CHAPTER XXIII. THE SETTERS

HEAD—The head should be long and lean. The skull oval (from ear to ear), having plenty of brain room, and with well-defined occipital protuberance. Brows raised, showing stop. The muzzle moderately deep and fairly square at the end. From the stop to the point of the nose should be fairly long, the nostrils wide, and the jaws of nearly equal length; flews not to be pendulous. The colour of the nose dark mahogany or dark walnut, and that of the eyes (which ought not to be too large) rich hazel or brown. The ears to be of moderate size, fine in texture, set on low, well back, and hanging in a neat fold close to the head. NECK—The neck should be moderately long, very muscular, but not too thick; slightly arched, free from all tendency to throatiness. BODY—The body should be long. Shoulders fine at the points, deep and sloping well back. The chest as deep as possible, rather narrow in front. The ribs well sprung, leaving plenty of lung room. Loins muscular and slightly arched. The hind-quarters wide and powerful. LEGS AND FEET—The hind-legs from hip to hock should be long and muscular; from hock to heel short and strong. The stifle and hock joints well bent, and not inclined either in or out. The fore-legs should be straight and sinewy, having plenty of bone, with elbows free, well let down, and, like the hocks, not inclined either in or out. The feet small, very firm; toes strong, close together, and arched. TAIL—The tail should be of moderate length, set on rather low, strong at root, and tapering to a fine point, to be carried as nearly as possible on a level or below the back. COAT—On the head, front of legs, and tips of ears the coat should be short and fine; but on all other parts of the body and legs it ought to be of moderate length, flat, and as free as possible from curl or wave. FEATHERING—The feather on the upper portion of the ears should be long and silky; on the back of fore and hind-legs long and fine; a fair amount of hair on the belly, forming a nice fringe, which may extend on chest and throat. Feet to be well feathered between the toes. Tail to have a nice fringe of moderately long hair, decreasing in length as it approaches the point. All feathering to be as straight and as flat as possible. COLOUR AND MARKINGS—The colour should be a rich golden chestnut, with no trace whatever of black; white on chest, throat, or toes, or a small star on the forehead, or a narrow streak or blaze on the nose or face not to disqualify.

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III. THE BLACK AND TAN SETTER.—Originally this variety was known as the Gordon Setter, but this title was only partly correct, as the particular dogs first favoured by the Duke of Gordon, from whom they took the name, were black, tan, and white, heavily built, and somewhat clumsy in appearance. But the introduction of the Irish blood had the effect of making a racier-looking dog more fashionable, the presence of white on the chest was looked upon with disfavour, and the Kennel Club settled the difficulty of name by abolishing the term “Gordon" altogether.

Very few of this variety have appeared at field trials for several years past, but that cannot be considered a valid reason for stigmatising them as “old-men's dogs,” as some narrow-minded faddists delight in calling them. On the few occasions when the opportunity has been presented they have acquitted themselves at least as well as, and on some occasions better than, their rivals of other varieties, proving to be as fast, as staunch, and as obedient as any of them. A notable example of this occurred during the season of 1902 and 1903, when Mr. Isaac Sharpe's Stylish Ranger was so remarkably successful at the trials.

It is very difficult to account for the lack of interest which is taken in the variety outside Scotland, but the fact remains that very few have appeared at field trials within recent years, and that only about four owners are troubling the officials of English shows regularly at the present time.

In France, Belgium, Norway, and especially in Russia this handsome sporting dog is a far greater favourite than it is in Great Britain, not only for work with the gun, but as a companion, and it is a fact that at many a Continental dog show more specimens of the breed are exhibited than could be gathered together in the whole of the United Kingdom.

The want of an active organisation which would foster and encourage the interests of the Black and Tan Setter is much to be deplored, and is, without doubt, the chief cause of its being so much neglected, for in these strenuous days, when almost every breed or variety of breed is backed up by its own votaries, it cannot be expected that such as are not constantly kept in prominence will receive anything more than scant consideration.

The Black and Tan Setter is heavier than the English or Irish varieties, but shows more of the hound and less of the Spaniel. The head is stronger than that of the English Setter, with a deeper and broader muzzle and heavier lips. The ears are also somewhat longer, and the eyes frequently show the haw. The black should be as jet, and entirely free from white. The tan on the cheeks and over the eyes, on the feet and pasterns, should be bright and clearly defined, and the feathering on the fore-legs and thighs should also be a rich, dark mahogany tan.