Irish Red and White Setter Breed Magazine - Showsight

Irish Red and White Setter Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


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Official Standard for the Irish Red & White Setter General Appearance : The Irish Red & White Setter is bred primarily for the field. The standard as set out hereunder must be interpreted chiefly from this point of view and all Judges at Bench Shows must be encouraged to judge the exhibits chiefly from the working standpoint. The appearance is strong and powerful, well balanced and proportioned without lumber; athletic rather than racy with an aristocratic, keen and intelligent attitude. Size, Proportion & Substance : Dogs are 24½ to 26 inches tall; bitches are 22½ to 24 inches tall. The length of body from point of shoulder to point of buttock is equal or longer than height to top of withers, up to a ratio of 10 L - 9 H. Bone is moderate in proportion to size. Head : Expression - The gentle expression displays a kindly, friendly attitude. The eyes are dark hazel or dark brown; round or nearly round, with slight prominence and tightly fitted eyelids. The ears are set level with the eyes, well back, lying close to the head. Skull - The skull is broad, in proportion to the body and rounded without showing an occipital protuberance. Stop - The stop is distinct, but not exaggerated. Muzzle - The muzzle is clean and square, of equal length to skull, with parallel planes. Bite - A scissors bite is ideal; a level bite is acceptable. Neck, Topline & Body : Neck - The neck is moderately long, very muscular, but not too thick, slightly arched, free from all tendency to throatiness. Topline - The topline of the dog, from the withers to the croup should be level, not sloping. The croup should be well rounded and sloping slightly downward to the tailset. Body - The body is strong & muscular with a deep chest and well sprung ribs. The back is very muscular and powerful. Tail - The tail is of moderate length, not reaching below the hock, strong at the root, tapering to fine point; no appearance of ropiness and carried level with or below the back. Forequarters : Angulation - shoulder blade well laid back with upper arm equal in length and forming a nearly right angle with the shoulder blade. Tips of shoulder blades meeting fairly close, lie flat and are smooth with contours of body . Elbow - The elbows are free, turning neither in nor out. Legs - The forelegs are straight and sinewy, well boned, with strong pasterns. Feet - The feet are close-knit with plenty of feathering between toes. Hindquarters : The hindquarters are wide and powerful. Legs - The legs are of strong bone, well muscled and sinewy. The thighs, from hip to hock, are long and muscular. The stifle is well bent. The hock is well let down and turns neither in nor out, hocks are of moderate length and strong. Feet - The feet are close-knit with plenty of feathering between toes. Coat : Long silky fine hair called “Feathering” is present on the back of the fore and hind legs and on the outer ear flap, also a reasonable amount is on the flank extending onto the chest and throat forming a fringe. All feathering is straight, flat and not overly profuse. The tail is well feathered. On the head, front of legs and other parts of the body the hair is short, flat and free from curl but a slight wave is permissible. Color : The base color is white with solid red patches (clear islands of red color); both colors show the maximum of life and bloom. Flecking but not roaning is permitted around the face and feet and up the foreleg as far as the elbow and up the hind leg as far as the hock. Roaning, flecking and mottling on any other part of the body is objectionable. Gait : When moving at the trot, the gait is long striding, very lively, graceful and efficient. The head is held high, and the hindquarters drive smoothly and with great power. The forelegs reach well ahead and remain low. Seen from front or rear, the forelegs and hind legs below the hock joint move perpendicularly to the ground with no crossing or weaving.

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Grooming : The trimming of an Irish Red and White Setter should be kept to a minimum, maintaining a neat natural appearance and not to be shaved with clippers. Light trimming with thinning shears is allowed. Under the ears, tail, pasterns and hocks may be trimmed for neatness. Feet may be cleared of hair including the bottom and around the edges leaving hair between the toes. No other trimming is allowed including the whiskers which shall remain intact. Temperament : They display a kindly, friendly attitude, behind which is discernible determination, courage and high spirit. Faults : Any departure from the foregoing standard is considered a fault and the seriousness of the fault is in exact proportion to its degree. Approved July 9 th , 2019 Effective October 1 st , 2019



