Monday, June 30, 2008

It can't happen here??

With all the misguided animal activists in this country, it could only be a matter of time before this idea takes hold here. I would be the last person to be a proponent of cruelty towards animals, but if the truth be know, an e-collar, properly used, is far less harsh than some older methods of training a dog.
Judicious, and proper use of electrical stimulation has helped many an animal, and I daresay say saved some from a dismal fate due to lack of biddability.

Thursday 26 June 2008 headlines more >>

Wales Shock Collar Ban One Step Closer
The use of electric training aids, including shock collars, is to be banned in Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government announced yesterday that it is to produce draft detailed Regulations introducing the ban.

The announcement follows a period of consultation on the use of electric shock collars on dogs and cats, which was initiated in November last year by the Welsh Assembly Minister for Rural Affairs, Elin Jones.

The Minister said yesterday that she had assessed arguments both for and against a ban on the devices. She said:

"This has not been an easy subject to examine. There is genuinely a large degree of concern about how these devices are improperly used, in contrast to responses from people who have used them and found they have worked in stopping an animal from misbehaving.

"After giving due consideration to the arguments, I propose to introduce a ban on the use of electric shock collars in Wales. We will examine the possibility of certain restricted uses under veterinary and professional supervision and for controlled boundary fences."

Commenting yesterday, the Kennel Club's Caroline Kisko responded to the news:

"We are extremely pleased to hear of the announcement made today. Electric shock collars are a cruel, outdated and unsuitable method of training dogs and we applaud Wales for leading the way on this issue and hope others will follow."

Meanwhile the RSPCA called electric shock collars 'instruments of cruelty'. Its head of external affairs, David Bowles, said:

"This is the first major piece of legislation in Wales and England under the Animal Welfare Act, and we fully support and congratulate the minister on her commitment to improving the standards of animal welfare in Wales."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Quote from Mark Twain

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

Mark Twain

I guess we've all been in this position... I know i have!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Canine Legislation

This is important for all gundog owners, or owners of any breed.

This is a link to A Piece of the Purest Challenge that will explain it all. Many thanks to the folks of the NRSFTC for staying on top of this situation.

Read and heed!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Redesigned Astro

Well, the rumors turned out to be true. The greatest thing that happened to dog tracking has been improved, and in a big way!

No more box-like gps/rf transmitter unit that won't stay upright on the dog's back. This unit, the dc-30 has been totally redesigned so that the weight hangs below the dogs neck. The small GPS receiver is a button attached to the top of the collar, and as I said, the rest of the electronics rides below the dog's neck. The antenna for RF to communicate with the hand held GPS unit is flexible, and comes up from below, a la a tracking collar. In fact, the entire unit looks similar to the Strike collar used in telemetry.
I've been using the Astro system for almost a year, and this will improve it's use immensely! It's what we've always needed, and always wanted.. Garmin took a great system, and improved it to the point of perfection..
I've ordered my new dc-30 already.. I'll report back when I have the new unit in hand and have put it through it's paces.. It should be a tremendous boon to those with gundogs that can really motor!

Read more about the Astro system here...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dissent even then...

We've seen how the breed has split with protagonists on both sides. It's quite surprising that this is not a new phenomena...


by George S. Pugh

In the early American Kennel Club Gazettes, as well as other publications and books of this period, we find references to the American Gordon Setter Club, and also to the Gordon Setter Club of America. Sometimes the reference was simply to the "Gordon Setter Club." At first I thought these might be different clubs, but after much search it became evident that there was only one club, which had dissension among it's members over the correct name and type for the Gordon. Harry Malcolm was a very active and outspoken advocate of a light, racy type of Gordon which he chose to call the "American" Gordon Setter. This type was not popular on the benches, and another faction within the club backed the heavier type that we know today. Mr. James Watson, editor and judge, had the following to say regarding Mr. Malcolm's type of Gordon:
The American Gordon is a light-built black and tan setter incapable of winning against dogs of type, and no owner is going to continue paying entry fees and express charges on dogs incapable of winning.
A special meeting of the Executive Committee was held November 28, 1890, and the resignations of Mr. Malcolm and his cohorts were accepted and a new slate of officers elected. Shortly afterward a new Constitution and By-laws were drawn up and adopted. The Standard for the 'Ameriocan Gordon Setter' which had been written under the aegis of Harry Malcolm was scrapped, and a new one for the Gordon Setter was drawn up and adopted July 7, 1891.
The club was probably formed sometime in 1887, but it was not until July 1888 that it was listed by the American Kennel Club as an active member. The club was formed through the efforts of Mr. Harry Malcolm, who was it's first President. It was first referred to as the 'American Gordon Setter Club,' and I am sure that while Mr. Malcolm was in control he insisted that it be called by this name, for his avowed purpose in organizing the club was to gain recognition for and to promote the American Gordon setter, which he felt was the only true Gordon. In a chapter entitled "The American Gordon Setter," written by Mr. Malcolm while he was still President of the club, he tells us of it's formation and objective;
A dog who is simply a prize winner, no matter if he is not pure bred, or is even gun-shy, or has never seen game, is more valued by the average mug-hunter than the finest field dog in the country. The bench shows were to blame, in a measure at least, for this state of affairs, in having only one class in which this breed could enter, and that for Black and Tan Setters when, in fact, they should have had a class for Gordon Setters, and the Black and Tan should have been in the cross-bred or English class.
To remedy this evil, and save the Gordon Setter from the odium that was being cast upon him by having to be entered in the same class with the Black and Tan (causing the best specimens of the Gordon setter to be kept at home for many years), the field sportsmen, and lovers of the pure-bred Gordon setter, met and formed a club, known as the American Gordon setter Club. We went before the American Kennel Club, requesting them to give us a class in the Stud book for our pure-bred dogs; and to call this strain the American Gordon Setter. Our request was granted; and in the future, none but a dog with a pure Gordon setter pedigree can be registered as an American Gordon Setter.
The cross-bred dog, who depended upon his black and tan color to deceive the public, has now to be registered in the cross-bred class. The success of the American Gordon setter Club in this matter has saved one of the best strains of field dogs from utter ruin. So the strain of dogs that was known at the Duke of Gordon's Castle as the Gordon Setter, and in England as the Black and Tan setter, are now known in America as the American Gordon Setter.

I have never followed the logic of insisting that only those Gortdons of direct English ancestry should be called 'American' Gordons. However, the efforts of Mr. Malcolm and this club succeeded in having the newly formed American Kennel Club change it's Stud book title for the breed to 'American Gordon setters.' This designation did not have popular approval, nor did it have support of the new regime now in control of the club; and soon- in Novenber, 1892- the American Kennel Club returned the title to 'Gordon Setters,' which title they have held ever since.
This early Gordon Setter Club was quite active and did much to promote the interests of the Gordon. No doubt the most important step was writing a clear standard for the breed. This did much to improve the quality of the breed judging, for prior to this time each judge had his own opinion of what a Gordon should look like, usually formed from reading some edition of the British writer 'Stonehenge.' The club spent much effort to get shows to offer prizes for Gordons and provide the same number of classes for them as for the English and Irish Setters.
As we have noted earlier, the club held two field trials, one in 1893 and another in 1894, but did not continue it's efforts in this direction.
After 1908 which saw the last of this first Gordon Setter Club of America, the breed was not represented at the American Kennel Club until the present Gordon Setter Club of America was admitted to membership on December 2, 1924..


The more things change, the more they remain the same....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Chinese Crested does it again!

PETALUMA, Calif. -- A bald, three-legged, one-eyed dog has achieved greatness by being named the "World's Ugliest Dog" at the 20th annual contest held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma.

Gus, a Chinese-Crested, was named 2008's ugliest dog at the Friday contest, according to fair officials. He competed against 11 other dogs from all over the U.S., winning in the pedigree-class category and then going on to triumph in the overall competition.

He took home two trophies and $1,600 in prize money, which his owners are going to put toward his radiation treatments. Gus has skin cancer, which led to the amputation of one leg.

His missing eye is the result of a fight with a tomcat, fair officials said.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Bombshell's endorsement

While I strive to keep politics out of the stream of consciousness here, the many news agencies have been "bombing" the Bombshell for an endorsement.. Therefore, we at "The Black & Tan Bombshell" officially endorse Senator John McCain for President of the United States. His experience and leadership prove him to be the best candidate for the job!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Baby BlacknTan..

