Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Dreaded "Hunter Orange"

Blaze Orange is not a requirement while hunting in New York State, but is recommended by the Department of Environmental Conservation, as stated here on their website...

Wearing Hunter Orange Saves Lives

The effectiveness of fluorescent or blaze orange safety clothing speaks for itself. About 80 percent of big game hunters in New York State put the odds in their favor by wearing orange. Over the past 10 years, 15 New York State big game hunters have been mistaken for deer and killed, and every one of these victims was from the small minority of hunters who did not wear hunter orange. A 16th hunter who did not wear hunter orange also was killed in the line of fire when another hunter shot at a deer. Even though hunter orange is highly visible to humans, studies show that deer are not alarmed by it.

My comments on Blaze Orange....

I hate the stuff! If I were a big game hunter, I may feel differently about it. Although, Orange did nothing to stop a shotgun slug from whizzing over my head in the Catskills many years ago while deer hunting.
My neighbors in the Adirondacks, the senior population at least, also eschews it. But, I see some of the younger locals wearing it..
For bird hunting, I do not wish to look like "The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", and I won't wear it... I'm a traditionalist.
If I get out deer hunting again, I will probably wear some...

More excerpts from "Comeback".....

Norm Sorby, as told to Wayne Adair..

"Everywhere, but here in North America, a Sporting dog can't gain a show championship until it has proven itself under working conditions. Our attitude is that a similar type of rule would be to everyone's benefit if implemented here in North America. We have just finished writing the working certificate for the Gordon Setter Club of America. It's our feeling that, if a dog can't pass the certificate, then it's breeder should re-evaluate it's programme until he produces dogs that can."
In North America today, only Black & Tans can be registered. But, in Europe, they still recognize white, lemon and white,, liver and tan, black and white, and various other color combinations, as Gordons.

"We can produce big, ranging dogs, but through experience have found that the moment most hunters think that their dog is out of control, there is nothing you, I , or anyone else, can say about style, class, or pointing ability that is going to massage his feelings....

My thoughts... How true that last phrase is, as most hunters do not have the stomach for a truly big running dog. A dog that is running on the ragged edge of control, and may be out beyond beeper range for a half hour or more at a time. And, how many birds is a hunter going to kill in the East, with a dog that has that kind of locomotion? Thoughts for those with greater minds than mine...

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Comeback of the Gordon

by Wayne Adair,

Excerpt from an article featured in "Ontario Out of Doors" magazine. Jan/Feb 1965 issue...

It's been a challenge, but hard work and a sound breeding programme have paid dividends for both the Gordon Setter breed and Norm and Suzanne Sorby of Petaluma, California.
The high point in the breed's history was just before the turn of the century, when it gained prestige as a quail dog in the southern states. Upland game market hunters felt that it had no peer as a working dog, in both it's native Scotland and here in North America, has been one of more downs than ups.
Howard P. Davis, the dean of Pointing Dog writers, in the late 1940s edition of The Standard Book of Hunting and Shooting, expressed his remorse at the Gordon's fate, when he wrote:
"The wearer of the tan trimmed, ebony hued coat, once the darling of the ruffed grouse and woodcock covers and a fair favorite in the quail fields, has lost little in his imposing appearance, but many, probably the majority, of the breed members in this country today go through life without ever having enjoyed the intoxicating thrill of upland gamebird scent or hearing the cracking report of a fowling piece. Yet, there was a time when the Gordon Setter knew no peer as a cover-working gundog. It is indeed a rare day now when one comes across a fellow gunner depending upon a Gordon Setter to find his game."
Considering that the Gordon's fate as a hunting dog was almost sealed when Henry P. Davis wrote the above more than 40 years ago, one would have to believe that the Field Gordon would now be extinct.

More excerpts from this historically informative article to follow...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New York's Bats in trouble

This is a little off topic, but, IMO of great importance. I appreciate bats flying the area at night eating insects, and, they're a species that needs our help and protection...
This, from the NYS DEC website..

Bat Die-off Prompts Investigation
Thousands of hibernating bats are dying in caves in New York State and Vermont from unknown causes, prompting an investigation by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), as well as wildlife agencies and researchers around the nation. The most obvious symptom involved in the die-off is a white fungus encircling the noses of some, but not all, of the bats. Called "white-nose syndrome," the fungus is believed to be associated with the problem, but it may not necessarily contribute to the actual cause of death. It appears that the affected bats deplete their fat reserves months before they would normally emerge from hibernation and die as a result.

Stay Away

Disease spreads easily within hibernaculums, housing thousands of bats in a small areaUntil researchers understand the cause and how it is spread, state environmental officials and caving organizations are asking people not to enter caves or mines with bats until further notice to avoid possible transfer of the disease from cave to cave. Vermont officials are making a similar request.

"What we've seen so far is unprecedented,'' said Alan Hicks, DEC's bat specialist. "Most bat researchers would agree that this is the gravest threat to bats they have ever seen. We have bat researchers, laboratories and caving groups across the country working to understand the cause of the problem and ways to contain it. Until we know more, we are asking people to stay away from known bat caves." Bat biologists across the country are evaluating strategies to monitor the presence of the disease and collect specimens for laboratory analysis. Biologists are taking precautions-using sanitary clothing and respirators when entering caves-to avoid spreading the disease.

No Safety in Numbers
Bat populations are particularly vulnerable during hibernation as they congregate in large numbers in caves-clusters of 300 per square foot in some locations-making them susceptible to disturbance or disease. The vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of bats known to hibernate in New York do so in just five caves and mines. Because bats often migrate hundreds of miles to their summer range, effects on hibernating bats can have significant implications for bats throughout the Northeast.

Indiana bats, a state and federally endangered species, are perhaps the most vulnerable. Half the estimated 52,000 Indiana bats that hibernate in the state are located in just one former mine-a mine that is now infected with white-nose syndrome. Eastern pipistrelle, northern long-eared and little brown bats also are dying. Little brown bats, the most common hibernating species in the state, have sustained the largest number of deaths.

Searching for Answers
DEC has been working closely with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Northeast Cave Conservancy and the National Speleological Society, along with other researchers from universities and other government agencies. DEC will provide updates as they become available.

A little of my own thoughts on bats..

Bats are mammals. They are warm blooded, have fur, give birth to babies, and nurse their babies with milk. Only the Mother cares for the young.
Although often described as "flying mice", bats are not rodents and are more closely related to primates and humans. Bat wings are similar to a human hand, having a thumb and four fingers, as a support for the thin, leathery membrane that forms their wings.
Bats are also long lived. The oldest ever documented was found in a NY mine, where it had been banded 34 years earlier.
I plan on building some bat boxes for the area surrounding my Adirondack camp.

