What is a Llewellin Setter?

A Llewellin Setter is a very pure field strain of the English Setter breed which should only contains dogs deriving from the Duke-Rhoebe-Laverack cross (and also Armstrong's Kate). The American Field's Field Dog Stud Book originally granted Llewellins separate registration in 1901.

What are their temperaments like?

In general, Llewellins are very sociable, friendly dogs. Most are fairly active and focused since they are bred for work. In addition, they are generally non-aggressive, since they've been bred for work that involves a lot of human direction and contact. Setters are known for being a little more sensitive than some other hunting breeds.

However, as with all breeds, there is a lot of variation across the lines, and different lines are known for specific charactistics. More importantly, each dog is an individual and you can find different personality traits within its same litter but with some consistancy. We don't like to make generalizations, so we always suggest that people get a strong idea of the temperaments of the parents, litter, and individual pup.

How big are they?

While there are plenty of exceptions, most male Llewellins range from 45-65 pounds and females from 35-55 pounds. The former may be 19-26 inches at the shoulder, and the latter 18-24 inches.

What are the main differences between males and females?

Other than size (within the same litter) and sex-influenced behavioral traits, we cannot make stereotypes on this matter. Some say males are more mellow and affectionate, others say females are. Neither applies 100% of the time. Their hunting drive should also be observed on a case by case basis. If you want an idea of the difference between the sexes, you should be comparing within the same litter but remembering that they are each individuals.

How long do they usually live?

Llewellins have a typical lifespan of 12 years. Nutrition, conditioning, and vet care all play an important role in whether an individual lives longer or shorter. Obviously genetic diseases and acquired diseases will also factor into their lifespan.

What are their different colors?

Beltons are pups that are born all white and when full grown will have ticked out with spots, the amount and size of which will vary. White, ____ ticked is what Llewellins that were born with patches or prominent spots are termed. They can be blue, orange, chestnut, chestnut and tan, tri (black and tan) belton, or white, black ticked, white, black & tan ticked, etc. No particular color is more valuable or special than another, it's simply a matter of genetics and personal preference. It should be noted that dark eyelids and noses are desirable in all the color patterns.

What does DNA have to do with it?

In order for Llewellin litters to be registered with the FDSB, a 2002 ruling now requires all Llewellin sires and dams to be have their DNA test results on file with the FDSB. This is to ensure that every dog can be traced to its parents in order to eliminate any unacknowledged outcrosses and maintain the purity of the strain.

What is the difference between field-bred English and Llewellin Setters?

Other than paperwork, there can be little generalized differences between the two. You usually can't tell them apart by temperament, conformation, color, hunting style, etc because of the widespread variences within. You can find large, slower, close-ranging setters or smaller, big running, high-styled dogs in either. It all comes down to the lines and the individual. There is usually a pretty notable difference between the bench-lined English Setters from the field English Setters and Llewellin Setters.

How do they hunt?

You can find any type of hunting dog you want in a Llewellin; as with most bird dog breeds, you just have to look for the right breeder, line, and individual.

What kind of training do they require?

Again, this varies. Because Llewellins were always bred for upland hunting, they've got excellent natural abilities. If you want to trial, they'll take just as much training as any dog. If you're strictly into hunting, we find you can train them as little or as much as you want, and they'll hunt however you let/teach them. Most do quite well with little formal training as long as they get lots of experience on wild birds. Some are not retrievers, so they'll require a lot of training in that department.

Are they versatile dogs?

As far as fur-and-feather versatile goes, no, Llewellins were never bred for that, nor should they be expected to serve as waterfowl dogs. They are upland bird dogs through and through. (That's not to say that no Llewellins can work waterfowl; one of our past pups, Sophie, retrieved the occasional duck and goose....)

For other purposes, they are fairly versatile. They are also great family dogs and outdoor companions for camping, hiking, fishing, and more. Because of their athleticism, they do well with agility, too. There are some that are therapy dogs. With all that said, though, we feel most Llewellins should be first and foremost, bird dogs. Hunting is their passion.