This is ole' B&T circa 1949, in Fishguard, Wales being held by my Grandfather Frank Hartley... I was born in this house in one of the bedrooms upstairs.Two handsome devils, dontcha' think??

click on photo to enlarge..

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer

What does any self respecting Gordon do to stay cool during the dog days of summer? Why, lounge on the deck in the chaise lounge under the umbrella, of course.. And every so often take a dip in the pool!
It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta' do it!

Click on the picture to enlarge...

Friday, June 20, 2008

The First Gordon in Kentucky

The first Gordon Setter in Kentucky was a gift from Daniel Webster to Henry Clay. Some may recall that Daniel Webster received a gift of two Gordon Setters from George Blunt, prior to this.
Daniel Webster and Henry Clay were the best of friends, and Webster was a guest at Henry Clay's estate, Ashland, on several occasions. It is said that Henry Clay was quite the gambler, and later in life was about to lose his beloved Ashland because of a card game. It was saved at the eleventh hour by a group of Henry Clay's friends, who raised $25,000 to pay the debt. Obviously a princely sum in those days. Most folks of the day believed that Daniel Webster was the driving force behind this effort. Ashland still contains items that Clay had lost to folks in and around Lexington, Kentucky, that were in later years returned to the estate, to assume their rightful place.
An interesting fact is that upon Clay's death in Washington, D.C., was that instead of Clay's remains going directly home to his home state of Kentucky, they were first taken to New York for viewing by New Yorkers who genuinely loved him. His body was then returned to Lexington for burial.

The above facts and the picture of Ashland were kindly provided by good friend and Gordon Setter lover "Grousehunter 12". He knows I love history and provides me facts and pictures from the South at every opportunity.. My thanks go out to him for keeping me in his thoughts, and for reading and supporting my meager efforts on this blog every day. This place would not exist without the support of folks like him...

P.S. Click on the picture for a larger image.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The name of the Clan...

Gordon Name
The name comes from the parish of Gordon in Berwickshire. Sir Adam of Gordon was granted Strathbogie, confiscated from the Earl of Atholl, in Aberdeenshire by Robert the Bruce in return forservice to Bruce's cause. The Gordon's wielded enormous power during the 16th and 17th centuries, so much that their chief was known as "the Cock of the North".

Today's Quote

Another quote about dogs, and their devotion to us...

They never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation. ~Jerome K. Jerome

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Classic Verse from Robbie Burns

STREAMS that glide in orient plains,
Never bound by Winter’s chains;
Glowing here on golden sands,
There immix’d with foulest stains
From Tyranny’s empurpled hands;
These, their richly gleaming waves,
I leave to tyrants and their slaves;
Give me the stream that sweetly laves
The banks by Castle Gordon.

Spicy forests, ever gray,
Shading from the burning ray
Hapless wretches sold to toil;
Or the ruthless native’s way,
Bent on slaughter, blood, and spoil:
Woods that ever verdant wave,
I leave the tyrant and the slave;
Give me the groves that lofty brave
The storms by Castle Gordon.

Wildly here, without control,
Nature reigns and rules the whole;
In that sober pensive mood,
Dearest to the feeling soul,
She plants the forest, pours the flood:
Life’s poor day I’ll musing rave
And find at night a sheltering cave,
Where waters flow and wild woods wave,
By bonie Castle Gordon.

Canine "Night Vision"

Deb, from A Piece of the Purest Challenge, has a great entry on the abilities of canines to see at night. I always wondered how they could jump up on the bed in the middle of the night in pitch darkness... Now we know!

BTW, this blog has alot of great information, and can really expound on how the Red Setter came about...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nick Sisley on Gordons....

Some may recognize the name from the numerous magazines he's written for to earn a buck. He may or may not have extensive knowledge of many of the subjects on which he expounds.
In the early seventies, Nick Sisley was the bird dog editor for Hunting Dog magazine. He also served as a judge of the Western New York State Regional, held on May 15-16, 1971. He and Stan Chiras were assigned the judging of the Open All Age, Amateur Gun Dog, and Open Gun Dog stakes.
The Open All Age consisted of twenty two starters, including two Gordons. All placements in the stake went to GSPs. Two Gordons placed in the nineteen starter Amateur Gun Dog. They were McKevin's Highland Lady, third, and Page's Janie of Cascades, fourth. In the Open Gun Dog (Gordons), eleven dogs competed. Page's Janie of Cascades placed first, McKevin's Highland Lady, second, Page's Dinan Rogue, third, and Ch. Hacasak Commanche, fourth. Mr. Sisley's report of the trial appeared in the August issue of Hunting Dog magazine. He wrote... " Gordons will never compete successfully with English Setters and Pointers. They couldn't go it in Laverack's day and still can't. Gordons are plagued with displastic hips, additionally they have low tails, dead tails, and softness on point. They are inclined to crouch, even sit or lay down when scent hits them. They lack the drive to find birds, speed to carry them from one objective to another, range to cast out along a distant fencerow, running gate and style." Sisley felt that Gordon folks were still breeding to show dogs in the hopes of getting something for the field. The results, he noted, "will be like shoveling shit against the tide." He concluded his comments with his thoughts that an outcross to English Setter blood would be unquestionably the fastest way to improve the range, speed, style, tail and pointing stance of today's Gordons.

Pretty heady stuff... Very insulting also. But, about what one would expect from a hack working a second rate magazine.
As with alot of folks like Nick Sisley, I have much less problem with what he said, than the way he said it and presented it. It also would have been much more palatable coming from a person within the Gordon fold, who already knew that some of his observations were correct, rather than a print media hack who knows little of the Gordon to begin with.
This was 1971, and a Gordon's performance was nowhere near what a Field Gordon can do today. It was also the first time Sisley had ever judged a Gordon in the field, and hasd little knowledge of the breed. Meanwhile, there were Gordons doing what the high and mighty Mr. Sisley proclaimed they could never achieve.
Belmor's Bob White, a Gordon owned by John Littig of Michigan, had just defeated seven other dogs, English Setters included, to win a first place in the Open Derby at the Michigamme English setter Club's trial at Highland, Michigan, on April 11... A week prior to that, Cameron's Lady Pamela (Smith, had placed fourth in the Open Derby in a field of twenty five Pointers and Setters at a trial held by the American Pointer Club, in Medford, New Jersey, on May 4. Similarly, Sangerfield Ebony Knight (Mowbray, placed second on May, 8, in a field of nineteen Setters for the Open Derby win at the Irish Setter Club of Milwaukee's trial in Eagle, Wisconsin. Two weeks later, Belmor's Bob White placed against other All-Breeds in an Open Derby stake at the Irish Setter Club of Minnesota's trial, Prior Lake, Minnesota.

Back around this time, the Gordon was a somewhat warmed over show specimen, but, the tide was starting to turn with the Black & Tans becoming more and more competitive as breeders took up the mantle of the true field dog...

So, the next time you read an article by Nick Sisley, remember, and take what he says with a healthy dose of salt!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Castle Gordon

Here is a description of Gordon Castle dating back to the 1880's. Certainly a grand place to hunt the heather and moors...


