written by Troy D. Sparks. Visit his Llewellin
Setter Page for more information on Llewellins.
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.
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.
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."
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."
Noble, another great Llewellin furthered the recognition begun by
Gladstone and surpassed Gladstone's record for siring winning progency.
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
cornerstone of the American Llewellin dynasty. Pictured here on
display at the National
Bird Dog Museum, Grand Junction, TN.
of Count Noble's sons, Count Gladstone IV, won the inaugural
National Bird Dog Championship, run at West Point, Mississippi in
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.
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.
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
Count Gladstone IV, winner of the inaugural National Championship
| 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
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.
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."
detailed information, read the American
Llewellin articles as seen in the LSA Journal (part 3 includes
info. on the "Six Pillars").