Irish Setter Breed Magazine - Showsight

THIS IS THE IRISH SETTER A DISCUSSION OF SWIFT-MOVING, BIG LIVELY GAIT, AND A ROLLICKING PERSONALITY! BY SAM HOUSTON MCDONALD I n a review of the Official Standard , one can see in the opening remarks that the Irish Setter is described

as, “Afield, the Irish Setter is a swift- moving hunter; at home, a sweet natured, trainable companion.” In the section under Gait, movement is described by stating, “At the trot the gait is big, very lively, graceful and efficient.” Though the field and the show ring may be far from the same conditions, there are reasons why the two are related. And if we add a big dab of rollicking personality and cor- rect structure, the picture is complete. If truth be known, there is much uncertainty about the origin of the Irish Setter. It is supposed that through the use of spaniels, bred to other breeds, so came the setting spaniel of red and white. Broke to net, they crouched or “set” whenever they came upon game such as partridge.

Once guns were were introduced, the style of hunting changed, finding the dogs working in a more upright posi- tion. Some breeders took a fancy to those with more red than white. Sub- sequently, through selective breeding, there came the “whole reds.” By the early 1800s, we had our Irish Setter in type and function. Certainly, through the comparison of pictures and paintings over the years, we can see changes today. But the basics then are still the basics! In many publications from the middle to late 1800s, such as the Dogs of the British Islands by J. H. Walsh (1886), authors wrote descriptions about the build of the breed with its slightly longer than tall frame, suffi- cient bone, and a head allowing plenty of brain room. The chest is deep with well sprung ribs, allowing sufficient


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