Showsight Presents the English Setter

ENGLISH: THE MODERATE SETTER

coupled with a long, over-angulated rear that lacks drive will cause the dog to soon tire at his job. While this combination can present a striking picture in the show ring, it is not a correct English Setter. The proper front construction also helps with the “set” (the position a Setter tends to use to indicate game) versus a Point- er who indicates birds with an upright stance. Both breeds have intensity, but a Setter often crouches to indicate the location of the bird; a throwback to when they were hunted over with nets instead of guns. Before the introduction of fire arms, hunters used large nets, which they threw over the place where the birds were— including over the dog—to reap the birds. When the hunter flushed the birds, they took flight and became caught in the net and were easily harvested. If the dog did not crouch, or “set,” it could become entangled in the net. A high tail carriage could cause the tail to get caught in the net, but a tail carried level with the back did not interfere with the net. The reproduction of the painting by Percival Rous- seau shows how an English Setter sets to indicate a bird. This photo also illustrates how form follows function because a dog must have good angulation front and rear in order to assume the setting position. This position often needs to be maintained for several minutes while the hunter approaches and prepares to harvest the bird. When firearms began to be used to hunt birds, selective breeding of English Setters allowed for a more upright stance for the dog to indicate birds because the dog was easier to see from a distance when standing upright. But the tendency to set is hard-wired in their DNA, and it comes naturally to many of them. ACCEPTABLE MARKINGS AND COLOR Color helps to define breed type in English Setters and is one of the traits that distinguishes the English from the other Setters. There are no disqualifications in the English Setter standard, including for color. All English Setters have a white base coat covered with varying degrees of orange, black or liver fleck- ing known as Belton. (Named for the English town of Belton where the dogs so marked were first seen.) Eng- lish Setters flecked with black are called Blue Beltons. Lemon Belton (dilute orange) and Liver Belton (dilute blue) are also acceptable colors, but have become rare. If in doubt whether a dog is Lemon or Orange Belton, check eye color, as the lemons have lighter-colored eyes and lighter pigment than the oranges. It is geneti- cally impossible for a Lemon or Liver Belton English Setter to have very dark eyes, so a lighter-colored eye is acceptable in those colors. Dogs with tan points are called tricolors. Tri-markings can occur in all colors, but they are harder to see in the oranges, lemons, and livers than in the blues. The tricolor marking is a spe- cific gene pattern. All colors listed in the standard are equally acceptable, and there is no preference given to any of them. There can be little ticking, so that the dog appears almost totally white, through all gradations to very heavy ticking so as to appear almost solid in color (known as roan). Evenly flecked all over is preferred. Patches may occur, especially on the head and neck;

English Setters On Point , 1918, by Percival Rousseau. The very open marked dog in front is almost in a set. A true set would have the rear as flexed as the front and almost on the ground. The dog behind is in an upright point.

Liver Belton is a rare, but perfectly acceptable, color in English Setters. This Liver dog won a major award at the National.

An example of a field bred English Setter

226 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, APRIL 2021

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