Can an FDSB Llewellin be entered in field trials or tests?

Yes! We encourage Llewellin owners to find a venue in which they can test or compete, in addition to using them for bird hunting. It can be a fun, rewarding experience, as well as focus your dog's training. In addition to the many FDSB-recognized venues, you can also double-register your FDSB Llewellin as an English Setter with AKC to participate in its events.

Do they do okay outside?

Up until just a few decades ago, setters, and birddogs in general, were primarily outside dogs. Some do fine kept outside, as long as they have a enough exercise and contact with their family, such as those that do a lot of daily outdoor work, or another dog companion. That said, Llewellins are very social and affectionate and are happiest living with company or their family. We find our Llews' company so enjoyable that we love having them inside with us; additionally, we feel it builds better bonds and gives more opportunity for training & good behavior.

Can they be indoor family dogs?

Most Llewellins are awesome indoor family dogs! Because they are so social, they really love living with their handler and we think this is a great way to strengthen the handler-dog bond. However, because they are working, active dogs, they require ample daily exercise and also mental stimulation. Inactive, bored dogs will likely lead to destructive behavior and poor physical condition. A lot of setters will settle down very nicely indoors regardless of their activity level outside. Bring your setter indoors--you won't regret it!

What are some common health issues?

Llewellins are prone to all of the diseases that afflict the English Setters but likely with different incidence rate. No health studies have been completed specifically on Llewellins, so similarites can only be inferred. Hip dysplasia, deafness, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism and others are some of the more common health issues, all of which are summarized below. The OFA, PennHip, CERF, and BAER certify health testing results for breeding dogs.

Top | Short Overview & History

Genetic/Health Issues

Please note that the breed statistics below relate to English Setters. Prevalence would likely vary for Llewellins because of the secluded gene pool, but we think it can be safely presumed that if a disease occurs in English Setters, it could occur in Llewellins. Hip Dysplasia and arthritis seem to be the most common health issues in Llewellins.


Arthritis is a condition when the smooth articular cartilage around the joints is worn down, resulting in bones rubbing against each other. This painful condition contributes to lack of joint mobility and lameness. It can be the result of age, environmental factors, infection, Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, and more. There are a wide variety of supplements used to prevent and minimize the effects of arthritis, including glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, yucca, and others, and prescription NSAIDS available for pain relief (most commonly used are Rimadyl and Deramaxx).

For more information: PetPlace "Degenerative Arthritis in Dogs," WDJ "Canine Arthritis Treatment," PetPlace "5 Risk Factors for Canine Arthritis," and Drs. Foster and Smith Joint Health Articles

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is the most common cause of arthritis. It occurs when the hip is abnormally formed in the socket, which leads to the loosening of cartilage. Sometimes it can be recognized before the onset of arthritis. Genetics, nutrition/body condition, exercise, and environment in which they were raised all contribute to the condition. The English Setter is ranked #54 of breeds, with about 16% affected out of over 10,000 dogs tested for Hip Dysplasia through 2011, by the OFA.

For more information: OFA "The Dysplastic Hip Joint," Whole Dog Journal (WDJ) "Helping Dogs with Hip Dysplasia," PetPlace "Hip Dysplasia in Dogs," PetPlace "Hip Dysplasia and OFA," and Norwegian School of Veterinary Science "A number of environmental factors can affect the incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs"

Elbow Dysplasia

English Setters rank #16 for percent of evaluations positive for elbow dysplasia according to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFFA) at 15.5% out of 2602 tested through 2011. Elbow dysplasia is a term used to describe a polygenic (multiple genes attributing to the trait) disease that includes these three conditions: pathology of medial coronoid of the ulna, osteochondritis of medial humeral condyle of the elbow joint, and ununited anconeal process. The inheritance of the individual conditions appears to be independent. Clinical signs include prolonged lameness, gait change, and decreased range of motion in the elbow. The severity or onset is influenced by weight, exercise, and genetics. From OFFA