For information on building bat boxes, visit Bat Conservation International's website...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Foundation of the breed??

Or the dominant dog for the rebirth of the Field side of the breed..
For the Field Gordon Setter, Danny Boy O'Boy was it!

Danny's story, taken from an article in the Spring 1986 issue of the Gordon quarterly...

Danny Boy O'Boy's first owner was Alec Laurence, uncle of his breeder, who used Danny for Field Trialing, and at stud, until the age of two.
Occupational circumstances required the Laurences to move to Hawaii in the fall of 1973, and they were unable to take the dogs with them. Danny was placed with Norm and Sue Sorby of Springset Kennels who owned him until he died on October 4, 1985, of kidney failure, at the age of 14 1/2.
The Sorbys campaigned Danny to his Field Championship, and used him extensively in a breeding program that culminated with his becoming the first Field Champion Top Producer in breed history. He has to his credit five individual field trial champions (holding a total of ten field titles among them) and three show champions.
Not a dog with extreme range, Danny was best known for his bird handling ability, a trait that he passed on to his get. He ran and won in both AKC and American Field trials, with more style on honor than most dogs have on point. He ran best on courses with heavy cover, and accumulated wins in over 20 trials. He was known as a stylish and classy bird finder and a bold "brush buster".
Danny was a small dog, standing barely 24" at the shoulder. His heavy white markings have cast some doubt upon his credibility as a pure bred Gordon Setter. Norm and Sue Sorby believe that the white resulted from the seven generations of inbreeding that produced, and that included one Gordon known also to be heavily white marked. The Sorbys feel that the several show champions descended from Danny that carry little or no white further exonerate his status. He is pictured standind between 2 of his show champion get at the GSCA specialty show in San Rafael, California in September of 1982. (I also have this picture around the archives somewhere, and will post it in the future).
Danny was featured on the covers of Hunting World magazine in Japan and Gun Dog magazine in the United States ( I also have this issue), which brought enthusiastic response from hunters in both countries. He was also spotlighted in numerous articles about Gordon setters, and, according to Norm Sorby, he became very "camera wise": "Danny would often flick a glance at the photographer out of the corner of his eye, and move slowly to present his 'best profile'. He was a favorite among people who would come to demonstrations just to see quail walk under his nose and around him, to stand under his haunches. Talk about a staunch point! It gives me chills to think about his point, even today."
Norm Sorby continued to work Danny in the field until he was 13 1/2. When he found that Danny's eyes could no longer mark very long retrieves, he began shooting the birds sooner for him, until he could no longer mark even the short retrieves. Danny had been deaf for several years at this point, and worked to Norm's hand signals, but, failing eyesight forced Norm to remove him from field work entirely. He continued to ride with Norm in the truck's well or on the seat with his head in Norm's lap. His heart never failed!
Norm says, "Danny will be missed.... in breeding programs around the world, in the field, and especially at home."

F. Ch. Danny Boy O'Boy sired: F. and Amat. F. Ch. Belmor's Knight; F. and Amat. F. Ch. Smokerise Black Doctor; F. and Amat. F. Ch. Springset Kilsythe Circe; F. Ch. Belmor's Pretty Missy; F. and Amat. F. Ch. Smokerise Red Abbey;; Ch. Springset Knave Bright Star WD (GSCA 1974 Derby Dog of the Year); Ch. Springset Sanday Piper; Ch. Springset Sanday Lad (died with 9n FT points, including his major).
Grandsire of Dual Ch. Springset Zealous QuestWD, and double grandsire of the first Gordon Setter American Field Champion: F. and Amat. F. Ch. Belmor's Pretty Belle.

Looking back from this point in time, in 2008, Danny has left an incredible mark on the breed. Very, Very many Field Gordon pedigrees, if one goes back far enough, feature the name of Danny Boy O'Boy.. An incredible part of the breed.

The repeat of Danny's picture on the cover of Norms book. It is a pencil drawing of Danny in a famous pose by Molly Hustace.

dogtra launchers

I just bought a pair of dogtra e-launchers as a replacement for my old Stuart style Tri-Tronics launchers, that, due to age, were becoming unreliable. There is nothing worse while working a Pointing dog than an unreliable trap, so, the old TT equipment had to go!
What to buy?? What to buy??
I always considered dogtra equipment top notch, but, as far as e-collars go, I love the TT tube style transmitter. It's the correct tool for the job!
I decided to give the dogtra launchers a try. They did not let me down. We worked about four dogs with them this morning. Flawless release. If you've got nice fat pigeons, they're a close fit, but, it eliminates the pigeon moving and scratching around in a pheasant sized launcher, omitting an audible cue that a smart dog can pick up on. The compact size also makes the traps easier to hide in the sparse cover available this time of year.
So, these traps had Holly high on both ends this morning, having to use her nose instead of visual cues to home in on.
The dogtra traps were money well spent, and I'll probably order one more to make three eloctrincs to use, along with a couple of "Tracy traps"

I recommend these dogtras highly..

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Can a "newbie" or oldtimer, for that matter, buy "too much dog"?

Can a person, new to gundogs and just starting out, buy too much dog?
I guess the answer, as I see it, is a definite, it depends. When it comes to the trial type Setters or Pointers, I think the answer can be yes. Some of these dogs can be extremely bold, and run very big. Also, they can be intellegent enough to know who has got a good handle on them and who doesn't.
On the other hand, that same intellegence, when combined with biddability, could allow a less experienced , but dominant, handler to fare well.
But, how many new folks to the sport have the knowledge or wherewithall to keep that genetically superior, and exhuberant dog, in control?
Another point... Is a lesser dog easier to handle?? Maybe yes, Maybe no. At least a dog bred to be closer working would be a help until some knowledge and experience is gained.
Now, for those of us with a few miles under our belts.. Can we buy too much dog?
Again, I think it depends on age and personal conditioning, but, this is an area where I'd lean towards a handler buying a dog that he, or she, can personally keep up with, and reel in, when necessary.
I think the dog for a senior needs to be under finer control than one for a younger person. The days of running a dog down to make a correction could be over, so, maybe a closer working dog would be desireable??
Even in training, creaking bones and less flexibility, can make what was once a time honored, and beloved, pastime a chore.
Maybe a different type of Setter, a bit slower and more methodical, for an oldster is just the ticket..
I'm not there yet. I've got a few small, racy dogs in my future, but, I'm gettin' there...
Stay tuned for my answers...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

In keeping with my solitary ways...

