Monday, March 16, 2015

Give the Irish Their Due

Every dog must have its day, so in honor of St. Patrick's Day, the English Setter Brewing Company ( will be known as the Irish Setter Brewing Company.  If I'm ever in Spokane, Washington, I'm stopping here.  It sounds like the brewery has plenty of interesting beers to go along with grilled grouse or woodcock rumaki: Tri-Color Blonde, Llewellyn Porter, Wiggly Butt IPA and Grouse Guinness.  They also serve up a Red Setter Retriever, perfect for St. Paddy's Day.

Many years ago, at least in dog years, English and Irish setters had common ancestors.  As did the Gordon setter.  This Louis Aggasiz Fuertes painting from around 1910 shows the three breeds in the field pointing.  Wikipedia has a nice entry on Irish setters.

My Uncle Gary (my mom's first cousin actually) hunted over Irish setters some 40 years ago.  I remember he and his dogs stopping at our Calmar, Iowa, home on his way out to the Dakotas to hunt pheasants.

Sadly, the Irish setter isn't used all that much in the field anymore.  Only twice in the last 20 years while grouse hunting have I run into hunters running Irish setters.  They do seem to be making a small comeback, though.  The 2015 Jan./Feb issue of Pointing Dog Journal ( lists two classified ads for Irish setter kennels in its back pages.   

My brother tells me Uncle Gary shot an L.C. Smith side-by-side over his red setters.  A fine gun for a fine dog.  Happy St. Patrick's Day.  

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