Fetters Setters ~ The Classic English Setter

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The "Classic" English Setter ~ What Does That Term Mean?

by John Fetters
© 2008-2009 Fetters Setters, all rights reserved
Today we hear such terms as Classic Setter, Old-Style Setter, Dual Setter, etc., when referring to the English Setter breed.

To me, these terms must be addressed in such a way so as not to offend anyone. It's one thing to know what those labels truly are and mean without grasping for fancy words for the sake of taking up a void or space to market a product line ~ which is the way perhaps too many view their dogs today, simply as "product" to be marketed and ultimately sold.

As to the use of the specific terms mentioned above: in many circles, it all depends on which day of the week it is and boils down to what the most popular selling or product marketing term is at any particular time.

In the many years of breeding and hunting over setters, I consider myself fortunate to have realized early on that my Great-Grandfather knew what he was talking about when addressing such a subject as the "setter" from a hunting observation and point of view.

My Great-Grandfather referred to his line of setters as "Shooting Dogs" of the old "classic" style, which meant they were direct descendants of the the American Native setters that were perpetuated to serve the needs of families during hards times when money was tight and crops failed.

According to his insight, these setters had to be good at one thing and that was to present game for the gun to put food on the table. During those early days, one could tell who had good setters from the families who didn't ~ due to the fact that families would not keep and feed a setter that was not a bird dog. In other words, most families usually could not afford to keep a dog that did not rightly earn his/her keep.

My Great-Grandfather had an eye for setters. He knew what to look for in brood stock and knew how to breed to get exactly what he required. In addition, he told me to never do a breeding between two tan dogs ~ and to never get caught up in the outside appearance of any setter, stating that good looks was an easy thing to produce in breeding however that the most important things to look for in a bird dog is heart, drive, stamina, brain and the way of a setter's movement in cover.

His firm belief was that a true "classic" shooting dog should be a setter of short to medium coupling and weighing from 45 to 55 pounds. In this respect, he also told me many times that long-coupled setters wore down too quickly and had a tendency to cat-walk birds due to not having the proper speed and ground rythm to work up to, pin birds down tight and hold them long enough for the arrival of the hunter to get a shot.

He was very firm in his beliefs and in his ways of doing things, and would not consider a setter as being a "classic" shooting dog until the dog proved its mettle on wild game ~ and in a manner of which it so deserved such high laurels of moral standing within the shooting dog circles of the time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Your patience is appreciated ...

Vintage Postcard
Circa. 1920s-1930s

Thank you for your patience. When we were in the initial stages of planning and outlining the information we will be sharing here, we felt it was necessary at the time to have a "Classic English Setter" page which will delve into conformation and other classic attributes both older and modern English Setter gun dogs should possess.

Our web site now boasts seventeen pages (and may have a few more additions as time and needs dictate and permit). This remains one of the few pages in this endeavor which still has no information.

However we hope to be adding information here over the next several months. We have been on no set schedule as far as posting to any of our seventeen present pages are concerned and most (if not all) of the "good" information regarding English Setters is authored personally by John.

Lately, the "Fetters Setters ~ The Ryman English Setter Story" page has been one of the endeavors here which has had his focus ~ as well as the "Fetters Setters ~ History and Heritage" page, the latter for which (as time has permitted) we have been unpacking, sorting and organizing the information from the massive amount of documents, photos, etc., from the Fetters Family English Setter histories ~ for the information we will be placing there.

For those of our interested readers with the necessary patience (and we do appreciate all of the flattering and supportive emails we have received from our "Fetters Setters ~ Contact Us" page), we hope you will find the wait worthwhile.

We have had some unexpected business and also family matters to deal with in the past couple of months, and these have also delayed some of the work on our web pages here.

Once again, your patience (and support) has been greatly appreciated.

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