A poem by one of my favorites, Robert Service. This always spoke to the side of me that revels in being alone...

The Men That Don't Fit In by: Robert Service

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his
chance; He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.

Andrew and Momo

I've had very little contact with the V-dogs, but, was highly impressed when I met Andrew and Momo a few years back. They came out to the gun club to shoot some informal Skeet. Everyone who encountered Momo and saw him in action was very impressed, and, this included some pretty experienced dogmen. As a matter of fact, they still recall the V-dog that used to come out.
I've yet to meet Jozsi, but, with Momo as a mentor, and Andrew as handler, I'm sure she'll be a helluva gundog.

There is some great information on Andrew's blog. Check them out here...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another gentleman I hold in high esteem...

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, I'll add another man, somewhat obscure, who was a giant in his field.
The head of the Punxutawney Groundhog Club, and the person most responsible for making Groundhog Day what it is today. That man is Sam Light, the gentleman responsible for the "Sam L Setters".
Born in 1896, Sam lived his entire life in the PA. town of Punxutawney, and made his fortune in lifeas the owner of the Lorraine Mining Company.
Mr. Light was also a veteran of WW l, and came home with the scars to prove it. A lieutenant in the Army, Sam came back home shellshocked and damaged from gas warfare. He later credited his Setters with restoring his fragile health.
Sam reportedly pulled into his first Field Trial at Conneaut in his Cadillac, with a Setter called Mohawk's Paliacho Frush on the front seat beside him. Frush was not exactly the best dog at the trial, by a long shot, but Sam was hooked!
In short order, Sam came upon a PA litter he liked, and "Sam L's Skyrocket", pictured here, was the result.
Sam L Setters went on to become famous, with even the likes of Presisent Eisenhower owning, and hunting over, one of Sam's dogs.
What intrigues me most about Sam Light is the standards he held for the Setters to carry his name. A dog had to have style, be pleasing to the eye, and have the ability and tenacity to run, and run big! He insisted upon a bold, hard charging dog, even though some of his dogs required quite a bit of training to handle well enough to win in the grouse woods. Sam's dogs delivered scintillatng performances in the grouse woods, although, they were often running on the ragged edge of being under control. Hence came one of Sam's most telling quotes, and one that I use often.. "You cannot obtain any degree of genius, without a trace of madness".
Sam's dogs often ran so big and seemingly out of control, that some of the dogs that would later go on to greatness, were returned to Sam by professional handlers who considered the dogs, while not outright renegades, extremely difficult to handle!
Skyhigh, pictured here, in particular, was considered too wild and unruly to compete in Grouse trials by the Tuttle Brothers of Johnsonburg PA, professional handlers of the day, and was returned to Sam. Skyhigh went on to Harry Holman who continued to patiently work with the dog. Sam L's Skyhigh went on to a fantastic career, becoming the first Setter to win six championships, as well as back-to-back Nationals at two different venues. It also was a Skyhigh daughter that produced Grouse Ridge John. So, Skyhigh can be considered Cover Dog Royalty.
Sam Light was the epitome of Setter fanciers, and today, few recognize his name. On his deathbed, Sam was visited by an old friend paying his last respects, Joe Willis of Brookville, PA. Sam awoke when Joe entered the room, and in a weak, feebly voice, asked, "Joe, do you know where I can get a good pup?"... Sam Light was dead a week later, in 1983...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A little about myself...

I'm not a "hero worshipper" in any sense of the word, but, there are a few folks that have captured my imagination because of an affinity I feel for them. And, they're very few.
Those who know me well might consider me a bit of a loner. Many of my pursuits are solitary ones, and I like it that way. I revel in solitude and "alone time".
It's only natural then, that one of the people I feel a connection to, would be a hermit...
So here, is Noah John Rondeau... The Hermit of Cold River.

Noah John Rondeau
Mayor: Cold River City (Population 1)

Noah John Rondeau is perhaps the most well-known of the Adirondack Hermits. And there were many: Don Williams, in his book Inside the Adirondack Blue Line, comments that "It was not uncommon in an Adirondack village to see a bewhiskered, shabby, sometimes smelly old man walking into town ... He was quickly identified as the "resident" hermit at that settlement." Alvah Dunning, French Louie, Daniel Wadsworth, Ebenezer Bowen, the list goes on and on. Some may have lived more solitary lives than Rondeau, but he was a true Adirondack Hermit.

Born in 1883 and raised near Ausable Forks, Rondeau ran away from home to escape an abusive father during his teenage years. Much about his early life is unknown; despite the fact that he kept extensive journals, much of the writings contained therein are in indecipherable code. Rondeau did begin writing an account of his early childhood, however. Unfortunately, it ends abruptly in mid-sentence and only focuses on several events of his pre-teen years. NJR achieved nothing more than an eighth grade education, but he educated himself, was well-read, and kept a supply of books in his hermitage. He was especially interested in astronomy, which he no doubt was able to put into practice on many a crisp, cool Adirondack night. He also played the violin, performing for whomever may have wandered up through the Cold River valley, or in the absence of other humans, he serenaded the deer. Before moving away from civilization, NJR lived in Corey's on the Raquette River, where he learned the ways of the woods from Daniel Emmett, a member of the Abenaki Indian tribe from Canada. Two other well-known Abenakis were Sabael Benedict, after whom Indian Lake and the hamlet of Sabael on its shore derive their name, and Lewis Elijah, who brought a plug of iron ore he found to the men who established the McIntyre Iron Mine. It was here in Corey's that Rondeau had his first run-ins with the fledgling Conservation Department (the predecessor of today's Department of Environmental Conservation), and a particular game warden who would cause him problems for years to come. NJR rarely had pleasant remarks for the Conservation Department in what journals he recorded in plain English.

