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  • Writer's pictureDennis Hammett

How to select a Llewellin setter breeder.

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

I read a lot of posts about how to select a breeder and they are opinions discussed adnauseam.

So here’s a quick tip for sorting breeders: Make a list of traits you feel are important in a bird dog. You may divide it into essential traits and optional ones. Take your time, give it some thought, think back on the past and present birddogs you hunted and their attributes you favored or disliked. Then start calling or emailing potential breeders. Ask one question: what are the traits you select for in your breeding program?

If I was to articulate a breeding philosophy, it is to create the ideal bird dog. That begins with a young dog that needs no extensive training, just birds to develop it.

The two most important traits are intelligence and nose and the third would be gait, because a light footed setter that carries its head high adds stamina, creates less foot injuries and is important for better scenting. They should instinctively hold to flush (no busting birds) and honor another pointing dog. Llewellins are noted for being biddable with a close to medium working range. No bolting over the horizon! We like a smaller setter, males weighing around 45 pounds, fast and athletic and we tend toward the lighter, whiter coats, but have some mating’s that produce darker coats and larger body size. We’re currently using 3rdand 4thgeneration setters, produced from a breeding and selection program that began over 25 years ago.

Every puppy in a litter will be different just as every child in family is an individual.

And the common thought in bird dogs is picking one is largely a matter of luck, with one or two in the litter being exceptional, a couple or three are average and the balance disappointing. Therefore over a hunter’s lifetime having a truly great dog may only happen once. But there are a few kennels (very few) that have a rigorous selection program and have spent the money (and time) developing exceptional dogs from a superior foundation. We are one of the few and that eliminates the need to be lucky!

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