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Upland_Hunter

OPINIONS ON IRISH SETTERS FOR HUNTING UPLAND BIRDS?

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Upland_Hunter

Are Irish Setters good dogs for hunting upland birds? Does anyone on here own one and hunt with them? From my reading they seem to have had their hunting instinct bread out of them over the years as they have been bread more as a show dog than a hunting dog. I have never seen any of them while hunting in the field over the years. While hunting ruffed grouse, woodcock and especially the stocked pheasants in the state game lands here in Pennsylvania the dog of choice seems to be the German Shorthair.

 

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RayB

I do not have any personal experience with the breed except for an inbred pup we had years ago. On another hunting site every season we get a report about this mutt and another one from the same kennel. They are supposed to be great. Just an FYI

irishsetter.jpg

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ruffneck

My first experience with a bird dog was from a kid I went to school with in Philly. I lived in juniata park and a neighbor had a beautiful irish setter. She was a champ on ringnecks at Byberry state hospital grounds (hope I'm not hot spotting...) id hate to be postholed for telling this story.

 

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ThreeDogs

My first bird for was an Irish “red”

setter. I was 14 years old I raised the $250’to buy her. She was out of field trial stock she was the last pup in the litter and the man drove 400 miles to drop her off free of charge....she was stone cold bird crazy!!! I had no clue as a dog

trainer and we largely made each other nuts for the first 5 years after that she was dynamite! I shot hundreds of birds over her points and to this day was the best dead bird/wounded bird finder I ever had. I still think fondly on her and she’s been gone almost 20 years now.

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Remo

This is no way to demean the breed as kennels vary and I'm sure the lines may have improved. Many years ago my neighbor had two. They would be running, and I do mean running, on the north end of the township in the morning and the south end in the afternoon. And it wasn't hunting season. Another time a fellow brought one out on the coteau with us. Saw that dog three times total that day. But again, that was a long time ago.

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Don Steese

It's my understanding there are some very good ones out there but your choices of kennels that breed red setters for hunting will be limited. I know of one kennel that breeds some really nice ones, but I'd be hard pressed to come up with another.

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Ben Hong

I have seen red setters and the big 75 lb mahogany beauties that are the "original" Irish setter in the field and to be polite about it, the latter were disappointing. Until I met Cindy and Brian Avery's Maggie. The first time was Maggie at her beautiful best, aloof as all get out and not at all interested in hunting or birds. Then Cindy and Brian put her with a pro trainer Joe Dahl. I don't know what kind of voodoo Joe used but Maggie became a bona fide, jinoowine bird dog of the first order. The old girl is still going at 13-14 years of age. There area few lessons to be learned here, and I will let the dear reader draw his own conclusions.

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studdog

Perhaps a case of popularity ruining a great breed?  I hunted behind a one a long time ago.  Beautiful dogs.

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Brad Eden

Aren't Red Setters different than Irish Setters? 

 

Member(s) pa'tridge hunters have an Irish Setter. I think it was a rescue. 

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Craig Doherty

As is often the case the OP has asked about Irish setters and some have responded about red setters.  They have become fairly distinct separate breeds.  The red setters are registered with the FDSB and have a documented history of outcrossing red dogs with English setters.  There are a few breeders who have been successful competing with these dogs in field trials against horseback setters and pointers.  There are also still true Irish setters registered with the AKC.  I would suggest that breeders of Irish setters run the gamut from pet breeders to show breeders to those who hunt their dogs and are trying to recapture those abilities in the breed.  Like with all less popular breeds it is hard to find good one bu they do exist and are the ones people remember.

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Ray Gubernat
57 minutes ago, Craig Doherty said:

As is often the case the OP has asked about Irish setters and some have responded about red setters.  They have become fairly distinct separate breeds.  The red setters are registered with the FDSB and have a documented history of outcrossing red dogs with English setters.  There are a few breeders who have been successful competing with these dogs in field trials against horseback setters and pointers.  There are also still true Irish setters registered with the AKC.  I would suggest that breeders of Irish setters run the gamut from pet breeders to show breeders to those who hunt their dogs and are trying to recapture those abilities in the breed.  Like with all less popular breeds it is hard to find good one bu they do exist and are the ones people remember.

