BY B.J. PARSONS, DVM, AND JILL WARREN, PHD ENGLISH— THE MODERATE SETTER
A n English Setter is often described as moderate. In fact, our standard specifically states, “Extremes of anything distort type.” The hallmarks of the English Setter can be found in the first sentence of the standard under General Appearance: “An elegant, substantial and symmetrical gun dog suggesting the ideal blend of strength, stamina, grace, and style.” Elegant, substan- tial, and symmetrical are key words, but what do those italicized words mean? “Elegance” indicates there should be some “pretty” to the dog. A long, lean head lead- ing into a long, lean, graceful neck blend- ing smoothly into the shoulders help to give the impression of elegance. To be typey, the head should have level, parallel planes and a squared-off flew with a well-defined stop, and a moderately defined occiput. A dark, large, nearly round eye with dark pigment and a soft expression complete that look of elegance. When in motion, the dog should be light of foot with efficiency of gait. Prancing, while pretty, is incorrect, as are mincing steps. “Substantial” indicates the English Setter has enough bone and body to hold up well in the field. Given their job as a gentleman’s hunt- ing companion, they should be able to cover ground in search of upland game birds for the better part of the day. They were developed to hunt in English fields, so there was no need for heavy bone as in the Gordon Setter who works in heavy cover, or lighter bone as needed by the Irish and the Irish Red and White Setters who work in Irish terrain. The body should have enough heart and lung room (depth of chest to the elbow, and rib spring) to carry the long- distance runner through the day. Starting to see how this all comes together? “Symmetrical” indicates a dog that is bal- anced front and rear, with the front angle approaching 90-degrees and a rear that match- es the front. A straight front causing extra lift to the front legs with diminished reach,
An example of a typey English Setter head. This is an Orange Belton bitch.
A Blue Belton show dog on point, showing correct coat texture, even flecking all over, and great intensity.
224 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, APRIL 2021
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