At any rate, Rondeau was a regular visitor to the beautiful Cold River area of the western High Peaks in the early 20th century, but did not begin spending his winters at his hermitage until 1929. He set up several buildings in "Cold River City," including the "Town Hall" in which he resided, a "Hall of Records," and a number of "wigwams:" teepee-shaped structures which were made out of timbers he had cut to be used for firewood during the long Adirondack winters. NJR, despite being a hermit, often received visitors and for the most part openly accepted them, even if he was a bit slow to trust others. Some of his visitors are well-known Adirondackers, including Dr. Orra Phelps and Grace Hudowalski (Rondeau actually corresponded with Hudowalski, among others, on a fairly regular basis). NJR's longest stay at the Cold River was 381 days, during World War II. Some outsiders unfamiliar with NJR assumed him to be a draft-dodger trying to escape the war by holing up deep inside the Adirondack wilderness. Truth be told, by the time the United States became involved in WWII, Rondeau was nearly 60 years old, and had been living at the Cold River for over 10 years. In fact, NJR remarked in a letter dated 4/8/43, printed in the Ausable Forks Record-Post that
I never went to Cold River to dodge anything, unless it was from 1930 to 1940 when it might be said I dodged the American labor failure at which time I could not get enough in civilization to get along even as well as I could at Cold River under hard circumstances in the back woods. Since I'm not evading I did not make my first appearance at Cold River on the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed. What I'm doing toward the war effort looks like nothing, but that's all I can do and I'm doing it and it is this -- I'm self sustained.
In what probably contributed most to his fame, NJR appeared in numerous sportsmen's shows across the Northeast during the late 40's and early 50's. His first appearance was at the National Sportsmen's Show in New York City in 1947. The Conservation Department was so determined for Rondeau to appear that they flew NJR out from his hermitage by helicopter. He was a huge hit at the show, and immediately began scheduling appearances at other shows. Intermingled with these appearances were brief trips into the Cold River valley. His fame was relatively short-lived, and after several years the spotlight began to fade. Unfortunately, the "Big Blow" of 1950 leveled much of the forest around his hermitage. The Conservation Department closed the area to the public for the next 3 years due to the widespread and near-complete destruction. Sixty-seven years old at the time, Rondeau never would return to the Cold River. For the remaining seventeen years of his life, he lived in the Lake Placid - Saranac Lake - Wilmington area, outside the wilderness he loved so much. His health gradually deteriorated until his death on August 24, 1967. Noah John Rondeau was never granted his final wish: to be buried at his hermitage; his remains lie in the North Elba Cemetery.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A treatise on the Pointing Ryan Frame

Ryan Frame works with Dave Hughes. They train and handle the Grouse Ridge Setters, amongst others, and the reputation and records of these men in Cover Dog trials speaks for itself..

Point: Thoughts On The Pointing Instinct

By: Ryan Frame
E. B. White, the brilliant creator of Charlotte’s Web, once wrote an essay trying to analyze ‘humor,’ commenting as a warning. “Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.” I suppose that an analysis of the pointing instinct might run the same risk. I am well aware that there are many who can see enjoy and appreciate a dog pointing and never care to know why. It my hope, however, to dissect and analyze in such a way as to enhance the appreciation of the point rather than detract from it.

The twentieth century saw a proliferation of breeds that distinguish themselves by the peculiar characteristic which is the subject of this essay. There are pointers, French Pointers, Irish Setters, English Setters, Gordon Setters, Brittanys, Munsterlanders (both large and small), Spinones, German Shorthairs, German Wirehairs, Griffons, Weimeraners, vizslas, pudelpointers, and about ten other breeds classified as ‘pointing dogs.’ These breeds are generally defined as breeds who ‘freeze’ in the close proximity of game. Yet little can be said with absolute certainty on the matter of pointing breeds because there are specimens within each breed that do not point, and now that there are pointing Labs, we know that there are non-pointing breeds that do point.

Several years ago, in fact, an AKC officianado used this uncertainty to, in a major sporting magazine, make the case that because pointing dogs often retrieve, and retrieving dogs flush, that we cannot define a dog at all but what it does. Instead, the dog has to be defined by (surprise)… its looks. Then the writer insisted that proper looks were defined by the AKC standards. It was a clever argument when you think about it, though it fails to hold water in the final analysis. For by the same reasoning , if doctor also does some gardening, you can no longer call him a doctor based upon what he does, but instead, he must look like some agreed upon notion of what the ideal doctor should look like.

It has been my observation that a dog, locked up in an intense point, in any variety of attitudes, is inherently fascinating to many people. Many of us have had the distinct pleasure of showing off our pointing dog to someone who has never seen one in real life before. I try never to miss such an exhibition. The looks on the faces of these new people reveal their amazement. No doubt, that same amazement was a big part what lured many of us into owning, hunting and trialing pointing dogs in the first place. And that sight of a dog in magnificent pose is a big part of what still inspires long -time pointing dog fans who, though they have seen thousands of point, seem never to tire of seeing another.

That there are more pointing breeds than flushing and retrieving breeds combined is an indication of the popularity of the point. Pointing Labradors are hailed as a great innovation. No one, however, is trying to develop close working pointing breeds and teaching them to flush instead of point. That a flushing pointer is a step backwards, is indicative of the high standing of the pointing dog.

The nature of the point results in another advantage that the pointing dog enjoys over most working dogs in that his moment of glory can be captured on camera film or in a painting. ‘Flushing’ and ‘retrieving’ are sequences of actions and while a ‘snapshot’ captures a segment of such a sequence, and can be interesting as such, the picture is not complete. The point, by contrast, because it is completely motionless, can be rendered in its essence on on photo paper or canvas.

Moreover, while flushing dog fans would certainly prefer a portrait of a dog performing what defines him: flushing, most can appreciate a portrait of photo of the defining act of pointing dog. The reverse tends not to be true , however, for the mere sight of a dog flushing game, a major violation for pointing dogs, causes the pointing dog fan to wince as natural reaction. He may catch himself and remind himself that he looking at a flushing dog and that therefore putting birds in the air is appropriate, but he never quite gets over it.

Of course, this fascination for the point has its drawbacks too. There are many who believe that a dog pointing is the entirety of his work and that because he points he is therefore of the same quality as any other pointing dog. In other words, a dog doesn’t have to be much of a dog, but if he points, someone will be happy with him.

Just considering English setters we have those who hunt over 100+ pound lopers and those who prefer 30 pound rockets. Some fancy a dog that stays within shotgun range while others like a dog who, if they can see it, it’s too short ranging. Some are steady to wing and shot, some to shot, others to wing, some to neither. Some retrieve, some don’t. You just do not see this much variation among, say, Springer spaniels. Moreover, every pointing breed has a different look and a different way. Pointing dog breeds run the gamut of shape size, color, temperament, and coat. But they all point.

Most experts agree that pointing is a variation of stalking and is the “pause before the pounce.” One expert called it “a pause for the purpose of devising a strategem.” The ‘strategem’ is to try to pin point how far, and in what direction to pounce. William F. Brown, author and longtime editor of The American Field, noted one misconception that was held about pointing at one time when he wrote in 1942, “Many writers have described the statuesque point of the bird dog as a cataleptic condition which transpires when he encounters the scent of game and that it is involuntary and akin to mesmeric influence.” Brown was noting this viewpoint in order to discredit it, but “cataleptic condition” at least hints at what a point looked like in that era: intense and motionless.

