Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

What causes an Irish Setter to over reach in the show ring?

Views: 4217

Replies are closed for this discussion.

Replies to This Discussion

AND with you, Eva!

I remember the breed standard mentioning more than just overreaching but this is the fault that I raised. If I was going to pick something that is not worthy of obsessing over it would be coat. It does not seem to have the same impact on a dogs movement. Unless it is too exaggerated and they trip over that as well as their feet!

I guess that is why I said It must be hard to judge to a dog on the move and then referred to images and videos being useful learning tools as well, for an ongoing assessment of a dog. I don't want to sound patronising but I was not indicating that one should stand on the side of a ring and judge. If this judge is correct and if they are built right they will move right, then if they move with a fault does it mean they are not built right? I would expect that a good owner handler would notice over reaching in images and  if it is so easy to correct with handling then would adjust this. But I still see the same dogs in ongoing images from different shows still over reaching. Does this mean the handler/ owner does not think it is worth correcting, is a poor handler or it is a physical fault they can't hide with handling?

When a breeder says they will not breed with a dog because its movement would not improve the bred I am delighted. The breeder who is looking at their lines and the resulting litters and evaluating them has got to be applauded. More is not necessarily better. A smaller breeder is perhaps going to spend  a lot of time balancing the strengths and faults carefully to get the best outcome for their lines. I would be concerned if a breeder said "Look personally I don't like where he puts his feet but wow check out the coat"!  It doesn't say the stride should not be exaggerated, it talks about faults. I love watching puppies getting it together with their feet and having fun, that is why I was talking about mature dogs.


Rhonda, the UK Breed Standard, which both our countries have adopted, in it's paragraph on movement/gait just says:

Free flowing, driving movement with true action from front or rear,and in profile, showing perfect co-ordination.

It is not specific, which maybe is a shame.  There are many more movement faults which are far uglier than over reaching. Weaving, pinning, hackneying, short stepping, toeing in, moving too wide or too close or cow hocked, sickle hocked in rear action etc. etc. These are also constructional faults.......and not forgetting tail carriage and deportment in all of this.  There is much for a judge to take into account, adding to that conformation, type, head, topline.............

In the UK we don't expect our dogs to move round the ring at breakneck speed but at a more measured and controlled pace so perhaps we don't see over reaching quite as much.  We have also been accused of not moving our dogs enough.  Maybe we could move them a bit more but we would still look to penalise unsound movers.  Our entries are far bigger than yours and we can afford to pick and choose.  When you have a total entry of 20 dogs and bitches a judge will have to compromise and pick the best of what is available to him/her.  At our general championship shows we have entries of between 140 and 200 dogs.  We are in a better position than you.

You are reasonably new to ES so haven't been able to participate in all the heated debates we have had about coat, it's colour and texture.  Straight versus wavy, too much versus too little, leaving ear fringes long or cutting them short, sculpting belly and tail feathering.  The show preparation of our dogs tends to follow a more natural style.  We don't obsess about that either.  There is no doubt that Setters today carry more coat now than they did when I first started but coat is certainly not the prime consideration when breeding.  It is the icing on the cake.  No breeder will use an unsound dog as they will not use a dog with entropion, bad mouth, one testicle etc.  Health in our breeding stock and the dogs we use is of paramount importance, after that conformation and soundness.  Type is also very important.  We are trying to breed Irish Setters not big red dogs with sweeping coats that motor round the ring. You must appreciate that among all this over reaching is brought into perspective. 

With respect to handling a dog to move correctly well it can become difficult when a class of dogs is sent round the ring together.  They will all try to match their speed to each other so no dog is left behind.  When you have big dogs against smaller dogs some will move at a more controlled pace than others.  Some will move totally out of control.  A good handler should try to correct this when the dog is judged and moved seperately.  Sadly it can come to nothing if the dogs are all sent round the ring again for the judge to finally place.

I think what I am trying to say here is that no one point should be judged in isolation from the whole.  When you fault judge you discard dogs for their defects rather than putting them up for their virtues.  If I were to feel when I was handing a CC to a dog that it was the best of a bad bunch rather than that it was so beautiful that it took my breath away then I would want to shoot myself. 

Forgot to add that I have lost count of all the judges who have said "If it is built right it will move right"  There is always one that will surprise you........straight in shoulder and upper arm so how come it has such tremendous reach???  It is what makes judging so interesting........

One can watch the videos of Irish  setters at Westminster on the internet  today. Most of them straight in shoulder and upper arm and with long thighs, short hocks and over angulated rears - and reaching for the horizon. They reach to compensate for the mismatch of front and rear construction. And many Americans ecstatic over the "reach and drive" of these winning dogs who are definitely not built right - at least not to me . The problem is that what some people think is "built right" does not mean  built right for a functional setter

Look at how good  working gundogs are constructed, they can vary quite a lot in the degree of angulation, but what you will find in a fast, efficiently running dog, is that front and rear angulation match. That it will have a long stride but not exaggerated reach , which wastes energy. That drive is from rear AND shoulders. Interestingly working setters  tend not to single  track either, and definitely dont as they accelerate to high speed  (another misguided obsession of the show ring)

I'm not a show judge, dont even have a good command of the jargon, sorry :)) but I can look at a dog and watch how it runs , and know why it runs fast and efficiently , or why it doesnt


I'm interested in understanding more about movement, Margaret. I work with still images professionally and find it easier to understand what I'm looking at when a dog is standing, so need to learn more about what's happening when they're moving. Can you recommend any online examples that illustrate what you're describing?

Jean Laura's hyperlink at the start of the discussion is very good and worth a look.

yes, I looked at that at the time, but I really want to see film images of a real-life correct and efficiently constructed dog in motion rather than a diagram.

"Correct" for what? Correct according to a blueprint in a manual or judges' preferences?  I prefer the word functional when looking at setter construction. Functional means the dog is constructed in a way which best facilitates the carrying out of the breed function, and certainly not to do with preferences about how the dog looks . In real life, there can be some variation in the construction of an efficient  working gundog, they dont have to be identical to a single blueprint (which may have written by somebody with no knowledge or understanding of the original breed function).


A dog can have a 'tremendous reach' but that does not mean the dog is moving correctly or not over reaching.

There are plenty of examples in the video section.

For obvious reasons I can't mention any names.

If those who are judging do not recognise, or indeed, choose to ignore the fault in the ring then the problem will continue.

Torie, I don't believe I have said that you should ignore the fault, or any fault for that matter but I do believe that every dog should be judged on it's merits and as a whole and the sum of it's parts assessed together and not in isolation.  Judging is a compromise.  All a judge does is place dogs in order of preference.   It is up to breeders to eliminate faults.

I can see where you are coming from Eva.




© 2024   Created by Gene.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service