is a Llewellin Setter?
Llewellin descends directly from the longest existing breed of Setters
in the world. The Laverack base of the breed goes back to the 1500's.
the early 1900's in the USA there were no lines of English Setters
that did not have the Llewellin bred into them. The Llewellin blood
proved to be so superior in competition that there were no strains of Native
or English Setters left pure. The Llewellin was recognized as a breed
on its own. All other strains were recognized as English Setters.
From the beginning a Llewellin and English Setter bred together resulted
in the registration of the pups as English Setters.
years the Llewellin was the dominate dog in competitions. The changes
in the format of trials and the use of Pointers are the factors which resulted
in the change of opinion of what Setters truly are.
Llewellin, a pure bred strain of English Setter is I believe superior to
all other breeds of Setters, both recent imports and continental breeds,
for bird hunting in the US. I do try not to be prejudiced BUT I have
hunted the Llewellin for 35 years and have hunted against pretty much all
other setting-pointing dogs. I honestly can't remember when my dogs
have been 2nd best. They have been bred for over one hundred years
to hunt our type of Game Birds and cover and terrain. More and more
dedicated foot hunting sportsmen will contest that they have the best nose
of any dog.
their sense of smell is the most important factor in their breeding.
Their single-minded ability to find gamebirds is as good today as it was
over one hundred years ago.
hunting for centuries was for sport and food. For me that is what
it has always been. Competition first began as a medium to make available
the best of the best. Because of the change of direction of the Trials
the wider running dogs became prevalent.
THE FOLLOWING EXERTS ARE FROM
LLEWELLIN SETTER - ORIGIN AND HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT,
WRITTEN BY ME AND PUBLISHED IN 1992.
first setting dogs were introduced in England and the British Isles for
the art and sport of Falconry by Royalty. The art of Falconry was quite
a popular thing in those days. The Setters of that time, known as
Land Spaniels, went with the hawking party to the field, they quartered
the hunting area, as dogs do today, and would show the group where
the birds were. Then the Hawks hood was removed and he was unleashed
to circle above whereupon the birds were flushed to be caught and
killed by the Hawk. The actions of Falconry are shown in the writings
of Richard Suflet, in 1600, by his description of his dog setting
birds; as quoted in THE AMERICAN BOOK OF THE DOG, in 1891, "Warning
of what he scenteth, and to prepare himself and his hawke for the pleasure
he seeketh, and when he is assured of his game, then to quest out loudly
hawker trained his Spaniel to set; then he cast off his hawks, which ascended
in circles, and 'waited on' until his master roused the quarry from its
concealment, when she pounced upon it like a pistol-shot."
XVIII of France loved to hunt with his Falcons and had an extensive kennel.
It is said he was a great breeder of dogs. The old writers mention his
dogs as being speckled all over with White and Black, with mingled colours
inclined to a marble blewe which was used to point gamebirds which were
then flushed to be killed by Falcons waiting overhead. This "MARBLE BLEWE"
is what we call the Blue Belton color. This coloring is seen in Llewellin
1624, Louis XVIII, King of France sent England's King James I, (1603-1625),
some of his setters and one of his servants to instruct King James the
French method of Falconry. Mr James Hay, the Earl of Carlisle, was a personal
friend and keeper of the royal kennels of King James at this time.
This is undoubtedly where he acquired his "Blue Belton" strain. Mr. Hay
played a major role in developing a portion of the Llewellin blood. You
will learn more about him and his castle's line later on. As mentioned
before the art of Falconry was strictly a sport of royalty and titled men.
In those days the common man was not allowed to hunt or kill any game whatsoever.
All the land belonged to the King, as you probably remember in the old
English novels. In the statutes of King James 's law it is interesting
to see how highly he valued his setting dogs and was determined to keep
them from being mongrelized by the common man. It is recorded in CLASSIC
ENCYCLOPEDIA in 1880, "That no person shall be deemed qualified to keep
setting dogs who is not possessed of an inheritance of the value of Pounds
10 per annum, a lease for life of Pounds 30 per annum, or who is worth
Pounds 200 per annum, unless he be the son of a Baron or Knight or Heir-apparent
to an Esquire."