Many experts have tried to discover the first pointing dog. Enos Phillips wrote some years ago of his belief that pointers were portrayed in etchings from ancient Egypt. Henry P. Davis, in his Training Your Own Bird Dog, cited Xenophon, friend of Socrates who wrote around 400 B. C., “Some again go a long way around in the first instance and anticipating the trail in their circuit before they reach it, pass the hare by, and when they do sight the hare in advance, tremble, and do not proceed until they see him make a move.” Experts will continue try to figure out which is the oldest pointing dog, but I have seen enough wolves point in various documentaries to know the answer.

Many trainers have noted that a pup’s success at pouncing and actually catching the prey, such as can easily happen with poor flying, usually pen-reared birds, often results in a pup that either will no longer point or does not hold his points long enough. Old time trainers allowed a pup to chase wild birds until the pup convinced himself that he could not catch them on his own. One of the reasons that wolves and wild dogs are pack animals is that they are not all that effective as hunters individually, and this tends to be true of dogs as well. These old timers maintained that a dog would never be reliable so long as he still held the notion that he could bag prey by his own efforts. Chasing enough birds without being able to catch was said to be the secret, for a dog convinced by experience that chasing was fruitless, was thought to be the most reliable, steady, pointing dog. The moment where the dog ‘gave in’ was carefully watched for. Perhaps the most eloquent description of the process came from an early 20th century trainer named C. H. Babcock: “… giving the puppy a good time with plenty of opportunities on game with no cares or worries for the dog or for me, yet asking him that question daily, and some fine morning when the weather’s cool, the dew upon the grass, the dog bending every energy to find his game, he will answer and I’ll know he’s telling the truth. As plainly as human speech could tell it, I’ll know that he has sowed his wild oats, shed his puppy ways and is ready for his mission in life.”

Bevy training on quail is thought to be able to facilitate the process of bringing a dog to point. The mingling scent of a lot birds in the vicinity makes it difficult for a dog to pin point any one accurately. Frequently, as the pup is zeroing in on the location of one, the brush will twitch elsewhere, drawing his attention, or he will see one scooting away on the ground and charge in. Many times, the first one he sees in the air is not the one he is trying to locate. In a variety of ways, therefore , coveys tend shake a dog’s confidence that he can locate and catch a bird and thus the instinct to point is brought to the fore. The dog’s realization that he is not usually succesful on his own means that he needs help. An element of the point, then, becomes a dog waiting motionlessly for help from the rest of the pack, the rest of the pack being the handler with the shotgun, and to not risk flushing the game by any further movement. It is no big secret that most any dog that still retains some hunting instinct from its wolf ancestry can point. The recent pointing Lab phenomenon is therefore neither a surprise nor an innovation. I also recall reading an article in flushing dog column where instructions were given on what to do about the Springers or cockers that was having the ‘problem’ of having the dog hesitate while attempting to locate and flush the bird.

Pointing dog fans sometimes find it troubling to realize that other breeds of dogs point, but it is a fact also that other species of animals point. Not long ago I witnessed a Public TV documentary on pumas. I saw a number of hunting sequences where these big cats would ‘lock up’ while stalking. The intensity of the puma’s what could be called a ‘sight point’ was unmistakable and familiar. Perhaps the most unusual ‘pointer’ was a pig from New Forest in the U. K. who lived in the 1830’s and belonged to a gamekeeper named Robert Toomer. According to an account of the pig, “Toomer had the idea of training her to range and point partridges and rabbits. She made rapid progress and some weeks afterwards she would go and retrieve partridges that had been wounded just the same as any pointer or setter would do, or even better because of her greater scenting powers.”

It is this realization that pointing is not all that uncommon that has led many to conclude that mere pointing is not all that special, and therefore what distinguished the pointing dog his ‘how’ he points. So there are many who insist upon intensity and style as important factors. Alfred Hochwalt was a great proponent of ‘character’ on point, insisting that while many dog’s can point but some can point in such a way as to make a memorable impression. Other people believe that while pointing is central to what a pointing dog should do, it other aspects of a dog’s performance tht truly make him stand out from the crowd. In the preface to the second edition of his classic study on the pointer around the turn of the last century, William Awrkright, after mentioning the New Forest pig , wrote of a fox terrier that he broke to stand partridges. “The unflagging range of the Pointer where there may be no game,” he noted, “his statuesque attitude when on point, the presentation of his nostrils to the wind while galloping across it - all seem to me to separate him from other dogs far more widely than actual pointing, because they are qualities impossible to teach, the development of centuries of careful breeding.” Others might add ‘bird-finding,’ ‘intelligent hunting application,’ and ‘independence’ to Arkwright’s list.

Field trialers are on the forefront of the group that believes that a pointing needs a lot more than the ability to point to be worthy of passing on his genes. To some gun hunters, field trials are crazy because to the trialer bird finds and point, tehough a dog may demonstrate each in abundance, are not sufficient of themselves, and other qualities need to be present Trialers generally insist upon good style on point and lots of intensity, and that a dog must work the ground properly and display plenty of speed, bird sense and stamina.

Breeding dogs that point, to other dogs that point, has undoubtedly accentuated and magnified the quality. The pointing pig is an almost unheard of oddity and while other dogs may point, in pointing dogs the quality has been much intensified and refined through selective breeding. Most of us tend to think that the pointing instinct has a gene or two assigned specifically to it. But this may not be true. Scientists are only beginning to understand and identify genes in dogs and what they do. Most behaviors result from the interactions of a number of genes and are influenced by a number of environmental factors as well.

The extent to which genes influence behavior in dogs is, in iself, an interesting topic. Several years back Robert Wehle wrote a piece which contained a fascinating account of a dog who, while roading for exersize, was harnessed sled-dog style next to a dog called Elhew Mr. Magoo. Whenever they stopped to allow the dogs a break, this female pointer would rest by throwing her front legs over Magoo’s back and leaning on him thus, sort of half-laying across him. The behavior was neither taught nor encouraged. Over the many years of roading dogs prior to this female, Mr. Wehle had never seen a dog exhibit this peculiar mannerism. The article showed a picture of her dog resting contentedly over Magoo’s back. Next to the photo was a similar one of another dog resting over Magoo’s back in the exact same manner. The second dog was a daughter of the first. Presumably something in the genetics had an influence over this even obscure behavior.

I have seen it too. The pointer champion Van Mac would constantly play with his feed bowl, pitching it up and down, carrying it around, bouncing it around with his feet, and other such antics. I have seen a dog in Michigan do the same exact antics with her feed bowl, she, a direct daughter. The setter champion Grouse Ridge Reroy had a peculiar howl-like way of greeting you. He would curl up his lips when he saw you and, “wooooooo.” I have seen quite a number of his pups do the same thing. I have seen even more minute gestures passed on from generation to generation.