It is true that the "purest challenge", which involved finding a few of the Irish setter females that had not been crossed to Afghan hounds to "improve" their coats, by the conformation breeders.  That crossing to hounds is the reason why the Irish setter coats became so long and luxurious and also the reason why they ceased to be bird dogs, for the most part.  Of course they will deny this, but anyone who has a picture of an Irish,

as in...from Ireland...Irish Setter, and Afghan Show hound and an AFTER Irish Setter Club of America Irish setter can see with their own eyes what was done.

 

Several of those capable hunting dogs were found and a few were  bred to a prominent English setter stud dog, creating one generation of crossbred dogs that were subsequently bred back to the remaining Irish setter pool of dogs that could actually hunt. This created a small pool of dogs that had the shorter hair of the original Irish setters and the hunting characteristics that once made them a premier upland bird dog. 

 

Of course the Irish setter Club of America has steadfastly used this one generation,  documented occurrence, some fifty years back, to continue to deny these dogs into their gene pool and protect their product.  There are, and have been some very capable dual registered dogs, but the Irish Setter Club of America has made the dual sanctioning process ever more difficult.

 

At the present time, there is a distinct difference between the American Field Irish setter (red setter) and the AKC Irish setter, s regards huntintg ability.  As a group, the American Field dogs are far more capable bird dogs , and far less of a self articulated red rug.  To be fair, the field portion of the Irish Setter community has made strides in developing the field skills of their dogs.  I have attended several Irish setter trials and have seen some  nice dogs...but they are relatively  few and many of them need a lot of help to bring out the bird dog that is in there.

 

Oh and for what it is worth, I trained with, competed against(and got beat) and even scouted a few times  for a couple of the very best Red Setters(both of whom were dual registered as Irish Setters) that ever drew breath.   Speedy Edie O'Floin was an amazing dog and here littermate brother Harry was right up there with her in terms of talent and abilities.

 

RayG

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Craig Doherty
46 minutes ago, Ray Gubernat said:

Several of those capable hunting dogs were found and a few were  bred to a prominent English setter stud dog, creating one generation of crossbred dogs that were subsequently bred back to the remaining Irish setter pool of dogs that could actually hunt. This created a small pool of dogs that had the shorter hair of the original Irish setters and the hunting characteristics that once made them a premier upland bird dog. 

 

I agree with most of what you said Ray, except in the pre-DNA years I'm pretty sure the "Purest Challenge" wasn't always that pure and there was more than "one generation" of outcrosses to get the dogs where they are today.  I don't condemn it or even object to it.  The same can be said about most of our bird dog breeds as they had to start somewhere and that was most likely with a number of outcrosses to whatever to get those F-1 hybrid animals that excelled at what the breeder was trying to accomplish.  Pointers, setters, Brittanys, etc all have a history -- some documented and some not -- of crosses to other breeds.  

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Larry Brown
18 minutes ago, Craig Doherty said:

 

I agree with most of what you said Ray, except in the pre-DNA years I'm pretty sure the "Purest Challenge" wasn't always that pure and there was more than "one generation" of outcrosses to get the dogs where they are today.  I don't condemn it or even object to it.  The same can be said about most of our bird dog breeds as they had to start somewhere and that was most likely with a number of outcrosses to whatever to get those F-1 hybrid animals that excelled at what the breeder was trying to accomplish.  Pointers, setters, Brittanys, etc all have a history -- some documented and some not -- of crosses to other breeds.  

Kinda like some suspicious looking German shorthairs "back in the day" that looked a whole lot like pointers.  Someone once reportedly said, seeing a litter of supposed shorthair pups that looked somewhat suspicious:  "Quick!  Cut off their tails before they turn English!"

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Urban_Redneck

I'll be visiting a breeder next month in Europe. I'm pretty sure she hunt tests her dogs as well as racking up a ton of confirmation championships. Gorgeous dogs.

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