netting birds replaced the hawk in England in latter years, the use of
Falcons declined and the art of Falconry, for a period, was just about
lost. Netting required the same type and style of dog. Dr. John Caius
describes the procedure used in his 1570 writings, ENGLISH DOGGES; as recorded
in CLASSIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, "The place being knowne by the means of the dogge,
the fowler immediately openeth and spreadeth his net, intending to take
them, which being done the dogge at the accustomed becke or visuall signe
of his master ryseth up by and by, and draweth neerer to the fowle that
by his presence they might be the authours or their owne insnaring, and
be ready intangled in the prepared net."
quote from THE TWENTIETH CENTURY DOG, under the heading SPORTING, in 1904
gives a more detail description how they netted the birds. "Subsequently
the use of a net was brought into practice, being sometimes drawn towards
the place when the Setting dog marked the game, and at other times cast,
like a fishing-net by some of the skillful handlers in the east, over the
BOOK OF THE DOG, written in 1880, by Mr. Bernard Shaw, talks about
netting and the Setter; and sates "It is, of course, perfectly well
knew that the modern Setter usually points his game standing up as
a Pointer does, and the abandonment of netting is unquestionably
responsible for this alteration in the method of a Setter carrying out
his work, before, when the sportsman was anxious to net as many birds as
he could, it was most essential that they should be as undisturbed as possible,
and the presence of a dog would, increase the chances of their being
frightened away before the net was fired for their capture, the chances
of the dog being seen by the game were naturally lessened when he
would lay down, and this, no doubt, was the reason for his being broken
to do so. Now things are much altered, and the sportsman only wants the
whereabouts of the game to be indicated, so that he may walk them up. There
is, however A PALPABLE TENANCY TO CROUCH STILL OBSERVABLE IN MANY OF THE
BEST BRED SETTERS , which is unquestionably accounted for by the former
of the breed."
Johannes Caius's writings of 1570 titled ENGLISH DOGGES, contains one of
my favorite descriptions of a setter with the same distinct characteristics
of the Llewellin Setter of today. The Llewellin still retains this instinct
to crouch and sometimes freeze on point at whatever angle the fowl is first
discovered, then advancing further to discern the exact current location
of the birds. The act of laying his belly to the ground was for the use
of the net. In this document his use of the word "Setter" was the
first time the "Setter" name was given as a generic name. Dr. Caius
wrote, "Another sort of dog be serviceable for fowling making no noise
either with tongue or foot whilst they follow the game. These attend diligently
upon their masters, and frame their conditions to such becks, motions and
gestures as it shall please him to exhibit, inclining to the right hand
or yielding to the left. In making mention of fowl my meaning here is of
partridge or quail. When he hath found the bird he keepeth sure and
fast silence, and stayeth his steps, and will proceed no farther, and with
close, covert, watching ere, layeth his belly to the ground, and so creepeth
forward like a worm. When he approacheth near to the place where
the bird is, he lays down, and with a mark of his paws betrayeth the place
of the bird's last abode, whereby it is supposed that this kind of dog
is called index (meaning recorded as to record) Setter; being a name
both consonant and agreeable with his quality."
that sound like that old Llewellin you once owned or someone you knew owned.
"These attend diligently upon their masters and frame their conditions
to such becks, motions, and gestures as it shall please him to exhibit,
(for you), with a mark of his paws betrayeth the birds, last abode."
you ever watched an old Llewelin; when he points game as you approach him
casually. His old eyes roll over toward your direction and looks up at
you and seems to be saying, "Careful they're right here". I believe these
old bird-dogs were the main foundation for the Llewellins. In an the old
writings giving characteristics of a "Setter" they coincide with the characteristics
of a Llewellin. I want to reiterate that I try not to be to prejudiced
with my writing, but facts are facts.
Another good description of a Setter of this same period is shown in Richard
Suflet 1600 writings, as recorded in THE AMERICAN BOOK OF THE DOG. He is,
"Gentle, loving, and courteous to man, more than any other sort of dog
whatsoever; he loved to hunt the wing of any bird, especially Partridge,
Pheasant, Quail and such. You choose him by his shape, beauty, mettle,
and cunning hunting, good composition, round, thick head; short nose; broad
breast; short and well-knit joints; round feet; a short, broad backe. His
beauty is discerned in his colour, of which the Motleys or Pied", (Belton
Colored), "are the best. His mettle is discerned by his free, untiring,
laboursome ranging, beating a field over and over, and not leaving a furrow
untrodden, or one unsearched, where any is likely hidden; and when he doth
it, most courageously with a wanton, playing tail, and a busie labouring
nose, neither desisting nor showing less delight in his labour at night
than he did in the morning. The Land Spaniel called the "Setter" must neither
hunt, range, nor retaine, more or less that as his master appointeth, taking
the whole limit of whatsoever they do from the eye or hand of the instructor.",
(No whistle necessary). "They must never quest (bark) at any time, what
occasion soever may happen, must hunt close and mute," (When they find
game), "they shall suddenly stop. Then shall your Setter stick, and by
no persuasion go farther till you yourself come in and use your pleasure."
