are all integral pieces when evaluating a dog. Silhouette would encompass the medium size, the long, chiseled brick on brick head, the balanced angles of front to rear, the short hocks, the pennant tail and the moderate back over a longer body line. An Irish should be slightly longer than tall, but the length should be in the rib cage, not in the loin. It is so important to remember that this standard describes an aristocratic gundog. He must be beautiful to behold and athletic. The Irish Setter’s rollicking per- sonality is as characteristic of the breed as his beautiful red coat! ND: I must have a firm slightly sloping topline, deep chest with moderate forechest, balance front and rear, all com- ing together in an elegant silhouette with efficient side gait and good temperament PF: Correct structure, good temperament and a good head 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? LB: The 1960 standard revision is the first mention of the topline. “Topline—from withers to tail slopes slightly downwards without a sharp drop at the croup.” The rear is described as, “…well angulated at stifle and hock.” The silhouette began to change as upright shoulders, over angulated rears, sickle hocks, high tails, short rib cages and long loins were seen more and more as toplines became exaggerated, often resulting in a carica- ture of this lovely breed. While the standard does call for a slight slope to the topline, these exaggerated toplines are too prevalent today as are high tails. Tails, in keeping with the history and purpose of the breed, should be an extension of the topline, “…carried straight or curving slightly upward, nearly level with the back.” Before guns, a net was thrown over the bird and the setting dog. The net could seriously damage a high tail. Without modern medicine, you could injure or lose the dog putting food on your table! When the standard was reformatted 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 over-trimmed and sculpted. 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! Trimming above the breastbone, shaping the hock, defining a tail set— even the length of the coat—can alter perception in a positive fashion when done correctly. The dog should move as he stands. ND: For quite a while my concern was that the hindquarters were becoming exaggerated and the irish setter Q&A WITH LORRAINE BISSO, NENA DEE, PETER A. FROST, MAUREEN A. DAY, SIDNEY MARX, DR. DANA MASSEY & JUDITH ZAWIKOWSKI
DR. DANA MASSEY
I have lived with Weimaraners since 1950. I breed under the kennel name of Win’Weim and am proud to have owned and/or bred Weimaraners consistently in the Top 10 plus AKC National Specialty Winners, Top 20 winner, National Cham- pionship Best Bred By and Group 2, BIS, WCA Hall of Fame, Pedigree Top Produc- ers (both dams and sire) and many WCA
Bench Registry of Merit dams and sires. I received the Ameri- can Kennel Club’s highest award for a Sporting Dog breeder— that of AKC Sporting Dog Breeder of the Year in 2012. For the AKC I judge BIS, the Sporting Group, Junior Showmanship, the Working Group, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Pharaoh Hounds, Bouvier des Flandres and Australian Shepherds. JUDITH ZAWIKOWSKI
My background in Irish Setters goes back to 1967 when I acquired my very first Irish. I bred my very first litter in 1970. I live in west-central Wisconsin and am currently semi-retired. I own a business quite near to me and dabble with that a bit. I was approved to judge Irish Setters by the AKC in 1997. I also judge All Breed Juniors. Since then,
I have added more breeds and am in the process of apply- ing for more. I have currently judged 23 Irish Setter special- ties across America and also many of the breeds at all-breed functions. I am excitedly awaiting my assignment to judge dogs and intersex at the 2016 Irish Setter Club of America national specialty in San Diego in early June. I have judged the national before in Ft. Worth in 2003 and had a ball with all those beautiful red dogs!
1. Describe the breed in three words. LB: Elegant, rollicking bird dog. ND: Balanced, elegant and substantial. PF: Handsome, extraverted and fun to live with.
2. What are the “must have” traits in this breed? LB: The Irish Setter standard states, “Each part of the dog flows and fits smoothly into its neighboring parts without calling attention to itself.” Temperament, silhouette, the distinctive red color, coat, movement and overall balance
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