For more information: OFA "The Dysplastic Elbow," and PetPlace "Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs"

Congenital Deafness

While researchers continue to learn more about congenital deafness, it is yet to be determined what the mode of inheritance is. However, congenital deafness (as opposed to a sudden onset) is hereditary, and does occur in English and Llewellin Setters. It is associated with the merle and piebald genes, which determine the amount of white areas on the body, and absence of pigment producing cells in blood vessels in the inner ear canal. The ticking gene, which determines the heaviness or lightness of ticking, is not thought to be associated with deafness. Congenital deafness usually develops over the first few weeks of life before the ear canals are open. Blood supply is inhibited to parts of the inner ear canal (cochlea) which cause the cochlea nerve cells to die. Deafness can occur unilaterally (one ear) or bilaterally (two ears). You cannot determine what dogs have unpigmented inner canals externally or by otoscope. The most reliable test for deafness is BAER.

For more information: OFA "Genetics and Inheritance of Canine Deafness," PetPlace "Deafness in Dogs," UPEI "Deafness," Deaf Dog Education Action Fund "Frequently Asked Questions," LSU "Deafness in Dogs and Cats," LSU "Dog Breeds with Reported Congenital Deafness," LSU "Breed-Specific Deafness Prevalence in Dogs," LSU "Causes of Sudden Onset of Deafness," LSU "What is the BAER Test," "Congenital Deafness and Its Recognition," by George Strain, PhD, "Deafness prevalence and pigment and gender associations in dog breeds at risk," by George Strain, Phd, "Hereditary Deafness in Dogs and Cats: Causes, Prevalence, and Current Research," by George Strain, PhD, WDJ "Training the Hearing Impaired Dog is Not Difficult," PetPlace "How to Live with A Deaf Dog," and WDJ "Structure of the Canine Ear"

Eye Disease

There are many different kinds of eye diseases, some of which are hereditary, such as juvenile cataracts, primary glaucoma, late onset cataracts, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Although we have found limited data on English Setters and eye diseases, those four appear to be the more common ones in the breed yet still relatively scarce. Some types of eye disease show up much later in life than others. Congenital issues with eyelids such as entropion, ectropion, and cherry eye are likely hereditary. Liquid keratopathy can result from diseases like hypothyroidism and Cushing's, both of which can be hereditary but not always. CERF examinations are used to rule out heritable eye diseases and dogs are recommended to be retested yearly.

For information: CERF, DogHealthDoc "Dog Eyes-List of Problems; [CERF]," PetPlace "Blindness in Dogs," WDJ "Older Dogs and the Onset of Cataracts" PetPlace "Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)" PetPlace "Cataracts in Dogs," AcornVets "Liquid Keratopathy," Northwest Animal Eye Specialists "Corneal Lipidosis,"


Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland, which produces and secretes Thyroxine, a hormone that affects most body systems and is primarily responsible for regulating the metabolic rate of various tissues. It usually affects neutered animals and is the most common endocrine disorder in dogs. Primary hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid is destructed by inflammation from the immune system, degeneration, or infiltration with tumor. Secondary hypothyroidism, the less common of the two, occurs from some other cause resulting in a decrease of thryoxine production. Symptoms are variable and may include weight gain, constipation, lethargy, depression, exercise intolerance, slow heart rate, diarrhea, skin disorders, infertility, cold intolerance, and other hormonal abnormalities. Once diagnosed, it is easily treated and most symptoms resolve within several weeks. From PetPlace "Hypothyroidism in Dogs"

By the time those symptoms above and typical clinical signs like the changes in coat texture, hair loss, and weight gain are present, it is estimated that over 70% of the thyroid tissue is already damaged or destroyed. From Earlier signs may include changes in behavior (aggression, phobias, nervousness), energy (lack thereof), and immune system.

