1872 Standard "The Setter" by Edward Laverack

The following points will apply to most of the English setters, except where colour is concerned, and certain peculiarities of some breeds, which will be explained in their proper places.

I will commence with the head, which should be long and rather light, though not too much so. I do not like a heavy-headed or deep-flewed dog, it indicates sluggishness.
Nose large, black, moist, cold, and shining, slightly depressed in the centre, prominent, and expanded at the nostrils.
The nostrils should be open.
Eyes bright, large, full, mild, and intelligent, and free from rheum or discharge, in colour dark hazel; but these will be darker or lighter according to the colour of the dogs.
Jaws and teeth level.
The ears set low on the head, and flat to the cheeks; they should be rather long than otherwise, not too-pointed, and thin in the leather: A prick-eared dog is unsightly; it gives him a bad appearance, and not the roundness of head as when the ears are low set on, and back.
The neck should be muscular and lean, slightly arched at the crest, and clean cut where it joins the head: towards the shoulder it should of course be larger and very muscular, not throaty, or any pednulosity below the throat, but elegant and blood-like in appearance.
The shoulders I consider one of the most important parts of the setter. They should be well set back, or very oblique, the more so the better – upright shoulders arevery objectionable – the blades of them long; he should be short and level in the back. The shorter a dog is in the back – that is, from the shoulder blades to where it joins the hind quarters in the back loins – the more power and strength. This formation is similar to the machinery of a steam-engine – short above, and the power of stroke, spring, or leverage below; or, in other words, short above and long underneath.
Chest rather wide, and deep in the brisket; with good, round, widely-sprung ribs; a narrow-chested dog can never last; (1) not slack, but deep in the back ribs – that is, well ribbed-up – the loin broad, slightly arched, strong and muscular.
(1) My great object has been to obtain power and strength in the fore-quarters; not alone in depth of chest but wide through the chest (as witness Dash, Countess, Moll, Cora, Nellie), and many others of this formation, thereby giving greater freedom for the play of the heart and lungs; in fact, a close,
compact, well-built dog. This is what I have been endeavouring to obtain for the last fifty years – not a loose, leggy, weedy animal.
Hips well bent and ragged, the more bent the better; here is the propelling power.
The fore-arm big, very muscular; the elbow well let down. Pasterns short, muscular, and straight.
The feet very close and compact. The foot I prefer is the hare, or spoon-shaped one, which enables him to have free action on the pad or ball of the foot instead of the
toes, which should be well protected by hair between them, and which grows as fast as it wears away.
Slack loins are fatal; dogs of such formation are not as a rule lasting.
The more bent the stifles the better. The crouching attitude which the author of "the Dog" so much objects to, is, in my opinion, the object to obtain, as it denotes a
greater leverage or spring; the more bent the stifles the greater the power; as, for instance, tigers, leopards, cats, &c., whose attitudes are crouching, are remarkable for their easy power of springs. Of all the setters I have ever seen those having this formation have been the fastest and most enduring as greater the leverage the easier the stroke.
The thighs long, that is, from hip to hock.
The tail should be set on high, in a line with the back; medium length, not curled or ropy, to be slightly curved or scimitar-shaped, but with no tendency to turn upwards, the flag or feather hanging in long pendant flakes.
The feather should not commence at the root but slightly below, and increase in length to the middle, then gradually taper off towards the end; and the hair long, bright, soft and silky, wavy but without curl. From the back of his head, in a line with his ears, the hair ought to be slightly
wavy, long, and silky, which should be the case with the coat generally, and a tendency to part down the back. A setter cannot have too much coat for me, as it is
indicative of the spaniel blood. Quality of coat is a great desideratum, and denotes high breeding; the slight fringe on the throat should, however, leave the throat and neck angle pronounced. The fore-legs nearly down to the feet should be well feathered, as well as in the breeches; you cannot have too much of it, as long as it is soft, bright, and silky.
In his range he should be fast, bold, and free, carrying his head well up, whip or feather his stern well in his gallop, quarter his ground evenly, and hunt independent of
any other dog; good tempered, and turn on his game light lightening, and on his point as rigid and motionless as a statue.
There is another form of setter some like: deep and narrow chested; as thin through as a slate or hurdle. These dogs can go very fast; but for how long?
I have known many of these kinds of dogs brought down to Scotland, and after the first day or two they were perfectly useless.
We have another formation in the setter which is also excellent, namely, great depth of chest, but flat sided; it should, however, be accompanied with width through,
to allow the heart and lungs free action.
Of the two formations, I prefer the round-ribbed and deep-chested dog. In short, the formation of a setter should be that of a strongly-built spaniel.

Last Updated

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.