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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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You welcome, Eva. Hopefully it will provide a few fresh ideas for breeds future, we all sure need that.

No sure where to add my comment so decided to add a new reply to the original post. I mentioned in my previous post that we should be trying harder and Henk rightly questioned what I meant. Well, here goes...

My experience is that as breeders we are very emotional about our own dogs and the dogs we breed. Nothing wrong with that - except when it affects our ability to see, to analyse, to learn and to accept. So are we all wearing tainted pink glasses? Not quite, it is our very human behaviour of seeking far fetched explanations for whatever problem we are experiencing rather than accepting the obvious. That first step in accepting something has gone wrong in our breeding despite so many show wins or field trial awards is the hardest of all. Something that has meant alot to us is suddenly flawed... If we can accept the harsh truth then maybe we are closer to doing something about the problem.

Our denial prevents us from going down the more difficult road of querying our choices and asking whether what we considered right so many years ago is still right  today. 'Type' is what is aimed for in the show ring and is much admired. I too love a dog that 'oozes breed type'. But can I stand before my puppy buyers and say I am breeding for type when what 90% of them want is a family pet that will live a long and healthy life and reach its teens without becoming ill, a cripple or dying before the age of ten? No, I can't.


Then obviously there is another breeder species. The one who breeds indiscriminately for winning or for money and will breed as close as possible trying to get a replica of the top winning dog. These breeders do not have the wellbeing of the breed at heart, they will inbreed with the simple aim of producing the big winner and deny any mention of health problems.

This is why we need breeed clubs to make rules and ensure they are adhered to. Rules that cover health testing, inbreeding, puppy sociosation, breeding ethics etc.


And one last note about 'Annie'. My new puppy is an 'outcross' between unrelated work and show strain Irish. I acquired her with the principal aim of my own enjoyment! Of course I pray she will live to the grand age of 16 and never have a day's sickness in her life! But I know things are never quite that simple. Will I breed again? Time will tell.

I will write it again here as my post seems to have appeared at the wrong place......I agree with Susan entirely and I wish many more breeders would also try to breed for health first and type secondly.

I can't really comment, however, I would have thought it was because "show" type setters have been bred considerable more often than working stock.  Can't imagine what the ratio would be but I bet it is very interesting. I'm sure the working fraternity will have something to add about their experiences.

Georgina, my experience with working strains since say mid nineties is that they are healthy, although (like Susan stated elsewhere) hd and some pra rcd4 are in and coi's high.

I have seldom heard of bloat or epilepsy in these lines and have had no problems with three predominant workingbred litters.

It would be interesting to see what crosses like show x work like Susans Annie do healthwise. It is fairly easy to produce a showtype  Irish setter from working lines! 

Hi, trouble with show setters is that many of them are not "suitable for purpose".  Particularly coats, they are ridiculous.   The forehand on many of the setters is totally lacking angulation, no upper arm at all, they are perpendicular from the back of the neck down through the front legs, horrible.  These animals move with a stilted motion whereas proper angulation enable the dog to drive forward.  I noticed this angulation with your dogs, wonderful.   Look at your dogs, they have lovely coats, some feathering but nothing to inhibit them from moving quickly over rough terrain.  So if they do more "Annie" litters it will be interesting. 

As I have blogged elsewhere, all living creatures have problems and it is the "nature of the beast".   Nobody can guarantee good health all of the timebut we can definately have a good try and avoid previous pitfalls.  Honesty and Openess is the only way to go.   I'll keep banging on about it for ever...............

Gosh Georgina.......if you had made that comment a few months ago you would have been bombarded by insults by some other members (now removed) for daring to mention anything about coats or angulation....lol

Georgina wrote: I would have thought it was because "show" type setters have been bred considerable more often than working stock.

I think you are right, Georgina. I have been told by the working fraternity that a bitch is usually not bred until she has proven her qualities in the field, meaning has won awards in field trials or is even a FT Ch. That means a bitch may be bred quite late in life. Same goes for the stud dog. 

Food for thought and it is logical too.   The lateness of breeding doesn't seem to disadvantage working irish though does it?   The owners can produce enough stock for "followers" to be brought on.   Have noticed recently tho' that there are a number of working IS going through the rescue scheme.   I was brought up with a red "show type" cocker and he was deeeeelightfuuuuuul, we loved him dearly and brought him back from Australia. But the breed isn't as it was so I bought a working cocker recently and she is terrific.  Despite everyone telling me I was bonkers, she has proved them wrong and I wouldn't mind betting that working IS would be just as successful domestically.   Annie is going to be our little experiment, under the spy glass isn't she!!!!    Worrying situation tho' isn't it, sad.

All which you have written here is so true Susan

Very concise Susan, what you are describing used to be called "Kennel Blindness".   Ignoring the fact of producing poorly puppies so that they could bask in the glory of winning etc etc etc

Anne Jansen, who have been watching the program last year? Only the Dutch here, and they are not very active! Please stop crying about that breeder, the future, that is what we should be concerned about! ;-)




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