Out of 81 breeds having sent at least 50 tests to OFFA between 1974 and 2009, English Setters unfortunately hold the number one rank for positive results of autoimmune thyroiditis, with only a 52% normal rate. The most common cause of primary hypothyroidism is autoimmune thyroiditis and tends to be apparent between two and five years of age. Development of the disease marker, thyroglobulin antibodies usually development by three and four years of age, typically before clinical signs, and with the advances of technology, periodic testing yields accurate results. Should the antibodies be present, it is an indication that the dog most likely has the genetic form of the disease. From OFA

For more information: PetPlace "Hypothyroidism in Dogs," OFA "Idiopathic Hypothyroidism," OFA "Thyroid Statistics," WDJ "Help for Canines with Hypothyroidism," WDJ "Supporting Your Dog's Immune System," PetPlace "Structure and Function of the Thyroid Gland in Dogs," PetPlace "Medical Causes of Agression in Dogs," PetPlace "Assessment of Hypothyroidism as a Factor of Behavior Problems," and "Behavioral Issues with Thyroiditis" by Jean Dodds, DVM


Over seven million dogs suffer from atopy, allergies to environmental or seasonal irritants. Symptoms include excessive itching, bad skin odor, bumps or papules, chewing, hair loss, inflamed skin, skin infections, open sores, restlessness. Not as common are food allergies; however, dogs with inhalant or seasonal/environmental allergies may be more likely to also develop food allergies. About 70% of dogs that developed food allergies had been fed the same food for a long period of time (not a sudden switch). In addition to atopy symptoms, they may also exhibit vomiting and diarrhea. Testing is available to determine what the allergens are if a dog is suspected of being afflicted. From PetPlace.

(Many dogs also have allergic reactions to flea bites and is the most common form of allergy; if dogs are at risk to flea exposure, it is important to keep them on a topical preventative available through a veterinarian, such as Frontline, Advantix, or Advantage. Over the counter topicals and flea collars from supermarkets and petstores generally aren't as effective. Fleas also transmit tapeworm, so affected dogs should be dewormed with an appropriate product.)

Umbilical Hernia

Umbilical hernias occur at the umbilical cord site, when the ring fails to seal fully, often entrapping a small amount of fat presenting a tiny bubble. If the umbilical hernia is large enough, it can catch some of the intestine causing strangulation; these are the ones that require correction through surgery. The smaller ones are minor issues and can be corrected if desired. Umbilical hernias are an easy fix most of the time, and most vets just perform them while they spay the animal; however, that does not diminish the importance of recognizing the trait in the breed. In our experience, and that of many vets we've talked to, they can be either hereditary or non-hereditary. Sometimes, a little fat just gets caught in there while it's closing or maybe the dam is too rough tearing the cord... these wouldn't be genetic. However, there are many cases in which it is a genetic trait(s); the mechanism has not been determined specifically but is thought to be polygenic recessive. Genetic umbilical hernias could be caused by flawed embriogenesis or a general weakness in that area of the belly. We have had experience with hereditary umbilical hernias with some of our Llewellins, so don't let any breeder tell you it's not genetic or that it doesn't occur in the breed or their bloodline... the strain is a very tight pool of genes.

If you have read the often referenced article about "delayed closures," please be aware that umbilical hernias are in and of themselves delayed closures, which is why there is the opportunity for entrapment of fat or intestine. In other words, a delayed closure is an umbilical hernia and has just the propensity for inheritance as the latter. It's true that not all umbilical hernias are what they consider delayed closures, though, such as in a tear in the ring from rough handling at birth, and these are clearly not hereditary--but to rule that out, both parents' lines must be examined earnestly. From the time I first read this article, and when I see it time and time again on breeders' sites, it seems to me that "delayed closures" are a misleading scapegoat for breeders producing puppies with umbilical hernias but not wishing to call them such, for the association with genetic inheritance. In our opinion, it's a red, or at least yellow flag, if you find someone saying they've had delayed closures (or are breeding affected dogs) but not umbilical hernias and that neither are genetic.... Research also suggests that there may be genetic overlap between umbilical hernias and cryptorchidism (below).