The answers to many of our questions about pointing and specific genetic markers are many years away from being answered if such questions are answerable at all. It is my suspicion that whole host of genes and alleles contribute to pointing and some of them have to do with personality. It seems to me, with no science to back me up here, that pointing is related to a love of hunting and a great desire to pursue and catch quarry, but is also related to a personality with a lot of built in caution. He is dog who loves to hunt but doubts his ability to catch the game, and so he remains locked in indecision - Sure smells good. It’s gotta be riiiight there. Yes … get ready. Get those muscles tense and ready to explode. NO! No .. it’s not right there. As soon as I move it will be gone. Did that wind shift? Or did the bird shift? Sure smells sweet. I can do it. No I can’t. It won’t be where I pounce. Sure smells good. Better wait and think about this some more. Gotta be absolutely sure before I do anything. Better wait.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My thoughts on "Breaking" a dog

The term "broke dog" is used pretty freely these days. Unfortunately, many don't realize where the term "broke" comes from.
In the old days, a dog was truly broke, it's spirit often broken in forcing subservience to it's handler. The dog's that could accept this treatment thrived and won, the dog's that couldn't, passed to the great beyond.
Harsh treatment is still commonly used to break a dog. Often because of time constraints. It just takes longer to "naturally" break a dog. But, I believe that the results are well worth the extra time and effort!
The average dog will show much more desire, ability, animation, and, love for it's work, after using a more natural breaking process.
Give the pupil enough birds, enough time, and firm and consistent, but also loving, direction, and we are rewarded with a truly natural and spontaneous partner in the field...
And, isn't that what we're all striving for?

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Thank You

I'd like to sincerely thank everyone for participating and their positive comments. It certainly means alot to me to get the thoughts of so many friends....
Again, Thank you

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One on one with the Black Dog

It was a beautiful day here yesterday, and I decided to spend a little "alone time" with my Gordon, Holly. The spot we planned to hit holds woodcock in the fall... One of the few places left that haven't been filled and turned into more useless and unnecessary shopping areas. This area is also abutted by little used roadways, but, they're used enough that I couldn't bring Sandy, the big running and hardheaded, English Setter. I just could not assure her safety in this area.
We had a great day. Found no woodcock passin' through, but, it was good exercise for us both. She got to swim a few laps, and run the woods.. I got to behold her beauty and untapped potential..

C'mon Fall.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tick Talk

It's that time of year. Actually, even on warm winter days, ticks can, and will, become active. We've dealt with ticks here our entire lives. As a child, we thought they dropped from the trees in the woods. But, we only had to deal with dog ticks then.
Years later, the deer ticks invaded. Deer ticks are now much more prevalent than the much easier to deal with dog ticks.
Now, a new menace in the vicious Lone Star tick. When they first arrived, we thought they were chiggers. Those of us who frequented the woods in certain areas, were being attacked around the lower legs by something. The itching would last for weeks, and the scars for months.
We have now come to know that these maladies were the result of Lone Star ticks, a new arrival to New York.
Many folks believe that they came up from the South on the turkeys that were reintroduced to Long Island. The timetable does appear to lead credence to that theory.

Here's more info on the Lone Star

Lone Star tick migrates to Long Island
Sponsored Links (Ads by Google)

An aggressive type of tick known as the Lone Star is raising new concerns about Lyme disease on Long Island, N.Y.
New York state health officials say the Lone Star, which migrated from the southeastern United States, has gained a foothold in parks and woodlands and is increasing in numbers, Newsday reports.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Lone Star is more dangerous than deer ticks because it can detect a host, including humans, at a distance. Deer ticks wait for direct contact to attach to a host.

In recent years thousands of people have contracted Lyme disease on Long Island.

The bacterial infection is most often carried by ticks and can have long-term, devastating effects.

Although it can be cured with antibiotics, health officials say Lyme disease is often overlooked or misdiagnosed due to the small size of tick bites and the similarity between its symptoms and those of other illnesses.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Monday, March 10, 2008

On a sad note...

The great English Setter, "Clark's Black Copper", was recently euthanized due to failing health. Blackie did it all for his owners in the Field... One of the great Setters of all time, sire of Stone Tavern Matrix, as well as countless other Field Champions. He will be missed by all who came to know and love him...

Godspeed, Blackie

A bit of History

It was in 1842 that two Gordon Setters were imported by George W. Blunt. These dogs came directly from the Dukes Gordon Castle kennels. Their names were "Rake" and "Rachael". Rachael was presented to Daniel Webster as a gift.
During this period, the other Setter breeds were also being imported, and, most Americans considered all three breeds as one and the same. Just different color variations of the same Setter breed..
Evidence shows that the practice of interbreeding the Setter breeds continued into the 1920's. Some time later, more emphasis was placed upon keeping the lines pure for the three Setter breeds.
Are today's practices good for the breeds??? Or, a recipe for disaster??

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Very well done Bill!

Bill, you did a great job on creating this blog! Not that I have any experience as this is the first blog I've visited but the content is very informative on a subject we all love. Dogs and men who love dogs. Super!

A Dedication to a Setter Man of the first order..

Rugby Clubhouse
Worth the Wait
By Jack Degange

Corey Ford, who died more than 35 years ago, would be pleased. For several hundred Dartmouth rugby alumni and players who have survived about 20 years of off-field trying, their vision of the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse is a reality.

Designed by architect Randall Mudge and built over the past 15 months by Trumbull-Nelson, the Corey Ford Clubhouse gives Dartmouth rugby players a place they finally can call “home,” a facility that is unmatched in the spectrum of collegiate athletics.

Located less than a mile north of the Dartmouth College campus, the 6,000-square foot clubhouse nestles into a slope of the former Garipay Farm property (now owned by Dartmouth). The clubhouse is destined to be one of Dartmouth’s distinctive buildings. It may be the only rugby clubhouse in the world designed to provide symmetrical, unified facilities that serve men and women.

The Corey Ford Clubhouse gives Dartmouth rugby players a place they finally can call “home,” a facility that is unmatched in the spectrum of collegiate athletics.

The clubhouse is a story of ultimate collaboration involving the College and hundreds of Dartmouth rugby players and parents, including over a dozen leadership donors. It’s also the culmination of years of scrumming, beginning in the mid-1980s. The circuitous route that brought the clubhouse back to its originally intended site included legal action by concerned neighbors in Hanover, the machinations of municipal planning review when the clubhouse seemed destined to be part of a residential-recreation complex proposed by the College at Sachem Field, south of Hanover in Lebanon, N.H., and a Hanover-Dartmouth transaction involving the Garipay property that didn’t happen.

