Critique - Judges: Dogs: Peter Hall (Harreds)

What a great Spring day it was, gratitude is given to the Officers and Committee of the Irish Setter Breeders Club for both my appointment and the for the opportunity given to me of going over your dogs. Additionally, many thanks to both Cheryl Stevenson and Adrienne Callister for their support and hard work keeping my ring going all day, it makes life so much easier having understanding and supportive Stewards.

The sunshine almost gave it a whole new perspective looking at burnished chestnut Setters outdoors in Spring sunshine as opposed to the hot Summer sun which comes later in the year or having to stay inside a dull building. I really enjoyed my day, a few hair splitting decisions and a line up I was more than happy with in the end.

It is ten years since I last judged dogs and if I am honest, I was thinking “what will I do?” as our breed has had many influences and changes over this relatively short period. So, when it came to the job in hand, I found enough of the boys to my type and liking still and or of similar standards. However, on looking at the catalogue afterwards, the breeding is somewhat limited and based on similar lines; it may consolidate the virtues but it can also manifest the failings, imperfections and possible potential health issues, maybe.

Judging is such a subjective role to execute and based on one’s interpretation of our understanding of the UK Kennel Club Breed Standard, as we see and know it. As much as I don’t mind a bit of length of body and or amount of quality coat, both can disguise and or undermine the ideal when an expert handler is mastering the art of showing over and above the average exhibitor and how you can be drawn in. On the other hand, compromise and weighing up makes it all very interesting and dependant on your concentration levels as to which way the pendulum swings. This certainly was the case with my final piece of judging and on turning from a distant I saw what I saw and was happy with my outcomes, but who knows what may have happened given the same dogs and conditions the following day.

Finally, I thank my Co-Judge Mrs Gill Dale for her considerations and good sportsmanship with the time given to our joint decisions at the end of the day.

Minor Puppy Dog 9 (2)

1st         Holley’s Wynjill Winner Takes All; He certainly took this class to win, a collected young dog, nothing exaggerated with him at all from his pleasant balanced head to his sound limbs, correct quality of coat for this age. Schooled and turned out to perfection as can be expected from this breeder/exhibitor, it certainly takes them a long way if you’re to be serious about exhibiting.

2nd        French’s Zen Power Diervilla (Imp Pol); Nice typey dog, a lot to like about him, not quite as polished as my winner which may not have helped with his placing today. He has it all to come I hope as he matures, stack him out a tad more to allow for a more natural topline and croup.

3rd        Dewar’s Gwendariff Here I Come; loved this puppy; he grabbed my attention as soon as I saw him, his novice handler was unable to get the best from him and it may have lost him the class. My only bit of advice is to understand what is expected and why with showing an Irish Setter and you’ll nail it, just don’t kill the spirit of either the puppy or yourself. Three very nice minor puppy dogs.

Puppy Dog 9 (1)

1st         Ciechonska’s Riverbrue Altissimo at Aoibheanne; what an attractive young man, good bone and substance, well covered and coated, stacked on four honest limbs, one in each corner as desired. Good balanced handsome head for this age, clean neck into shoulders and firm topline and lovely set on tail used with sound movement. Very happy to see him go Best Puppy in Show with my Co-Judge.

2nd        Holley’s Wynjill Winner Takes All

3rd        French’s Zen Power Diervilla (Imp Pol) 

Junior Dog 9 (1)

1st         Chorley-Newton’s & Chorley’s Pawsword Priceless to Kerryfair; cracking young dog, loved his size and stamp. Not in his best coat today, but didn’t detract from his balanced head, neck into shoulders and forehand, sufficient balance with length and depth of body, finished with good unexaggerated quarters that took him around the ring with ease to take the class from his brothers, as I established afterwards.

2nd        Davis’s Pawsword Prairie Wind; Slightly taller and racier dog, pleasant balanced head and forehand, in good coat and handled well stacked and on the move. Not as finished over the quarters as my winner for me.

3rd        Kolbach’s Pawsword Preacher Man; a trio of handsome young dogs, their breeder should be happy with the litter. This young dog has a nice balanced head set on a smaller framed animal, but this doesn’t worry me. Not as positive or the verve on the move as his brothers and paid the price with his placing.

Yearling Dog 10 (1)

1st         Bott’s Gwendariff D’ya Know My Name by Bardonhill JW; this is a mature yet retained young male, very masculine with strengths and quality throughout and not coarse in any way. He possesses an attractive head, balanced and with more defining to come as he matures I am sure. In great condition and coat, this dog is an honest straight mover and carries himself well, which gave him the class today over my second placing.

2nd        Condron’s Gwendariff D’ya Fancy a Fling with Covarney: stacked, this dog gave me everything, preferred his subtle size and balance, he has good bone on straight limbs, an attractive chiselled head and dark eye, ribbed and depth of chest under a good clean dark coat with movement to interest me, shame he met his brother today.

3rd        Lorrimer’s Kerrimere Charismatic JW; stands slightly over more ground and of a varying type to the first two. However, he is sound and well made, possesses a handsome balanced head and good body properties.

