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About Us and About Our Dogs

English Setter Dog Breeding - JC Smith

JC and Gail have been involved in raising, training and living with dogs in various ways since childhood. JC started with English Setters in 1989, with a Pinewild female named Tess who now appears in the pedigrees of dogs from several other successful setter breeders. Our location in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes region offers access to excellent grouse and woodcock coverts where we can thoroughly prove a dog on wild birds. Travel through New York and other states each year lets us enjoy work in a variety of excellent grouse coverts along as well as opportunities to pursue wild pheasant and bobwhite quail. In 2013 we acquired a 60 acre tract of land well suited for exercise and initial training activity with liberated quail. Our dogs live in the home and are accustomed to some time in the kennel too. 

As breeders our goals are to promote the Ryman type setter to other bird hunters, promote best available practices and information in  breeding,  and help perpetuate the Ryman type within the breed. To accomplish this,  we work within a group of like minded breeders, use modern best practices in breeding, screen aggressively on health issues, and invest substantial effort, time and other resources to breed to quality individual dogs. We breed on a limited scale, and focus on placing the puppies we do produce with hunting homes.  

More about the dogs....

Our dogs and  breeding activity represent what we believe is true to George Ryman's original setters, that is, personal companion bird dogs that point staunchly, work cover at foot hunting range, demonstrate a tremendous  desire to please and present practical good looks.  Our dogs have  both the instincts and intelligence to develop as a bird dog without harsh methods or complicated training regimines.  We teach some daily commands (Come, Whoa etc.), develop proper manners as pups grow up, introduce young dogs to birds to trigger pointing instinct/ desire, and then we introduce gunfire in the presence of birds.  Then we go hunting, with a focus for young dogs on bird experiences not on the bird harvest itself. Its not that we don't believe in training, but we keep it simple. Retrieving is the one hunting behavior we focus some specific training exercises on. Even then, we look to condition the dog to retrieve, as opposed to retrieve mechanically.  If you look, you will discover our training and handling program is pretty close to what most long time Ryman type setter owners are doing. We find this approach produces excellent bird dogs that point staunchly and hunt cooperatively with us. Ruffed grouse are notorious for running and flushing unexpectedly. Our dogs are intelligent, so we let them learn from experience when to relocate and how  close to work a bird. 

We do appreciate the aesthetic element and conformation traditional to Ryman types but select for it in context of the overall dog, that is, in balance with physical ability, instinct and the like. In breeding, we select for moderate feathering on the legs and tail, manageable size (important!) and a square muzzle and low ear set. Combined with affectionate and gentle dispositions, they make great family companions. 

JC Smith Sugar Creek English Setters

JC's Blog

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