Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World
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The origin of the Irish Setter dates back to the early 1700s in Ireland. By the early 1800s, the breed was firmly established not only in its homeland but throughout the British Isles. While its precise ancestry is the subject of debate, some speculate that the Irish Setter descends from crosses of Irish Water Spaniels and Irish Terriers. According to other experts, it is more likely that the breed’s progenitors were English Setters crossed with Irish Water Spaniels, Springer Spaniels and Pointers, with some Gordon Setter blood thrown into the mix.
The solid red setter first appeared in Ireland in the 19th century. Its earliest ancestors primarily were red and white. The breed was developed to locate birds with its keen sense of smell and, once the prey was discovered, to hold its position (instead of chasing the birds) to avoid entering the line of fire. The first Irish Setters were imported to America in the 1800s to work as gundogs on game, particularly ruffed grouse, quail, prairie chickens, woodcock, partridge, pheasant, wild duck and teal. A legendary setter named Elcho, imported from Ireland to the United States in 1875, was one of the first of his breed to be a phenomenal success in both the show ring and the field. However, most sportsmen did not continue breeding and refining the Irish Setter for public field trial competitions. The Llewellin Setter and the Pointer eventually cornered the market in that sport, although the Irish Setter remains a competent hunting companion and high-class shooting dog, pointer and retriever in its own right.
Now I wonder where do Pointers come from? I suppose they all go back to the wolf...eventually.
I have a friend with a German Long-haired Pointer who uses it for retrieving game. She gets quite ratty when anyone calls it 'some sort of weird Irish Setter'. Which they often do.
German Longhaired Pointer is carrying irish setter blood....;-)))) for sure.
IS are the oldest an purest of all gundog breeds. Way older than pointers, who are a mix of totally different breeds. It is said that the Landspaniel is behind the first IS and he was brought to Ireland in the medieval time. Crossing europe and leaving traits in France, Netherlands and Westgermany, to be found in Brittany Spaniels etc.
Very interesting topic and I would recommend the Gilbert Leighton-Boyce book "Survey on early setters"
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