20 questions to get to know the Irish Setters

Interview on the characteristics of the Red Irish Setter, edited by Ungaro Bartoli Maria Rossella

I have always admired in books and magazines the innate distinction of this beautiful breed and in my desires, there has always been a future as an Irish Setter breeder.

Of course having “serious intentions”, as they say, I have extensively documented everything about this breed and I have, as I think is right, opted for the country of origin, addressing the greatest breeder of those times, Mr Mc. Keever, whose poster was Derrycarne, an Irish Breeding in Dublin from which came to my first setter Derrycarne Paddy Boy.

Paddy Boy and Red Devils Orma were the forefathers of the Mezzaluna Breeding.

The method of reproduction is certainly aimed at the selection more and more studied so that with the right couplings we can achieve a homogeneity that is the basis of a job well done by the breeder. I am still hesitant about artificial insemination because in Italy we are not yet well prepared.

There aren’t many difficulties in breeding this breed, being a hunting dog, the mares are brought to grow instinctively, very well the puppies and even the youngest moms seem very experienced right away.

This is a sore note; there is no ideal size, there is a standard that you have to follow as much as possible and anyway here plays a lot of experience in having produced many litters. The subject must be harmonious, elegant, and efficient for its hunting character even if now often you look more at the aesthetics that the functionality and our beautiful Irish Setter lends itself to all this because most of my customers are immediately attracted by the charm of this dog.

As I said it is important to select the couplings to get the right size. Surely also an Irishman a little big can carry out its hunting functions and to move easily provided it is well proportioned.

As in all breeds, the head is the concentrated expression of the typical breed; in very few cases there is a lack of parallelism, but you know the perfect dog does not exist!!

I started as I said with the best Irish and Italian bloodlines, but after years it must “heal” and then I renewed mares and stallions buying specimens in Belgium that for three generations have given me immense satisfaction both in an expo and in work obtaining results well known to professionals.

The Irish Setter needs a lot of love and care, I have always followed everything personally and I will stop breeding only when this is no longer possible. This race gives you everything you give it, in every sense. Difficulty? None, just the one to resign when some of them start to leave you…

It’s the only hunting dog that also stands guard. It doesn’t bark much, just in case there’s something wrong and that seems important to me!

The behaviour of the Irish Setter is that of a dog in symbiosis with the owner and if he does not go hunting because the owner doesn’t care, he knows however well fit into the life of the house appreciating also a beautiful sofa, on which he makes beautiful, indeed, beautiful shows!

The people who orient themselves for an Irish are almost always families with children who see in him an ideal companion of games and for his good health know that this friendship will last a long time.

The question of space is a relative one; in my opinion and from what I have seen, dogs are generally inclined to stay where the master and the Irish are even more. However, especially in the period of growth, he needs air, sun and movement, so if you don’t have a garden it is important that those who love him undertake to take him out often.

He doesn’t love German Shepherds… who knows why? But I have thirteen dogs in the house and they are Setter, Dachshund, Volpini, Border Collie and occasionally Dogo’s puppies. You won’t believe it, but they all love each other passionately.

Puppies have to socialize! It’s very important and this only happens if they stay with their mother who teaches them to behave, to play and to be disciplined and then they have to stay with their siblings at least up to 60-65 days of age. I play, talk and call them often during the day and also socialize with the attendants with whom they have had a good relationship.

Sometimes people are suspicious and think that if the breeder advises one subject instead of another there is “something underneath”; but smart people tell you right away “choose it for me, and who better than you”?… And I’m happy helping them.

Dog buyers are a separate class and do you know why? They are convinced they know everything. I rarely entrust my dogs to people like that, too with “almost a certain age”, I still have a lot to learn, so it would be good to be wary of the wise.

My ideal type of Irish Setter? I don’t like dogs that look like other breeds, a little Afghan, a little Breton, a little English, a little Gordon. The Irish Setter must be and look like an Irish Setter and that’s it, as the standard teaches us!

Collaboration with other breeders is crucial for countless reasons: an exchange of views can be useful, but in Italy, I think I’m the only one to have done it. You must not sin of presumption, draw from the experiences of others can only benefit and if you are humble, you believe you get excellent results. If a rash is allowed to me, as a true enthusiast, let’s get to work for this race. In Italy, we are last in Europe because of quarrels, favouritism, envy. Everything is done, less than loving these wonderful dogs.