Again here, allow me to say, these dogs definitely had the same characteristics
of today's devoted Llewellins.
are enough written sources and documents to prove their origin. They originated
from the Kennel of James Hay the Earl of Carlisle, who was noted for having
Beltons. His was a excellent breed of Setter. As I mentioned, each Castle,
that was interested in Gamebird hunting developed their own breed or line
of Setter. They kept extensive records. If you have read many Edwardian
and Victorian novels you will understand the extent to which each Titled
Gentry kept tabs on every detail of life on their estates. This procedure
served to establish, record and improve each of the strains, before Kennel
Setters that France's Louis XVIII sent to England's King James I in 1624
were "SPECKLED ALL OVER WITH WHITE AND BLACK, WITH MINGLED COLOURS INCLINED
TO A MARBLE BLEWE". This is what we can a "Blue Belton" today. As you may
remember he sent some of these Blue Setters to the care of James Hay the
Earl of Carlisle, in Northern England.
Edward Laverack in his book THE SETTER, writes under the heading of, "THE
NAWORTH CASTLE, AND FEATHERSTONE CASTLE BREED OF SETTERS. There is a very
fine old breed of setters, of present but little known. It has been, and
still is, in the possession of the Earl of Carlisle, Narworth Castle, Brampton,
breed of setters I remember fifty years ago, when I rented the moors belonging
to the late Earl of Carlisle, in the vicinity of Gillesland, ...
rare old breed has probably been retained in the mentioned families as
long as any other strain has."
1825 Mr. Edward Laverack went to Carlisle to meet Rev. A. Harrison, who
was noted for his Beltons. He had been told from a number of sources that
Rev. Harrison had some excellent Field Setters. In 1880, the CLASSIC ENCYCLOPEDIA
also comments on these dogs, "The Beltons, famous in the Northern Counties,
are a superb race, and form the great base of the now famous Laverack Setter,
on which again is founded the majority of the great kennels so favorably
known throughout the Country, and which has an immense popularity with
Stories were told about Rev. Harrison's dogs uncanny pointing ability.
At this time THE English people bred more for show than hunting ability.
Most of Rev. Harrison's dogs were "Marble Blue". On this trip to Carlisle,
Mr. Laverack bought OLD MOLL, a Sliver Gray Belton. Mr. Laverack wrote
in his book THE SETTER, "The MOST PERFECT specimen of Setter I have ever
seen (was) the Rev. A. Harrison's Blue Belton "Old Moll" (she was particularly
strong, powerful, and compacted in build." He liked her so well that
when she came in season, he took here back to be breed to her full brother,
PONTO a Black Gray Belton, even knowing there was great many other dogs
in this area supposedly just as good. As it turned out he was glad he made
this choice. The pups turned out to be such superb dogs that he returned
to Rev. Harrison and purchased PONTO from him.
Laverack's purchase of Ponto and Old Moll are the foundation for what we
know today as a LLEWELLIN SETTER. A lengthy and documented detail
of Mr. Laverack's breeding program may be found in my book.
author of THE TWENTIETH CENTURY DOG, in 1904, confirms that Mr. Laverack
was, "The greatest authority on the Setter." He was renowned for his knowledge
of the Setter and for his breeding program. Mr. Edward Laverack's book
THE SETTER, written in 1872, was the first authentic record of Setters.
The complete title of his book is "THE SETTER: WITH NOTICES OF THE MOST
EMINENT BREEDS NOW EXTANT." His was the first written record
of any breeds given at the time of their existence.