BREED COMPARISON We judge the Irish Red and White Setter exhibits chief- ly from the working standpoint! The Irish Red and White Setter is strong and powerful, never racy or elegant as is its cousin, the Irish Setter. The Irish Red and White Setter is not as tall as an Irish Setter. They have a level topline, whether standing or mov- ing, with a tail held level with the back. Body length of an Irish Red and White Setter can range from square to a 9/10 proportion, whereas in an Irish Setter the body should be slightly longer than it is tall. You will also find that the Irish Red and White Set- ter is exhibited with whiskers intact; a requirement in the standard. The standard also calls for no clipping of any kind. Tidying of the neck and body without ever showing a sculped look is allowed. Both breeds move at a gait that is long-striding, very lively, graceful, and efficient. The Irish Red and White Setter should always have a moderate setter look in body and in coat length. Both breeds have an outgoing and friendly personality!




COLOR The Irish Red and White Setter is a parti-colored breed. The base color is white with patches of red color. The red color has been described to be that of a freshly opened chestnut. There is NO specific patch placement mentioned in any standard, and no Irish Red and White Setter has incorrect red patch placements as long as it shows to be a parti-colored dog! In a description of the ideal Irish Red and White Setter, most would agree that an Irish Red and White Setter should have red patches over the ears and eyes, and clear islands of red spread in an eye pleasing way over the body. A hands-on evaluation is essential when judging the Irish Red and White Setter, as the human eye can be misled by patch placements. Also, depending on how the patches are physically placed, angulation can be made to look correct or incorrect. The body can appear too long, too short, tall or lacking in height. We tend to find fairly consistent patching over eyes and ears, but patch- ing on the body can range from none to small or large red areas—and anything in-between. The white is that of a pearly white! Our standard allows for ticking on the muzzle and legs. Ticking on the body is not considered ideal. We do have to remember that the breed is to be judged chiefly on its ability to work, which requires correct construction. Our color is more cosmetic and clearly does not contribute to or interfere with working!




The color is the breed hallmark, but the breed must always be judged chiefly from the working standpoint. HEAD The Irish Red and White Setter skull is broad, but is in proportion to the body, and rounded without showing an occipital protu- berance. The stop is distinct, but not exagger- ated, and is not to appear to have an upturned or roman nose. The muzzle of an Irish Red and White Set- ter is clean and square, of equal length to the skull, with parallel planes. Nose color of the Irish Red and White Setter can range from black (ideal) to dark brown. The occasional pink streaks or spots can be found and are part of the breed. You may also find winter noses.



The Irish Red and White Setter Submitted by Christina Phillips Irish Red & White Setter "The Irish Setter probably came into its own at the end of the 17th century. It is not well known out- side of Ireland that there are two breeds of Irish Setters, but it is fairly certain, that the Red and White Setter is the older of the two, and that judicious selective breeding evolved the solid red colour..." from The Irish Kennel Club

one of the earliest references to the set- ters we know today. Hunting with a net requires the dog to find the bird, freeze the bird in place and not be so close to the bird that the hunter nets the bird and the dog at the same time. Only a superior dog could manage all of these tasks. Legend and paintings from the 17th century reflect dogs very similar to the documented pedigrees of the 18th centu- ry. Despite the fact that we can actually see 200 year old paintings of dogs similar to today's dogs, we should keep in mind that before the middle of the 19th centu- ry, dogs were bred to work and the notion of breeders being concerned about any particular conformation has never been

number of white and red setters declined to nearly zero. Anna Redlich credits Rev. Noble Huston of Ballynahinch, County Down with saving the line and gradually building up the numbers. With the aid of his cousin, Dr. Elliott, he was able to slow- ly bring back the breed. Dr. Elliott lived in a house named Eldron, and that prefix is in the names of dogs bred in the 20's and 30's. The Rev. Huston did not keep offi- cial pedigrees, but did record his litters in the parish register. Although most of the dogs were kept in Ireland, a single dog was sent to the United States, two to Spain and several to England. The next important players in this story are Mr. and Mrs. Will Cuddy. In 1940, Mrs. Maureen Cuddy (nee Clarke) was given a sickly puppy bitch. She nursed the puppy to health and called her puppy Judith Cunningham of Knockalla. It is highly probable that every recorded IR&WS today is descended from this bitch. The Cuddys were instrumental in

