Why English Setters?
I was on the phone selling some maps to Tom Rasnic, owner of Cinsar kennels in Virginia, and as usual we were talking about habitat, dogs, all things having to do with grouse hunting. Out of nowhere Tom asked me if I had ever owned a setter. I told him no but someday I hoped to own one. At that point he offered to give me a pup out of his next litter. Well, I figured that would be nice but deep down I wondered just how good his line of setters would do in our grouse woods. I knew we were fortunate to have some exceptional Elhew bred pointers in our guide business and I thought to myself that this setter was going to have to be a really good pup to impress me. Was I ever in for a huge surprise. I was given a pup of a lifetime and now have a new respect for this line of setters. Tom gave me a wonderful gift, even naming her Annie before he brought her to me. Since receiving Annie at the age of 12 weeks in the early fall of 2010 we have had the pleasure of acquiring quite a few more Cinsar Kennel setters that have been bred based on ability and not to perpetuate a specific line or style of dog i.e. Hemlock or Ryman.
The Cinsar Kennel setters were judged by their ability to hunt the Appalachian Mountains and Northwood’s for grouse as well as the flat rolling lands of Kansas to the Dakota's for pheasants and quail and now the Northwind Upland Setters are judged by that same ability to hunt grouse and woodcock in the heavy cover and unique habitat of northern Wisconsin. For us they have already proven their worth in our guide business.
Our setters have proven to be quick learners with a lot of natural ability. They are one of the nicest and easiest lines we have ever had the pleasure of working with. Skip and I have worked with quite a few of the pups from Cinsar Kennels and are amazed at how natural they are in the grouse woods.
Makeup of our setters:
The line is a blend of Ryman, Hemlock, Pinecoble, Llewellyn and the legendary English field trial lines of the champion Sharnberry Red Bracken and Cloncurragh lines of Ireland. Tom bred his dogs strictly on ability and not for perpetuating a particular line of dog such as the Ryman or Hemlock lines, etc. For many this is a different type of breeding, but having been a professional dog musher for many years I recognized the need for this style of breeding. This is how I bred my top Alaskan Husky sprint dogs. In breeding my sled dog line I bred for speed, build, feet, and the desire to run above all else. For over 20 years I have bred Alaskan Huskies that have the traits that I feel are important for what I want out of a sled dog. So Tom's way of breeding fit perfect with how I approach breeding sled dogs and bird dogs and this is how I will perpetuate this line of setters. It is very easy to get so warped up in a particular line that pretty soon you start having hip problems, eyesight problems and the list can go on and on but because of the lines history you don't always "see the forest for the trees". If one is not careful when breeding, relying primarily on history and trying to stay within one particular line, minor defects can creep into the line very quickly and before you know it you have a lot of problems that will haunt you for a long time to come. This is why it is very important to know the COI% (Co-efficient of In-breeding) of each litter that is produced.
For more information about the importance of COI%:
As with any breeding program, in the early days you will have dogs that make the grade and those that are better suited for pet homes etc. Dogs that did not fit with the desire characteristics were found homes. The care of the dogs and the placement of the dogs in good homes, where people would enjoy them was always of the utmost importance. However, as with any breeding program after time and many crosses the percentages of dogs that are everything you want them to be start to drastically increase to the point that in the end you have produced the line of dogs that you are looking for. After 30+ years this is what Tom has accomplished with the Cinsar Kennel line of setters that he has worked with...dogs that are instinctive... they naturally quarter, back, retrieve and will hunt with you and for you and the big plus that I see is that they are very quick learners.
From all the setters we have worked with so far, I have never seen dogs so easy to work with and such a natural at hunting grouse. Tom has produced setters that are bold but cautious... and know not to push the game they are working on. Annie made my "A" team for guiding between 2-3 years of age and her younger sister will join her this coming season, both making the "A" team before three years of age.
Another important trait that I see in our setters is that they are family dogs. They can turn it on for the hunt but also settle right down to being a great house dog. They love to be with people and they are very loyal and gentle. My parents, who are both in their late 70's (and my Mom is very petit) can easily handle the male setter they have which is a beautiful tri colored male that weighs around 57 pounds. Sage is very laid back in the house and around them but when he knows it is time to hunt and you release him in the woods he is all business.
There is more that could be said about the Cinsar Kennel setters but my main point is that we are pleased to be working with this line of dogs to make sure that they will be around for years to come for everyone to enjoy.