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...

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