Historical Summary

adapted from Irish Red and White Setter Association Inc - Parent Club

The absolute history of the Setter from Ireland is questionable due to the lack of records from ancient times. What has sur- vived the distortions of time and oral his- tory are several paintings and a few writ- ten descriptions from the 17th and 18th centuries that attest to the presence of the white "setting dogges" with red mark- ings. The earliest references to any kind of setter are from the 16th century with depictions of a hunter with a net and a supine dog pointing toward a doomed grouse or quail. The "setting spaniel" is

demonstrated. By the end of the 18th century, the white and red breed was well established and several kennels were known for supplying purebred dogs. During the 19th century, the red dogs became established in ever greater num- bers eventually becoming the predomi- nant variety. WWI brought great hardship to the people of Ireland and their dogs. The


Irish Red & White Setter

The Irish Red and White Setter

Submitted by Christina Phillips

forming an IR&WS group in Ireland and gaining recognition of the breed. Mrs. Cuddy carried on a lengthy correspon- dence with the aging Rev. Huston and is responsible for researching and preserv- ing much of the early 20th century histo- ry of the breed. In 1944, the Irish Red and White Setter Society formed in Ireland. Between the end of WWII and the early 1980's, the Irish slowly built up the numbers of what became officially known as Irish Red and White Setters. The breed spread to England. Both the Irish Kennel Club and the Kennel Club (UK) came to recognize the IR&WS as a breed separate from the Irish Setter. The IR&WS again came to the United States in the 1960's with the import of a few dogs by a couple of individuals. In the 1980's, breeding pairs were imported and the gradual increase in the IR&WS population began. Since that time several other imports arrived and a slow breeding program has continued. Beginning in 1996 AKC started recording the Irish Red and White Setter in the Foundation Stock Service. The breed became eligible to compete in Pointing Breed Hunting Tests, Obedience, Agility, and Rally as of April 1, 2004, and in the Miscellaneous Class at shows on June 27, 2007. On January 1, 2009, the Irish Red and White Setter was assigned to the Sporting Group and became AKC’s 159th breed. ©1997-2011 Charles A. Petterson [more detailed version can be found at the AKC Parent Club Website - IRWS Association Inc.,] Not Just Another Pretty Face Known as a “Gentleman’s Bird Dog”, the Irish Red and White Setter is a very ver- satile upland gun dog that can find game in the heaviest cover. Training an IRWS should always be done with positive reinforcement. They tend to be on the soft side and respond best to gentle persuasion. They are very intelligent and their intense bird instinct allows them to quickly adapt to all types of upland birds and to hunt the terrain

wisely. Even the novice trainer will find they are easily trained, if he has a solid positive connection with his dog. Negative training will get you nowhere with this breed and can cause harm to the sensitive nature of the IRWS. If you choose to hire a trainer to work with your IRWS, it is very important that the trainer under- stands this. These gentle biddable dogs want to please. Most IRWS are naturals at AKC Junior Hunt tests, pointing birds with a minimum of training. The more advanced levels of Senior and Master Hunter take more time and training.

cover large amounts of ground, willing- ness to hunt as a team with their human team member and something we call bird sense for lack of a better term. Examining these qualities one at a time will shed light on why those of us that hunt this type of terrain are so dedi- cated to this breed. A well conditioned IRWS will hunt all day at a good pace in this difficult terrain as long as they are given frequent breaks and adequate hydration. They are very good at setting a pace that matches that of the hunter and working the terrain. During warm weather the IRWS's coat and body style has an advantage over most other setters. Their coat is generally heavy enough to protect them from the harsh landscape but not so heavy as to cause issues with overheating. Their strong build “without lumber”, as the standard says, makes them able to work hard but be light on their feet with great agility. They are very biddable which makes them the perfect dog to learn to hunt as a team which is a necessity when hunting birds that are generally found in coveys and that run rather than fly when given the opportunity. The IRWS is a master at designing ways of holding these birds by working the wind and the terrain in their favor and guiding the hunter to the birds. When the birds flush and the covey is broken their keen nose and sharp eye- sight are able to track and find singles so that the hunt does not end at the flush. The IRWS is a very intelligent breed. As the seasons go by they become more and more in tune with their quarry and their human partner, which leads to big- ger and bigger bags. You will often find them looking back at you to signal that they are approaching birds. They will use the terrain to conceal an approach to a covey they have sensed by their excellent nose just over the next rise giving them and their hunter the advantage of sur- prise. In short these dogs are the best hunting partner I know of for birds in dif- ficult terrain. They work at the right pace and with the intelligence to make a hunter proud to own one. Harvey Hazen - Mountain Star IRWS