For more information: PetPlace "Umbilical Hernias in Dogs," "Hereditabilities for Abdominal Cryptorchisim and Umbilical Hernia in Dog"

Inguinal Hernias

These are not as common in Llewellins as umbilical hernias, but we've learned that the breed is affected by a hereditary form. For more information: Pet Education, PetPlace


Cryptorchidism is an inherited condition of one or both testicles failing to descend into the scrotum. If both haven't descended by about two months of age, it is unlikely (but not impossible) that they will ever. The undescended testicle may cause later health problems, such as testicular cancer or testicular torsion. If both are undescended the dog is usually sterile, although this isn't usually the case with only one undescended. Neutering is strongly recommended to retrieve the undescended testicle, and as this is an inherited condition (autosomal, recessive), the afflicted dog should be neutered. From PetPlace "Cryptorchidism in Dogs"

For more information: "Cryptorchidism in the Dog: How it Happens, How to Diagnose, Whether to Treat," by Cheryl Lopate, MS, DVM, and FetchDog "Cryptorchidism in Dogs" FAQ


English Setters can suffer from seizure disorders but it is rare. One such disorder is Neuronal Canine Ceroid Lipofuscinosis or NCL. We are only aware of one Llewellin that had a seizure disorder and believe it to be a very rare occurance in this breed.

For more information: CanineGeneticDiseases "NCL Basics," PetPlace "Seizure Disorders in Dogs," and PetPlace "Idiopathic Epilepsy in Dogs"


Top |Genetic/Health Issues

Short Overview and History

The following text was taken, with permission, from Llewellin Setters Online.

The English Setter is one of the most handsome of sporting dogs. Their abundant coats give them an advantage over the Pointer in facing cold, wet, windy weather, or brambles and briars in a rough country. Their admirers also claim they possess more dash and vim, do not thicken up so quickly with age as the Pointer, and that they improve in their work from year to year. The picture presented by a well-bred Setter with soft, expressive eye, low-set ear, head chiseled on classic lines, clean cut neck, graceful outline, and attractive coat and coloring, leaves nothing to be desired in point of beauty. In addition, they possess the sweetest and most companionability of dispositions.

The modern Setter is said to be descended from Spaniels, which had been trained to stop and set the birds instead of flushing them. The time and place, however, where this first occurred is shrouded in obscurity.

Edward Laverack The excellences of our present-day Setters can be attributed largely to Edward Laverack. This gentleman, about 1825, secured a brace of Setters, Ponto and Old Moll, from the Rev. Mr. Harrison, of Carlisle. These dogs he mated, their progeny in turn were interbred, and this formulae of breeding was continued for upward of fifty years, in the course of which time Mr. Laverack created a strain of Setters bearing his name, which were as famous for their field qualities as for their beauty.

The types of all breeds of dogs have been determined almost entirely by bench shows, and if these had been the only influence that had operated upon the English Setter family, there would be but one recognized type of English Setter. This, however, is not the case, for half a century ago, just about the time that bench shows were getting upon a sound basis, practical sportsmen in both Europe and America instituted field trials for Bird Dogs. These contests have enjoyed a remarkable vogue, and as a result we have had bench show Setter fanciers developing a type of Setter which expressed their ideals of what an English Setter should be, and another group of field trial men devoting all of their attention to developing field qualities with an entire disregard for size, color, general type, conformation, and other things that the bench-show men hold most dear. The only question that concerned the field-trial man was utility, his only standard "the survival of the fittest."

The conclusions that men arrive at in writing a bench-show standard as to how a practical working dog should be built and how his head should be supported on his neck or his shoulders placed in relationship to his body, is more or less whimsical and subject to change. There is no way of determining, that which is right, and that which is wrong. There is always danger of overemphasizing the importance of some point at the expense of others and losing sight of the fact that under the laws of correlation it is impossible to change one point without changing all others to a greater or less degree.

