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become general, as the more popular name has obtained the voice of the public. According to the late Rev. T. Pearce (“Idstone”), who must be taken as an authority on the variety, about 1820 was the period when the then Duke of Gordon took his special strain of setters in hand; but as to where they came from, or how they were produced, no facts are forthcoming, and the result is left to imagination. It is somewhat strange that two such observant sportsmen as Mr. Charles St. John and Mr. John Colquhoun, who, the former in " Highland Sports,” and the latter in “ The Moor and the Loch,” wrote so charmingly of what appertains to dogs, shooting, natural history, and fishing in Scotland, should have little or nothing to say about the Gordon setter. They wrote some fifty years or so ago, and this silence must be taken as an indication that the Gordon Setter was not a common dog then. One much regrets that at the present time (1892) this old variety of setter is not to be found at Gordon Castle. Years ago the dogs there were bred to English setters, principally of Laverack blood, with the result that the valued and true type of black, tan, and white Gordon was entirely lost. The setters at the kennels now, as I write, and for some years, have been all useful working dogs of modern strains.
In England no doubt there had been setters of a black and brown colour from the earliest manufacture or introduction of the breed, and Gervaise Markham, in “Hunger's Prevention ; or, the whole Art of Fowling by Land and Water" (1655), mentions black and fallow dogs as the hardest to endure labour. This description must be taken to mean black and tan, but not to imply that such dogs were similar to the Gordon setter of to-day. Again, a writer in 1776, who calls himself “A Gentleman of says there were fifty years before he wrote two distinct tribes (strains) of setting dogs “ the black tanned, and the orange or
Suffolk, a staunch sportsman,'
lemon and white.” But from other sources we find the latter colour the commonest. Sydenham Edwards (1805), in “Cynographia Britannica,” gives an illustration of three setters, one of which is undoubtedly black and tan in colour, but in type it has very little if any resemblance to the modern strain. Two white and orange setters are given in Bingley's Natural History (1809), and no mention is made of black and tan setters. Our old friend “The Druid" (Mr. H. H. Dixon, of Carlisle), who visited Gordon Castle about thirty years ago, says: “We beguiled the way by a chat with Jubb, the head keeper, whose seven and thirty black, white, and tans, were spreading themselves out like a fan in the kennel meadow. . . . Originally the Gordon setters were all black and tans; . . . now, all the setters in the Castle are black, tan, a d white, with a little tan on the toes, muzzle, root of the tail, and round the eyes. The late Duke of Gordon liked it, as it was both gayer and not so difficult to back on the hillside as the dark coloured. They are light in frame and merry workers, and ‘better put up half a dozen birds,’ says Jubb, than make a false point.' " Various opinions have been expressed as to how the original black and tan setter of the heavy type was obtained. He was a bigger and coarser dog than any other of his race, and his deep rich colour, heavy head, preponderance of haw in many cases, and strong dewlap, betrayed a not very remote cross with the bloodhound ; and, judging from appearances, I have not the slightest doubt that, at one time or another, this hound blood has entered into his composition. A single dash would do the trick nicely, and such would account for the tendency in some of the heavier Gordons to, like the Irish setter, hunt the ground when at a loss, rather than carry the head high and sniff the wind. Impure blood such as this in the strain has never been acknowledged, but even admirers of the breed in “all its purity" have not objected to the statement that at no very remote date a cross with the collie had been found useful. The latter may have been the case, the former more likely; and, as bloodhounds were not uncommonly used in some localities in Scotland for hunting the roe, no difficulty would be experienced in quietly putting a bitch to such a hound, and no one be any the wiser. The collie cross, some writers have said, could be plainly traced in the strains of many modern Gordon setters; in quite as many, the bloodhound cross may be more strongly noticed in the shape of head and general expression. At Tattersall's, in July, 1837, five and a half brace of setters from Gordon Castle, and most of them black, white, and tans, were sold by auction, reaching 417 guineas, an excellent price. The highest figures were given by Lord Chesterfield for young Regent and Crop, they reaching 72 guineas and 60 guineas respectively, although the latter had had one of her ears eaten off by a ferret. Lord Douglas gave 56 guineas for Saturn; Mr. Martyn I O6 guineas for a leash of bitches, and Lord Abercorn and the Duke of Richmond paid 34 guineas each for a dog and a bitch. This was but a draft from the kennels, for others had been privately purchased by the then Dukes of Abercorn and Argyle, and Viscount Bolingbroke got some likewise. This sale took place on account of the death of the Duke of Gordon, and forms an interesting example of the price obtained for sporting dogs at that time. In “Dogs of Scotland,” by Mr. Thomson Gray (1891), a contributor gives some interesting particulars of the setters at Gordon Castle, and from the extract below it will be noted that he differs from what “The Druid" wrote and says. The original strains were black, tan, and white. “These dogs were seventy years ago of different colours,” says the correspondent, “the majority being black and tan, and black, white, and tan. Some were liver and white, and black and white, and lemon and white was sometimes seen. They were famed for their working qualities, and, dog shows being unknown, good looks were of secondary importance, although the whole of the dogs were very stylish, and many of them exceedingly well marked. The black, white, and tans were heavily marked, black and white, with tan spots above the eyes and on the cheeks—the black and white clearly defined but not spotted. “The black and tans were of a lighter tan than the black and tans of to-day, and often had white breasts and feet. The dogs on the whole had a heavy look about them, with spaniel looking ears, but excellent legs and feet, with wealth of coat and feather, beautiful heads and well set on sterns.