James Watson in his book, THE DOG BOOK, written in 1912, makes this comment
concerning Mr. Laverack's book, "But for Mr. Laverack we should know nothing
of the various strains kept by sporting gentlemen of prominence throughout
England and Scotland, and in his book, 'THE SETTER,' is to be found all
that later writers knew about the various strains and which they made use
of without compunction as original. The first Kennel Club Calendar
and Stud Book of England in existence was based on his documentation of
Mr. Laverack's Ponto and Old Moll were found to be two of the finest specimens
that the Rev. Harrison had bred. They were said by many to be what we call
today a 'Natural'. Mr. Laverack traveled back to Carlisle numerous times
on hunting trips. Rev. Harrison had been breeding this line for over 35
years. As mentioned earlier, King James I bred these same dogs in 1624
as Louis XVIII had bred them for a number of years prior to this.
Mr. Laverack, in his book, says "From these two he continued the strain
without the admixture of other blood." He also shows a pedigree to substantiate
it. Showing how he had bred his dogs for over fifty years. Prior
to this time, this line has been in existence for well over 200 years.
Laverack, in his book, The SETTER, says "Many years before the 'Field'
was in existence, our Dog Shows or Field Trials thought of, my breed or
Setters had made their mark, and were well known and appreciated by hundreds
of sportsmen in England, Ireland and the highlands of Scotland, where I
have shot ever since I was eighteen years of age." Later in his book he
states, "I can say with truth it has taken me a lifetime (beings, as
I have said, over Seventy-three years of age) to retain and keep perfect
Edward Laverack was a man ahead of his own time with his breeding program.
He states in his book, "If I may so term it, it is the force..... .of constantly
breeding from the same good strain I that has made all sporting dogs what
they are. To make my meaning clearer, it is my opinion that a breed of
dogs carefully tutored, generation after generation, acquire from habit
and usage an innate predisposition to hunt intuitively, which causes them
to be superior to dogs whose faculties have not been so developed and cultivated,
or in other words, imparted an inborn goodness. It is a fact that
I have run dogs of this breed for `three' weeks daily, from 9 a.m. to 7
p.m.; and others possessing the same blood have done the same." Llewellins
are still "all day hunters".
we see his opinion of, "Breeding, and the necessity of pure blood."
He continues by saying, "Perhaps nothing is so generally little studied
and understood, or properly attended to, as breeding, which requires not
only great experience, observation, and knowledge of back ancestry, but
also great patience and perseverance."
Laverack bred for a natural birddog. You can tell this from the following
quote. "The most paramount, or of as much importance as physical
form, is an innate predisposition to hunt, and point `naturally' in search
Arnold Burgess in THE AMERlCAN KENNEL AND SPORTING FIELD, of 1876,
writes this about Laverack's dogs, "Many of the English words (writings)
say that a whelp will seldom hunt or point before fifteen months: for myself,
I would not own a breed like this. Laverack on the contrary says his dogs
will 'hunt, range, point, and back intuitively at six months,' and
in my own comparatively very limited experience, I have had many
similar to his in this aspect." (This is why I can guarantee my dogs
to point, back, and retrieve at one year of age.)
TWENTIETH CENTURY DOG, in 1904 says, "to Mr. Laverack in the beginning
and middle of the last century, and to Mr. Purcell-Llewellin in latter
half of it, the breed of English Setters owes its chief development."
all this information gathered one can no doubt form a number of opinions.
Without any doubt Mr. Laverack's dogs were of great beauty and form.
Indeed this seems to have been the main objective. In my personal
opinion, I do not believe his main objective was beauty and form strictly
for the purpose of 'winning at bench' but beauty and form in
the field as well. For to him no dog was a Setter without this 'possession
of beauty and form'. A point which is stressed many times in his
writings. Please remember how often in his own writings he stressed
and emphasized the great importance of NATURAL capabilities, sagacity,
and adaptability for finding game. He also stressed that his dogs
proved out in the field at an early age.
book details much more concerning Mr. Laverack's goals - reputation -
breeding program - descriptions of dogs - the necessity of pure blood -
natural ability - pups hunting at 6 months - interbreeding not in-bred.
the central chapter of my book I attempted to show how Mr. Llewellin took
the basis of the Laverack dogs and developed them into a phenomenal breed
of Field Dog, ultimately the Llewellin Setter.
First of all I will give you a brief background on Mr. Richard Llewellin
Purcell Llewellin, Esq.. He was an unusual gentlemen. You will more fully
understand what I mean as we continue. A few later called him eccentric.