Gordon Castle, the Scottish seat of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, in Bellie parish, at the mutual border of Banff and Elgin shires, 5 furlongs E of the Spey's right bank and 1 mile NNE of Fochabers. Alexander Seton, elder son of the daughter and heiress of Sir Adam Gordon, took the name of Gordon in 1449, when he was made first Earl of Huntly. He acquired, through marriage, the lands of Bogygeich or Bog-of-Gight; and by his son and successor, George, high chancellor of Scotland in 1498, Bog-of-Gight Castle was founded. Richard Franck describes it in the 17th century as a 'palace all built with stone, facing the ocean; whose fair front-set prejudice aside-worthily deserves an Englishman's applause for her lofty and majestic turrets, that storm the air and seemingly make dints in the very clouds.'As Bog-of-Gight the castle figures in the history of the six Earls of Huntly (1449-1599) and the four Marquises of Huntly (1599-1684), as Gordon Castle in that of the five Dukes of Gordon (1684-1836), the fourth of whom was author of Cauld Kail in Aberdeen, while his butler, William Marshall, composed the famous air of Tullochgorum. The'Cocks of the North' or'Gudemen of the Bog,'as these northern magnates were styled, were a dynasty famous for adherence to the Catholic faith and to the house of Stewart; their names are associated with those of Brechin (1452), Flodden (1513), Pinkie (1547), Corrichie (1562), Donibristle (1592), Glenlivet (1594), Frendraught (1630), Edinburgh Castle (1689), and Sheriffmuir (1715). The dukedom expired with the fifth Duke in 1836, when the marquisate of Huntly devolved on his fifth cousin once removed, the Earl of Aboynel but the greater part of the Gordon estates were inherited by his maternal nephew, Charles, fifth Duke of Richmond and Lennox (cre. 1675). In 1876 the title Duke of Gordon, in the peerage of the United Kingdom, was revived in favour of Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, present and sixth Duke of Richmond (b. 1818; suc. 1860), who holds 269,291 acres in Scotland, valued at £60,390 per annum, viz-, 159,951 in Banffshire (£23,842), 69, 660 in Aberdeenshire (£24,748), 12,271 in Elginshire (£10,618), and 27, 409 in Inverness-shire (£1182).
Almost rebuilt by the fourth Duke of Gordon toward's the close of last century, from designs by Baxter of Edinburgh, and consisting of hard white Elgin freestone, Gordon Castle presents a northern façade 568 feet long-a four-storied centre, connected by galleries with E and W two-storied wings. The whole is battlemented; and, behind, the original six-storied tower of Bog-of-Gight rises to a height of 84 feet. The interior contains a valuable library, magnificent dining and drawing rooms, etc.; and is richly adorned with marble statues and busts, portraits, and other paintings. The family portraits include one of the Princess Annabella, James I-,s daughter and second Countess of Huntly, and another, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, of the beautiful fourth Duchess. A beech, a lime-tree, and two sycamores divide the honours of the beautifully-wooded deer-park and policies, the former 1300 acres in extent. The chief approach, on the high road between the Spey and Fochabers, is by a lofty battlemented archway between two domes. Thence the road winds for a mile through lawn and. shrubbery and spreading trees until it is lost in an oval before the castle, which, though it stands on a flat nearly 4 miles distant from the Moray Firth, commands a finer view than one might look for-of the wooded plain, the- Spey glittering onwards to the sea, and the village and shipping of Garmouth--Ord. Sur., sh. 95, 1876See Huntly, Aboyne, and Alviel the History of the Family of Gordon, by William Gordon (2 vols-, Edinb-, 1726-27) and C. A. Gordon (Edinb. 1754); and Lachlan Shaw's History

A new addition in the blogroll

I'd like everyone to take notice of the new blog listed in the blogroll to the left. It is an effort of one of the most knowledgable dogmen that I know, and it's not only visually beautiful, but also contains some great information on the author's choice in dogs, the beautiful "Dual type" English Setter... the type of dog that George Ryman favored and brought to prominence in the field. Bill can give much more information than I ever could..
So check this blog frequently and give Bill your support... He possesses a wealth of information on the subject, and can tell a great story also...

So, please visit Bill at ofdualsetters, grousedogs and such and tell him that the BlacknTan Bombshell sent 'ya...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Gay Gordons???

Gey Gordons?
Every wonder what "Gey" Gordon meant? Its a nickname given to the Gordons which means the gallant, spirited (perhaps slightly reckless) and gutsy Gordons. Other clans also have such historical nicknames. Some of the descriptions might be true; some may not be. We're not commenting, just listing!

The Sturdy Armstrongs
The Crooked Camerons
The Greedy Campbells (sorry Andrew)
The Dirty Dalrymples
The Doughty Douglases
The Lucky Duffs
The Gallant Grahams
The Haughty Hamiltons
The Fiery MacIntoshes
The Proud MacNeils
The Muckle-mouthed Murrays
The Scaucy Scots

I'm not Scottish, but if I was, I sure wouldn't want to be a Murray!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Quote on Nature's behalf...

This is a great quote, and something to ponder whenever one goes outdoors in search of recreation....

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."

John Muir

a pleasant weekend to all...

Friday, June 13, 2008

History of the Breed, Part V

Today closes out this series, and I've added a modern picture of Castle Gordon for some perspective. I hope you've found the series interesting and informative, and gained some insight into the fascinating and eclectic breed that the Gordon really is...


The late Mr. Isaac Sharpe, Inglewood, Keith, has been the leading breeder of Gordon Setters after Mr. Chapman. Mr. Sharpe was an exceptionally fine shot and experienced breaker and handler of gun dogs. He had the great satisfaction to win the Kennel Club Derby with his Gordon setter, Stylish Ranger, in 1901. This famous dog was bred by Mr. Robert Chapman, Glenboig, and was by Heather Crack, K.C.S.B. 662E, (Sloper-Topsy), out of Flair, (Heather Earl-Heather Fairy). He won Several first prizes in England at field trials and was later exported to Norway, where he has been extensively used for breeding purposes. A son of Ranger, Champion stylish Billie was a dog of very high class. Of later celebrities among the many Stylish Gordons must be mentioned Stylish Jester, K.C.S.B. 41AA, (Stylish William-Stylish Kate), a winner at field trials. This dog was also imported to Norway.
Stylish Scorcher, (Stylish Lad-Stylish Queen), has been a great stud force in Mr. Sharpe's kennel in later years and Stylish Little Betty, (Stylish Scorcher-Stylish Tan), was good enough to secure first prize in the International Gun Dog League's field trials at Douglas Castle, Scotland, in 1926. In her sire's line her pedigree can be traced directly back to Stylish Ranger. Mr. Sharpe has tried to develop the working qualities of his Gordons, and during a long range of years when the breed did not have a high star among the public, Mr. Sharpe has been a keen supporter and prominent breeder of Gordon Setters. Friends of the breed are greatly indebted to him for the care and pains he has taken to prove at field trials the value of the breed as a sporting dog.
The late Mr. David Baillie, Garbethill, Castlecary, was for many years a prominent breeder of Gordon Setters and his "Garbet" Gordons were among the best. His Champion Garbet Nap, K.C.S.B. 711G, a grandson of Champion Duke of Edgeworth, was a fine specimen, and in his pedigree we find Mr. Chapman's celebrities and lines going back to Champion Bellmont and Monarch, K.C.S.B. 5099, and the strains of Messrs. Pearce and Lang. Champion Garbet Nap was imported to Norway. Mr. Baillie's bitches, Lady Shuna, (Kyle Chief-Kyle Shuna), and Garbet Jan, (Ranger-Bonnybridge Nell), were of very high quality and among the best at the shows in there time. Garbet Vera, (Ch. Garbet Nap-Garbet Bess), was imported to Norway and has so far been of interest as her descendants have proved themselves to be excellent workers in the field trials in Scandinavia.
Another breeder of Gordons, Mr. J. E. Graham, Hunter House, Penrith, owned many good specimens such as Fellside Minnie (Master Nap-Novelty), Penrith Nel (CH. Garbet Nap-Nora), and Fellside Grouse (Nap-Baston Gyp). His strain combines the blood from Messrs. Chapman's and Baillie's Gordons.
One of the Gordon Setters who in later years has been of the greatest importance is Burnvale Ranger, K.C.S.B. 644AA. Through Barbon Manor the pedigree goes back to the well known Bang lV, 20377, and White Heather ll, 26789, and the old strain, and does not contain so many of the usual calebrities, though it is a rare, good one. Burnvale Ranger has been extensively used for breeding purposes. The infusion of his blood has no doubt been valuable for many strains. He was owned by Mr. Andrew Baird, but later on acquired by Professor Turton Price and used as a stud dog in the "of Crombie" kennel, Dundee.
There seems to be a bright outlook at the present time for the beautiful bird dog of Scotland. With the British Gordon setter Club to look after it's interests, and with many keen and able breeders and supporters a sound development must be expected.