The field-trial men have never permitted details of conformation to detract from their single object of practical performance. As a result of the operation of the law of the survival of the fittest, a field trial type has been evolved that is easily recognized, and breeds truer to type than the bench-show dogs that have been fashioned in response to the opinions of men who were without means for determining the accuracy of their judgment. The bench-show winning Setter today is a very elegant animal, but no more so than the field trial dog, with every element of utility expressed in his countenance, written in his frame, and recorded in his pedigree.

The bench show setters of today have a Laverack foundation. Half a century ago this was more or less mixed with native blood, which disappeared before rapid importations of dogs from abroad. These early importations were nearly all Laverack, or at least the Laverack strain predominated. Those that followed them were often mixed with other Old English Setter strains, and all of them were distinguished by much grace and beauty, particularly in coat, color, and general outline. Many of them had been bench-show winners abroad and a few had appeared at English field trials. Occasionally they were placed in America, but on the whole they were all lacking the speed, dash, endurance, and unquenchable spirit necessary to win American stakes. Their names are regarded with disfavor in field trial pedigrees.

Among the first Laverack dogs to be brought to this country were: Pride of the Border and Fairy; then came Emperor Fred and Thunder; Plantagenet and Foreman were prominent in bench shows in the early '80's, and shortly afterward Rockingham, Princess Beatrice, Count Howard, Monk of Furness, and Cora of Witherall had the center of the stage. In the '90's Albert's Ranger was attracting a good deal of attention, and later came Mallwyd, Sirdar, Stylish Sargent, Dido B, Bloomfield Racket, Blue Bell, Moll O'Leck, Meg O'Leck, Stylish Bell Bonner. All of these dogs while attractive in appearance lacked rugged character and the well-balanced proportions of the field-trial strain. Most of them were bred in England or were descended from dogs of English breeding which, although they might have proven fairly satisfactory workmen under old country conditions, were unable to cope either in speed, style, endurance, or quick, snappy way of working with the field-trial type.

Purcell Llewellin The history of the field trial strain is as follows: About the time the Laverack strain of Setters were in their zenith in England, Mr. R. L. Purcell Llewellin, who for several years had been experimenting with various families of setters, purchased a number of Mr. Laverack's best dogs of the pure Dash, Moll and Dash-Lill Laverack blood. These Laveracks he crossed with some entirely new blood, which he obtained in the north of England, represented by Mr. Statter's and Sir Vincent Corbet's strain since referred to as the Duke- Rhoebe, the latter being the two most prominent members of this blood.

The most important cross in the development of the field English Setter was the Duke/Rhoebe-Laverack cross. This cross provided the sportsman of the late 1800's a Setter with boldness, stamina and pointing instinct not known prior to this time. The Llewellin is based on this cross. According to the FDSB to be a FDSB registered "Llewellin" an English Setter must be 100% Duke/Rhoebe-Laverack. No other blood is allowed.

The most widely known Llewellins are the American and Humphrey Llewellins. The American Llewellins today are the descendants of the early Llewellin imports into America. These dogs were largely 50% Laverack and 50% Duke/Rhoebe. Today few survive as pure American Llewellins and are close to 55-60% Laverack 45%-40% Duke/ Rhoebe. Due to being strong willed and bold, they were used extensively in the develpement of the field trial English Setter.

The result of these crosses was eminently successful, particularly at field trials, and swept everything before them. Their reputation spread to America, and sportsmen in different sections of the United States and Canada purchased many, so that this line of breeding soon became firmly established in this country.