He was certainly a dedicated man in whatever he attempted to do. In other
words he was very strong willed.
was of royal decent and owned a large amount of land, including an estate
in England as well as another in Whales. With this enormous amount of wealth
in land, he also had a "great sum of money in banks". In other words he
was financially able to do as he pleased.
was an avid hunter; but game bird hunting was his weakness, as it is with
a lot of us. He also preferred Setters over Pointers. He like most
Englishmen considered beauty a must. He favored the art of Falconry. For
this purpose he preferred the use of a pointing dog over that of a flushing
dog, which was more common at that time because of the abundance of game.
C. B. Whitford in 1907 had the following strong statement to say about
Mr. Llewellin's breeding program in an article presented to FIELD AND FANCY,
a magazine publication, "Mr. Llewellin was the most enthusiastic breeder
in England, if we were to judge him fairly by his works. He wanted to create
the best group of Setters possible and failures did not frighten him. He
studied crosses, and having decided in his own mind that they would prove
good proceeded to try them, and when they failed he discarded them."
knew what he wanted but was not quickly successful in accomplishing his
goals. He did not at first set out to create a new breed, he simply could
not find the dog to fulfill all his expectations.
Llewellin Setter was described by Mr. C. B. Whitford in another of the
series of articles written for FIELD AND FANCY magazine in 1907, "That
they form a district group, and may be said to be the only true breed of
setters in existence today anywhere in the world. These dogs have had true
breed qualifications for about a quarter of a century." He goes on to say
that Mr. Llewellin, "Has done more for the Setter in America today than
any man living."
Whitford further states that Mr. Llewellin, "Created and developed" the
dominant breed of Setters in America for many years. It has practically
driven all other varieties of breeds or strains of Setters from our (American)
Field Trials. In fact, it is a very rare thing to see any other than a
pure Llewellin or high grade Llewellin Setter (which is a Llewellin-English
cross) at our Field Trials, the so-called (straight bred) English Setters
there are none to compete. Our Field Setters an practically all Llewellins
or high grade LIewellins." Mr. Whitford is recognized as one of the
most renowned Sports writers of his day. He followed all the Field Trials
in his work as a highly qualified trainer and as an individual enthusiast.
Over the years he wrote many articles concerning various aspects of trials.
(You must understand the first field trials were not like our horse-back
trials of today. It was a gun-dog competition in a hunting situation.)
Whitford in the same article goes on to praise Mr. Llewellin's breeding
program, "Now, it must not be supposed that Mr. Llewellin bought a few
good Setters, bred them together and thus created his breed. Nor did he
have a streak of luck in mating a few good dogs. Neither did he have someone
create his breed for him. On the contrary, he went about it in a methodical
way, and by dint of much hard work, skillful crossing and selection produced
a group of Setters distinct in blood lines and field qualities. During
the years he was actively engaged in forming his breed Mr. Llewellin spent
a small fortune on his Kennel, and he spent his money liberally without
any further hope of reward than of having the satisfaction that might come
to any enthusiastic breeder who was successful. Few people realize how
great was the expense of conducting the Llewellin Kennels. Setters were
bred by the hundreds, and out of the great number bred comparatively few
selections from a large number of young dogs that Mr. Llewellin was able
to lay well the foundation of his breed and by the same process he was
able to carry it on and improve it. This method of breeding a large number
of setters from which few selections were made was employed by Mr. Llewellin
for years, so that it is no wonder having good blood to begin with, he
was able to create a breed of Setters that were pre-eminent for years at
the English Field Trials and won more at American Field Trials than all
other varieties of field dogs combined."
the time of the writing of Mr. Laverack's book he dedicated it to Mr. Llewellin.
At that time Mr. Llewellin was running the first of the Laveracks he had
purchased. He was still not satisfied as they were not consistent.
He had already tried the Irish and Gordon strains available as well as
crosses of each of the three breeds.
A. F. Hochwalt author of THE MODERN SETTER, in 1923 writes, "It was but
natural that Mr. Llewellin was still unsatisfied and when the Duke-Rhoebe-Laverack
dogs began to have a vogue, his investigating turn of mind led him in that
direction, with the result that he gave the matter serious attention."
the Irish and Irish-Laveracks, Mr, Llewellin went to the straight bred
Laveracks. These dogs were gorgeous animals and could win any bench show.
