JaneDogs Exploring the Wonderful World of Dogs

Setters and Pointers

Gordon Irish and English Setters

The magnificent Pointer with its unique head is as legendary in this catagory as areĀ  the Setters pictured here. These are from left to right the Setter of Scotland commonly known as the Gordon Setter, the lovely Red or Irish Setter and the Setter of England or the English Setter.

Despite their original use becoming redundant, most Setters and Pointers retain the instinct for which they were originally selected, that is for finding birds. If the dog(s) are working with a shooter, they begin by searching for birds around the edges of the field. This helps to burn off the dog's initial exuberance. It also assists the dog to establish its bearings and familiarize itself with the type of smells it will be required to seek. The dog should then systematically work back and forth, starting near the hunter and gradually travelling further and further afield until the bird or game is found. When a pair of dogs works as a team, one works close to the shooter while the other goes further afield. If either dog finds the game, the other dog assists. The correct manner in which the dog should work is to be aware of where the shooter(s) and any other dogs are positioned. They should respond if the shooter sends them towards an area such as undergrowth beside a river.

When game is detected, the dog freezes, either pointing or crouching. If other dogs are present, they also freeze, "honouring" the first dog's point. The pointing or setting dog remains motionless until the shooter is in position. The shooter may also give a command instructing the dog to remain still. In times gone by, the dogs had to 'freeze' while a net was thrown over the bird(s). But this use of nets of course was superseded by guns.

Modern Setters and Pointers still retain this instinct to spot birds and 'freeze', despite never having been used for their original purpose.