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Brittany or Setter?


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For the point of discussion, my brit is nearing 12, and can no longer handle rough country hunting.  I can only have one dog at a time though.  For my next dog, I'm torn between another brit and a setter.  I hunt mostly big country chukars, huns, quail, pheasants, probably in that order.

Brit pros:  wonderful personality, intelligent, great house dogs, great pheasant dog.  My wife likes them.

Brit cons:  high strung, head strong, not the athlete that a setter is in rough country chukar habitat.  My brit has an average nose, and will pass by birds other dogs find.

Setter pros.  Athletic, beautiful with great style, most of my friends' setters are fabulous chukar dogs.  I have a friend who breeds them.

Setter cons:  Maybe too big a runner for my small house environment, and the long tail gives my wife pause.

Tough choice for me.  Opinions?

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WI Brookie Guy

Brit pros:  wonderful personality, intelligent, great house dogs, great pheasant dog.  My wife likes them.

Brit cons:  high strung, head strong, not the athlete that a setter is in rough country chukar habitat.  My brit has an average nose, and will pass by birds other dogs find.

A couple words about the cons of Brittanys:

Headstrong and high strung are not the usual traits for the breed, unless you get into some field trial lines that are bred to be geared-up a bit and more independent than the average Brittany.  Obviously, individuals may exhibit traits that vary outside of the norm -- I'm guessing you've formed your opinion based upon your own dog; but after 25 years of owning, breeding, training, and competing Britts, I can say that's the exception, not the rule for well-bred hunting stock.  

English Setters tend to take longer to mature and develop than other pointing breeds, but that's a generalization.

I would say Britts have as good of a nose as any other pointing breed, but their pointing instinct generally isn't as strong as an English Setter...that would be my one knock on a Britt.  Another generalization is that Britts may have better retrieving instincts than Setters, but again your mileage will vary depending upon the breeding.

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You can't go wrong with either.

I think you are shortchanging both breeds on certain issues.

I think Setters generally have just as good personalities and are just as good house dogs as Britts, on the flip I don't think Britts are any more high strung or head strong than Setters.

On the range thing, it is my experience that big ranging in the field really has no correlation to hyperness in the house. Of my two setters the one that ranges quite a bit farther than the other is also quite a bit calmer in the house. The most hyper house dog I know is my buddies Springer that never ranges beyond 40 yards.

You sure you can't get one of each? Thats the only perfect solution I see.

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seattlesetters

I obviously prefer setters but I know folks who are happy with both.

Generalizations are sometimes OK, but you can't always take them as gospel. In fact, one I know is wrong is that Britts are better in the house than setters. If I were to generalize (which I'm not wanting to do), I'd have to give the housepet nod to setters over all other breeds, sporting or otherwise. Just off the top of my head, perhaps the dozen calmest house dogs I've ever seen have all been English Setters. I realize that I see more of this breed than most folks, but I've seen lots of others, as well. However, I'm sure there are Britts out there just as calm as the calmest setter.

If the setters you're used to seeing are not ultra-calm housepets, it may be the actual line of the setters you're around most are just not as calm as others.

Whichever you get, make sure it's light on its feet and comes from a line of dogs that have pads as tough as titanium. Being "light-boned" is also a huge plus in a dedicated chukar dog, as it will just be easier for a light-boned dog to hunt hard for longer periods of time and on consecutive days than it will be for a heavy-boned, hard-charging dog.

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In a perfect world, I would already have a setter to go with my brit :D

I believe you are absolutely correct in that I am shortchanging both breeds, and forming my opinions based on my own experience, which is how most people form opinions.  I made a mistake by choosing the bull of the litter too, and I'm well aware of that.  My dog doesn't retrieve well either.  But, he's a great dog nonetheless, and a total sweetheart.  I love him to death.

I think the setter would probably take my breath away in the field, and I think I would like to experience that.  I do still love brits though.  A little female brit would be great too.  Wish I could do both!

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calgaryrookie
Not alot of setters up here. Britts seem to rule the the pointing dog trials, but another very popular and successful breed up here is the German Shorthaired Pointer or GSP. They are a "versatile" dog (hunt and retrieve just about everything). I'd consider one next time around. Have you?
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fethrduster

        You can solve the problem and get a french Brit. There great in the house and in the field. I have two Britt's now and have had Britts for more then 30years with a setter in there and I know what your saying I would love to get a pointer someday and I will,but it will have to wait for now. Good luck on your search.

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Have I considered GSP's?  No I haven't.  I have seen lots of them run in my pointing dog club, as well as a ton of pointers, and the only ones that pique my interest are setters and brits.  Wirehairs, gsp's and pointers are all excellent hunting dogs, but I just don't warm up to them for some reason.

French brits are nice too, but not quite what I'm looking for.

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I obviously prefer setters but I know folks who are happy with both.

Whichever you get, make sure it's light on its feet and comes from a line of dogs that have pads as tough as titanium. Being "light-boned" is also a huge plus in a dedicated chukar dog, as it will just be easier for a light-boned dog to hunt hard for longer periods of time and on consecutive days than it will be for a heavy-boned, hard-charging dog.

I'm all ears!  Do you breed such dogs?

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eastern english

I have never owned a brit. No particular reason not to, I think they are great dogs. ( I think any bird dog is a great dog.)

I currently have a matching set of father and son english setters living in the house with me and my wife. She doesn't like the shedding much but she also would have no part of having them in a outside kennel. I can't imagine there are breeds any more relaxed or mild mannered around the house, and total nut jobs in the field. Again this is dependent on the line and how you raise them. I'm sure most will agree when you bond with a setter he is your dog and every one else is only second best.

Now of course my opinions are only my opinions, it's difficult to think of any negatives when the seven year old is asleep by my right foot and the seven month old is asleep by my left foot.

I doubt you would regret having one.

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I just got a setter, a trial dog reject (400 yard dog that didn't run big enough) to go with my lab.  She's just turning 2, and weighs 33lbs. Far as hyper, we live in a 900sqf 2 bedroom house, and she's no problem. May be calmer than my 6 year old lab. Hairs an issue, but your used to that with the britt. The lab tail is deadly, the setter, not at all
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Maybe too big a runner for my small house environment, and the long tail gives my wife pause.

I seriously doubt that your house is smaller than my motorhome. My seven setters reside there with my wife, her dog, and me for six months of the year. The long tail is completely a non-issue for us (but we have no priceless, tiny knick-knacks sitting on the edge of tables at 24" height). You really, really appreciate a long tailed dog when that's all you can see in tall cover that completely hides a no-tail or low tail dog. The fact that your friends' setters are fabulous chukar dogs should have you leaning in the right direction. It's a no-brainer for me, but perhaps I'm a bit biased.

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