irish setter Q&A
WITH LORRAINE BISSO, NENA DEE, PETER A. FROST, MAUREEN A. DAY, SIDNEY MARX, DR. DANA MASSEY & JUDITH ZAWIKOWSKI
interpret as lacking substance. Another problem is the speed that many handlers run their dogs and new judges often think is correct. Also too often some can be swayed by glamour. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. LB: The term racy seems to be creeping into discussions about the breed and is incorrect as it is being used. The term is often misused today as a synonym for refined. The Irish Setter is substantial yet elegant in build and all legs sturdy with plenty of bone. Dogs should be masculine without coarseness and the bitches feminine without being slight of bone. This is an active, aristocratic bird dog capable of a day’s work in the field. The build of the four Setter breeds reflects the terrain for which each was developed. MD: I’d like to see the dogs trained a little more and require less baiting. I don’t find the bait issue to be problematic in the whole Sporting group or Irish Setters, but in some breeds there is a trend for constant baiting. I’m not talk- ing about the small pieces of hot dog, but I mean a big hunk of some kind of meat that the dog becomes very territorial about. More than ever dogs don’t stand for examination unless the exhibitor is holding some kind of bait and in some instances, they move the dog with the bait. I feel more training and less baiting will result in a better overall appearance of the dog. I would add that I understand that some breeds need to be baited to get the alert ears or to show expression, but most of the baiting, in my opinion, is overdone. ND: I believe we have the only standard that calls for a rollicking temperament! So, please don’t fault a happy, misbehaving youngster. This is a playful, humorous and loving breed so please enjoy them. PF: Irish Setters are much more than stunning redheads seen in the show ring as a breed they excel in obedience and in the field as well as being an ideal family member. SM: I still think Irish Setters are one of the most beautiful of all breeds. I am proud of the breeders who have now produced 24 dual Champion Irish. They are to be con- gratulated. Most of all, not every Irish Setter needs to be a show dog. The breed should primarily be part of a family and it is a breed that has enough love and faithfulness to spread amongst a family. DM: I’m impressed with the temperaments of the Irish Setters in the ring. JZ: The Irish Setter today is a handsome, aristocratic dog—as our standard states. Credit must be given to the people in the breed who address genetic issues and those who do so much with Rescue. We all thank you. Though num- bers have declined in recent years, the breed has really advanced with addressing health issues and maintaining
a place in the Sporting Group that is hard to ignore when that beautiful red dog goes flying by!
7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? ND: Too embarrassing to tell! SM: The first time I took my wife to an Irish Setter national specialty, the first person I came across said to me, “Didn’t you used to be Sid Marx?” The second person we came to said, “Wow, we thought you were dead.” My wife was really impressed. DM: Years ago, I had a young AKC champion who finished at seven months, had won a specialty BISS and was quite comfortable in the group ring by nine months old. A bunch of us decided to go to Canada to take some young dogs for their Championships. She did a great job going BOB every show and finishing in three or four shows. The groups were large and she loved chasing the tail of the dog in front of her! The last day I had her in the group; we did our individual exam, did the down and back, nailed the stack for the judge and I was messing with the lead, getting it collected for the go around. The judge lifted his hand to signal for us to go and off she went—leaving me standing in front of the judge as she gaited beautifully around the ring and came to a stop in a perfect stack at the end of the line. I was still standing by the judge. Good girl, Flirt! The judge said, “You need to go get your dog and perhaps think about a handler.” But he gave us Group 4 on the day and told me, “How could I not? The whole room was behind her!” JZ: Two funny things that have happened to me while judg- ing. The first was a large German Shorthair entry. An older man stacked his dog for me. When he bent over, he had his hair combed in a comb-over, which became “unglued” and fell into his face! It was about 12" long and reminded me of a rodent being let loose off his head! I gave him a moment to re-construct his hair-do and proceeded with the exam. Ringside was hysterical! It was all I could do to keep from laughing; I just smiled and went on! The second thing was a pair of untrained panty hose that I was wearing while judging. By the time I got to judge the breed in Irish Setters, the panty hose were misbehaving badly—almost down to my knees. They restrained my movement to the point that I was shuffling in the ring to gain my balance—and my composure. The judge said, “You would like a picture?” I answered him with a smile and said, “Okay, can I go to the rest room first?” Ringside was laughing, as the steward knew what was happening and told everyone within earshot what I was facing, as a provisional judge, with an AKC Rep fol- lowing my every move. I got a good review on the judg- ing part, but decided panty hose aren’t for me. I’m glad judges are wearing nice slacks and pantsuits now!
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