Showsight Presents the English Setter

ENGLISH SETTER Q&A

TEMPERAMENT IS PARAMOUNT IN OUR BREED. THEY ARE GREAT FAMILY DOGS AND GOOD FOR NOVICE OWNERS. THEY ARE ACTIVE ENOUGH FOR KIDS, BUT LOVE TO BE COUCH POTATOES IN THE HOME. THEY STILL HAVE A HUNTING DRIVE; THE SHOW SETTERS ARE PERFECT FOR WALKING HUNTERS. THE FIELD SETTERS RUN BIGGER AND YOU WOULD NEED A HORSE OR QUAD TO KEEP UP! ” “

in her show English Setters. She had a litter and I ended up with a tri colored male and went to shows with the breeder and got hooked then. Is “style” an important aspect of type in my breed? I believe that type is most important in any breed and there are styles within the type. Not all dogs are cookie cutters; they are all di ff erent and you choose which style is closest to true type. How does my breed’s head di ff er from those of its Setter cousins? Th e heads of all Setters call for parallel planes. Th e stop is slightly di ff erent with the English, the moderate of the Setters, and the depth of the muzzle is di ff erent for each of them. Th e English calls for a squared-o ff fl ew without being too heavy. You should be able to tell each of the Setters by their silhouette. Th e English is not as tall, should have a level to slightly sloping topline, and is more moderate than the Gordon or the Irish. Is there such a thing as too much feathering on my breed? I do believe that we have gotten to the point of having too much coat on our dogs. My fi rst dogs had nice feathering and I had to do some stripping of the top coat, but now the top coat is way too thick with undercoat and takes a lot of upkeep to keep it fl at. Feathering is thick and gets mats easily. It is a lot of work to keep up a coat now. Way too much for pet people to do. I treasure an easy care coat! Do I see any preferences for color or markings in the show ring? I think an orange belton is always in style. Blues and tris are some- times fl avors of the month. Th ey should all be judged equally. We allow for head and ear patches; body patches are highly discour- aged. Th ere is a reason for that statement in our standard: Belton markings are one of the hallmarks of our breed; patching is a very dominant trait and becomes very hard to breed out if you get it in your lines. What is my breed like at home and in the fi eld? Temperament is paramount in our breed. Th ey are great family dogs and good for novice owners. Th ey are active enough for kids, but love to be couch potatoes in the home. Th ey still have a hunting drive; the show Set- ters are perfect for walking hunters. Th e fi eld Setters run bigger and you would need a horse or quad to keep up! In my opinion, how does the future look bright for the English Setter? I believe that our breed has dedicated breeders who continue to produce lovely dogs. Th e breed’s popularity hasn’t changed much and I think we are meeting the demand. I know it has been hard to be a dog breeder in this anti-breeder time, but I do believe society is softening some.

rabbits as a quail or pheasant. My dogs are always on constant vigil for marauding squirrels! In my honest opinion, I believe the future looks grim for Eng- lish Setters. Litter registration is down, entries have plummeted at shows, with fewer newcomers entering the breed. It has now become commonplace to have specialties with no majors. Th is has been a drastic change from when I fi rst started showing. Why the change? Maybe it has to do with the expense of showing. Maybe it is because it is a hard breed to break into. It could also be that we have not done enough to promote our breed to the public. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that few people recognize an English Setter. Every- one knows what a Golden or Labrador Retriever is—and everyone wants one—but rarely are people looking to buy an English Setter. From a health and genetics standpoint, I am also concerned about what I call the “popular sire e ff ect.” It seems that the same sires are being repeatedly used over and over again. Th is causes a genetic bottleneck where you lose genetic diversity within the popu- lation. Some breeders are also tightly linebreeding to their own dogs which leads to heritable defects that are sometimes life threaten- ing or at the very least reduces the quality of life. Inbreeding can also lead to a reduction in litter size as well as a reduction in adult size. I have seen this trend where some dogs and bitches are being exhibited that are tightly linebred and unusually small in height. Our breed standard states that dogs should be about 25 inches with bitches about 24 inches in height. Th e term “about” may be somewhat vague, but this is to allow some variation. However, the diminutive “pocket rockets” that you see in the ring today are not preferred. With all my concerns aside, I believe English Setters are a beau- tiful gem that I have loved sharing my life with. JOAN SAVAGE I live outside of Portland, Oregon. I am a licensed, certi fi ed vet- erinary technician and have had English Setters since 1974. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and show- ing dogs? I still breed and show my dogs, and I am very involved with the local clubs, serving as president of our local breed club and show chairman for the Rose City Classic in January. Otherwise, I do enjoy the outdoors and gol fi ng. How did I come to choose the English Setter? I grew up with an Irish Setter and was working as a vet tech when a client brought

208 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2020

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