Red beauty in the field

 

My name is Renata Czechowska, I’m living in Poland and breeding Irish Setters with ‘Rude Ziółko’ kennelname in coownership with Andrzej Bartoszewicz.

My love affair with setters and hunting began eight years ago, when my first dog, Fokker, had to pass field test for young pointing dogs. In Poland all pointing dogs had to pass such test to obtain breeding qualifications. The aim of those trials is to check inborn hunting abilities so specialist training isn’t needed. But as I was very worried about Fokker’s result, I read some books about hunting dogs’ training and we started the education. I was learning to interpret dog’s behaviour in the field, and Fokker was learning to cooperate with me, finding it more interesting than searching birds on his own. We were understanding one other better and better and thanks to those lessons our relations became deeper and enriched.

Fokker passed field tests without any problem, he got a 1st degree diploma and I was commended by judges for a good handling. That encouraged me to continue Fokker’s ‘hunting education’ and I decided to prepare him for autumn field trials. In Poland this tipe of trial consists of 17 tasks, covering field and water work.

As I wasn’t hunter and I didn’t knew any hunters than, it wasn’t easy to realise my resolution. But finally I felt we were ready to start. I will remeber that day to the end of my life: it was cold, foggy, rainy and windy. I was the only girl with the only setter among experienced hunters with their german shorthaired and wirehaired pointers. Hunters were very interested what we were doing there and I was trembling with cold and fear but it was too late for escape.

 Fortunately Fokker wasn’t confused at all and was working with his usual enthusiasm. In spite of the awful weather he was swimming, searching, pointing, retrieving and tracking while judges and other competitors was more and more surprised.

Finally the last, 17th task: tracking and retrieving the rabbit. I was very nervous because it’s Fokker’s weakest point, but after a few minutes he was sitting in front of me with the game in his muzzle. I took it from him, returned to judges and finished with imitating ‘an old, experienced handler’. I was laughing, crying and throwing into other competitor’s arms, as after an initial distrust they turned out to be very kind and friendly.

Fokker finished the trial on the 3rd place with 1st degree diploma and that day I understood that any show success won’t give me such satisfaction as results of my dog’s work.

Now, after a few years, I’m hunting with Fokker’s son, Jager-Jacht. My friends likes to hunt with him too, not only because of his effectivness but also to admire his style of work, full of joy and passion.

And that’s the aim I’m trying to achieve breeding Irish Setters. I would like to have pretty dogs with good hunting abilities. Dogs, which beauty can be fully appreciated while they’re working.

There is a sentence in Irish Red and White Setter standard, which says they are bred primarily for the field and should be judged on shows from the working standpoint. I wish it were valid also for Irish Setters.

I like dogs whose build is well balanced and helping in their work. Any exaggerations which sometimes make dogs more attractive and increases show successes, are disturbing in hunting. For example too big dogs are less nimble and the work in thick rushes or brushwood is more tiring for them. Too long neck causes dogs have to put more effort into retrieving the game. Overangulated hindlegs are unstable and makes movement less effective. From extremely long, curly or woolly coat it’s difficult to remove burrs and other dirts.

I think the underlying reason of setter’s beauty is his their adaptation to hard work in the field and we shouldn’t try to change it.

The only part of setter’s body I have a special requirements not connected with working abilities, is the head. For me, Irish Setters’ spirit is enchanted in its unique noble shape, its expression and wise look of dark eyes.

Our kennel is young and we are still searching the way to breed setters from our dreams: pretty, good in field and water work, healthy, with friendly, brave character and charming expression. Will we ever reach our ideal? Please ask me to write another article in twenty years, maybe I’ll know the answer... But now I’m passing the pen to Hungary, where Emese Boros will tell us about her setters and her look at the breed.

 

Renata Czechowska



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