SETTER. In the north of England there are very good setters to be found, but no country in Europe can boast of finer than Ireland; "They are there called English spaniels, and differ widely," says Mr. Thornhill, " from the setters of England and Scotland; they are not esteemed in Ireland unless their colour be either a deep chestnut and white, or all red; a black and white setter, or any colour but red, or red and white, would, not be looked upon or reputed well bred, allowing them to be ever so good. Those in most esteem have a black nose and a black roof to their mouth. In general, setters partake of the variety of colours in the spaniel and pointer.
The setter is a very beautiful and engaging dog, and the more so in proportion to retaining his original breed and form, and being free from the pointer cross. His eye and countenance have all the softness of the spaniel, and when of good size, with his soft, deep, and curly flew, and long fringed tail, he makes a charming and enticing appearance in the field. It is difficult however, at present, to find a true setter, so much has the original breed been mixed with the pointer; perhaps the breed may have been preserved more pure in Ireland, where they realize very high prices. The field duties of the setter and pointer are the same, but the former is the more active, hardy, and spirited, fearing no ground, wet or dry, nor the thickest coverts, his feet being narrow, hard, and well defended by hair. He is well fitted for moor and heath, and no day is too long for his unwearied activity and courage.
From accident, or from that never-failing desire of shining by the intermixture of breeds, with little consideration of the end, pointers have been crossed with setters, and setters with pointers, but we have not observed the beneficial result. On the score of utility, the setter can derive no improvement from such a cross; and granting, which however is not proved, that the pointer gain something in regard of usefulness, such advantage will be countervailed by an abatement of size, figure, and stateliness, on which account only, perhaps, he superseded the setter in the affections of the sportsman.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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