This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
Dan himself was a very fine upstanding and handsome dog, and his stock might therefore be expected to resemble him, while the Laverack dogs are nearly all heavy and lumbering, and the bitches, though very elegant, too small and delicate for perfection. The points of the English setter may be described as follows:
1. The skull has a character peculiar to itself, somewhat between that of the pointer and cocker spaniel, not so heavy as the former's, and larger than the latter's. It is without the prominence of the occipital bone so remarkable in the pointer, is also narrower between the ears, and there is a decided brow over the eyes.
2. The nose should be long and wide, without any fullness un-der the eyes. There should be in the average dog setter at least four inches from the inner corner of the eye to the end of the nose. Between the point and the root of the nose there should be a slight depression - at all events, there should be no fullness - and the eyebrows should rise sharply from it The nostrils must be wide apart and large in the openings, and the end should be moist and cool, though many a dog with exceptionally good scenting powers has had a remarkably dry nose, amounting in some cases to roughness like that of shagreen. In all setters the end of the nose should be black, or dark liver-colored, but in the very best bred whites or lemon and whites pink is often met with, and may in them be pardoned. The jaws should be exactly equal in length, a "snipe nose," or "pig jaw," as the receding lower one is called, being greatly against its possessor.
3. Ears, lips, and eyes. With regard to ears, they should be shorter than the pointer's and rounded, but not so much so as those of the spaniel. The "leather" should be thin and soft,car-ried closely to the cheeks, so as not to show the inside, without the slightest tendency to prick the ear, which should be clothed with silky hair little more than two inches in length. The lips also are not so full and pendulous as those of the pointer, but at their angles there should be a slight fullness, not reaching quite to the extent of hanging. The eyes must be full of animation, and of medium size, the best color being a rich brown, and they should be set with their angles straight across.
4. The neck has not the full rounded muscularity of the pointer, being considerably thinner, but still slightly arched, and set into the head without that prominence of the occipital bone which is so remarkable in that dog. It must not be "throaty," though the skin is loose.
5. The shoulders and chest should display great liberty in all directions, with sloping deep shoulder blades, and elbows well let down. The chest should be deep rather than wide, though Mr. Laverack insists on the contrary formation, italicising the word wide in his remarks at page 22 of his book. Possibly it may be owing to this formation that his dogs have not succeeded at any field trial, as above remarked; for the bitches of his breed, notably Countess and Daisy, which I have seen, were as narrow as any setter breeder could desire. I am quite satisfied that on this point Mr. Laverack is altogether wrong. I fully agree with him, however, that the "ribs should be well sprung behind the shoulder," and great depth of the back ribs should be especially demanded.
6. Back, quarters, and stifles. An arched loin is desirable, but not to the extent of being "roached" or "wheel-backed" a defect which generally tends to a slow up-and-down gallop. Stifles well bent, and set wide apart, to allow the hind legs to be brought for ward with liberty in the gallop.
7. Legs, elbows, and hocks. The elbows and toes, which generally go together, should be set straight; and if not, the "pigeon-toe " or in-turned leg is less objectionable than the out-turn, in which the elbow is confined by its close attachment to the ribs. The arm should be muscular and the bone fully developed, with strong and broad knees, short pasterns, of which the size in point of bone should be as great as possible (a very important point), and their slope not exceeding a very slight deviation from the straight line. Many good judges insist upon a perfectly upright pastern, like that of the foxhound; but it must not be forgotten that the setter has to stop himself suddenly when at full stretch he catches scent, and to do this with an upright and rigid pastern causes a considerable strain on the ligaments, soon ending in "knuckling over;" hence a very slight bend is to be preferred. The hind legs should be muscular, with plenty of bone, clean strong hocks, and hairy feet
8. The feet should be carefully examined, as upon their capability of standing wear and tear depends the utility of the dog. A great difference of opinion exists as to the comparative merits of the cat and hare foot for standing work. Foxhound masters in-variably select that of the cat, and, as they have better opportunities than any other class of instituting the necessary comparison, their selection may be accepted as final. But, as setters are specially required to stand wet and heather, it is imperatively necessary that there should be a good growth of hair between the toes, and on this account a hare foot, well clothed with hair, as it generally is, must be preferred to a cat foot naked, as is often the case, except on the upper surface.
9. The flag is in appearance very characteristic of the breed, although it sometimes happens that one or two puppies in a well-bred litter exhibit a curl or other malformation, usually considered to be indicative of a stain. It is often compared to a scimitar, but it resembles it only in respect of its narrowness, the amount of curl in the blade of this Turkish weapon being far too great to make it the model of the setter's flag. Again, it has been compared to a comb; but as combs are usually straight, here again the simile fails, as the setter's flag should have a gentle sweep; and the nearest resemblance to any familiar form is to the scythe with its curve reversed. The feather must be composed of straight silky hairs, and beyond the root the less short hair on the flag the better, especially towards the point, of which the bone should be fine, and the feather tapering with it.
10. Symmetry and quality. In character the setter should display a great amount of "quality," a term which is difficult of explanation, though fully appreciated by all experienced sportsmen. It means a combination of 'symmetry, as understood by the artist, with the peculiar attributes of the breed under examination, as interpreted by the sportsman. Thus, a setter possessed of such a frame and outline as to charm an artist would be considered by the sportsman defective in "quality" if he possessed a curly or harsh coat, or if he had a heavy head with pendent bloodhound-like jowl and throaty neck. The general outline is very elegant, and more taking to the eye of the artist than that of the pointer.
11. The texture and feather of coat are much regarded among setter breeders, a soft silky hair without curl being considered a sine qua non. The feather should be considerable, and should fringe the hind as well as the fore legs.
12. The color of coat is not much insisted on among English setters, a great variety being admitted. These are now generally classed as follows, in the order given: (1) Black and white ticked, with large splashes, and more or less marked with black, known as "blue Belton;" (2) orange and white freckled, known as orange Belton; (3) plain orange, or lemon and white; (4) liver and white; (5) black and white, with slight tan markings; (6) black and white; (7) liver and white; (8) pure white; (9) black; (10) liver; (11) red or yellow.