The oldest purebred registry in all of the United States is the Field Dog Stud Book of the Irish Setter. While both the Irish Setter and the English Setter are believed to be ancestors of the Spanish pointer, many cynologists believe the Irish Setter is older than the English Setter.
The Irish Setter wasn’t originally bred to have a red coat (the Irish Red and White Setter predates the Irish Setter), but was bred first and foremost to hunt birds by sniffing them out while hiding in undercover (the bird, not the dog). The dog used a zig-zag pattern to track the location of a bird, then quickly and quietly froze in place pointing out the bird’s location. The dog’s low stance allowed hunters to toss a net over both the dog and the bird.
How lucky can a dog lover get? A dog that can hunt and is gorgeous!
Photograph by Kira Penney