The first ones he bought were Prince, Countess and Nellie. They had done
exceptionally well in field trials. The problem with these dogs was they
had their off days when their bad traits would show through.
L. H. Smith (who imported the first Llewellins to America) refers to meeting
Mr. Llewellin in 1873 at the same dog show where he met Mr. Laverack. In
his article published in OUTING in 1896 he states, "He purchased Prince
and his beautiful sisters, Countess and Nellie, all pure Laverack.
Countess and Nellie were splendid specimens of the breed. Mr. Llewellin
spent much time and money on their training and won many prizes at field
trials with them, but they were unreliable. They could and did do
brilliant work, bur at times, and often too, were completely uncontrollable,
when their willful and reckless behavior would have disgraced untrained
puppies." This fault was NOT found in the earlier dogs bred by Mr.
Laverack but was attributed to the inbreeding he practiced for too long
a period without an out-cross.
Laveracks bought at first were Lill II, Phantom, Princess, Puzzle, Daisy,
and Rock. It was thought that the females were better than the males. At
this time he still had not bred any Duke-Rhoebe-Laveracks.
first two Laverack bitches were much liked by Mr. Llewellin because of
the reason Mr. Hochwalt quoted in his book, of 1923, THE MODERN SETTER,
as follows, "They bred along lines, mostly blue or lemon beltons, were
silky in coat, beautiful in expression and generally well balanced." Hochwalt
concludes saying in reference to Laverack dogs, "The bitches, it was stated,
were shiftier than the dogs, and taking the sexes collectively, there were
more good dogs among the gentler sex than the other. Their uniformity in
breeding to type is evidence that whatever 'secrets' Mr. Laverack possessed,
he was able to breed true." Please remember this statement is in
reference to Mr. Laverack's dogs at the end of his breeding era.
his book THE SETTER, Mr. Laverack, in 1872 says himself the only
two of his dogs good enough to compete were, Mr. R. Ll. Purcell Llewellin's
Countess or Mr. Garth's Daisy; these are the only two pure specimens of
the Laverack Setters that ever contested at the trials, and I think
I may say their performances have satisfied everyone."
Hockwalt also confirms this in his book THE MODERN SETTER, in 1923, "But
with the exception of Countess and Nellie none of these Laveracks could
be termed Field dogs."
C. B. Whitford agrees with this in his series of articles for. FIELD AND
FANCY magazine, written in 1906 thru 1907 "Laverack Setters were making
no headway in the English Field Trials after Countess and Nellie ran."
statement shows that Mr. Llewellin picked the best to start from.
Whitford also writes, in another article for FIELD AND FANCY
, "However out of all the Laveracks Mr. Llewellin owned and had broken
Countess and Nellie were the only two fit for, competition. Others who
were quite as fond of the Laverack as Mr. Llewellin was, had no better
success with them. Still, when these closely inbred dogs were crossed on
other Setters the progeny were a success.
Countess's and Nellie's work in the early 1870's no Laverack Setter accomplished
much in the English Field Trials. Up until the mid 1870's none had competed
in the American trials.
TWENTIETH CENTURY DOG states that Mr. Llewellin was accredited with the
development of the Laverack. Laverack had gotten old and would not
conform to adding new strains to further develop his breed of dog. At this
point Mr. Llewellin took over using all the knowledge he had acquired while
breeding the Irish and Gordon.
can see that Mr. Laverack approved of Mr. Llewellins breeding program because
his book, THE SETTER, written in 1872, was dedicated to Mr. Llewellin.
He wrote, "To R. Ll. Purcell Llewellin, Esq. of Tregwynt, Letterstone.
Pembrokeshire, South Wales. Who has endeavored, and is still endeavoring,
by sparing neither expense nor trouble, to bring to perfection the 'Setter'.
This little volume is dedicated by his sincere friend and admirer, Edward
Laverack also writes in his book, "Visiting Mr. Purcell Llewellin some
short time ago.....From a conversation I had with Mr. Llewellin (quite
approve of the system he is adopting in endeavoring to rectify the defects
of the male and female by judicious breeding. This gentleman is evidently
a great enthusiast, and deserves success and the warmest thanks of setter
breeders for his great energy and perseverance in endeavoring
to bring the setter to the highest state of perfection."