Count Noble The name that stands out most conspicuously in the foundation of the field trial Setter in America is Count Noble. This dog was purchased from Mr. Llewellin by Dave Sandborn, of Dowling, Michigan, who, after trying him out on the prairies, was on the point of returning him to England, but was persuaded not to do so by the late B. F. Wilson, of Pittsburgh. The character and qualities that Sandborn objected to were those to which Mr. Wilson attached the highest importance. On the death of Mr. Sandborn, Count passed into the hands of Mr. Wilson, who gave him opportunity to demonstrate his sterling qualities and his reputation was soon established from coast to coast. The body of this famous dog (pictured above), mounted, is now on display at the National Bird Dog Museum, Grand Junction, TN., where it is visited annually by many sportsmen. Other famous names are: Gladstone, Sue, Druid, Ruby and Gath and their descendants; Bohemian Girl, Roderigo, Gath's Hope, Gath's Mark, Count Gladstone IV, Antonio, Tony Boy, Geneva, Mohawk, Lady's Count Gladstone, Rodfield, Count Whitestone II and Sioux. Thousands of the descendants of these famous dogs are scattered all over the country, and many of them in field trials have perpetuated the fame of this branch of the Setter family. The men who for half a century have owned and bred and raised them have always been deeply concerned with the absolute purity of the line of breeding of their dogs, and have never tolerated an out-cross of any kind and object to a dog whose reputation is based solely upon some bench-show performance.

Purcell Llewellin The Humphrey Llewellins (Horsford Dashing, Horsford Count & Countess, Dashing Bondhu's and Windem's) were the result of Mr. Humphrey combining his Llewellins from Mr. Llewellins stock with American Llewellin and Laveracks from Law Turner and others. His Horsford Dashing were almost 100% Laverack and his Dashing Bondhu's were 80 to 90% Laverack. His Horsford Counts and Countess's were American Llewellins and his Windems were the result of breeding a Count or American Llewellin to a Dashing. These dog were known to be bold but easy to handle - gentleman's dogs. Today they survive with some American Llewellin outcrosses as Advie, Highland, and Machad Ambassador lines. There are pure kennels of Dashing Bondhu (also called Scinn Amach) and Windems (also known as Clonclurragh) in Belgium and Italy.

The question of formation, weight, and color has always been of minor importance. Everything has been predicated upon their performance in the field, and as a result of this devotion to the single standard of utility they have succeeded in establishing a general type easily recognized, but for which no standard has ever been written.

The following text article was taken, with permission, from the Llewellin Setter Page.

"Llewellin fanciers maintain their breed is a strong contender for anyone interested in a stylish, easy handling, and good looking gun dog that harks back to the good old days of gentlemen's bird hunting."

The Llewellin Setter is a very specific, pure strain of "English Setter with bloodlines tracing back to the breeding program of nineteenth century sportsman R. L. Purcell Llewellin. Llewellin and Edward Laverack played a key role in the development of the breed. Llewellin's name has been irrevocably associated with those English Setters bred for field work." It should be noted that not all field-type English Setters are FDSB Registered Llewellin Setters, and "Llewellin-type" setters are not FDSB registered Llewellin Setters. The generic use of the term 'Llewellin' for all field-type English Setters does NOT mean that the dog is a registered Llewellin. If the dog is not registered as Llewellin with the Field Dog Stud Book (FDSB) of Chicago, then, it is not technically a Llewellin in an historic sense. I, personally, don't have a problem with folks using "llewellin" as a generic term to describe field English Setters as long as they know that there is difference. Llewellin bloodlines include Dashing Bondhu (= Scinn Amach = Luathas), Wind'em (= Machad = Cloncurragh = Advie (but >90% Dashing)), Bomber, Gladstone, Tony-O, Royacelle and Blizzard.

"In the mid-1860s, R.L. Purcell Llewellin of Pembrokeshire, South Wales, began his breeding program utilizing dogs obtained from Laverack. Llewellin was primarily interested in developing dogs for field work, and he experimented with various crosses before discovering the nick that would ultimately establish his name as a synonym for topnotch field-bred English Setters." As an aside, confusion also stems from the fact that the AKC does not recognize the Llewellin separately from English, and they refer to all "field-type" English setters as "Llewellin" which is technically incorrect....but we all know what the AKC has done for field dogs.

"Llewellin's breakthrough occurred when he purchased two dogs, Dan and Dick, while attending a field trial at Shewbury in 1871. Dan and Dick were sons of a dog named Duke, owned by Barclay Field, and a bitch named Rhoebe (Rhoebe's dam was half Gordon and half South Esk, a now extinct breed), owned by Thomas Statter; both of these dogs were out of northern England stock noted for outstanding field work. Llewellin bred Dan and Dick to his Laverack females, and a new era in bird dog history was begun."

