Celtic Farms &
SHOW vs. FIELD TYPE
There most certainly are differences between the Irish Setter (show-type) and the Red Setter:
a. Weight: adult male (show type) is 100-110 pounds; adult male Field Type is 45-55 pounds
b. Height: obviously, the Field variety is much shorter;
c. Brains: Time Magazine says that today's Irish Setter "can't find the end of its own leash." They were referring to the show setter. In contrast, the Field Irish Setter is extremely bright. The Red Setter is almost as bright.
d. Physical Soundness: the show-type Irish have a distinct up and down motion in their gait and, as a consequence, have no stamina whatsoever. The Field Irish Setter can run forever, because they are physically sound;
e. Congenital Diseases: the show type Irish suffer from hip dysplasia, retinal atrophy, PRN (blindness at 6 months) and a new disease which causes gross joint deformity at 6 months. Celtic Field Irish Setters suffer from none of those things;
f. Registries: the show type Irish is, of course, AKC registered. The vast majority of Red Setters are not. Our Celtic Field Irish Setters are both AKC and FDSB registered;
g. Trainability: it takes brains to be trainable. The show dogs do not have brains;
h. Attention Span: the show dogs are exceedingly hyper. The Red Setters are less so; the Field Irish Setter not at all;
i. Desire to Please: show dogs have some, Red Setters have more and the Celtic Field Irish Setter has a huge desire to please;
j. Longevity: the show type Irish tends to live to be 9-10. Red Setters tend to live to 10-11. The Celtic Field Irish Setters live to about 14 (males) and 15 (females).
You'll note that I've introduced a new term here: "Field Irish Setter." When the Irish Setter came to this country, it was a field dog. The Red Setters were developed in an effort to bring back the Irish Setter to its level of ability existing before the show breeders began their thoughtless breeding, resulting in today's socially, physically, mentally and working failure. In the process of doing that, the Red Setter was bred back to its original size, had much of its hunting ability re-instilled in it and became a competent, classy hunting dog. Unfortunately, along the way, the Red Setter lost its AKC registration and became somewhat wide in its range, certainly wider than I would want to hunt.
The Field Irish Setter is basically limited to a couple of breeders in this country who have managed to maintain the AKC registration and, at the same time, preserved much of the dog's beauty, which was lost in the Red Setter. Heavy pigmentation is typical, "mascara" around the eyes is present and they are generally quite attractive. More important, however, is the level of intelligence, desire to please and attention span which has been bred back into the Celtic Field Irish Setter. Our guys not only possess those qualitites, but also have a natural range of about 50 yards, which makes them ideal as hunting dogs. Because of their brains, they will open up in more open territory and close up even tighter in thicker cover (such as Eastern ruffed grouse territory).
Feathering on Celtic Field Irish Setters is normally about 3" to 3-1/2" on the tail, 1" to 1-1/2" on the legs and belly, as compared to the show type, which might be carrying 4-5" of feathering on the tail and 3" plus on the legs. The coat on the Celtic Field Irish is, indeed, shorter than on the show type, and the presence of white on the chest of the Celtic Field Irish Setter (and occasionally on a toe or two) is simply a reflection of the color of the Irish Setter when it came to this country; i.e. white with large red patches.