Since the first publication of the articles on the various breeds on dogs in The Field, during the years 1865-6, the strain of English setters known by the name of "Laverack," from the gentleman who bred them, has carried all before it, both on the show bench and in the public field trials which have been annually held. For this high character it is greatly indebted to the celebrated Countess, who was certainly an extraordinary animal, both in appearance and at work; for until she came out the only Laverack which had shone to advantage was Sir R Garth's Daisy, a good average bitch. Though small, Countess was possessed of extraordinary pace, not perhaps quite equal to that of the still more celebrated pointer Drake, but approaching so closely to it that his superiority would be disputed by many of her admirers. On referring to her portrait (see frontispiece), it will be seen that her frame, though on short legs, is full of elegance, and her beautiful head and neck are absolutely perfect. The most remarkable feature in the Laverack breed of setters is the extraordinary extent to which in-breeding has been carried, as shown in the pedigree of Countess, given by Mr. Laverack in his book on the setter.

The English Setter 36

By examining this carefully, it will be seen that every animal in it, is descended from Ponto and Old Moll, which were obtained by Mr. Laverack in 1825 from the Rev. A. Harrison, who lived near Carlisle, and who had kept the breed pure for thirty five years. Four names only besides these two are found in the right hand column, and these four are all descended from Ponto and old Moll, as will be seen at a glance by referring to the names in italic in the middle of the table. Thus it appears that they alone formed Mr. Laverack's breed, though he often stated that he had tried the introduction of alien blood, but finding it not to answer, he had abandoned the produce, and resorted again to the original stock. This has led to the belief that the pedigree is incorrect, but he was very positive in his statement. If correct, it certainlv is the most remarkable case of breeding-in-and-in I ever met with.

ENGLISH SETTER. COUNTESS.   See pagt 97

ENGLISH SETTER. COUNTESS

Regent..

Pilot....

Dash I.

Rock.....

Belle I.

Moll II.

Dash I.

Sting.....

Belle I.

JetI ..

Pilot....

Dash I.

Belle I.

Moll II. .

Dash I.

Dash lI

Belle I.

Regent..

Pilot....

Dash I.

Blair's Cora.

Belle I

Moll II.

Dash I.

Belle I.

Jet I. .

Pilot ...

Dash I

Belle I.

Pedigree or Llewellyn's Countess, Sister to Nelly and sam.__

See Frontispiece.

Moll II.

Dash I.

Belle I

Rock

Rock ..

Pilot.

Fred I....

Moll II.

Peg.....

Dash I

Cora II...

Moll II.

Moll II..

Dash I...

Ponto.

Old Moll.

Bellel...

Ponto.

.

Old Moll.

Cora I..

Dash I..

OldMoll ..

BelleI...

Ponto....

Old Moll..

Rock...

Pilot....

DashL

Rock I

Belle I.

Moll II.

Dash I.

Fred I....

Belle I.

Peg..

Dash I..

Ponto.

Old Moll.

Moll II...

Dash I.

Moll III

Belle I.

Moll II....

Dash I.

Ponto....

OldMoll. .

Belle I..

Old Moll..

Regent..

Pilot....

Dash I.

Rick II

Belle I.

Moll II..

Dash I.

Belle II..

Belle I.

Jet I...

Pilot....

Dash I.

Belle I.

Moll II...

Dash I.

Belle I.

Regent___

Pilot______

Dash I.

Blair's Cora.

Belle I.

Moll II...

Dash I.

Belle I.

Jet I...

Pilot....

Dash I.

Belle I.

Moll II...

Dash I.

Belle I.

5

A great many different strains of English setters might be adduced from all parts of the country, but notably from the north of England, with claims superior to those of Mr. Laverack's strain, up to the time of the institution of field trials. Among these were the Graham and Corbet breeds, those of the Earl of Tankerville, Lord Waterpark, Mr. Bishop, Mr. Bayley, Mr. Lort, Mr. Jones (of Oscott), Major Cowan, Mr. Withington,Mr. Paul Hackett, and Mr. Calver, the last two being a good deal crossed with Gordon blood. None of these strains were, however, so generally known beyond the immediate circle of their owners' friends as to have gained a Universal reputation; and it was not until the public appearance of Mr. Garth's Daisy, and afterwards that of Mr. Purcell Llewellyn's Countess and Nelly, that the Laverack strain attained its present high reputation. Before Daisy came out, Mr. Garth had produced a brace of very bad ones at Stafford in 1867; and it was with considerable prejudice against them that the above celebrated bitches first exhibited their powers, in spite of the high character given of them by Mr. Lort, Mr. Withington, and other well-known sportsmen who had shot over them for years.

It is Mr. Lort's opinion that Mr. Withington possessed better dogs than even Countess; but it must not be forgotten that private trials are generally more flattering than those before the public.

I come now to consider the value of Mr. Llewellyn's "field trial" strain, as they are somewhat grandiloquently termed by their "promoters," or as I shall term them, the "Dan-Laveracks," being all either by Dan out of Laverack bitches, or by a Laverack dog out of a sister to Dan. As a proof of the superiority of this cross to the pure Laveracks, "Setter" states, that during the last two years ten of this breed" (Laveracks), "and ten of the Duke-Rbcebe and Laverack cross, have been sent to America; the former including Petrel, winner of the champion prize at Birmingham, Pride of the Border, Fairy, and Victress; the latter including Rock, Leicester, Rob Roy, Dart, and Dora, the same men being owners of both sorts. At the American Shows both sorts have appeared, and the Rhoebe blood has always beaten the Laverack. At field trials no Laverack has been entered; but, first, second, and third prizes were gained at their last field trials, in the champion stakes, by dogs of the Rhcebe blood, all descended from Mr Llewellyn's kennel." I confess that, in my opinion, this does not indicate any superiority in the one over the other, as far as regards field trials, since they were not tested together; and in reference to the superiority of the Dan-Laveracks on the show bench, it is of little interest to my present inquiry, but I unhesitatingly state, that, as far as my judgment and opportunities for forming it go, "Setter" is quite correct.