Irish Setter Breed Magazine - Showsight


1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. In popularity, our red-headed friends currently rank #77 out of all 192 AKC-recognized breeds. 3. We think everyone on earth is a fan, but does the average person in the street recognize him? -Is this good or bad when it comes to placing puppies? 4. Few of these dogs really “work” anymore. How has he adapted to civilian life? What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? 5. A big strong Sporting dog requires a special household to be a perfect fit. What about the breed makes him an ideal compan- ion? Drawbacks? 6. What special challenges do us breeders face in our current economic and social climate? 7. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 8. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? 9. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 10. What is your favorite dog show memory? 11. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. LYDIA MILLER

I have put JR hunting titles on my dogs in the past. I don’t really think their hunting abilities matter inside the house. But in the yard. I watch them point birds and are always using their instincts when we go to the lake and their are ducks. They point them and you can see they natural ability come out in them. As far as the perfect household for an Irish Setter. I learned a lot through the years. This most recent litter I placed each dog in a great household. I had them temperament tested to see what dogs showed different attitudes and behaviors. And then I looked at each individual family and what they wanted. For instance one of my homes was interested in hunting with his Irish Setter and has done hunting in the past with them. So when I did the temperament test one dog in the report came back and it stated that this dog has excellent hunting abilities. So I placed that dog with that home. The first time owners I placed a more calm temperament puppy with them. Obviously things can change. But I had the tempera- ment test done by a person that wrote many articles and teaches it nationwide. The drawback to owning an Irish Setter and never having one previously is people don’t always understand that they want to be with you. They are not a breed that wants to be alone. They like to be with you and need lots of exercise. As far as our current economics go. I feel we are the same as any other breed. You need to know what you are getting into with any dog. The cost of food and vet care are very expensive. The climate has never affected my dogs. I have four seasons and they love all of them. I like to evaluate my show stock between 9 and 12 weeks old. I feel that is when we can see their strengths and weaknesses start to come out. But if course that can change also. When a new judge comes into our breed, it is important for them to evaluate the overall dog. Balance and structure and choose the dog that is closest to our written standard. Some judges will focus on one trait and not the overall structure of the dog. It’s the entire package of the dog that needs to be evaluated not just one trait. My ultimate goal for our breed is health. We need to do all the recommended health clearances by our parent club. And we need to do pedigree research on health issues and try and breed into lines that don’t have the same health issues as your line might have. There are no clear lines of health issues. So we must do our best to make sure we breed healthy sound dogs. My favorite dog show memory is when I finished my first home bred Champion in 2005. My very first litter I bred produced three Champions, a JR hunting title and two obedience titles. When I returned from Bogota Colombia , I wanted to get anoth- er Irish Setter puppy. I found a little female. I began training her in obedience, which lead me to meet many Irish Setter owners. Since I was new to showing in 1997 many people wanted to look at my bitch and pedigree. I had a vet appointment to have her spayed that week. Several people told me to cancel it. They told me she was show quality. I had many mentors. But one was so outstanding and if it was not for her help and guidance I would not be doing this today. She explained how to get my health clearances on my bitch. And she picked out what she thought was a good stud dog for me to breed to. That produced my first litter of 12 puppies. And two of them just got another puppy from me out of my current litter. I am forever grateful to her and to all my mentors. Most of them have passed away. I am forever grateful I found this breed.

My kennel name is Kilkenny’s and I live in Hel- lertown, Pennsylvania. Outside of dogs I enjoy going to Broadway shows, museums, and concerts. I am a retired Narcotics Agents who lived in Bogota, Colombia where I found a little puppy in a flea market and bought her. She turned out to be an Irish Setter. That was in 1995.

© Sharon K. Merkel

When I take my dogs to public places everyone stops me and comments how beautiful they are. And most people recognize that they are Irish setters and tell me about experiences they had with them in the past. Having just had a litter of 12 puppies, the last one leaving on October 12th. I can tell you I had people fill out a questionnaire and went through them carefully. People that had Irish Setters previ- ously I felt they knew the breed. The new people that never owned an Irish Setter before, I asked them to bring their families and spend time interacting with them. I would watch them and I could tell if they really would interact with the dogs they would be a good fit. I also had strict requirements when placing an Irish Setter. I required a fenced in yard. The dog not to be crated long hours. I would explain to the new owners that these dogs like to be with you and they like to play and interact with their owners. I turned down several potential homes because of the type of living situation. For example a community that would not allow an invisible fence or fenced in yard. The dog would have to be leashed walked. They need to be able to run in a yard. They require exercise.


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