After several years of dedication to the English Pointers, it was again time to pick up the work with English Setters when I arrived in New Zealand. Looking at the English Setter blood lines present in New Zealand, it really made it an easy choice for me, but still I am heavily involved with Pointers and will certainly come back to them later.
Background female line
I decided to import “the right bitch” to put into breeding with the New Zealand lines. Dr Leon Mortensen and I were searching just about all over the planet for two years, until we found what we both considered to be the right litter. During the process I had been tempted by a couple of litters in Scandinavia + one in Spain, but our choice fell on a litter in Vesterålen in North Norway, not far from where I grew up myself. The mother was Lapphaugen’s E. Evita, who is a very strong bitch, and had given good progeny in two earlier litters. Her blood lines are an interesting mix of Scandinavian and American dogs. Leon of course knew the American lines and insisted those were as good as they get from “over there”. The father of the litter was the Danish import Kogtveds E. Philip, who has bred well in several litters and who also has many interesting siblings. I had pretty good insight into his breeding, knowing his mother well (out of very strong Danish lines), and having been very impressed by his French father Cow Boy des Rives de l’Estrigon.
Lapphaugen’s H. Moulin arrived in New Zealand in February 2002, 5 1/2 months old. The breeder had given me first choice among the females. With assistance from breeder Kjell A. Myhra and my good friend Geir B. Larssen, giving me photos and describing the pups, I chose Moulin to be the ONE. Certainly she has also been a number one. One wouldn’t get any closer than this to an Alpha-bitch! She is strong and dominant, with a massive hunting instinct and suberb bird work. Most importantly: Moulin has lived up to all expectations as a brood bitch, which of course was the reason for importing her.
A strong female strain is for me the very basic foundation. From that starting point one can compliment to this. Preferably they are no “lonely swallows”, but also have several siblings and parents with good proven records. I am looking for mentally strong and focused workers, with excellent natural abilities for optimal use of wind and terrain. The ability of finding and working the birds is overall important. Birds should rarely or never be missed or accidentally bumped. The dogs must be trainable. If I as a big enthusiast, spending a lot of time on these dogs, can’t train them – then how can I expect my buyers to do it? I also put a lot of emphasis on good movements and stamina, good pigmentation and that the dogs keep a decent English Setter look.
Picking the stud dogs
Moulin gave birth to her first litter in February 2003. Initially I had four different males I considered using at stud. After a while I excluded two of them, because of various smaller things I wasn’t quite satisfied with. That Moulin’s first litter happened to be with the English import Chywoon Entrepreneur of Jonsmae (“Woody”) was also further encouraged by Leon. The reason wasn’t only because he at the time was the best trial dog in New Zealand or that he had a strong pedigree, but more important that he had already shown that he bred his good abilities further to progeny he already had left. So in my first New Zealand litter I actually used two imported dogs from Europe.
“Woody” has impressed a lot of people in his many trial wins. Though I really came to appreciate his greatness at a hunting trip in the 2000 shooting season. This was when Leon still had the dog (later co-owner Noel Allen took over), and Leon described that hunting situation in his book “Bird Dogs – Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow”. I quote:
“His nose is exceptional. He demonstrated this many times. One instance happened when I was pheasant shooting in sand dunes that had heavy fern and rush cover. Woody pointed a covey of five brown quail. I got one on the covey rise. Normally, if I am shooting quail, I sit down for ten minutes before looking for the singles. This time allows the air washed birds to give off scent. However, I was after pheasants and sent Woody straight on. He found three of the four singles, one after the other.” This was just before we were about to meet up for lunch, and I sat on a little hill watching the whole scenario with my then one year old Woody-son Wingfield Warrior. This lead us on to the second stud used on Moulin – –
Woody locked on a pheasant
For Moulin’s second litter I used my own dog Wingfield Warrior. This decision was not done emotionally. I don’t have any personal desire to use a dog because he is in my own house hold. On the other hand, if the dog didn’t have potential as a stud dog I probably wouldn’t have kept him. Again I get Woody’s lines, as he is Warrior’s father, but I also get the female line from Wingfield, which includes the old NZ blood lines and the Sharnberry imports. Warrior and his siblings are the ones with the highest presence of Sharnberry Shooter (3 times in their pedigree). Warrior and his sister Winterbreeze are also two of the Woody-progeny whom have appealed most to me. Their grand-dame Wingfield Token was an exceptional pheasant dog and the most winning birddog ever in New Zealand. I also discussed this combination with Leon and he agreed it was a combination that should be tried. Warrior has consistently performed well in different trials and hunting. He has an excellent nose, good movements and high trainability. He has been healthy and hardy, with very good pigmentation.
Moulin had that second litter shortly after Leon passed away. After that the NZ setter breeding got into a bit of a downturn spiral. There had been talk of Moulin having a third litter, by using the frozen semen from Ian Hendren’s dog Game Ridge Fearn (pure Sharnberry breeding) but that didn’t happen. In 2011 Hendren eventually used that semen on Berryfield Jean (“Woody” – Blackfield Alice). One of the pups, Game Ridge Impact was sold to Britain. Berryfield Jean (Vårhaugens Gus – Berryfield Gem) was from Noel Allen’s last litter as he sadly became incapacitated. Vårhaugens Gus was a Norwegian dog that I helped importing to New Zealand. I had considered using him on Northstream Blue Belle (from the Warrior – Moulin litter) but that didn’t eventuate.
Instead, the most valuable breeding was happening in Australia, by Bob Crain (Runanset), John Gilligan (Quailpoint), John Kersley (Masterfind) and Brett & Peter Price (Winninbury). Luckily, there’s been a bit of a revival since in New Zealand too. James Fraser imported Stanedge Evie from England (and bred her with Northstream Attwood) and Brian Herlihy & John Pilcher imported Gortinreagh Failte from Ireland. An Italian hunting family also arrived in NZ and brought some Italian setters with them, from prima Italian stock like Radentis, Francini, Negus and Dianella. From a litter they bred in 2015 a male pup called Whitesetter Pokr went to Vince Pino in Australia (better known for his pointer kennel Pinpoint).
The Woody/Moulin pups at five weeks old.
Northstream Alinghi on set, 11 weeks old