Originally Posted by Virginia Dandy
At least with respect to bench variety English setters, I think your caveat applies. They are still enthusiastic and capable hunters.
Someone above recounted that a breeder was horrified that one of her puppies might be put to work hunting. I have not encountered that at all - even among breeders of top ES show dogs. In my experience, ES breeders are delighted for their dogs to get the chance to hunt birds.
Granted, the percentage of bench variety setters that actually get the chance to do it I'm sure pales in comparison to the field lines.
I noted with some disappointment that, among the 20 or 25 English setters entered at Westminster, only one of them had a hunting title (a dog from the same kennel as my boy's sire).
This dog is a grand champion show dog and MH:
This dog is one of the top ES show dogs in the country and has a hunting title:
That is because English Setters are everywhere, and the breeders want the hunting titles to stand out from the rest of the pack. Those are some great pictures especially the water retrieve by a Setter! Not something you see every day. And very few MH titles for any breed at the end of the day truth be told.
The REAL question with English Setters however is… Llewellin or Ryman!! At least among those that actually hunt. In the early 80’s I went with a Ryman from DeCoverly kennels. They were one of the first ones that breed dual Setters (Field & Bench) after seeing the AKC wipe out the Irish Setter by the 60’s as a hunting dog. And one of the few places left to get a Ryman even today. Most of my friends own and hunt Lews out here. And all of my friends bird hunt and fly fish, which means they are well rounded individuals And own Filson patched with duct tape which screams to the Orvis crowd no need to apply.
I do miss and still love the point of an English Setter. Good friend has been trying to get me to get another for a few years and is constantly sending me pics of his on point.
Of course I have to give him grief about the belly band on his Lew, a Ryman wouldn’t need 2 e-collars! But wow can they hunt like most of the Setters I know. And these are hunting dogs, not show dogs. Hunting dogs are kind of rough around the edges and have even been known to drink-
Another friend from Superior Wi. Setter on point with the best picture of a real point I have ever seen. If you hunt then this speaks volumes:
Of course no free lunch in life with dogs, this is his other Setter with a NO point! You can guess that this was a bumped bird. Or rather ran over in his words.
Then there is Lyco Setter. His description says it all:
“My female Igor. The lab technician (new girl) thought she had to heat up the frozen straw (microwaved it). Ugly looking dog but really flashy looking on the move, I think her confirmation and subsequent gait has something to do with it.”
And Setters do seem to have an ego bigger than their body even at a young age:
But thank goodness they have a sense of humor!
Yes I’d love to get a brace of Setters so that I can have a signature picture like this with backing:
But in real life in the Dakotas pheasants run and flush when the cover runs out, DON'T FLOCK SHOOT!!
And where I hunt ruff grouse in the Arrowhead there no hotels for miles and big woods with big thick cover, so I hunt out of a wall tent. Except for last year a lady friend wanted to go with me for a week so I found a cabin to stay in with electricity. No running water but it did have an outhouse, and even HD reality TV- a wood stove.
Only one of us had the presence of mind to take a book for rainy weather and I took one that a couple of people on here recommended. She grabbed it when the weather went bad one day and that picture is as close as I have gotten to Bandit since.
If I could find an English Setter that could retrieve solid every time I’d be very tempted to get another, or 2. Because they can certainly handle the big cover but it would most likely be a Llewellin out here.