Irish Setter Breed Magazine - Showsight

The IrIsh seTTer From Then… unTIl now! By Karolynne McAteer

G oing back as far as records and stories allow, it is commonly thought that the Irish Setter today, started as a mix of European spaniel, most likely Spanish, some Irish Water Spaniel, and perhaps a Pointer. It is felt that the spaniel most likely arrived in Ireland via the Spanish Armada and that the inhabitants of Ireland added the Irish Water Spaniel and Pointer into the mix, producing a versatile hunting dog whose form would work well over the soft bog-like terrain of Ireland. Th e Irish Setter developed into a single breed in the early 1800s, and by somewhere around 1850 was seen regu-

larly in the families of Irish aristocracy who were busily developing their own lines. Th e breed was both solid red, and in the same whelping box, red and white. Over time the solid mahogany became preferred; solids red pups were kept and bred to other solid speci- mens. Th e red and white was not the dog of choice in these times and those in existence were sent to the kitchen or stables to work. With this culling for color, the Irish Red and White became almost extinct until their resurrec- tion in the mid 1950s. But the dark red Irish Setter thrived. In 1870, a dog came on the scene in Ireland that solidi fi ed the make and fi t of the breed. Th is dog was Ch. Palmer-

ston. While his exact date of birth is not known, we can track his ownership back to Cecil Moore, one of the founders of the Irish Setter Club in Dublin. Moore later sold Palmerston to J. M. Hilliard who proudly showed him in London in 1875. From here records are clear; show records prove Palmerston was a sensation in London, dark in color, with a small patch of white on his muzzle that later became known as the Palmerston snip. On occasion today we still see evidence of that snip, and some allowable white elsewhere, too. Palmerston was used at stud in Eng- land, and while his feet never touched U.S. shores, sons and daughters arrived in America at the homes of serious


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