Rugby is an independent, self-supporting club sport at Dartmouth, not one of the College’s 34 intercollegiate teams for men and women. At Dartmouth, football (the American version) evolved from the English game of rugby about 130 years ago. As football grew, rugby disappeared until the DRFC was established in 1951. The Dartmouth Women’s Rugby Club (DWRC) was formed in the late 1970s.

That was also the year that Corey Ford, a Columbia University graduate and noted author, moved to Hanover. It’s uncertain whether Ford adopted the DRFC or vice versa but the story of the rugby clubhouse begins with Mr. Ford.

His home on North Balch Street, near the campus and the playing fields, became the unofficial Dartmouth rugby clubhouse. Ford once wrote, “My own playing experience is limited to a few scrums in the New York subway at rush hour. I am hailed as ‘Coach’ for want of a better title. In the locker room before a match I sit in owlish silence, sucking on my pipe and occasionally nodding my head up and down sagely. I’ve heard the team has a secret maneuver called the Corey Ford play. I haven’t the foggiest idea what it is, and nobody will tell me.”

Ford also saw rugby, with its fundamentally amateur atmosphere, as the answer to creeping professionalism in college athletics. When he died in 1969, his estate included a bequest to Dartmouth designated for the support of rugby. That included the intention for a permanent rugby clubhouse.

Over the years, the sport has flourished to include the Dartmouth women’s rugby team, now over 25 years old. The two programs, men and women, rank with the best teams in the nation. Each has won Ivy League and New England championships and competed in national tournaments. Each spring since 1951, with one exception, the Dartmouth men have made annual tours against national and international opponents. The women’s teams have made similar tours for about 20 years.

Concurrently, the Dartmouth rugby endowment, built from Ford’s original gift, has grown through subsequent fund raising. After being shuttled from site to site, the Corey Ford Clubhouse seemed a reasonable expectation for an organization that did all it was asked to do. About two years ago, Dartmouth President James Wright said, in essence, “Enough. It’s time for this to happen.”

Benefiting from President Wright’s support, the clubhouse returned to the originally planned site. Ground was broken for the building in May 2004. Over the past year, though the construction schedule was plagued in its early stages by uncooperative weather, Trumbull-Nelson’s team has brought the project to fruition.

The building sits in a landscaped bank that creates a natural amphitheater overlooking George Brophy ’56 Field to the south, an emerald expanse that incorporates a state-of-the art irrigation and drainage system and is the competition site. The companion George (Skip) Battle ’66 Field, on the north side of the clubhouse near Reservoir Road, is a pitch where B- and C-side matches will be played and teams will practice.

The overall site is positioned in a hollow, a setting that capitalizes on the beauty of nearby Balch hill to the east and woods on two sides of Brophy Field.

The main level of the clubhouse commemorates the sport’s tradition at Dartmouth. Paneled trophy rooms and a kitchen-serving area flank the Deevy Room, given in memory of Bill Deevy ’47 by his three Dartmouth sons. This large, central area, crowned by a vaulted ceiling and elevated panels where shirts from historic games will be mounted, will be the setting for post-game receptions and other events.

There’s a dramatic stone fireplace and balcony at one end of the Deevy Room. At the opposite end, a glass wall looks onto the John Kilmartin ’75 Deck that provides spectators with an elevated vantage point to watch matches on Brophy Field.

Changing rooms for Dartmouth teams and opponents surround a trainer’s room on the Brophy Field level. A challenge gift by Kelly Fowler Hunter ’83, one of the earliest members of the women’s team, was instrumental among naming gifts for this area of the clubhouse.

And a remarkable, distinctive building it is. The exterior, with its eye-catching western red cedar shingles is accented by the forest green paint on shutters and the forged metal railing that curves around the Kilmartin Deck.

Integrated into the paneling immediately inside the main entrance that has a granite floor, a large granite tablet is inscribed with the names of 400 donors. Many of them were among more than 500 guests who descended on Hanover in late September for a dedication weekend that included alumni games (for women and men who are willing). The Dartmouth women’s A side played Harvard in the first match on Brophy Field, followed by the men’s A side against Army.

As impressive as the tablet recognizing the generosity of the Dartmouth rugby family is another tribute that honors the genesis of this building.

Centered in the exterior wall between the doors that provide access from the changing rooms to Brophy Field is a curved granite tablet. In large, carved letters are four words: Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse.

Ford once wrote, “Rugby is strictly a game of the players, by the players, and for the players.” At Dartmouth, the sport isn’t quite so informal as it once was. Thirty-six years since his death, and after more than two decades of struggle as taxing as any scrum, Dartmouth rugby’s men and women, students playing a sport described by Ford as an “athletic stepchild,” finally have a home of their own.

My thoughts...

Corey Ford, author of what has come to be called "The greatest piece of Sporting Literature ever written, "The Road to Tinkhamtown", is also the man owned by his great English Setter, Cider, and his get.
At his death, his beloved Setter purportedly somehow got into his hospital room and laid across Mr. Ford's body. Although the dog went to a good and loving home, the Setter later died of a broken heart...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Alexander, the Fourth Duke of Gordon

Pompeo Girolamo Batoni
Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon (1743 - 1827)

Alexander Gordon, who became the 4th Duke of Gordon at the age of nine, went on a Grand Tour of Europe to complete his education. This portrait of him was painted in Rome by Batoni, the fashionable portrait painter popular with the British aristocracy in Italy. Usually Batoni's Grand Tour portraits make references to the antiquities of Rome, but here he has emphasised Gordon's passion for hunting. The young duke was not particularly interested in the ancient sites or classical learning.

My thoughts..
Alexander was the Scottish nobleman credited with developing the Gordon Setter as a distinct breed. The Castle's kennels, however, kept many dogs that today would be unrecognizable as Gordons. Many colors abounded, as the Duke obviously had little interest in "setting type". The breed, at that time, was a fluid mix of dogs and desired qualities. Bloodhound contributed to the Gordon's superb scenting abilities. It is thought that Collie blood was also part of the mix.. An eclectic breed, indeed!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bill Brown speaks...

and, when he does, people should listen! A quote....

"History discloses that the great gundogs come from dynamic, aggressive, prepotent individuals. Without these brilliant, scintillating, spectacular, hard driving, independent performers, consumed with a passion for finding birds, evincing unquestionable fire in the quest, needing restraint rather than encouragement, the splendid shooting dogs of the current era could not have been bred and developed."

