“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” goes the saying, and here’s some of what I stand for: I love all horses, some dogs, and no cats. My feeling for horses and cats is simple, but when it comes to dogs, I’m a sticky wicket. I’m drawn to the athleticism, drive, and purpose of the working and sporting breeds, and at the end of the day I’m a card-carrying member of Setter Nation.
Not everyone is a setter fan, mind you, and I see it clearly during public conditioning runs. The older set remembers setters as America’s favorite dog and they fawn over my two tricolors and two orange beltons. The younger set is different, and they recognize poodle doodles (or whatever that mix is called) far more easily than my setters. The goat, cow, and sheep bells I place around the necks of my dogs are not recognized as tools indicating their bird-finding prowess. With the passing of time comes the changing of culture, and setters are less popular now than at any other time. Indeed, of about 140 American Kennel Club breeds, the English setter occupies a lackluster 70th position. The Labrador retriever has been America’s sweetheart (and number one) for a long while.
So be it for Setter Nation, and part of our strong affinity is that English setters have been a work-in-progress for centuries.
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