Irish Setter Breed Magazine - Showsight

Without balance and proper structure, the dog will not be able to move correctly. Reach and drive are essential for proper movement. That’s #1 with me when I am in the center of the ring considering movement. Covering ground with effortless movement tells me the dog is built correctly. With a lack of proper front, the reach is curtailed to a choppy, Min Pin type movement, which doesn’t say much for a Sporting dog—better on a Min Pin! Although, going forward, I am seeing better move- ment today than in days gone by, which should mean breeders are paying more attention to proper structure when breeding Irish Setters. 4. Is there anything Irish Setter handlers do you wish they would not? Any grooming practices you see that bother you? LB: Many move their dogs too fast, particularly in an over- sized ring, and then stop abruptly—never a good look for dog or handler! As for grooming, please remember that the standard does not call for, or require, the beautiful, glamorous full show coats often seen. Quality is more important than quantity. When the standard was refor- matted in 1990 at the request of AKC, language about trimming was added. The standard says all efforts should preserve the natural appearance. Many dogs are overly trimmed and sculpted. And keeping in mind that the color is actually a myriad of shades of reds and gold, this is a breed which should be trimmed well in advance of a show, not the night before, so that any resulting changes in the color of the coat do not point the judge’s eye exactly where you did not want attention! Finally, a coat should fit the individual dog. Trimming is an art! Trim- ming above the breastbone, shaping the hock, defining a tail set—even the length of the coat—can alter percep- tion in a positive fashion when done correctly. MD: I really don’t see anything that Irish Setter handlers do that is distracting while presenting their dogs, except for moving the dogs much too fast. SM: Irish Setter handlers, like handlers of many breeds, tend to stack their dogs with the rear much too far back, los- ing the proper rear angulation and making it difficult for the dog to stand comfortably. The sculpting of the breed detracts from it, but this is seen in almost every breed. It seems the mantra is, “if a little is good, then more must be better.” DM: Exhibitors run the dogs at excessive speeds to create the illusion of great motion… faster is not better. Opti- mum efficiency of gait varies from dog to dog. Covering ground means “stride for stride”, not how fast you go over the ground. Concerning bothersome grooming practices include over sculpted underlines; scissored topcoats (not stoned nor hand rolled like in the past); furnishing that are trimmed too far above the point of the hock which causes an odd swinging motion of the hair as the dog gaits away. KM: I’m not a fan of severe sculpting of underlines; however, I don’t let grooming interfere with my selec- tions, but I do expect the dogs to be in beautiful show condition and muscle tone. Bring me a dog that has poor coat quality, is clippered or has no muscle tone and I will take that into consideration.

mean anything anymore? They are not Afghan Hounds! The deep, scissoring grooming jobs that are seen in the conformation ring are so over-exaggerated, it’s pathetic. Some may think I am old school on that subject, but you are not hiding flaws from me by going crazy with the scissors! The Irish Setter is a beautiful dog, has a great temperament, and should be bred to the standard and groomed properly, to amplify all its wonderful traits. I am seeing really pretty heads, lovely condition and nice, dark eyes. The breeders are paying attention much more than years gone by.

3. Describe what you look for in Irish Setter movement.

LB: The description in the standard is very good. Watch- ing the Irish in the field though brings it to life. Bird in mouth or searching for game, head reaching slightly forward, the dog is graceful, agile and efficient, topline quiet, the forelegs reaching well forward, the rear driv- ing with great power. Short hocks act as the fulcrum for this drive. Lifting of feet front or rear is wasted energy and not efficient movement. The dog should present the same silhouette standing and moving. Puppies and young adults should move well despite their age and antics! MD: Gait exhibiting reach and drive and appearing to reach out and pull in the ground, but not by moving at top speed. The dog should not be strung up; the movement is free flowing and not restricted. SM: The Irish Setter standard describes proper movement very clearly: “The forelegs reach well ahead as if to pull in the ground without giving the appearance of a hack- ney gait. The hindquarters drive smoothly and with great power.” This is easy to say, but not so easy to find. I see too many Irish that are very straight in front and over- angulated in rear, resulting in a hackneyed, non-reaching front movement combined with wobbly, weak—some- times sickle-hocked—rears. DM: I certainly look for a no-bounce topline—an athletic ease of movement. I look for ground-covering forward motion with a follow through behind. KM: I like a big moving dog with good reach and drive carrying a proper outline. I also want dogs and bitches of correct size; when Irish Setter dogs get over 28" they tend to get houndy and clumsy. R&PR: Irish Setters should move as they stand and they should move with reach and drive, balanced fore and aft. Their front feet should extend fully forward, barely above the ground, and their rear feet should drive well beyond being perpendicular with the ground. From the rear, the judge should be able to see the entire rear feet including the nails as the dog moves away. Watching an Irish Setter gait should give you the sense that the dog could move in that easy, effortless manner all day long—head extended forward, tail straight off the back. If he pounds, lifts, side winds, hackneys or minces, he is not sound and would not be able to do the job he was created for. JZ: Irish Setter movement can only be judged after careful consideration of whether the dog is balanced correctly.

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