theories concerning the origins of the Irish Red and White
Setter. The dogs of today can only be traced back to the
18th century but there are many documents and pictures of
dogs resembling the Red & White and described as 'Spaniels',
(The term used then for any sporting dog at the time),
dating back to the 14th century.
It was in the 16th
century that the term 'Setting Dogs' appears to have started
and from this point there are a number of paintings of
'Setting Dogs' that include white dogs with red patches.
18th century, 'Setters' had become popular with the sporting
gentry in Ireland. The colour of these varied from red
dogs, through red dogs with white patches, white dogs with
red patches to some that were almost entirely white. It was
also at this time that Lord Rossmore was breeding Irish Red
& White Setters and trying to keep them separate from the
'Red' Setters however the 'Red' Setter was increasing in
popularity and by the end of the 19th century it was feared
that the Red & White had become extinct.
not, but had survived unregistered on farms around the
early 20th century after the First World War efforts were
made to revive the breed. It was the work of people like
Reverend Nobel Houston, Mr R Cleland and Mr & Mrs Cuddy to
name a few, that selectively bred the Red & White to produce
the forbearers of today's dogs.
UK the interest in the Red & White has been acclaimed to one
dog, Harlequin of Knockella who can be found in the
pedigrees of many of today's dogs. He was bought by Ann and
Alan Gormley from Mrs Cuddy in 1977. He was shown in
Ireland and attained qualifications that enabled him to be
shown at Crufts in 1980.
Red & White was unknown in England at the time he was
classed an an Irish Red Setter and was subject to a lot of
attention on the benches among his red cousins. It was the
interest he generated that helped with the revival of the
breed in the UK over the last 20 years.