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.