"The Duke, Rhoebe, and Laverack crossing produced exactly what Llewellin was looking for, and the offspring quickly attracted the notice of sportsmen in both England and North America. Dan proved to be especially preponent, and it was he who sired Gladstone, one of the most important Llewellins of all time. Gladstone quickly established himself as a top field performer and sire. His achievements contributed greatly to the surge of popularity the Llewellins were soon to enjoy."

"Count Noble, another great Llewellin furthered the recognition begun by Gladstone and surpassed Gladstone's record for siring winning progeny. When mated to Gladstone's daughters, Count Noble produced dogs that swept the field trial circuit, firmly fixing in sportsmen's minds the notion that the Llewellins were the "ones to beat" in trial competition. One of Count Noble's sons, Count Gladstone IV, won the inaugural National Bird Dog Championship, run at West Point, Mississippi in 1896."

"Today, only the Field Dog Stud Book (FDSB) of Chicago, published by American Field, recognizes Llewellins as those English Setters whose ancestry traces back to the Original Duke-Rhoebe-Laverack Cross." Hence, all Llewellins are currently registered via the FDSB separately from English. Although some do breed English to Llewellin, in such cases, the litter must be registered as English Setter with the FDSB and NOT Llewellin. Any such outcrossing of Llewellin lines disqualifies the resulting litters registration as Llewellin with the FDSB.

So, why do Llewellins have a separate registry with the FDSB, and other field-type English don't? This is a simple matter of timing and history. Llewellins were so dominant to any other 'English' setter of the day that they, in essence, won a separate registry in 1902. In fact, Llewellins were the base stock for most (if not all) field-type English in the U.S. today. So, the percentage of Llewellin blood in most modern English lines is most likely quite high. Current field-type English (Ryman, DeCoverly, Tomoka, Tekoa Mountain, etc.) were not established for several decades after the Llewellin; therefore, they are not recognized separately from English by the FDSB.

"Traits: Intelligent, strong natural abilities, a desire to please, willingness to work for the gun and a companionable disposition. You can make a pet of these dogs and you won't have a bit of trouble with them in the field. Their disposition contributes to the dog's easy handling. One of the most interesting and controversial points to arise in any discussion of Llewellin setters concerns their appearance. Many sportsmen erroneously believe that a purebred Llewellin can be identified by its color and markings. In actuality, a Llewellin can be marked and colored like any other English Setter, and appearance is neither a guarantee nor a condemnation of bloodline purity." Indeed, it is not surprising that many modern field-type setters have a Llewellin like physical appearance since these dogs are also bred for nose, and stamina. "Because many of the early Llewellins were tricolors - white with solid black heads and tan eyebrows and check patches - that coloration has long been considered standard by many sportsmen. But equally common are the blue and orange beltons. And although somewhat rare, there is also a chestnut belton, a color particularly favored by Llewellin himself. The term "belton" was first used by Laverack, and was taken from the name of a town near Northumberland, England where many of the setters carried this distinctive color scheme." Additionally, one may here the term 'Belton-type' setter. This is a misnomer, and is misused to describe field-type English that are used almost exclusively to hunt grouse and woodcock.

Pups that are born all white will eventually develop small black, orange, or chestnut ticks (very small spots) all over their bodies. When older, these pups will end up with a great number of ticks and are called "beltons" (blue belton, orange belton, or chestnut belton). Blue refers to black hair that mingles with the white surrounding hair to form bluish-gray coloring. Ticking will not be completed until a pup is about 9 months old. All large spots will show up on a pup at the time of birth (pups with large spots on the body, and/or partially or solid heads are not referred to as belton). Adult weight averages around 50 pounds and height is about 24 inches with females being slightly smaller.

"Although lacking the exaggerated beauty of bench setters, the modern Llewellin Setter is indeed a good-looking dog, and he is every inch a sporting dog."

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