Maiden Dog 4 (0)

1st         Stockton’s Riverbrue Alchemist Amidst Kespas; interesting to see his brother had won an earlier class today, this is an attractive finer racier dog who covers his ground. When stacking him, his handler seemed to hold both head and tail higher than desired, which can spoil his outline or maybe it could be my bad timing.

2nd        Davis’s Pawsword Prairie Wind;

3rd        Pallister’s Penwyn Mississippi Moon

Novice Dog 5 (0)

1st         Stockton’s Riverbrue Alchemist Amidst Kespas;

2nd        Davis’s Pawsword Prairie Wind;

3rd        Kniveton’s Quensha Starman Aboard Orstone

Undergraduate Dog 6 (2)

1st         Robert’s & Cormack’s Sangarah Shared Romance with Polmennor (Imp Hun); not quite the bloom as I would like in today’s competition, but none the less, an honest and typey dog. Balanced masculine head with finish. Good forehand, depth and length into sufficient quarters which allowed for sound movement despite the lack of tighter feet.

2nd        Williamson’s Caskey’s Solar Eclipse at Bluesprings; smaller framed dog, an attractive typical head, would just like a tad more length of muzzle and more strength and finish to quarters to give a better picture.

3rd        Wheeldon’s Bardonhill Jealous Guy for Colemist

Graduate Dog 11 (0)

1st         Longbottom’s Gwendariff Unknown Soldier; a charismatic dog who caught my eye, a lot to like with him, however, he is naturally balanced already and can be spoilt by over stretching him. When they have sufficient length of body, why would you over stretch them and make them appear longer? He possesses a typey balanced head with lovely expression and working, good body properties on four sound limbs and feet and good tail carriage. In super coat and condition and shows himself well but I wouldn’t want anymore, he is still young and should only improve with maturity.

2nd        Condron, Pullen & Atkin’s Covarney Flapjack; so pleased to have seen this dog, he is a good stamp of a setter, he has strength without coarseness and not a big dog, which I liked. Balanced quality head with chiselling and appeal, good body properties and good bone and feet which cover the ground well soundly. In super coat and colour, just a shame he doesn’t always carry himself well which spoils the picture for me.

3rd        Robert’s & Cormack’s Sangarah Shared Romance with Polmennor (Imp Hun)

Post Graduate Dog 11 (2)

1st         Macauley’s Caskey’s Mischief of Stylersetts JW; a lot to like about this dog, very typey and love his quality, size and stamp. Not in his best coat or condition, he has handsome chiselled head properties and soft expressive eyes, his overall balance is good and movement, although restricted, is sound, just wish he was a little more animated on the move to take him further.

2nd        Muir’s Romarne Tattinger; not so dissimilar in size and stamp as my winner, this slightly darker coated dog certainly holds his own in competition. Good forehand and attractive head, he carries himself well on the move, not quite the finish behind as my winner today.

3rd        Kniveton’s Hot Sensation’s Orstone Cowboy (Imp Swe) JW

Mid Limit Dog 11(1)

1st         Wilkins Margaretwoods Gob Stopper JW ShCM; an interesting class for me, I thought on first looking I knew what I was going to do, then assessed the dogs and surprised myself. The first and second dogs underestimate themselves as they appear quite flashy which isn’t really for me and of course they are, but they actually are well made and attractive dogs in their own right on going over them. This dog has a very balanced expressive head and holds himself well stacked and on the move. Overall good body assets throughout and moves soundly fore and aft. His refinements gave him the class.

2nd        Willis’s Gwendariff Thyme Bomb at Jacwilins JW: a slightly heavier made dog, masculine but not coarse, not quite the refinements of head properties for me, but his overall construction and movement are sound and proportionate. In super condition and well-presented and handled as was the winner.

3rd        Rowbottom’s Lanstara Spring Moon; a dog more to my size and stamp and unlucky to meet the first two. He was worthy of his placing, just not quite the command the other two had.

Limit Dog 10(2)

1st         Mclarnon’s Gwendariff Nuts Aboutu Glenavna JW; three good dogs not so dissimilar to each other yet stand on their own merits and values. My winner couldn’t be more dependable, he hides nothing and possesses honest virtues. Good size male, stands four square on good boned limbs and feet with no indication of exaggeration, stacked or otherwise. He has a good masculine head with kind soft expression with a dark eye and that knowing quizzical brow twitching or is it him just looking at his mum saying “will you ever stop fidgeting with me!” You almost blew it, the fidgeting only makes things worst, so care not to make him stacked like a rocking horse, four square is how he is made, he needs no stretching as he has sufficient good fore and aft angulation, a good firm topline to wide muscled rear end that drives him around the ring as he pulls in the ground from the front. Lovely clean dark coat with the break I love and desire. Maybe not quite the type as I would like, but he is not embellished in anyway, very straightforward yet refined and balanced both stacked and on the move. Pleased to award him the CC, his third, and with my Co-Judge, Best in Show.

2nd        Mitchell’s Amblin Sweet William: a good-looking lad, unfortunate to meet the winner. A lot to like about him, his size and construction appeals, albeit, he and my third, carry slightly more length than my first placing. A balanced handsome head and soft expression, dark coat and mellow disposition, maybe a tad too laid back for an Irish.