The color of the IRWS is an asset as they are easy to see in the field. The white shows up well in fall color and the red makes the dog easy to see in the snow. While bred primarily for the field, IRWS do equally well in the show ring. This breed is such a natural bird dog because the IRWS has changed very little in the past 200 years. Selective and good breeding throughout the years has given us the wonderful dog we have today. Judy Baumgartner -Laurel Oak IRWS The Irish Red and White Setter is an excellent dog for the foot hunter dedicat- ed to hunting birds in rough, challenging terrain such as that found in the Western States Chukar Habitat. There are four qualities that make the IRWS the ideal dog for hunting such difficult birds. These qualities are stamina, ability to


Irish Red & White Setter Living With an Irish Red and White Setter Submitted by Christina Phillips

can be barkers and chewers, which can be controlled with training. It is rec- ommended that treats, toys with treats inside, natural bones or other items that the IRWS can be 'entertained' with be used. The IRWS thrives on being part of the family. They should have a nice comfortable bed to sleep on or they will join their owner in theirs. Full time living in a kennel should never be considered as a way of keeping them. Secure areas in and outside the house are a must for safety and many choices of fencing are available. Their size and ability to jump and climb should be considered. These are hunting dogs with very strong instincts and a desire to hunt.

white. The IRWS can also be taken to a professional groomer; however, the groomer must be instructed on how not to groom an IRWS. Clippers should NEVER be used on an IRWS.

Often we hear, "a dog is a man/woman's best friend". There can be no truer phrase than this when owning an Irish Red and White Setter (IRWS). The IRWS is a pleasure to have in the home and is well suited for the single or multi-person home and will fit in as a single dog or in a house of multiple dogs. A great family dog and companion, the IRWS will provide a lifetime of enjoyment. The IRWS is mild in temperament, with a “willing to please” attitude. This sporting dog is a loving, loyal family member, who hates to be left alone for long periods of time. These setters require a lot of exercise in the form of daily walks, runs, training (with fun time included), and lots of one on one time. This can be good for those that need that extra push to stay in shape, or need a partner for a healthy heart. The IRWS has a keen nose, a soft mouth, is very intelligent, eager to learn, and easily trained. The IRWS wishes to please and is very sensitive. Positive reinforcement is the preferred training method for these setters. The IRWS is a great candidate for Delta Society, a volunteer organization for animal visiting programs in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other facilities. There is even a dog sled team made up entirely of IRWS’s. Early training is essential for these dogs, so professional trainers are a good place to learn the basics. Many professional trainers today allow for the busy dog owner and provide in- home training sessions. The IRWS is by no means the perfect dog. Some

High quality food is also a must for this robust setter as they tend to metabolize their food into energy quickly, to take on the challenges that their owners make for them. Homemade or commercial is fine as long as the food is healthy and keeps the IRWS at the correct weight. Be it the show ring, agility course, hunting, obedience, or extreme sports, the IRWS will train and perform at the best of his ability. Then there’s the IRWS smile. Not all, but many use it where appropriate, whether for showing how happy he is to see you come home or for thinking he won’t get scolded for something naughty he’s done. A very endearing part of the breed that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. -- Patty Thompson, Judy Taylor & Michael Lamp

The IRWS requires minimal groom- ing aside from trimming around the ears and feet and keeping the nails short. Dirt and mud will fall off the IRWS coat when dry . Regular brush- ing will get the rest and keep shedding down. Baths are essential with a good quality shampoo to keep the coat



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