Hochwalt states in his book, BIRD DOGS, in 1922, that, "The Laverack strain
was evolved later (after Mr. Laverack wrote his book) and many years after
they had a great vogue, the `Field Trial Breed' subsequently called the
Llewellin, was founded." Mr. Llewellin himself always refereed to
his dogs as "The Field Trial Breed". It is said he was never comfortable
with the breed being named "Llewellins".
Whitford in his FIELD AND FANCY articles, writes, "Mr. Llewellin decided
that the best blood with which to found a breed was the blood of Duke,
Rhoebe, and the Laveracks. Where upon he proceeded to buy pretty much all
of the blood there was to be had."
Llewellin sent his earlier kennel manager, Mr. G. Teasdale Bucknel, out
scouring the country and told him to buy them all at any cost. By
1871, at the same time Countess and Nellie were running in trials, he had
acquired almost an the Duke-Laverack, Rhoebe-Laverack and Duke-Rhoebe-Laverack
blood that was in England. He quickly became the only place for the American
sportsman to buy this blood combination. At this time they were still not
established as a breed (Llewellins), because they were the first crosses
of this blood. They were nevertheless the foundation of his breed.
of the first Duke-Rhoebe-Laverack crosses Mr. Llewellin encountered, bred
by others, were Mr. Statter's Bruce, by Laverack's Dash out of old Rhoebe.
Also Rob Roy, a Field Trial winner, who was by Laverack's Fred II, out
of Rhoebe. He also saw others bred this way. He realized that the fine
Laverack dogs bred to coarse dogs made good field dogs.
Llewellin then went for the source of all these excellent crosses and introduced
into his breeding program Mr. Barclay Field's Duke and Mr. Thomas Statter's
it interesting to realize that it only took one man to, first at the right
place and the right time, and secondly, with both the desire and means,
to see the potential and forever alter the course of the Setter breed.
Whitford goes on to say, "Mr. Llewellin therefore abandoned the pure Laveracks
as Field Trial dogs and looked about for the best old English strains for
a cross." These turned out to be the Duke and Rhoebe blood.
Hochwalt, in 1923, in THE MODERN SETTER, writes "Duke and Rhoebe are such
important factors in the early breeding of our present day field trial
Mr. Whitford, in his FIELD AND FANCY articles, praised Duke's abilities,
stating, "Duke was at that time counted one of the best Setters in England."
was where the coarse blood was introduced. She was large, long and low,
with very few characteristics of what would be called a Setter type, character
or quality of Modern Setters. S he was a very heavily marked black dog
with white and tan. Her body was almost solid black, with white on her
legs and heavy tan on cheeks, insides her hind legs and breaching.
dam, Statter's Psyche, was thought to be her greatest influence. Psyche
was half Gordon and half South Esk (now extinct breed).
never made a name for herself as a Hall of Fame Winners but she produced
the greatest number of winners in the history of Field Trialing in the
late 1800's. She whelped the great field dogs Dan, Dick and Dora.
TWENTIETH CENTURY DOG, in 1904 tells us that Mr. Randon Lee says even among
the top Laveracks Mr, Llewellin purchased he discarded some of them. "But
even amongst these he found many) unsatisfactory and inconvenient peculiarities
of mind, habit, and instinct to fit them for attaining his ideal. So he
once more set to work experimenting, and the result was the strain of setters
that bears his name (Llewellin Setters) a blend of the pure Laverack, with
blood from Mr. Barclay Field's and Mr. Statter's Kennels and the characteristic
of size with quality. That they possess quality and beauty of appearance
their show-bench achievements have proved, whilst at the same time their
Field Trial record as a Setter Kennel has never been approached. This was
in the 'Eighties (1880), when Mr. Purcell-Llewellin carried all before
him-when he refused 1200 Franks for a dog and 1000 Franks for a couple
of bitches of his own breeding. Having once established a strain to his
fancy, no cross of any sort was allowed to invade it, and the various families
in his kennel preserved and transmuted to their progeny their likeness,
habits, and methods of working.
Hochwalt states in another of his book THE MODERN SETTER, in 1923, "To
sum up this Duke-Rhoebe breeding, we find it is a Sort o mixtry', as the
Scotchman said, but undoubtedly it was just this assortment of violent
outcrosses gotten together in the proper combination that was needed to
bring forth the latent qualities of the effete Laverack."
