English Setters in Europe
As it’s the case with so many other breeds, including English pointers, the Italian English setter breeding has left a solid mark on some of the very best setters to be found in Europe. There are several reasons to this; – many passionate and capable breeders, who have bred many pups and have been honest and focused in their breeding. – all the top dogs have been handled by full-time professinals without bias to certain dogs and lines. – their different types of trials have worked well for them as breeding instruments, ie the ultimate goal, through your trials being able to select the best breeding material. – they have had shared access to top trials and top breeding material with gundog enthusiasts in France, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Switzerland etc.
Rudolfo Lombardi here represents some of the highly professional Italian handlers. In the photo he has just won the 1995 European Championship with Francinis Kelby.
Decor Lot, one of the most important ever in European English setter breeding. One of the many important dogs among his progeny was his son Radentis Gian, who managed to equal his father as a stud dog. Both also were INT.FTCh.
The brilliant Radentis Nomar (Radentis Sbranco – Kelli della Marika), with whom the professional Italian handler Giorgio Baldoni won the European Championship 2003. Baldoni has been one of the very best handlers of pointers and setters for many years, and he has handled several Radentis dogs. Baldoni has actually also contributed as a breeder to those lines, as some dogs from his suffix “della Vecchia Irlanda” have been used in the Radentis breeding. Orlando Fabbri’s Radentis kennel has been one of the most significant breeders of English setters, together with kennels like Dianella and Francini.
Three generations of fantastic dogs from Orlando Fabbri’s kennel, from left: Radentis Borg, his son Radentis Sbranco and grand-son Radentis d’Espana. Borg is Espana’s grand-father on both sides, which he also is to Radentis Nomar pictured further above.
Radentis Borg was by Radentis Gian (Decor Lot – Ariet di Castel San Giorgio) and Dolly della Vecchia Irlanda (Bairo – Kira). In addition of being an excellent stud dog he also became Italian and International FTCh, handled in the European Grande Quete trials by Giorgio Baldoni.
A very interesting fact regarding almost all the top Italian setter lines: They all go back to a dog called Crismani Dik, who was the son of an English import called Sharnberry Nick (Don of Clumbrey – Express of Clumbrey). Nick’s father Don was by Count Windem (Sateboy Bondhu – Belle Windem), who also came to Italy and bred further. Nick’s mother Express was a sister of Sharnberry Whitestone (Yankee Bondhu – Strife Bondhu), the most winning and most important sire in Britain after World War II. Sharnberry Nick’s breeding results in Italy was no fluke. His grand-father Count Windem was also imported to Italy, and bred well there. (Count Windem’s litter brother was sold to Norway.) Later the Italians also imported Sharnberry Fern (Waygood David – Waygood Fiona) who is almost as strongly present as Sharnberry Nick in the Italian blood lines. Fern’s mother Fiona was by Sharnberry Whitestone. Finally the Crismani kennel also got hold of Sharnberry Donald, who is very present in our setters in New Zealand. Read about the Sharnberry lines in the pages about NZ English setter lines.
It’s my opinion that in addition to Italy, the best setters in Europe are found in France and Scandinavia (Norway in particular). These countries have had both the necessary numbers and quality in their gene pools, and with many passionate breeders who have done a great job during the 20th century. They have not only been successful in breeding strong workers, but also preserved the right English setter type.
Norway and Sweden have a great variety of trials to test the dogs. Mountain trials on ptarmigan (Arctic grouse) in autumn, winter trials in the same terrains during winter/ spring, forest trials on capercailie and lowland field trials on pheasant and partridge. For stamina and endurance nothing would surpass those mountain dogs. The Norwegian English setter in particular has for decades had a very strong basic gene pool. Outcrosses to continental European dogs and American dogs have sometimes (but far from every time) improved the overall quality.
Tarpans Bruno Capelli was one of the most interesting setters in Norway in the 1990s. He was a FTCh, won the Norwegian Ch’ship in 1996, and bred many good dogs. His father Abor was an Italian import, who was a son of Radentis Gian (mentioned on the previous page).
Growing up in Norway in the 1970s, with a steadily increasing interest in English setters, I couldn’t help being influenced by the beautiful and strong workers from kennel Vigdaæ¦tta. The kennel had been around for decades and spanning over three generations of breeders. Vigdaættas Trevi (pictured above) came 2nd in the Norwegian Championship in 1976 and 1978. Trevi’s half-brother Vigdaæ¦ttas Topper also came 3rd in 78, like their mother Vigdaæ¦ttas Vigda X did in 1972. These results were followed up even further during the 1980s and 90s.
Finally, a little tribute to the great French dog Cow Boy des Rives de l’Estrigon, who greatly impressed me at the 1991 World Championship in Italy.
I decided already then that I had to get hold of some of his blood lines. Cow Boy bred well both in France and in Denmark (with three different bitches). My Norwegian import Moulin was by the Danish import to Norway Kogtveds E. Philip (a son of Cow Boy). Cow Boy was trained and handled by the French professional Daniel Provost. He also successfully bred from Cow Boy in his kennel de l’Echo de la Foret.