* * * * * * * *

To get the true setter type, the head is of importance. It must be show quality and have real setter lines. Mr. Robert Chapman succeeded in breeding setters with a fine type of head as we see it with Champion Heather Grouse. The Gordon must not be larger in head and heavier in build than the English and Irish setter. The skull must be oval but not domed. A forehead and skull a trifle more developed than with the other setter varieties is perhaps a peculiarity with the breed. But, any exaggerations here towards a domed and heavy head must be warned against, asd any other details indicate alien blood.
On the top of the head we very often see a superfluity of hairs, a "topknot." To realize a correct view of this we must remember the Gordon Setter originally was an old Scottish tri-colored setter. Mr. Laverack tells us the the Naworth Castle breed has a topknot. This was not an unusual trait with these northern setter strains. The topknot with some Gordons may perhaps be an old setter inheritance. It has been said that it indicates an admixture of Irish Water Spaniel.
Mr. Hugh Dalziel in his book British Dogs, Vol. 1, second edition 1889, pages 321-322, tells us (referring to the family likeness of the setters and spaniels: "No more pronounced instance if this has come under my notice for years than a number of dogs, all of the same blood, shown by the Earl of Carlisle, in January, 1877. These were mostly liver and white in color, stood higher than the show bench spaniel, shorter and rounder in the head than the present day setter. They were all strong, useful looking dogs, showing a lot of spaniel character in general formation, carriage of ears and coat and feathering, the coat having a strong tendency to curl, and some of them having as distinct a topknot as the Irish Water Spaniel, although not so large.
"I find, since writing the above, that the late Mr. Edward Laverack, in his monograph on the setter, had described this strain as the Naworth Castle and Featherstone Castle breed, and our descriptions are practically identical. Mr. Laverack speaks of some specimens as liver, others liver and white, and says some of these setters were sent to Ireland seventy years ago. When I first saw this breed, I was struck with several points of resemblance to the Irish Water Spaniel, and it is quite likely that the blood of the Naworth Castle Setter runs in the veins of our Irish Spaniels. In favor of this idea, it may be necessary to tell many readers that until quite recently, a distinct difference was recognized between the Water Spaniels of the South and north of Ireland. And the latter were certainly more like the Naworth Castle Setter than those of the South. The resemblance between the two breeds does not consist alone in the top knot, which undoubtedly is a feature that readily catches the eye; but the strong fore quarters, the upstanding style, and lofty carriage, are remarkable in both....
The characteristic topknot with the Northern Irish Water Spaniel, therefore, may be an old setter inheritance.
The color of the Gordon setter is very attractive when of the right sort. The black color nust be glossy, raven black and must not show any rustiness. The tan must be bright mahogany tan. with age, the tan color grows paler. The Gordon Setter has been attributed to have a specially keen nose. It is, however, impossible to generalize in this respect. As with other breeds there are Gordons with good and Gordons with bad scenting powers. The nose must be wide open, choke nose, moist, and always on the move.
As to pace, staying powers, and working qualities there are, among the Gordons, animals which are able to compete with any other breed. Many Gordons have exceptional brains and need very little training. Many of them are stalthy and make no noise when questing, even in gallops, and are much sought after and convenient for shooting in the woodlands.
If one obtains a really good Gordon Setter, he is an exceptionally attractive shooting companion.

* * * * * * * * *

Thursday, June 12, 2008

History of the Breed, Part lV

Other renowned Gordon setters of Mr. Parson's breeding are Beaumont, K.C.S.B. 16166 (Ronald lll-Champion Floss), and Champion Bellmont, K.C.S.B. 20404 (Dasher 10241-Blanche lV). Both Beaumont and Champion Bellmont were imported to America. A grandson of Champion Bellmont is Champion Duke of Edgeworth, K.C.S.B. 38421-- at his time one of the best Gordon Setters in Great Britain. He also went to America. A son of the latter, Turton Trojan and his grandson, Champion Garbet Nap, K.C.S.B. 711 G, were sold to Scandinavia, where they are to be found in pedigrees.
We have heard "Idstone" say the Gordon Setters of his time were too heavy and cumbersome. He recommended getting them refined at any cost. "Idstone" was one of the greatest authorities of his time, and by his breeding of many litters of Gordon Setters he knew the breeding material at his disposal, and his opinion was noteworthy. Scottish breeders succeeded later on in producing Gordons more refined and of true setter type. The late Mr. Robert Chapman of Glenboig was the leading breeder for many years, and the Glenboig Setters were of very high quality. Champion Grouse, K.C.S.B. 9175 was the first Mr. Chapman brought out, and this dog was later on sold to Mr. Shorthose, Newcastle who we find as the owner in the Kennel Club Stud Book. Grouse was born in 1876, "by Jock out of Juna; Jock by Bengal out of Sally (sister to Lorne)." Mr. Chapman is the breeder.
We find in the Kennel Club Stud Book about Lorne (Young), K.C.S.B. 4310 that this dog was owned by Mr. H. B. Gibb, was bred by Mr. Bennie, and was born in 1873. He was by J. C. Wakefield's Jock and Mr. Bennie's Sally, sister to Lorne, K.C.S.B. 1602.
Lorne K.C.S.B. 1602, was owned by Major Allison, Roker, Sunderland, was bred by Mr. Bennie and born in 1871. He was by Colonel White, M.P.'s Bounce, or Billie and Lord George Duncan's Sally (bred by Mr. Gilmour of Eaglesham). Bounce was by an Irish Setter which belonged to an officer in Glasgow. Mr. Chapman cooperated with another prominent breeder of Gordons, Mr. Herbert B. Gibb, Dorrator House, Larbert.
The Glenboig Setters bore the prefix "Heather" attached to their name and the Kennel Club records prove how they dominated all the leading shows in the nineties.
Mr. Chapman's famous dog, Champion Heather Grouse, K.C.S.B. 22360 was considered by many good judges to be the best Gordon setter ever brought before the public. his head was simply perfect. He had a good neck, with capital shoulders well placed, well sprung ribs, good loin, well bent stifles, splendid legs and feet, and a perfect stern.
His tan was of a dark mahogany color, and his coat was perfectly flat with very heavy feather. He was, at the same time, a capital dog in the field. Mr. Thompson Gray considered him the ideal of a Gordon setter.
Among the many good Gordon Setters Mr. Chapman bred and owned must be mentioned the dogs, Champion Heather Nap, K.C.S.B. 28928, and Champion Heather Crack, K.C.S.B. 662E. The latter was sold to America. Prominent bitches were Champion Heather Blossom, K.C.S.B. 19517 and Heather Kate, K.C.S.B. 31254. Kate and norway Prince, K.C.S.B. 416A were imported to Norway. So was Heather Earl, a Gordon with a good pedigree by Pilot lV, K.C.S.B. 20393 out of Nell by Monarch, K.C.S.B. 5099 out of Stella, K.C.S.B. 7260. Also a litter sister of Kate-- Heather Bride, K.C.S.B. 957A was imported to Norway, and these Gordons were extensively used for breeding purposes, and have been the pillars in the breeding of Gordon setters in Scandinavia.
Mr. Chapman Jr.-- kennel prefix "Johnstone"- bred Gordons for a period, but as far as is known he has ceased, and terriers take their place.
Another clever breeder was Mr. Herbert B. Gibb, Dorrator House, Larbert, already mentioned.
Sir G. Bullough, Isle of Rum, Oban, began to exhibit good Gordon Setters about 1900. Champion Redruth Colonel 94-K.C.S.B. 723B was a great stud force in the kennel. He was by General Gordon, K.C.S.B. 31232 (Grouse-Silk), and Mr. A. E. Launder's Floss, and Mr. G. Goldsworthy was the first owner. Among these Rum Gordons the best dogs were: Rum Pilot, K.C.S.B. 670E and Rum Captain, K.C.S.B. 667E, both by Ch. Redruth Colonel ex Sir Bullough's Tralwall. Rum Beauty, K.C.S.B. 665E, Rum Bess, K.C.S.B., 666E and Rum Gladys, K.C.S.B. 668E, were bitches of high quality and at their time among the best at the shows. It was only for a few years that Sir G. Bullough exhibited his Gordons.

