I have been an active participant in the sport of showing and breeding purebred dogs since 1973. While I began my journey with an Irish Setter, Gordon Setters became my passion in 1977 and I've been breeding them exclusively ever since.
This is a quick and easy blog post peeps. Simply put, if you’re involved in showing or breeding Gordon Setters you must start your learning experience with the breed standard. If you study it hard enough you’ll soon find yourself standing ringside with other exhibitors quoting sections out loud to each other, or maybe under your breath depending on what you are seeing in the ring!
All joking aside, the purpose of this article is to provide you with that all important link defining what should going through the Judge’s mind while sorting out a class of dogs. Once you’ve clicked the link you should find yourself on the AKC website, if you’ve not spent any time there browse around, it’s a wealth of information.
Understanding correct structure and movement in our Gordon Setter and understanding how that relates to breed type is a topic I’ve heard debated many a time, as I bet, have you. The article I’m sharing with you today “Movement: Very “Much a Part of Type” written by Richard G. (“Rick”) Beauchamp addresses that topic in a fairly simple, straightforward manner.
I’m not going to review Mr. Beauchamp’s article here, I’m simply recommending you read it for yourself. I will however, pull out a few of my favorite quotes…just because I just can’t stop myself from chatting!
“Is it possible for a dog to be typey without correct movement? The answer to that question could be yes if our task was simply to evaluate a dog stacked or standing in a well-taught position.”
“Changing movement changes type.”
“…there wouldn’t be English and Gordon Setters if the developers of the respective breeds weren’t attempting to create a dog of a different kind and of different purpose.”
“The purpose of the Gordon Setter is significantly different from that of his Irish cousin. The Gordon worked the rocky, frequently inhospitable terrain of the Scottish Highlands. Care and deliberation in movement were important to the breed. Running headlong across the moors could prove extremely dangerous to the dog’s legs and feet, to say nothing of the hunter trying to keep up with the dog in such difficult terrain.”
“The movement of these three setters should prove the very point of their existence. One breed moving like the other proves how wrong the individual dog is.”
One of our readers submitted this puzzling issue. We would like to hear from anyone who may have an answer for why Macallan’s hair turned white in the span of a weekend? Please comment below or email us at gordonsetterexpert.com if you have seen this before or can suggest a cause.
“A friend of mine sent me a photo of her older boy, Macallan–who will be 9 in March. She said over New Year’s Weekend his face went totally white. Her vet has never seen this before, and she asked if I had. All of my kids have slowly turned white as they got older, not in just two days. It’s a very white white. I’m posting his picture here, if you know about this, let me know so I can let _____know.”
There are so many moving parts when it comes to breeding a litter of Gordon Setters that sometimes folks find themselves staring blankly, like a deer in headlights not knowing what to do, where to go, and who to believe. For many Gordon Setter expert breeders the final decision is going to come down to the pedigree, who were the ancestors of the proposed stud dog and brood bitch, and do they have the qualities being sought in the breeding?
Well, I just read an article that reminded me once again of the importance of pedigree and introduced relatively new terminology to me. There is also mention within about the possibility of a new tool for the serious breeder. Follow the link to “Estimating the breeding value of a dog” and post your comments below, we’d like to know what you think.
Thanks for dropping in folks…hope to catch you back here with us again soon!
I remember 1978 when we breeders thought vaccinating our dogs every year was a must do item because that was the current veterinary protocol. I had several Gordon Setters living with me back then and would buy the vaccines online or through my local vet and administer myself. Paying $40 – $50 for each dog to visit the vet every year as opposed to $3 or so for the vaccine was a “no brainer” that allowed me to pocket those dollars for vet visits related to injuries and sickness as opposed to well-doggie exams.
By the time statements like this “Dr. Schultz concludes: “Vaccines for diseases like distemper and canine parvovirus, once administered to adult animals, provide lifetime immunity.” “Are we vaccinating too much?” JAVMA, No. 4, August 15, 1995, pg. 421” went public it was apparent to me that what we had been practicing in order to keep our Gordon Setters safe, was instead perhaps harmful, and I dropped those re-vaccination practices. Of course changing my behavior so radically wasn’t easy, this was a radical change, however using antibody titers to monitor immunity on my Gordons over the past decade has a addressed the anxiety, no adult has required a booster.
Dog trainers, training methods, and training tools, are everywhere. How does one know which way to go?
