We’ve got an episode that you simply cannot miss! We were thrilled to have Lucy Hall, a top-tier gundog handler and an esteemed judge, join us on the podcast to chat all about English Pointers and the four fabulous types of Setters. If you’re interested in these breeds, you’re in for a real treat! Don’t forget, this isn’t just about reading this blog—make sure to check out the podcast episode for all the fantastic details.
Lucy Hall: More Than an Expert—A Passionate Advocate
With a lifetime of experience, Lucy is not just an avid gundog handler but also a judge in field trials. Her commitment to the gundog community has been unwavering, and her insights into training and handling English Pointers and Setters are just invaluable.
Lucy grew up in a household passionate about these breeds, with summer holidays revolving around field trials and an array of experiences with her dad, who himself was a panel judge. Inspired by legendary field trial figures and her own dad’s panel judge experience, Lucy has always had a deep-rooted love for these breeds.
Now, let’s talk about the challenges these breeds face. Lucy mentioned that the number of English Setters has dwindled over the years, and it’s not hard to see why. The way we engage in shooting has evolved, moving away from dog-dependent strategies. This means less breeding of working Setters, even as their numbers soar in Europe. It’s a startling fact that our own UK breeds are facing such challenges, isn’t it?
Here’s where it gets even more riveting! Lucy made an eye-opening point about how working and show breeds are diverging into two distinct types. We’re talking differences in size, coat, and, most importantly, aptitude for the work they were bred for. Knowing this, it’s clear that general dog training just doesn’t cut it for our special breeds.
The history of gundogs in estates across the UK is an intriguing tale. There was a time when estates would keep large kennels on-site, filled with breeds specifically trained for shooting over dogs. Times have changed, however, and traditional shooting practices have given way to driven shooting, making those specialised kennels obsolete. This transition has left many gundog breeds like the English Setter a bit on the sidelines. Unlike in Europe where English Setters are bred in the thousands, here in the UK, you’ll find just a couple of hundred threads a year—mostly bred for shows rather than work.
And this brings me to another point: the divide between show and working breeds. Have you noticed? Show breeds have become grander with luxurious coats, while their working counterparts have remained agile, quick, and most importantly, fit for purpose. They’ve become two distinct categories, both fighting for their space in a rapidly evolving landscape.
Perhaps you’re nodding along, thinking about the overwhelming amount of ground you need to cover when training your English Pointer. Unlike Spaniels and Labradors that adapt to any training ground, certain gundogs require a vast expanse for proper training. This issue isn’t a minor inconvenience; it’s a real hurdle.
But there’s more. Training these breeds often requires live game, something you can’t easily simulate. How many times have you felt you’re not doing justice to your dog’s training because you can’t provide that live experience? This is yet another reason why some gundog breeds are becoming less popular.
There’s so much beauty in the diversity. From the Irish Setter to the Gordon Setter, each breed carries its unique set of traits. For instance, Setters are known for their cat-like qualities and their ability to pin birds, while English Pointers might range up to 100 metres on either side of you, especially when working into the wind.
When you see a Pointer in action, standing tall and proud, it’s a sight to behold! These dogs like to ‘read into their game,’ taking a scent from a distance and leading you right to it. On the other hand, Setters tend to crouch closer to the ground. They’re more subtle, almost cat-like, especially when they’re zoning in on their birds.
Pointers and Setters have specific needs that generic dog training often overlooks. Just like them, every gundog is unique, and we’re here to help you tailor your training to your dog’s specific characteristics and behaviours. And that’s why the Ladies Working Dog Group shines—it provides you with the specialised knowledge you need to succeed with your gundog, whatever the breed.
Our community is the place where you can exchange ideas, share your challenges and celebrate those big and small victories with like-minded women. It’s a judgement-free zone where your experience of training a Setter or Pointer can offer valuable insights to another member, and vice versa. We’re all learning, growing, and developing into better trainers and happier dog owners together.
So, if you found this blog on Setters and Pointers insightful, just imagine what joining the Ladies Working Dog Group could do for you and your gundog. Ready to make the leap? Come be part of a community that’s eager to support you and help you grow, both as a gundog trainer and as an empowered individual. Don’t miss out—join us today and let’s make gundog training a fulfilling and empowering journey for you!
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