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English Setters: Show & Working Types

Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Thursday 12 November 2015
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
English Setters: Show & Working Types
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In my previous articles, I have tried to bring to notice, how we are changing the shape of the original Laverack breed which was so highly acclaimed and sought after.

Laverack’s English Setter Has Morphed

Mr. Llewellyn bought his original stock from Edward Laverack and started his own line but consistently returned to the Laverack stock when his breeding plans failed. Nearly all Llewellyn stock of today is over 40% Laverack, or so Margaret Barnes’s momentous book on the breed informs us.

Mr. Llewellyn often failed to register his dogs with the Kennel Club with their true names but substituted pet names or even registered them anew with his own breeder prefix.

However, he eventually produced a recognizable working line that excelled in the field and kept the BELTON coloring. Several good ones were exported and bred with the indigenous working breeds of the day, and thus we now have a mixture of setters which work, but to my mind do not warrant the name of English Setter as the resemblance is so different from the original Laverack breed standard.

Are We Breeding Glamour Or Well-Built English Setters?


I have been criticized for not illustrating my articles with the most glamorous dogs or champions of the breed, but that was not my point. I have used photos of dogs which illustrate construction and conformation in hopes that the reader will learn and criticize, and gain an eye for improving their own stock.

Which is the best-placed dog in the ring, the most glamorous or the best constructed? Which would be fit for purpose?

No dog is perfect, but how far should dogs deviate from the Kennel Club standard and still be accepted as good representatives of the breed?

Is a judge failing in his or her duty to the breed if he or she accepts, and gives high honors to a dog of unsound build, or has departures from the Kennel Club breed standard?

Should we breed without studying the history of both sire and dam and their offspring or, knowingly of dogs with hereditary faults?

We have a duty to preserve the English Setter with its limited gene pool, as near as is possible to the breed standard so that new fanciers may continue to experience a dog with the most wonderful temperament, soundness, health and ability, and protect its heritage for future generations to enjoy.

The most glamorous-coated being the American English Setter.

American English Setter Coat
Over glamorous American English Setter

The most well-constructed English Setter.

english setter champions
Good strong Laverack construction.

Please look, understand and take note of my opinions. The future of the breed depends on judges’ recognition of construction faults so prevalent in the show ring right today…

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