Breeding philosophy

Our vision

Slider_Companions_Keeley&AineWe believe in breeding the highest quality litters possible; we invest a great deal of time and money to produce the best Irish Setters we can. With each litter, we are focused on improving the next generation and our future breeding program.

Each breeding is carefully researched and planned. We consider structure, temperament, health clearances, breed type, and pedigree and strive to produce excellent individuals and consistent litters with quality in every puppy. The way we measure success in our breeding program is:

  • Whether puppies have the qualities we predicted in advance of the breeding
  • The consistency of traits across the litter
  • The depth of quality throughout the litter
  • Whether the puppies are equal to the quality of both parents, an improvement over one parent, better than both parents, or are not as good as one or both parents

We believe in breeding our best individuals, not all individuals. We breed select bitches who have earned titles, are structurally sound, have passed all health tests recommended by our national breed club, and have outstanding traits and features we are looking to continue in the breed.

We strive for sound moving, trainable, healthy dogs that best represent our ideal picture of the Irish Setter. Our dogs are competitive in the show ring, obedience ring, and the field. We breed our best to honor the hard work and good decisions of all the breeders who have come before us, and to ensure that breeders of the future will have good dogs to start with.

Why do we breed?

The simple answer? Because a world without Irish Setters would have less joy.

There is always risk involved in any breeding and a certain amount of chance. It’s hard work. Every planned litter is a dream and hope for the future. Sometimes a bitch is bred and does not get pregnant. Sometimes you get a large litter when a smaller one would have been preferred; sometimes you get all boys when you really wanted a girl. You may lose puppies.

But it is also incredibly rewarding. Not only to watch puppies play and grow—which we can do for hours—but to share with others who appreciate the breed. We have met wonderful people we would not have known if it were not for dogs. And we have seen how beautiful and important the bond between human and dog can be when sharing the best and darkest of times. These aren’t just dogs, they are companions that accompany us for part of our life’s path—they are soul friends.

The purpose of using pedigrees, health tests, knowledge of structure and engineering, and the collective knowledge and experience of other breeders is to minimize the risks and maximize the odds of success—healthy puppies with sound temperaments and structure that are good representatives of the breed.

No matter what dog you start or started with, the raw materials that you have are the result of countless other breeder’s hard work, heartbreak, and accumulation of collective knowledge from the breeders that preceded them.

Each breeding decision, the record of which is hinted at through pedigrees, made over hundreds of years contributed to the dogs that we enjoy today. Today’s breeding decisions are the foundation of the breed in the future, and we hope that the Irish Setter’s future will be long indeed.

Frequently Asked Questions about breeding