Pictured is my "Pocket Rocket" Holly, working an edge...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The "Mantra" of the day...

No "Pointing Lab" spoken here!!

A "must read" for Gordon Owners.

THE Bible for Gordon owners, and other Pointing dog folks also.
This book by Norm and Suzanne Sorby tell's all. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Written by the gentleman who virtually single handedly brought the Field Gordon back from the brink of being lost to bird work, and the darling of the show ring.

Training tips, breeding parameters, the strengths, the weaknesses. It's all here.

I've got one of the first copies, but, it's currently in reprint. Go to Springset. com to order..

A little humor

"People injured or killed in the Michigan firearms deer season, include a Bay City man shot in the leg while trying to photograph his dog holding a rifle, which accidentally went off"

from "The Darwin Awards"...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Nice place to hang out!

Thanks for inviting me, Bill! From the short list of names I only see good folks whom I've come to respect from the other boards. BTW, I'm Mike Krol. Why the heck I chose a different handle for this board, I don't know... must be the Polish in me shining through. I look forward to sharing stories and thoughts with my compadres over here!

More thoughts on Breeding

This shamelessly lifted from the Terrierman site, and modified in content to apply to the Gordon Setter.
Working Dogs are working dogs.. regardless if they are working fur or feather. And, the same techniques apply to breeding both, and, working dogs in general....

Of the thousands of Gordon setter owners in the United States, most do not breed dogs, and that is a good thing. I am not particularly enammored with those that do, as most have no idea of what they are doing, do not work their dogs at all, and essentially treat the whole thing as a lark -- or a way to move up in the "pecking order" of the show-ring community. Breeding dogs is not a sport, and if you are not working your dogs a lot, please do not tell me you are breeding working dogs or have the slightest idea of what is needed in a working dog. In fact, when it comes to working Gordon setters, you are probably the problem! You are the reason the dogs are getting too big, do not have good noses, and are (increasingly) stupid, especially when it comes to bird intelligence. Please, do NOT confuse the Junior Hunt test with real work. The fact that a dog can run 50 ft., flash point a planted quail 6 inches in front of its nose does not mean you have a dog worth breeding! I am happy that you are at least doing something with the dog, but this is the most minimum of beginnings. If you were looking to breed a running horse, surely you would ask more than an ability to trot?? The idea that most show-ring Gordon setters are a load on the gene pool of their breed is so alien to the average breeder that they do not understand the words, much less the phrase. If a dog looks fine it is fine -- never mind that it does not use its nose, has no gait, cannot work a running pheasant, and has enough feathering to choke a horse! Never mind that the breeder is a man or woman with so little mucle tone he/she could not plant a dozen tulip bulbs, much less go on a four to eight hour hunt in prime pheasant or grouse country! In the world of Gordon setters, the end result of such selection and breeding are the over-large, brain-befogged dogs we see in the show ring today. Their owners do not take them hunting or trialing (much less anything else), but they will tell you they are great at barking at song birds outside the picture window! Doing it wrong (and lying to yourself) is simply too easy, while doing it right demands a ferocious level of sustained committment.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Gold Standard

Show Breeders take note!!

This standard has been changed to call for a larger and larger, and less "performance oriented" dog, on more than one occasion...

The Standard of the Breed, from 1935.

(By Courtesy of the Gordon Setter Club of America)
General Impression. – A stylish, rather racy built, medium size, muscular dog of clean setter type, usual length legs and of symmetrical conformation throughout. Strong fairly short back and short tail, a fine head, clearly lined, intelligent expression, clear colors and straight or slightly waved coat.

Size. – Should height for males 22 inches to 25 inches; for females, 21 inches to 24 inches.

Head. – Deep rather than broad with plenty of brain room, nicely rounded good-sized skull, broadest between the ears. The head should have a clearly indicated stop. Below and above the eyes should be lean and the cheek as narrow as the leanness of the head allows. The muzzle fairly long with almost parallel lines and not pointed either as seen from above or from the side. The flews not pendulous but with clearly indicated lips. The nose big, broad with open nostrils and of black color.

Eyes. – Of fair size, neither too dep set nor too bulging, dark brown, bright and wise.

Ears. – Set low on the head, fairly large and thin.

Neck. – Long, lean, arched to the head and without throatiness.

Shoulders. – Long shoulder blades, lying close to the chest and not going above the back line of the neck.

Chest. – Deep and not too broad in front; the ribs well spring leaving plenty of lung room.

Forelegs – Big boned, straight not bowed either in or out with elbows free, well let down and not inclined either in or out.

Hindlegs. – The hindlegs from hip to hock should be long, flat and muscular, from hock to heel short and strong. The stifle and hock joints well bent, and not inclined either in or out.

Feet. – Both fore and hind feet should have close knit, well-arched toes with plenty of hair between with full toe pads and deep heel cushions.

Tail. – Short and should not reach below the hocks, carried horizontal or nearly so, thick at the root and finishing in a fine point. The feather, which starts near the root of the tail should be straight, have a three-square appearance, growing shorter uniformly toward the end.

Coat. – Should be soft and shining, resembling silk, straight or slightly waved but not curly, with long hair on ears, under the stomach and on chest, on back of the fore and hindlegs down to the feet.

Color and Markings. – Deep, shining, coal black with tan markings, either of rich chestnut or mahogany red color. The tan should be shining and not dull, yellowish nor straw color and not mixed with black hairs. Black penciling allowed on toes. The border lines between black and tan colors should be clearly defined. There should not be any tan hairs mixed in the black.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Good News

A bit of good news on the home front.

My orthopedic Doc released me this morning for any activities I'd like with my right shoulder. For those that don't know, on August 30 of 2007, I fell and fracured and dislocated it. It caused me to lose an entire season of gunning, but, not working with my dogs..

It will be nice to pick up a gun with the intention of actually shooting it again!

Belmor dogs appear again!

Here's the late Joel Morris, with whom I think is Sis, or Belmor's Sis. To the left of him is Frank Henderson, of Calico fame, when he still had his eyes open.. i.e. Pre English Pointer days..
Standing, back left, is a young Jim D'Amico, commonly known as the "Guru of Gordons"

This photo is from the early Seventies, at Southaven Park FT grounds on Long Island..

Thanks for providing this, Bill

A nice place to chat with like-minded folks.
Good start to an ego-free zone.
It's good to have no king.

More from the archives...

Heres a picture of Belmor's Pretty Belle backing Belmor's Knight. This picture was taken as it happened.. No tails were stroked up, and the dogs were not set up in any way...

This is what Gordons are all about!