We will conclude tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

History of the Breed, Part lll

Kent's extraordinary show career naturally caused a great amount of jealousy, and having no pedigree, he was called by the opposite party "a mongrel." So convinced, however, was Mr. Pearce of his purity of breeding that he determined to put the matter to the test of experiment, and offered to trust one of his stock out of Regent to the care of Mr. J.H. Walsh ("Stonehenge," editor of the Field), to be brought up where he could not possibly see game, and at the proper age, namely nine to ten months, to be introduced to it without previously being accustomed to it in any way. The result was in accordance with Mr. Pearce's prophesy, for the puppy not only beat his ground in fine style, but at the end of a few hours' work began to stand his birds as only a well-bred pointer or setter will do, without any artificial education of any kind. This puppy Rex K.C.S.B 1617, developed into a well known field trial winner, and later on he defeated the famous English setter, Barclay Field's Duke. So Kent had such a strong run at stud for several years that it would be difficult at the present day to find a Gordon Setter without the strain of his blood. One of his sons was Young Kent, K.C.S.B. 1637, out of Mr. Pearce's bitch, Champion Regent, K.C.S.B. 1675. He was a brother of Rex, above mentioned, and belonged to the Marquis of Huntly, Aboyne Castle, Aberdeen. He was a well-known field trial winner. Both Rex and Young Kent had good scenting powers, but exceptions were taken to their tiring action. They were both jealous behind, and it was difficult to make them work to hand.
"Idstone" (Mr. Pearce), says about the Gordon Setter at this time; "The Black and Tan Setter's form does not differ in any essential points from that of the English Setter. The main distinction is one of color, and the existence of certain properties (and I am inclined to think excellences), which the English Setter does not possess. He fails also in some points wherin the English Setter excels. He has not so finely formed a head; it inclines occasionally to the heavy and bloodhound type. His ears are frequently too large and weighted with coat, as well as 'leather'. He is far too heavy-- I am writing of the common type observable at our shows-- and he must be refined at any cost."
Lord Lovat at Beaufort Castle, Beauly, N.B., had one of the oldest strains of Gordon Setters.
Mr. G. T. Teasdale-Buckell says in his book The Complete Shot (see fourth edition, pages 168-169), he had in 1873 a long talk with the late Lord Lovat and his keeper, Bruce, at the kennels above the famous Beauly pools that the same good sportsmen rendered forever famous by his wonderful kills of salmon. It was an article of faith at Beaufort, where the kennel book had been kept up since the end of the eighteenth century, that the old Duke's Gordon Setters and their own living setters were identical in blood and appearance. They were bred together, and after the Duke's death this interbreeding was kept up between Lord Lovat's and the other kennels which had the blood. One of the principal of these was that of Lord Rosslyn in Fifeshire. But for some time this latter exchange of blood had been dropped, because Lord Rosslyn's dogs had been crossed with the bloodhound to get nose, or so Bruce told Mr. Buckell. What they did get was color--that is, a bright black and tan without white; whereas, those dogs that were black and tan in Lord Lovat's kennel had white feet and fronts, but a very large majority had body white as well.
At that time these black and tan setters that went to the shows were of two distinct types: one lot was light-made, active; and the other, including the descendants of Rev. T. Pearce's Kent and those of Lord Rosslyn's blood, was heavy in formation.
At Cawdor Castle, Nairn, the Earl of Cawdor had another very old strain of Gordon Setters in his kennels. Rawdon B. Lee says about these in his book Modern dogs that they had been there and highly valued as long as similar dogs had been kept at Gordon Castle, at least for a period of eighty years (in 1897), and they were kept pretty well free from cross with the English or Irish varieties. Some of these dogs were heavily marked with black and tan, but none was without some white-tricolors. In fact, handsome animals in appearance and reliable to shoot over.
Mr. Samuel Lang, Bristol, had many excellent Gordons and was one of the leading breeders in the seventies. In his kennel we find the famous Champion Reuben, K.C.S.B. 1615 (Malcolm Milo-Lord Rosslyn's Ruin), his son Champion Lang, K.C.S.B. 1601. Argyll ll, K.C.S.B. 1568,bred by bthe Rev. Mr. Pearce, and the bitch Rhine lV, K.C.S.B. 1677, also bred by Mr. Pearce. These setters were amonmg the best at the shows and also competed at the field trials. So Mr. Pearce's strain was continued by Mr. Lang.
Champion Lang had some good sons. Among these we find Captain F. W. Rankin's Monarch, K.C.S.B. 5099. This dog is out of Rankin's Rhona, K.C.S.B. 1680, who is a daughter of Champion Reuben and Mr. Dodson's Nell, by Sports ex Westra, a daughter of Mr. Pearce's Ch. Kent and his Regent.
Another son of Champion Lang is Ronald, K.C.S.B. 6159, and is out of Champion Norah, K.C.S.B.1670. Ronald was owned by Mr. R. Trevithick, Hayle, Cornwall. Champion Norah was by Ch. Kent ex Champion Duchess, and the pedigree of the latter can be traced back to Lord Chesterfield's Regent, which was bought at the Tattersall sale of the Gordon Setters in 1836. These Gordon Setters, Monarch and Ronald, have been extensively used for breeding purposes, and we find them in the pedigrees, and they are pillars of the breed going back to the true old strain from Gordon Castle.
Mr. E. L. Parson, Taunton, was a prominent breeder of Gordon Setters in a later period. He had a good specimen in his bitch, Champion Floss, K.C.S.B. 4319 (by Ranger-Nell). From Ch. Floss with Ch. Lang as the sire Mr. Parson bred two prominent setters: Bob, K.C.S.B. 8230, and Jessie K.C.S.B. 8248, both making a lot of winning at the shows. Bob had two good sons in Beaconfield, K.C.S.B. 10234 and bishop, K.C.S.B. 10235.
A renowned German breeder of setters, Prince Albrecht of Solms-Braunfelds, imported some Gordon setters of Mr. Parson's strain, and founded a very good strain of his own. Later on some specimens out of Prince Albrecht's stock was imported to Scandinavia, where descendantsof these old strains are still to be found, in combination with the Chapman blood, of which we shall hear later.
The Champion Lang's son: Monarch, K.C.S.B. 5099 was imported to France by Mons. Paul Caillard, Chateau Belair, St. Laurent des Eaux, a well known French cynologue and breeder of Gordon setters. He used to enter his setters in the Kennel Club Stud book and in the volume for 1881 we find no less than seventeen Gordons owned by Mons. Caillard. He was an exceptional connoisseur and supporter of the breed, and the many good Gordon Setters in France in the eighties must be attributed to Mons. Caillard's ability as a breeder in the selection of blood and stock.
Also to Belgium many good Gordon Setters were imported especially by Mons. A. Tondreau Loiseau, Peruwelz. Another Belgian, Mons. H. Lurkin, competed at the Kennel Club, Derby, England, in 1895, with his Gordon bitch, Venus of Thyrimont, which was good enough to be placed second..


More tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

History of the Breed, Part ll

In his book, The Dog, second edition, 1972, page 98, "Idstone" (Rev. Mr. T. Pearce) says: "Without doubt these formed only a part of the kennel, for I have heard that a brace of black and tans, with white frills, went to the Duke of Abercorn, and that nine others went to the Duke of Argyll and Viscount Bolingbroke, the latter of whom received one which was given to the Duke of Argyll as a present, just before the time of the Duke of Gordon's death."
Among the purchasers we find the Duke of Richmond. He bought Juno, and Mr. Jubb again reconstructed the setter strain. If any were left at Gordon Castle, we find nothing about them. But at all events there was sufficient breeding material to be found of the same blood.
In his book, Field and Fern or Scottish Flocks and Herds, North "The Druid" (Mr. H.H. Dixon), gives a very interesting description of his journey in 1862 to the Border and Scotland where he visited the estates and breeders of livestock, and he has a very interesting narrative about the setters at Gordon Castle. They are light in frame and merry workers, and as Jubb says: "better put up half-a-dozen birds than make a false point."
The Rev. Mr. Pearce says there has been much written as to the color of these famous setters, but no dispute has ever been raised as to their quality, and dogs with any trace of descent from the Duke's blood command the highest prices. To trace back to his "Regent," "Old Bang," "Old Don," or to Mr. Coke's "Pan" or "Fan" --- for Mr. Coke and the Duke bred from the same stock --- is ample warrant for purity of lineage.
It was in the time of the fourth Duke, Alexander, that the setters became so famed. Let us remember Alexander died in 1827 --- aged 84. Then he was born in 1743, and about thirty years old in 1773, We are not able to fix the age of his strain but it is very probable that they date so far back as before 1800 by some decades.
The first dog show was held at Newcastle on the 28th and 29th of June, 1859, in the Town Hall. Only pointers and setters were exhibited. There were sixty entries. Mr. J. Jobling's Gordon Setter, Dandie, K.C.S.B. 1581, was placed first.
At these early shows there was only one class for setters. At Birmingham in 1860 the Irish setters got their own classes, and from 1861 on there were seperate classes also for black and tans.
The first field trial was held at Southill on the eighteenth of April, 1863. Also on this occasion the Gordon Setters were in the front rank. They took all the prizes: 1st, Mr. J. N. Fleming's Dandy, K.C.S.B. 1583 (by Malcolm's Milo ex Lord Rosslyn's Ruin). Mr. Jobling's Dandie was the sire of Milo. 2nd Prize, Champion Moll l, (Old Moll), K.C.S.B. 1663, owner, Mr. J. A. Handy, and bred by Mr. Jobling. She was by Jobling's Dandie nr. 1581 out of his Jessie (Tramy-Garry). 3rd Prize, Major Elwon's Rowland, K.C.S.B. 1623, (by Lord Loughborough's Rap (or Ross), ex Lord Lovat's Rosa).
Mr. Josh Jobling's Gordon Setters were among the best both at field trials and shows in this period. "Idstone" is full of praise of these Gordons. Especially in color and coat. Dandie was about the best specimen he had hitherto seen. Champion Moll--also bred by Mr. Jobling--had the same fine straight coat. "But," says Mr. Pearce, "his breed did not 'nick' with mine."
The best blood at this time Mr. Pearce claims for those with relationship to Lord Bolingbroke's kennel.
The pedigrees of Lord Bolingbroke's Gordon setters go back to the old strains: The Duke of Gordon's and Mr. Coke's. They also have a line to Lord Angslesey's, Beaudesert Setters. These were also tri-colored and a light, active, very narrow breed of setter with sparse chest capacity, though deep in ribs. These dogs were somewhat leggy and had the habit of standing with their forelegs and feet close together. These Beaudesert Setters hsve also been material of the Llewellin Setter later on.
The Rev. Mr. Pearce also had a black and tan setter from Wemyss Castle, and he says she was one of the cleverest and staunchest gamefinders he ever had, but she showed a good deal of collie character in her form and collie nature in her habits of going round her game as a Scotch sheep dog would gallop around a flock, and from first to last always determined to put the birds between herself and the gun. Her tail and coat were of the true Gordon type. Her head and her mind alone showed (as Mr. Pearce thought) that she was crossded as above mentioned. At another place Mr. Pearce says: "If the old Duke did cross with a Scottish collie bitch the stain (for stain it was, and a most impolite step to take), is gradually fading out."
Mr. Pearce was also owner of the famous Champion Kent, K.C.S.B. 1600 (Old Kent). This setter first appeared at the show at Ashburnham Hall, Chelsea, 1863. Kent had a large stature and very rich color. He went to the top, and Argyll ll, another famous Gordon of Mr. Pearce's, was placed after him. Mr. Rawdon B. Lee tells in his Modern Dogs that Kent was purchased by Mr. Pearce for about 30 pounds sterling, notwithstanding the fact of his being without pedigree. Old Kent won innumerable prizes at the shows and the great gold medal at Paris in 1865. Pains were taken to find out that he had a pedigree. Sir Edward Hoare had obtained this dog from a rabbit catcher on the Hothfield estate, and it was said he had been suckled on a cat. The result of the investigations was that Sir R. Crofton's keeper, Kenyon, was the breeder, and he had obtained some setters from Mr. Jobling.
Kent had weak hind-quarters and thick, heavy shoulders. Mr. Pearce says his progeny were not satisfactory. He propagated his own faults and introduced others, as some of his offspring were nervous and feared the gun.


Part lll tomorrow...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Yet another "History of the Breed", and this one quite comprehensive

What follows is a pretty extensive dialogue concerning the Gordon setter going back to the Duke's period and many years following. It can be somewhat dry reading at times, but I feel it important for students of the Gordon to know it's history, or what we know of it...
This series will continue for the entire week, so hang on tight!

The Gordon setter or Scottish setter

A History of the Breed

By Lieutenant-Colonel Corn, Schilbred, Oslo

The Gordon Setter or the Black and Tan Setter is the native dog of Scotland. There was a famous strain of setters at Gordon Castle, which is situated a little north of Fochabers, not far from the river Spey, and some miles from the coast.
From narratives we are able to trace it as far back as before the battle of Waterloo (1815). But probably it is much older.
In the cathedral at Elgin, in St. Mary's Aisle, is the burial place of the Gordon family. A stone erected in 1890, by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, records the burial here of the fourth Duke, Alexander, who died in 1827 aged 84, and of George, fifth and last Duke of Gordon, who died May 28, 1836. In the death of the fifth Duke of Gordon, in 1836, the title became extinct, but the estates passed to his nephew, the fifth Duke of Richmond. In 1875 the sixth Duke was created "the Duke of Richmond and Gordon."
Gordon Castle became renowned at the time of Alexander for it's famous strain of setters. The story goes that the Duke had heard of a shepherd's bitch which was a wonderful finder of grouse, pointing them stiffly and finding them when the setters were at fault, so that the shepherd and his bitch were frequently in request when the castle party were unable to find game.
Having ascertained these facts, the Duke bred from her, and so originated the black and tan breed.
The Scotch Collie especially of the smooth-coated sort is usually of a black and tan color with a little white and often with hanging or half-hanging ears. The type of this working collie may very often remind one of a coarse Gordon Setter... they are very intelligent. The shepherd's collie both pointed stiffly and was an exceptional finder. This collie cross has often been denied, but it has persevered as a tradition. The late Mr. Isaac Sharpe, Keith, who lived not far from the Gordon Castle, heard the late head keeper confirm the story that the collie bitch was used for breeding purposes. She pointed with the head and tail outstretched exactly as a bird dog. The first litter consisted of six puppies, all black, white and tan.
As to the black and tan colour, this has existed in very remote times with the setter. "Hunger's Prevention or the Whole Art of Fowling by Land and Water," Gervaise Markham, appeared in 1620, and therein he described "the setting dog." Among the colors is mentioned "the black and fallow" and these dogs are esteemed the "hardest to endure labor."
In "A Treatise on Field Diversions" (1776)-- "a Gentleman of Suffolk, a staunch Sportsman" tells us there were, fifty years ago, (that is in 1726), two distinct tribes of setters: the black-tanned and the orange, or lemon and white," and Mr. D.J. Thompson Gray, in his book, The Dogs of Scotland (1891), says there are engravings as far back as 1805 showing black and tan setters. In this book a correspondent, who veils himself under the nom de plume, "Mac," and who was farmiliar with the famous Gordon Castle breed, says that these dogs were of different colors, the majority being black and tan; and black, white and tan. Some were liver and white, and black and white. Lemon and white was sometimes seen. The setters were famed for their working qualities. The black, white and tans were heavily marked black, and the white clearly defined, but not ticked or spotted. The dogs on the whole had a heavy look about them with spaniel-looking ears, but excellent legs and feet with wealth of coat and feather, beautiful heads, and well set sterns. The late head keeper, Mr. Jubb, had a splendid eye for color, and none could break a setter to more perfection. The Gordon Castle setters were as a rule easy to break and naturally backed well. They were not fast dogs, but had good staying powers and could keep on from morning till night. Their noses were first class, and they seldom made a false point.
"Mac" denies a collie cross, as no sportsman would ever think of doing such a thing for it would spoil the dog's ranging qualities, and dogs of this cross would have a tendency to run with their noses too low. A collie finds by the foot scent. A setter that would do this would be a complete failure. As to the white markings, he mentions these have been considered as a result of the two black and white English Setters, presented to His Grace, the Duke of Gordon, by the late Captain Barclay or Ury.
During the sixties the kennel at Gordon Castle contained a prime lot of working dogs. Jubb was still active and had under him such splendid breakers as as Thomson, Brown, and Willie Adams, with Tom Wilson at his best as kennelman. In this period Dash and Mark, broken by Brown, and Sultan and Skye, out of Thomson's lot, were rare good ones.
Among the several that have been said to have sprung from the last Duke of Gordon's original strain were Lord Lovat's and Saltoun's.
In his book, The Setter, Mr. Edward Laverack tells us he visited Gordon Castle about two years after the death of Alexander (that is in 1829), to see this famous strain of setters. He met Mr. Jubb, who showed him three black and tan setters which did not satisfy his taste. Some years later Mr. Laverack hired the shootings of Cabrach, Banffshire, from the Duke of Richmond, and in the neighborhood of Glenfiddich where the Duke had his own shootings. At that time he often met again Mr. Jubb and his setters. "all the setters at Gordon Castle were black, white, and tan in those times as nowadays."
At the death of George, the last Duke of Gordon, the setters were sold at Tattersall's on the 7th of July, 1836.


