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genuine, unmixed descendants of the original land spaniel, and states that as much as £100 was a not unusual price to pay for a good specimen ; whilst other stories apprise it at a greater value than this in the records of certain transactions. One fact seems to be pretty certain : the dog is one of considerable antiquity, and has a character for spirit and energy quite in keeping with the characteristics common to the people of his native land.
I am indebted to Mrs. Ingle-Bepler for the following charming description of an “ideal ” Irish setter, which gives a vivid and eloquent word picture of this beautiful breed :
MRS. INGLE-BEPLER'S IDEAL IRISH SETTER.-I see him in my mind's eye-my ideal Irish setter! Every inch a king of sportsmen, he stands well up at the shoulders, his head carried high, his wide nostrils expanding to inhale some subtle, delicious scent that my duller olfactory nerves cannot distinguish. There he stands, awaiting the command to "go on!” his strong, straight fore legs planted firmly beneath him, as true in front as a terrier, with strong pasterns and on close, round feet.
His long muscular neck is well set into oblique shoulders, fine at the points, which slope in a graceful line to his wide, strong, and slightly-arched hindquarters. His chest is deep, his ribs well-sprung. Not only can he go fast, but he can stay.
His curved stifles and well-bent, short hocks give an élan and propelling power to his movements that no straight-stifled dog can possess. His handsome flag, carried just below the level of his back, lashes gaily from side to side, indicating his satisfaction at things in general and his good-will to all men.
His evenly-balanced head is a study of beauty and intelligence. The skull is long, rather narrow, oval from ear to ear, with the occiput well marked, raised brows, and a well-defined stop. His muzzle is long and fairly deep, the level jaws giving a nice square finish to it. From stop to nose-tip the line is level, with no suspicion of a downward curve. A Roman-nosed setter usually goes for foot scent, and rarely carries his head high; a flat-headed, stopless setter is often of poor intelligence.
My ideal setter has beautifully-placed ears, low - set, and
hanging close to his head. His eyes are soft and dark, not too large or full. His expression is deep and alert, with a touch of impudence in it, and more than a touch of affection. He is full of “blarney” when off duty, and loves a joke like all his countrymen. Nor is he averse to a friendly brush with other “bhoys” in leisure moments, “ for the sake of ould Ireland so green”! But he is not quarrelsome.
In colour my ideal setter matches a newly-shelled chesnut, a rich glossy red, and when the sun shines on his gorgeous coat there are steel-blue glints in it. He stands about 25 inches at the shoulder, and every part of his body is in harmonious proportion. Content to be a thing of grace and beauty, he despises the present craze for undue size, in which type and symmetry are being abandoned. Finally, he moves with easy action and fluency, holds himself nobly, and
... looks the whole world in the face,
For he fears not any man ! Criticisms of the type as it exists to-day run as follows:
MRS. INGLE-BEPLER.—There is a tendency to sacrifice type in order to get great size and ultra long heads. A typical Irish setter's head should be well-domed, evenly balanced, with wellraised brows, well-defined stop, and a fairly deep muzzle, with the squareness of depth carried to its end. One sees too many of the borzoi type nowadays, with ultra long narrow heads, little or no stop, and muzzles tapering to a point like those of greyhounds. The short, thick heads of thirty years ago are also objectionable, but as a rule those dogs were better workers. I think the value of the points is correct, but very few judges-at least all-rounders -stick to them. Take colour, for instance,-eight points ; yet if a setter be well nigh perfection in make and shape, and have a coat two or three shades too light, it will certainly be put behind an animal of inferior build, but possessing the deep-red coat. Apart from their use as gun-dogs, Irish setters appeal to me by their extreme beauty. Their coats excel in colour and quality, and yet are not so profuse as to hide the lovely lines of the dog's build, as is the case in heavier coated breeds. Setters are so graceful in their movements; and last, but not least, they are so affectionate, intelligent, and faithful, and have very reliable tempers. Perhaps the greatest fancier in this breed was the late Rev. R. O'Callaghan. I fancy one of his field-trial winners made the record price in setters; I allude to Coleraine, winner of the K.C. Derby stakes.