I admit that I’m not an expert dog trainer so I most certainly don’t have what I’d call a “right” answer to that question. However, I do know what feels right to me and works after spending 30 years living with Gordon Setters. While I’m not actively exhibiting in performance events, my Gordon Setters are members of my household and so we did need to find a way to live safely and peacefully together. Needless to say living with a large, active Gordon Setter in the house does take a bit of training though while I’d like to think that I’ve been training them I have to admit that they may have trained me just as often!
I just finished reading the peer reviewed article “Moving Beyond Leader of the Pack” written by Iilana Reisner, DVM Phd. and I’d recommend you take a couple of minutes to read it yourself, especially if you’re not familiar with force free or fear free methods of training. Ms Reisner lays the groundwork for why force free training is appropriate and lists multiple resources for more information and guidance regarding these methods.
If you’re involved in performance events with your Gordon Setter perhaps you could take a minute to share your training methods and/or thoughts with us? If you’d like to send us information for publication you may do so by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and please use Training in the subject line.
To read the PDF of the article “Moving Beyond Leader of the Pack”click here.
Types of Behavior Specialists
Veterinary Behaviorist (Diplomat ACVB) are board-certified specialists qualified to diagnose and treat both medical and primary behavioral conditions in animals. Currently there are 65 veterinarians worldwide board-certified by the American College of Veterinary behaviorist (dacvb.org).
Certified Applied Animal behaviorist (CAAB) have completed graduate-level (master’s, doctorate, or veterinary degree with behavior residency) training at an accredited university in the field of animal behavior, demonstrated skill in applied behavior and training, and met the requirements for credentialing by the Animal Behavior Society (certifiedanimalbehaviorist.com).
Certified Pet Dog Trainers (CPDT) are dog trainers who have met the requirements for certification by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. This group certifies trainers on the basis of humane standards of competence in animal training and behavior, standardized testing, and continuing education (ccpdt.org).
Non-credentialed behaviorist, such as those who use the titles behaviorist, animal behaviorist, pet behavior consultant, animal behavior specialist, and other related titles (which can be used by anyone), have no specific background or education in animal behavior.it is important to carefully review the qualifications, education, and experience of any non-credentialed individual who claims to be a behavior specialist.
(This article contains photos that are not intended nor do they relate to the content of the article.)
JUST SAYIN – you don’t want to miss the excitement and the learning opportunities at the most anticipated event in our breed, the GSCA 2015 National Specialty. With this year’s convenient location in the heart of America the geographic location for the 2015 National allows folks from both coasts a more equal opportunity to make the trek. I’m expecting to see the very best in competition at this event with fabulous dogs from all corners of the U.S.
” All aspects of the 2015 GSCA National Specialty will be held at Purina Farms’ state-of-the-art Event Center. Purina Farms is a short, 40 minute drive from downtown St. Louis, MO.”
You’ll never find an opportunity to see as many fabulous Gordon Setters if you limit yourself to attending only local All Breed Shows and Specialties. In my opinion, you cannot fully develop successful breeding programs if you don’t know the competition’s best attributes. What better place to learn those attributes than by seeing them in the flesh at the National? (Notice I’m not mentioning finding their faults? That’s because I believe relying primarily on fault judging of your competitors dogs will be the fastest method you can employ to failure.) Yes, we must know the faults but breeding decisions should be based on strengths. You’ll never find a better place to view the strengths of so many other Gordon Setters if you don’t take the time to actually see them at their very best, in competition, in the ring, in the flesh.
If you are a serious exhibitor/breeder attending the National Specialty is the most versatile learning opportunity you can give to yourself. It is here that you’ll broaden your view of Gordon Setter type, style and structure. Your knowledge of the breed will broaden merely by sitting ringside to watch the judging. Ringside is where it’s at people, as this is there where you’re certain to see every example of Gordon Setter, and often multiple generations of Gordon Setters from breeding kennels all over the US, Canada and sometimes beyond. Seeing is learning, nothing can replace that for the serious breeder.
Are performance events like Obedience, Agility and Rally your thing? Well then why would you miss this chance to meet others who face the same challenges and successes that you’ve encounter with your Gordon Setter? The people you’ll meet at the National competing in performance events are your best source of training methods that work the well with our breed. Why would you deny yourself the chance to meet others like yourself involved in your breed, the Gordon Setter, to share knowledge and training methods? Ask any good trainer how they “got their dog to do that” and they’ll be sure to share.
If you’re serious, really serious, about breeding or training Gordon Setters you’ll not find a better opportunity to sharpen your skills and learn, learn, learn.
