Irish Setter Breed History and Origin
The Irish Setter is one of four setter breeds, and the breed's history is still full of mysteries. The only thing that is known for sure is that these dogs first appeared in Ireland, and the standard was created in the 19th century, and before that the red-white and the Irish setter were one breed.
In the photo: Irish setter at the exhibition. Photo: wikimedia.org
There is a version that the ancestors of the Irish setters are spaniels, whose breeders at some point began to give preference to large dogs. Possibly, large spaniels were crossed with other breeds of hunting dogs (according to one hypothesis, with the Spanish pointer), as a result of which the obtained dogs were very different from spaniels and were called setters.
For the first time, Irish setters were mentioned in 1570 in the book of the English physician John Cayus. And in 1872, in the work of the English breeder E. Laverac, setters are called "improved spaniels."
At the dawn of the existence of the Irish setters appreciated solely for their working qualities, and the exterior did not interest anyone. Therefore, the dogs differed in size, appearance and color. But at some point, the Irish began to give preference to red dogs, and by the 18th century, Irish setters were different from English relatives.
In 1886, the first breed standard was created in Dublin, and to this day it has been preserved almost unchanged.
In 1940, a number of amateurs expressed concern that breeders who emphasized participation in exhibitions had compromised the working qualities of the breed. And this confrontation between show-class breeders and working dogs continues to this day.The working Irish setters are different from the exhibition ones: they are smaller, more energetic, and their coat is more modest.