Look for Part ll

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hot weather and dogs.

The "dog days of summer" are headed for the Northeast today (and I'm really looking forward to it).
It's most important top keep the dogs cool, as they are very prone to heat related stress. Swimming is the best way to exercise our canines and keep them cool, and the dogs love it..

Here's a few tips to keep our dogs safe...

Heat stroke is an emergency that requires immediate recognition and prompt treatment. Dogs do not tolerate high temperatures as well as humans. They depend upon rapid breathing to exchange warm air for cool air. Accordingly when air temperature is close to body temperature, cooling by rapid breathing is not and efficient process. Dogs with airway disease also have difficulty with excess heat.

Common situations that predispose to overheating or heat stroke in dogs are:

1. Being left in a car in hot weather.

2. Being confined on concrete runs; chained without shade in hot weather.

3. Being of a short-nosed breed, especially a Bulldog or Pug.

4. Being muzzled while put under a dryer (this can happen in a grooming parlor).

5. Suffering from airway disease or any condition that impairs breathing.

Heat stroke begins with rapid, frantic, noisy breathing. The tongue and mucus membranes are bright red, the saliva is thick and tenacious and the dog frequently vomits. Its rectal temperature is high, sometimes over 106 degrees F. The cause of the problem usually is evident by the typical appearance of the dog; it can be confirmed by taking its temperature.

If the condition is allowed to go unchecked, the dog becomes unsteady and staggers, has diarrhea that often is bloody and becomes progressively weaker. Coma and death ensue.

Treatment: Emergency measures must begin at once. Mild cases respond to moving the dog to a cooler surrounding, such as an air-conditioned building or car. If the dog's temperature is over 104 degrees F, or if unsteady on its feet, the dog should be cooled by immersion in a tub of cold water. If this is impossible, hose your dog down with a garden hose. For a temperature over 106 degrees F, or if the dog is near collapse, give a cold water enema. A more rapid temperature drop is imperative. Cool to a rectal temperature of 103 degrees F.

Heat stroke can be associated with swelling of the throat. This aggravates the problem. A cortisone injection by your veterinarian may be required to treat this.


1. Do not expose dogs with airway disease or impaired breathing to prolonged heat.

2. Restrict exercise during the heat of the day in summer.

3. Breed dogs in air-conditioned quarters.

4. Crate a dog only in an open wire cage.

5. Provide shade and cool water to dogs living in outdoor runs.

I'm sure everyone that reads this blog is well aware of this, but 'ya just can't be too careful..

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Friday, June 6, 2008

More quotes....

And basically because I'm just too damned lazy to do any research... Although, I do enjoy quotes.

"The greatest freedom of all, is the freedom to be left alone."

Thomas Jefferson Right on, Tom!!

"The path of least resistance makes men and rivers crooked."

Author unknown

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Quote of the day...

The thing I like best about the Old Man is that he's willing to talk about what he knows, and he never talks down to a kid, which is me, who wants to know things.
When you are old as the Old Man, you know alot of things that you forgot you ever knew, because they've been a part of you for so long. You forget that a young'un hasn't had as hard a start on this world as you did, and you don't bother to spread the information around. You forget that other people might be curious about what you already knew and forgot.

Robert Ruark,

from "The Old Man and The Boy," 1953

Canine Arthritis

A subject we all need to consider for our dogs' health...

Be sure to read Dr. Shawn Wayment's informative article at his blog, Birddogdoc's Chronicles.
Lot's of good info to keep our working partners in good health and pain free for as long as the Good Lord allows..

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Man who knows of which he speaks..

Sweeping the woods clean of Grouse
By Joe Kraemer

If your looking for the ultimate grouse dog with brains and birdiness you need not look further than the Gordon Setter.

Gordon Setters are rare combination of breed which are: easy to break, have a natural back, with exceptional noses. They are slow meticulous workers and are a loyal companion to top it off. The Gordon, though at home in the north woods looking for the King Ruff, are also adept on both the pheasants and quails turf. Though Gordons do not cover the ground like their English and Irish cousins their slow meticulous pace and exceptional nose will sweep clean any grouse in the area like no other dog.

The history of the breed dates to the 1620s in Scotland when writer Markham writes of a black and fallow setting dog. From the 1600s we move to the early 1800s to see the real formation of a breed by the Fourth Duke of Gordon in Scotland. The Duke was born in 1743. When he was young he raised deerhounds and hunted the moors, or bogs, for deer. By 1800 there were no deer left so he switched to bird hunting and started to raise setters.

The Duke it has been said had a very birdy black and tan collie bitch, Maddy used in tweaking his black and tan setter breeding gene pool. Maddy would not actually point game, that was brought in through other breeding, but would hold for game when she found birds. In addition to collie and setter blood it is felt the Gordon also have some deerhound in them, which would account for their nose. At that time setters were also used to herd sheep so the collie blood was not a great stretch.
In 1827 the 4th Duke died at 84 years of age. The 5th Duke only lived until 1836, leaving no heirs at which time the castle was sold to the Duke of Richmond. Most of the kennel was sold off over the next few years.

George Blunt imported a brace in 1842 from the Castle Gordon Kennel of the Scotland moors to America. The dogs names where Rake and Rachel. Rake was mostly white with a black saddle. Rachel was black and tan and was given to Daniel Webster a hunting partner of Blunt. Rachel was a regular visitor to the U.S. Capitol. She would lie at Webster's feet as he delivered his fire laden speeches on the Senate floor. Rachel helped to promote the breed in the U.S. by being the focus of many writers pens of that time. The Websters raised Gordons until 1906.

In 1862, in England there was a kennel show with three types of setters: English, Irish and Black & Tans. The Black and Tans were recognized as an official breed by the British Kennel Club in 1873.
The first registered Gordon in the U.S. was "Bang" born in 1875 and registered in 1879. In 1891, Henry Malcom formed the Gordon Setter Club of America and in 1892 the AKC recognized the breed. In 1924, the BKC changed its' club name from Black & Tan Setters to Gordons.

In the 1950s as the new sport of field trialing was growing in the U.S. the slow meticulous pace of the Gordons drew fire from the faster breeds, better designed for the sport. Trialing was not a sport designed for the Gordons, the one man meat dog was more of its' forte. Though Gordons work slower than other pointers or setters you can bet as you pass through an area it will be swept clean of birds by a Gordon that other breeds may miss.

Gordons have always been flashy in the show ring. So with the new quicker varieties of English Setters designed especially for field trials, the ownership of small field Gordons waned.
So toward the end of the 1950s most of the Gordons were in the hands of show people. And you know what show people typically try to do with a breed. That's right seemly overnight the coat got longer and more featherly and the dogs grew taller, they lost their hunting instinct and as far as intelligence, well I'll let you decide.

Then came the coup de grace, in 1963 the Gordon Setter Club of America, by then dominated by show people persuaded the AKC to increase the maximum weight specification. And almost overnight the big clumsy Gordons came out of the woodwork. By the late 60s most of the field Gordons were gone. Thankfully a few of the larger kennels like Springset Kennels of Petaluma, California (see the Marketplace ads in the back of Bird Dog News) helped to save the field Gordons.

