another big blow in Dutch media this week because a breeder was fined to pay 6000 euro for selling and subsequently denying primary epilepsy in a dog. Nearly all media, from national television to dailies and social media focused on this. Last year it was only television, now the impact is way broader. What do you think, is there a way to get out of this misery? And how?


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Yes, I did have my first Brackenfield in 1983 and then until 1998 had puppies from other breeders ( which is when the above mentioned incident happened, NOT with Sybil). I then had a bitch from Sybil in 2000 especially for breeding purposes and to carry on these lines, which is where I am today. Henk knows exactly what I have had and I have at the moment( most photos are on my page). My last Brackenfield bred by Sybil died last year aged 13 years and 8 months, my first Brackenfield died at nearly 15 years old, so health was one of the main reason for deciding to breed with these lines! Also I liked their look and they have retained the ability to work in the field and go shooting with my husband as demonstrated by my current older bitch, Kim.

So to go back to the topic : how about a questionaire on the health of the dam and sire before a litter can be registered? I know at the moment we have to do health test for CLAD, PRA. A lot of breeders in the UK still do no bother to hip score their breeding stocks. It would be interesting in the questionaire to know if the dam/sire suffers from anything? Has the Dam had a litter previously? How many puppies? were they born naturally? How many lived? etc etc Just the questions that any Breeder with an interest in the health of the Breed should ask themselves.  Am I being too demanding?

No Catherine, you love the breed and once a form/system was put into place it would become the norm and it would be the only way forward for someone contemplating a litter of puppies.  It may help knock out the puppy farmers too who only want to get rid of puppies with minimum fuss.  They certainly would not want to become involved in a system that enabled traceability.  I would imagine that most of their transactions are cash and unrecorded and they certainly wouldn't want to become accountable to HMIR and have to pay TAX on their seedy, nasty little business.  The system you envisage would be so beneficial and worthwhile and I do hope it does evolve.   I have emailed Peter Heard, The Field and Shooting Times so will be interesting to see if they come back to me.   Re the field and shooting times I have asked if they would be interested in doing a small editoral asking working IS enthusiastis if they have any or would like to give information on health matters.  Probably a NO but unless we throw the hat in the ring we'll never know.

I always felt that Miss Lennox, whilst heavily involved in the breed, distanced herself from the "cashing in on puppies" that was taking place, she certainly protected her bloodlines from the popular trend of the time.   I always thought that Brackenfield Whisper, Hartsbourne Trident and

Brackenfield Camilla were lovely dogs.  "Teddy" was one of her favourites and despite his lack of coat he was a genuine champion dog.  His movement was sensational to watch, totally balanced, striding out and even when changing direction he kept his pace.  His feet were not the best but my goodness he was a lovely dog. Whisper had the most beautiful head and expression, ethereal, perfect parallels and what used to be called chiselling.  Her ear set was lovely too and she had the perfect pear drop shape leather.  Hardly see it today.  Some Irish are beginning to look Spaniel like, ears too low set and the feathering ridiculously long.  It is little things like this that define breed type and I think this is where the B&H bloodlines set themselves apart.   But then what do I know, rambling as ever, sorry.

I just came home from a long day away so I haven't read the all the replies yet. Today we had a dogwalk and the subject came up as expected. We can't deny the health problems in the breed. There are quite a few people I have spoken today and in the past who had health problems with their setters. In the small group of about 10 families there was 1 epileptic around and 3 families had an epileptic in the past (that is including me). Two of the families owned a dog with MO and again I am one of these 2. I think the health problems a much bigger as we think. I think there are a lot more cases of epilepsy out there. Many owners keep setters as a pet, don't go to dogwalks or are not in touch with other setter owners or the breeders club.

Epilepsy is the worst illness in our breed and we should do everything to ban this. When you are the owner of an epileptic, your social life is over. Please read this article from Michelle Webster and mine in a nutshell about Ginger. There are more interesting articles about health on Michelle's website.


Where is transparency?      I think you will find opacity/opaque is easier to find!

It's interesting to see who gave the comments on facebook the thumbs up!

Hi Henk, Very sad that somebody who has enjoyed so much because of her irish setters has made such a silly remark.  Unfortunately because she has a good reputation there will be people who "look up to her" and "respect her opinion" and they will fall in line with her view and thereby and impasse is created for the benefit of non.


'We do not even blink when humans get it.'

Thank you Henk for keeping your forum post going. The way that breeders respond to your posts is a very transparent way to find out how some breeders view this health issue. For a potential buyer this is a very transparent way to get past the focus on the look of a setter.

Precisely Torrie, gut wrenching stupidity.  Well said and I've enjoyed our little bloggings...

Sad isn't Catherine because the fools can bury their heads all they want but I wonder what breed they will turn their attention towards when they've killed off our much loved breed.  They will continue their interest in dogs because that is where their self importanct egos can thrive and it is something like "a big fish in a small pond".  And as Torie says transparency, opaque all the way for them, stupid ill informed people. Very sad. I think I will withdraw my input becaue these small minded people are exactly why I stopped showing, I really couldn't bear this attitude.  

Don't stop your input Georgina....why should you?

Don't let these small minded peoples attitude get to you!

Must just add...over 7,000 people have read this discussion and only a handful have made any input...what does that tell you????

Thanks Torie, but it makes me so sad that there are such silly people who have closed minds and do not think further than the end of their own leads... never mind noses!!




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