3rd        Walsh & Foster’s Millcroft Chase the Moon to Shanoah, very much a male, but retains qualities to appeal. Lovely dark coated dog, masculine head with an interested eye. Stacks up well to give a racy yet rangier outline.

Open Dog 10 (5)

1st         Crocker & Siddle’s Sh.Ch. Coppers War of Roses; this was a class that had me thinking, which is the part I like about judging, I had five quality dogs of the ten entered to sort out and what a shame, for whatever reasons they had imposed upon them, the other five never got to be shown today by their owners, it would have been an honour and pleasure to have had that opportunity looking at my catalogue afterwards.

Now to my winner, what more can be said, quality, turned out in top condition and professionally handled and with superb sportsmanship throughout, enough about the handler; now for her dog. He is all of the above as well, this really is an example of the sport going up a notch; we pay a lot of money and time to go all over the country to exhibit our beloved breed and for the ten minutes in the ring, we can see the hours put in behind the scenes to produce a fine specimen as in this instance. This dog is hard to pass on, very much the type I like, despite his failings for me and yes, he has them, as do they all, his virtues outweigh and presents a racy, quality, handsome, refined, active and untiring picture to me. Cannot deny he is a great worthy ambassador for the breed at this moment in time, but personally I would like him a little more workmanlike and a little less dressy, maybe. I was more than happy to award him the RCC and happy to watch him go Reserve Best in Show with the Referee Mrs Val Wade.

2nd        Cohan’s Caispern Lorenzo with Shushana JW ShCM; another quality male, I was so pleased to go over this dog as I have always admired him, I can honestly say there was no pre-judging of him other than he has always caught my eye. Most handsome balanced head and dark expressive eye, good body properties and sound movement, but sadly stacked I feel he needs a firmer, maybe taller handler to pull him out of the matronly image he gives me which may have lost him the class I am sad to say.

3rd        Sturrock’s Sh.Ch. Forfarian I’m Sexy and I know it JW; super racy well turned out dog, really looking the part and handled to perfection. Care not to over stretch him as it can make him slightly unbalanced as he has sufficient length without adding to it. You’ll have a few more years of fun with this dog I am sure, he is only just coming into his prime.

Veteran Dog 4 (0)

1st         Wood’s Reddins Falcon ShCM; A sound honest dog, handsome head and clean enough outline, but stacked, perhaps not as racy as I would desire and I am afraid, carrying too much weight for me which he can ill afford.

2nd        Axon’s Brinara Back in the Running; lighter built male to my winner but nonetheless he holds a good racy outline and presented in good order throughout.

3rd        Roberts Polmennor Fun in the Sun

Special Veteran 10 Years and Over 2 (1)

1st         Bott’s Bardonhill Storm Moon; such a lovely finish to the day, loved this twelve-year-old boy, full of quality and type for me, why haven’t I seen him before I wonder? Stacked he looked good in all the right areas with a fine, quality balanced head and yes of course we could pick holes, but at this age, being lean and doddery is forgivable and I just had to award him Best Veteran Dog over the younger Falcon. Thank you for bringing him.

Special Beginners Dog 5 (3)

1st         Gilks Danwish The Lion King: two well turned out boys, both in good coat and condition. However, there can only be one winner, this dog moves well and stacks up, try and keep his nose down to give a better topline.

2nd        Bayliss’s Lindenjo Mallard; as stated already, turned out well and an honest enough dog, maybe not quite as positive on the move as my winner today which may have cost him the class.


Peter Hall - Harreds



Irish Setter Breeders Club
25 March 2017

Judges: Dogs: Peter Hall (Harreds)   Bitches: Gill Dale (Aubanjon)

Bardonhill Slide Show

View at Bardonhill on Smugmug

Photos kindly supplied by Laura Kolbach, Barbara Gladwish and Ian Newsham
For copies please contact them direct
Winning the Dog Challenge Certificate, his 3rd, and Show Champion Title
followed by Best in Show
Congratulations to Peanut, owned by Christine McLarnon
Sh.Ch. Gwendariff Nuts AboutU Glenavna JW
Winning the Res.Dog CC and Reserve Best in Show
Congratulations to Arthur owned by Blake Crocker and Amelia Siddle
Sh.Ch. Copper's War of Roses
Winning the Bitch Challenge Certificate
Congratulations to Tony Drinkwater with
Brabrook Boomshakalaka
The Res.Bitch CC was awarded to Jill Holley with Dotty
Gwendariff Whata Wynjill
Best Puppy Dog and Best Puppy in Show was awarded to Eva Ciechonska with Geoffrey
Riverbrue Altissimo at Aoibheanne
Best Puppy Bitch was awarded to Jackie Howatson with
Heathclare Fancy Time at Vanders
Best Veteran Bitch and Best Veteran in Show was awarded to Gillian Barker-Bell
and David Bell with
Balintyne Foreign Affair
Best Veteran Dog was awarded to Marita Bott with Anthony
Bardonhill Storm Moon
Full Results will be posted on

We will be pleased to add any further photos to the slideshow if you would like to send them in.

Congratulations to all the Winners



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