It’s not about going to the National to win, it’s about winning through learning! Hope to see you there!
How many of you Gordon Setter lovers bake your own dog treats? With the internet screaming at us about the danger of the treats from China and the recalls that abound on brand after brand many of us are opting to simply bake our own doggie snacks. I’m sharing a Pumpkin Recipe that is healthy with you here. What I’d love is for you to share your own recipe in comments or by emailing us at email@example.com. so we can share them with all our readers.
* Brown rice flour gives the biscuits crunch and promotes better dog digestion. Many dogs have touchy stomachs or allergies, and do not, like many people I know, tolerate wheat.
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons dry milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups brown rice flour *
1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin to smooth. Stir in dry milk, sea salt, and dried parsley (if using, optional). Add brown rice flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface (can use the brown rice flour) and if dough is still rough, briefly knead and press to combine.
Roll dough between 1/4 – 1/2″ – depending on your dog’s chew preferences, – and use biscuit or other shape cutter to punch shapes, gathering and re-rolling scraps as you go. Place shapes on cookie sheet, no greasing or paper necessary. If desired, press fork pattern on biscuits before baking, a quick up-and-down movement with fork, lightly pressing down halfway through dough. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, then bake additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on rack before feeding to dog.
Makes up to 75 small (1″) biscuits or 50 medium biscuits
I recently read an excellent article representing many of my own thoughts and concerns regarding the plight of the purebred dog and purebred dog breeder. While the Gordon Setter has never reached the popularity of breeds like the Doberman, Gordon Setter breeders are sharing that same fate of losing the future and integrity of our breed through the loss of new and younger breeders to take the reins and carry the breed forward.
I too believe the promotion of rescuing mixed breed dogs has had a harsh and alarming effect on the future of all purebred dogs that only breeders can change by challenging that propaganda . We must get back to promoting the purpose bred purebred dog as the best resource for a reliable source of quality companion dogs with dependable, predictable, and stable temperaments and physical characteristics.
I hope you’ll take the time to read the AKC Dog Lovers article The Doberman Breeder—An Endangered Species? | AKC Dog Lovers and share you own comments with us regarding whether the rescue fad of adopting mixed breeds has hurt breeders and how we can better promote our Gordon Setter and the breeders dedicated to preserving and improving our breed?
Photo by Silvia Timmerman
(This article contains photos that are not intended nor do they relate to the content of the article.)
Once I was young, naive and considered crazy by my family. Well, actually my family considered me crazy for a number of reasons, but to stay on topic the one I’m referring to here was my desire to breed show dogs, Gordon Setter show dogs to be exact. What was I thinking?
I digress, you see what I wanted to share with you today was the book that became my “dog breeding bible” way back when we all “walked a mile to school, barefoot through the snow”. And, if you’re too young to have heard your parents (or grandparents for some of you) say that, you’re probably too young to be witnessing sex between dogs so perhaps you should skip on out of here.
Back in 1980 a fine lady by the name of Ann Serrane authored this fantastic book called “The Joy of Breeding your own Show Dog”. I read that book from cover to cover so many times I’ve memorized whole chapters. I kept that book next to the whelping box every time I had a litter (no, you don’t want to know what the stains were from on some of the pages). Ann’s book starts at the beginning, before you’ve bred the bitch, and covers everything from simple genetics and pedigrees through whelping the puppies and caring for fragile newborns. Ann taught me so many things, like the importance of knowing the traits of the dogs in the pedigree to other life saving things like using a glucose solution to rehydrate newborns to keep them strong so they could nurse. She taught me when to call the vet and what that vet would really need to know. (Told you I memorized whole chapters!)
I’ve read several other books about breeding dogs, but they just weren’t as useful to me, some were missing information that Anne had included, others were not as clearly written, and very few offered me new ideas or concepts. I don’t know, must have been a first love sort of thing, but no book ever quite replaced this one for me.
There was a reprint of this book and I’ve found used copies online, I’ve seen it at dog shows and have even found a site where it can be downloaded – though I’m not seeing the fun in having an electronic copy that can’t be left around for a few puppies to chew.
So, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest how about you all share with us!
What’s your favorite book about breeding dogs? Do you have one? Who wrote it and why did you use it?
We are dedicated to building a knowledge base and a sharing site for those who are involved in all of the various aspects of competition with Gordon Setters, competitions that showcase the Gordon Setter’s Beauty, Brains and Bird-Sense.