Springset Cutting Edge
The Sorbys became involved with Gordon Setters in 1955. Their first litter, whelped in 1963, produced Stylish Rrhythm (yes, TWO r's!) who was the Grand sire to Hall Of Fame Field Champion Danny Boy O' Boy, Hall Of Fame Springset Storm Huntress, and Lad's MacTavish, and was totally inbred to produce genetically dominate offspring. Their third litter produced Hall Of Fame members Springset Cascade Thunder and Springset Cascade Showers.
In 1962, Norm and Sue Sorby of Springset Gordon Setter Kennels started a successful revolution in their breed. Their efforts have only recently been acknowledged, primarily by the unbiased Sports Writers of America as they write about an all but forgotten breed of bird dog - one that nearly slipped into the realm of show dog only status.
At the time, most of the Sports Writers, when writing about Gordon Setters in the field, invariably prefaced their comments with "Gordon Setters used to be fine bird dogs, but in recent years..." Since the Sorby's Gordons, purchased from long-time Gordon breeder Alec Laurence, were excellent and intense bird dogs, they had difficulty accepting this assessment of their breed. As members of the GSCA, however, they became aware that very few of the members were hunters, and those hunters that were members were dropping out of the club after their first year.
In trying to determine why the breed had such a poor reputation in the field, and why the GSCA was losing its hunting members, the Sorbys reached the conclusion that both actions had the same cause - the change of the breed standard away from an athletically capable dog. For many years the GSCA standard encouraged breeding a dog that was inherently capable of an outstanding performance in the field. As the Irish Setter standard changed to favor an ever-larger specimen in the show ring, pressure was brought to bear on the GSCA to increase the size of the Gordons. By 1963 the GSCA had yielded to that pressure from their most active members - the show breeders - and changed the Gordon standard to encourage the breeding of excessively large dogs. The breed soon rose in size to the point where a medium sized dual-type dog was soon out of his element in the show ring. This increase in size and emphasis on the show ring alienated the hunter, the person who is the centerline of all hunting breeds.
The Gordon Setter breed has had to survive against breeders of show-only dogs, as well as field trial breeders that don't care about the requirements for a hunting companion.
Many people believe that Springset produces only dogs that are small in stature. They don't realize that we also make dual-sized and medium-sized dogs. We can produce an 80 or 90 pound dog, but there is no market in hunting dogs for a huge dog. It would be against the laws of physics and nature, such as expecting a weight lifter to run in cross country events. Although a large dog can occasionally be competitive in AKC Gun Dog field competition, they do not have the stamina to last all day in the hunting field - and then go back again the next day to hunt some more. Springset uses our dual Gordons to protect the structural integrity of our field dogs when we inbreed.
Springset's success is based on heavy inbreeding to intensify the necessary requirements of a bird dog. Certain of the early Springset Gordons - Springset Cascade Showers, Hall of Fame Springset Cascade Thunder, Hall of Fame Field Champion Danny Boy O' Boy, Hall of Fame Springset Storm Huntress, and Lad's MacTavish - carried genetic traits that produced dogs with the abilities that corrected the problems of the breed brought about by indiscriminate, show-only, breeding. These traits have been blended together to the point where we can predict what we will get in a litter! To the people in the more popular breeds, this is incredible.
Springset did a great deal of winning from the early 70's to the early 90's. Thunder and Storm Huntress were bred together twice to produce the biggest winning litters (their first "L" and "T" litters) in the history of the breed. They included Hall Of Fame Fld.Ch. Springset Lady Bug CD, Hall Of Fame Field Champion Springset Tomahawk, Hall Of Fame
Hall Of Fame Springset Licorice Drop, Hall Of Fame Field Champion Springset Little Black Fox, and other award winning littermates.
Springset is the "not-so-common" denominator of winners in the United States as well as overseas. No matter who adds Springset to their line, they improve the existing field qualities of their Gordons. If you look at today’s National Field Champions, you will see how Springset contributed to their genetic being. We are proud to have been selected to help Ashcraft, Interset, Milomix, Kakaako, Belmor, Chaparral, Smokerise, Shadowmere, Melrose, Locust Hill, Wood Tor, Tomar, Starset, and many others. Springset has supplied breeding stock to 29 nations, and continues to do so. We most sincerely thank the owners of Springset Gordons, the world over, that share their achievements with us.
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