Gordon ,Irish, and English Setters
From paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes
Setters have long but “flat” silky coats and plumed tails, and as a rule very gentle faces, full of expression.
In olden times, when it was customary to “net” game, these dogs were taught to
point the birds and then to crouch or “set,” that the net might be thrown over and beyond them hence the name
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Types of Setters
The English, Irish, and Gordon setters are almost too well known to need,
any physical description. Fashions have changed somewhat, and
will probably continue to do so, in these as in other popular breeds.
Still, the needs are so definite, and performance is such a necessary foundation for
appearance, that the setters will probably never deviate very widely from the
present standard, except in minor points attained by crossing the known types.
It is doubtful if any serious breeder would trust other than setter
blood in these already very beautiful and useful dogs.
In this country no dog is so well fitted for hunting grouse, pheasants, quail,
and feathered upland and woodland game in general.
In comparing the three principal types, the English is the largest and
strongest, and is largely white, with liver, tan, orange, or black blotches and “ticking.”
The Irish is the lightest and most finely drawn, and is all rich mahogany tan;
he has a more high-strung disposition than either of the others, and is rather
more nervous and subject to temperamental weaknesses, though when well
trained and intelligently handled is unsurpassed as a field and hunting dog.
The Gordon is a north British development, to be used chiefly on the
red grouse of the heathery uplands, and is black, with deep tan chops,
ear-linings, chest, belly, feet, and feather, and the characteristic tan spots over the eyes and on the cheeks.
For several years he was bred to a very delicate, slender-headed type:
he was then a very affectionate and beautiful creature, but lacked the staunchness such a hunting dog must have.
The present standard dictates a dog of almost exactly the
conformation of the English setter: wide across the forehead, strong, fairly broad,
and very deep in the chest, with plentiful bone in legs and good, hard, compact feet.
In this country, where the autumn woods abound in russet browns and
deep shadows, the solid red and the black and tan dogs are
harder to follow with the eye than those with a fair amount of white;
hence the English setter and the mainly white pointer are
favorites among the hunters, though the Irish has many
adherents among those desiring a beautiful and companionable dog.
The Gordon is nearly obsolete in this country.