Llewellin certainly realized that this was just what he was looking for
to accomplish his goals.
over-bred blood of the Laverack needed stimulation and that stimulation
was the coarse blood of Duke and Rhoebe. This coarse blood did not produce
a high quality show dog as most of the Englishman preferred, therefore
few English breeders liked this type of 'Field Dog' that couldn't also
win at shows. By our present day standards they were still classy,
good looking dogs.
LLEWELLIN SETTER", my book of 170 pages, goes into greater detail on these
dogs, their characteristics, performances and what each contributed
along with more detail on Mr. Llewellins breeding program
1871 Mr. Llewellin bought his first pure Duke-Rhoebe dogs which would become
the foundation stock of his Llewellin Setters, Their names were Dan and
Dick. He also went back shortly and bought their sister Dora. She was the
third Duke-Rhoebe cross he bought.
was written in THE NEW HUNTERS ENCYCLOPEDIA in the early 1900' that "Llewellin's
Dan was a dog of great prepotency and when he was crossed with the flighty
Laverack bitches he seemed to add just what was needed and his offspring
were dog's of sterling qualities.
finest example of his offspring was the great and notable GLADSTONE, whelped
in 1876. Gladstone is considered to be the fountain head of the six pillars
of the American Llewellins.
give you an idea of how quickly the Llewellin line developed let us note
here the whelp of this 'family'. Dan's year of birth was 1871, Gladstone's
year of birth was 1876, Gladstone IV's year of birth was 1896. Gladstone
IV was the winner of the first American Grand National Championship ever
Hochwalt opinion of Dan, in his book THE MODERN SETTER in 1923, was, "Dan
seemed to nick remarkably well with all the Larverack bitches and no matter
what their quality or individuality, he seemed to be able to produce good
puppies. The erratic and gun-shy Lill II, bred to him brought forth Lincoln,
which come to America in later years and was the foundation of the Gleam
blood (which I will tell you more about later in this book), through other
combinations. Petrel was another bitch of little individual value, but
she was bred to Dan and then sold to L. H. Smith, of Strathroy, Ontario.
Coming to America in whelp she brought forth a litter from which was born
the great Gladstone (a I have said, one of the greatest of all our early
American Llewellins and the beginning of the American-LlewelIins, as they
became know). Mr. Llewellin had great success with this cross, at Field
Trials. As a consequence, it was not long until a great demand ensued for
this wonderful field trial breed (Llewellins), from sportsman in America,
and so it came about that dogs from the Llewellin Kennels began coming
over about as early, or nearly so, as they did from the kennels of Edward
success came his way. After all his years of perseverance he was satisfied
with a consistent line. He was not the originator of this strain because
he had watched Mr. Statter, Mr. Field and the elder Armstrong breed these
crosses. Why these gentlemen did not carry the strain further has always
been puzzle. This seems to substantiate that Mr. Llewellin truly did buy
up the majority of the lines. After Mr. Llewellin had such success with
these Duke-Rhoebe-Laveracks others of course followed him.
mentioned before the Dan-Laverack, which in the writings of Stonehenge
was considered to be the first "Llewellyns" Mr Llewellin bred, pups
were bold and aggressive while the Dora pups were more docile and gentle,
some people even thought timid. Llewellins are not timid, they just aren't
hard headed and stubborn. They are an understanding dog that know what
you tell them without any force.
combination of these bloods in subsequent generations made the perfect
combination. Her type of blood is what made the Llewellins evolve into
such a pet and loving companion, along with excellent field qualities.
Mr. Whitford states in his articles for FIELD AND FANCY, in 1907,
"After the first cross-dogs had passed away and their progeny had been
bred together then was more evens of temperament although the Dan quality
would assert itself now and again in high couraged dogs, while the Dora
disposition would crop out occasionally as shown in the more docile dogs.
He goes on to say, "Of course the most desirable type of temperament was
a blend of the two. That is, the ideal in this respect was a dog of the
Dan style and boldness coupled with the gentleness of Dora."
The eveness quickly developed with subsequent generations into they type
we now have today.
Hochwalt, in 1922, in his book BIRDOGS, writes, "At the suggestion of Teasdale
Bucknell to several of the importers of the 'Field Trial Breed' in American
the name was changed to `Llewellin" and since that time usage has given
it definite sanction hence....they have since been known in American
as Llewellins. To this today they are still not recognized in England as
a Llewellin Setter; the English maintained that they should retain the
name of English Setters.