She was sold on the field for £270. My Lady Honora is own sister to this bitch, and I have in my kennels representatives of three of Mr. O'Callaghan's famous strains — namely, those descended from Champions Shandon and Aveline, Ch. Geraldine and Ch. Tyrconnel. I received my "education” in Irish setters from Mr. O'Callaghan, and I shall never falter in my affection and admiration for them.
MR. R. MACNAMEE.—The breed of Irish setters never possessed so many good ones of the highest quality as it does now. There is a great uniformity of type, and less faddism than formerly existed among judges of the breed. One very notable fact in connection with Irish setters is that so many animals of champion rank on the show-bench have been winners at field trials as well, and this I think has greatly contributed to their prominent position the world over. I do not know to-day, or remember a setter of any other variety of show-bench animal of which the same could be said. The pity is that so few friends of this breed can afford to compete with them at field trials in England—to some extent caused as well by there being so few trainers in Ireland capable of training and finishing off a dog for this purpose. The breed has largely suffered from the apparent defect of one of its really best qualities. The Irish setter has had a bad reputation, from its high courage, and consequent difficulty in training, with the result that gamekeepers have given him a bad name from their inability to study the dog's nature, and train him accordingly. The breed is, however, coming gradually to the front, and good dogs command high prices. At shows they now generally outnumber all the other varieties of setters. To the sportsmen the Irish setter possesses many qualities that appeal very strongly. For nose and intelligence he is second to none, and for staying qualities the superior of all. He also retrieves naturally when allowed to particularly from water.
The following are the points of the Irish setter, taken from the publication of the Irish Red Setter Club:
STANDARD OF POINTS OF THE IRISH SETTER : Head.-Should be long and lean. The skull oval from ear to ear, having plenty of brain room, and with well defined occipital protuberance. Brows raised, showing stop. The muzzle moderately deep, and fairly square at end. From the stop to the point of the nose should be long, the nostrils wide, and the jaws of nearly equal length, flews not to
be pendulous. The colour of the nose dark mahogany or dark walnut, and that of the eyes (which ought not to be too large) rich hazel or brown. The ears ought to be of moderate size, fine in texture, set on low, well back, and hanging in a neat fold close to the head.
Neck.-Should be moderately long, very muscular, but not too thick; slightly arched, and free from all tendency to throatiness.
BODY. --Should be long. Shoulders fine at the points, deep, and sloping well back. Chest as deep as possible, rather narrow in front. The ribs well sprung, having plenty of lung room. Loins muscular, and slightly arched. The hindquarters wide and powerful.
LEGS AND FEET.— The hind legs, from the hip to the hock, should be long and muscular; from hock to heel, short and strong. The stifle and hock joints well bent, and not inclined either in or out. The fore legs should be straight and sinewy, having plenty of bone, with elbows free, well let down, and, like the hocks, not inclined in or out. The feet small, very firm ; toes strong, close together, and arched.
TAIL.-Should be of moderate length, set on rather low, strong at root, and tapering to a fine point; to be carried as nearly as possible on a level with or below the back.
COAT.-On the head, front of legs, and tips of ears should be short and fine, but on all other parts of the body and legs it ought to be of moderate length, flat, and as free as possible from curl or wave.
FEATHERING.–The feather on the upper portion of the ears should be long and silky; on the back of fore and hind legs long and fine ; a fair amount of hair on the belly, forming a nice fringe, which may extend on chest and throat. Feet to be well feathered between the toes. Tail to have a nice fringe of moderately long hair, decreasing in length as it approaches the point. All feathering to be as straight and flat as possible.
COLOUR AND MARKINGS.—The colour should be a rich golden chesnut, with no trace whatever of black; white on chest, throat, or toes, or small star on forehead, or a narrow streak or blaze on the nose or face not to disqualify. Point VALUES