Gordon's are eager to please and are perfect hunting companions. The have intelligence and a memory to rival elephants, so though you may not recognize an area where there were birds last time you passed through your Gordon will. As with every good hunting tool, Gordons are more than happy to push through those thick patches that most grouse hunters would otherwise walk around. Gordons are exceedingly easy to train in the fundamentals and will work both land and water retrieves.

Chessy's have a reputation as a loyal one man dog as do Gordons to a lesser degree. Gordons don't take kindly to being "borrowed" for a day of hunting as Labs readily do. But that reputation also translates to obedience that you may not find in some duck blinds.

In a world where English Setters are bread snow white so they can be seen like a deer hunter on opening day, the Gordon can blend into its' surroundings like a commando on a search and destroy mission. But let that first snow fly and the Gordons become the deer hunter and the English the commando. Though it is late season, there are more Grouse hunting months with snow than without. With today's bells and beepers the coloring should be considered for its' beauty not its deception. Though Gordons bring an repose essence lying in front of a log fire, it is on point that their true beauty can be seen.

There are more Gordons breed for show these days than for field work. So if you want to take your Gordon off of the manicured lawn make sure you purchase from a proven field kennel. Look for Master Hunter or Field Champion breeding and you will be just fine. I prefer to see a few CH genes mixed in for the look of class and distinction but not a dominance of them. Look on the back pages of Bird Dog News and you will find several good Gordon kennels.

The breed standard for the Gordon is 24-27 inches within an inch of its cousins the English and Irish. Show dogs will be at the top of that range and field dogs the bottom. Show dogs will have long flowing manes and field dogs will be much less feathered. The weight of a male should be 55 to 80 pounds. Gordons are stockier than either the Irish or the English Setter. Gordons must be black with tan markings, a small white chest patch is allowed. A dog without black as its primary color is not acceptable for the breed standard.

A Gordon pup will cost in the neighborhood of $500 with a finished dog into the $2000 range so they are slightly more expensive than the average meat dog. If your hunting with a Gordon, odds are not great that you will cross paths in the field with another Gordon but variety being the spice of life a good Gordon can handle their own with the best of them. There are English, Red and Irish Setters but none have the distinctive style, beauty and grace of the Gordon Setter.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Here in this house..

This is a touching work that has been distributed around the Veterinary Clinic where my wife is employed. I do not know where it came from, or who to attribute it to. But, I thought that folks that frequent this site might enjoy it... And, help us remember that all of our canine friends do not have it this good...

Here in this House

Here in this house.....

I will never know the loneliness I hear in the barks of other dogs' out there.

I can sleep soundly, assured that when I wake, my world will not have changed.

I will never know hunger, or the fear of not knowing if I'll eat.

I will not shiver in the cold, or grow weary from the heat.

I will feel the sun's heat, and the rain's coolness,

and be allowed to smell all that can reach my nose.

My fur will shine, and never be dirty or matted.

Here in this house.....

There will be an effort to communicate with me on my level.

I will be talked to and, even if I don't understand,

I can enjoy the warmth of the words.

I will be given a name so that I may know who I am among many,

My name will be used in joy, and I will love the sound of it!

Here in this house.....

I will never be a substitute for anything I am not.

I will never be used to improve people's images of themselves.

I will be loved because I am who I am, not someone's idea of who I should be.

I will never suffer from someone's anger, impatience, or stupidity.

I will be taught all the things I need to know to be loved by all.

If I do not learn my lessons well, they will look to my teacher for blame.

Here in this house.....

I can trust arms that hold, hands that touch...

knowing that no matter what they do, they do it for the good of me.

If I am ill, I will be doctored.

If scared, I will be calmed.

If sad, I will be cheered.

No matter what I look like, I will be considered beautiful and thought to be of value.

I will never be cast out because I am too old, too ill, too unruly, or not cute enough.

My life is a responsibility, and not an afterthought.

I will learn that humans can almost, sometimes, be as kind and as fair as dogs.

Here in this house.....

I will belong.

I will be home.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Standard of the breed.. A comparison

A comparison of the breed standards from 1939, which is the accepted field standard, to the show biased standard of 2002, and where the breeders of today's "dual dogs" try to meld the two.

The 1939 Standard...

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 shoprt back and short tail, a fine head, clearly lined, intellegent expression, clear colors, and straight or slightly waved coat.

The 2002 Standard...

General Appearance

The Gordon Setter is a good-sized, sturdily built, black and tan dog, well muscled, with plenty of bone and substance, but active, upstanding and stylish, appearing capable of doing a full day’s work in the field. He has a strong, rather short back, with well sprung ribs and a short tail. The head is fairly heavy and finely chiseled. His bearing is intelligent, noble, and dignified, showing no signs of shyness or viciousness. Clear colors and straight or slightly waved coat are correct. He suggests strength and stamina rather than extreme speed. Symmetry and quality are most essential. A dog well balanced in all points is preferable to one with outstanding good qualities and defects. A smooth, free movement, with high head carriage is typical.

The 1939 Standard...


Shoulder height for males 22 inches to 25 inches; for females, 21 inches to 24 inches.

The 2002 Standard...


Shoulder height for males, 24 to 27 inches; females, 23 to 26 inches. Weight for males, 55 to 80 pounds; females, 45 to 70 pounds. Animals that appear to be over or under the prescribed weight limits are to be judged on the basis of conformation and condition. Extremely thin or fat dogs are discouraged on the basis that under or overweight hampers the true working ability of the Gordon Setter. The weight-to-height ratio makes him heavier than other Setters.


These two standards alone comprise most of the differences between the Gordons of yesteryear and the larger dogs of today. Why make a field dog larger? Does it improve on his ability to perform his work? Or, does it actually hinder it?
The old standard call for a medium sized, racy dog... The latest standard, a "good sized" Sturdily built dog. Where does it end??
What the Gordon Setter needs is a registry based on performance standards, not merely conmformation standards for appearance reasons.
Can it ever happen?? It was tried before, but, if changes are not made in a timely fashion, I fear the once noble gundog breed is doomed to a life as the darling of the show ring...

More to come...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The existence of the American Gordon Setter Club ..

The following is taken from the GSCA Yearbook of 1939...

The original organization to sponsor the Gordon Setter in America was the American Gordon setter Club. It was founded some time prior to 1870 and was one of the charter members in the formation of the American Kennel Club in 1877.
Mr. Harry Malcolm and Mr. Blossom were two of it's presidents, and Mr. C. Cass Hendee, owner of the Highland Kennels now in Chicago, Illinois, is believed to be the sole surviving member of this club. The American Gordon Club ceased it's activities in 1902, and for many years, the breed was not represented by a parent organization.
On August 20, 1924, a group of enthusiastic Gordon Setter breeders organized the present Gordon Setter Club of America, and became a member club of the American Kennel Club in that same year. The first officers were: Frank Burke, president; Donald L. Fordyce, 1st vice president; Howard Huntington, 2nd vice president; William Cary Duncan, 3rd vice president;James E. Neville, 4th vice president; Charles T. Inglee, secretary; and Hugh E. Mc Laughlin, treasurer. Four of these officers have served the club well and faithfully throughout the sixteen years of it's existence.
The following have served as club presidents; Frank Burke, 1924 & 1925; Donald Fordyce. 1926 to 1930; Charles Inglee, 1930 to 1938; and Hugh Mclaughlin, 1939.

The Gordon Setter Club of America

Officers for the year 1940

Hugh E. McLaughlin...........President
Wm. Cary Duncan..............First Vice-President
Prof. James B. Munn..........Second Vice-President
Mrs. Sherman R. Hoyt.........Third Vice-President
Mrs. Charles L. Girardot.....Fourth Vice-President

Board of Directors

George E. Kuntz John Bentinck-Smith
Mrs. Mabel N. Briggs George W. Von Ostoff
Edward McFarlan Charles T. Inglee

Delegate to the American Kennel Club

Charles T. Inglee


Dr. A. P. Evans


Donald N. Fordyce
175-27 Wexford Terrace, Jamaice Estates,
Jamaice, Long Island, New York

There will be more of historical signifigance to the world of the Gordon Setter in coming days...