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Llewellin Setters--Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is a Llewellin Setter?

It's a very specific, pure strain of "English Setter with bloodline's 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 bloodline's include Dashing Bondhu (= Scinn Amach = Luathas), Wind'em (= Machad = Cloncurragh = Advie (but >90% Dashing)), Bomber, Gladstone, Tony-O, Royacelle and Blizzard.

"In the 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 recognise 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 :)

"Llewellin's 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."

"The 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 Llewellin's of all time. Gladstone quickly established himself as a top field performer and sire. His achievements contributed greatly to the surge of popularity the Llewellin's were soon to enjoy."

"Today, only the Field Dog Stud Book (FDSB) of Chicago, published by American Field, recognizes Llewellin's as those English Setters whose ancestry traces back to the Original Duke-Rhoebe-Laverack Cross." Hence, all Llewellin's 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.

The above text is taken with permission from Troy Sparks Llewellin Setter Page


Mr. Humphrey not Mr. Llewellin developed the modern Dashing Bondhu. Mr. Humphrey developed the Dashing Bondhu line by crossing the Mr. Law Turner's mostly Laverack dogs with Mr. Hartley's dogs and Mr. Llewellin's Wind'ems. Mr. Humphrey claimed his Dashing Bondhu's were 80% Laverack with no Amercan blood from F.T. Ch Dash II; whereas, his Wind'em's were a family drawing from Llewellin's Ch. Countess and Count Wind'em. According to Dr. Stephenson, Mr. Humphrey preferred the Dashing Bondhu over the Wind'em's. The American stock was too hard to handle. Based on Humphrey's claim that his Dashing Bondhu had no American blood, Mr. Llewellin's Wind'ems used in the development of the Dashing Bondhu must had been of pure European stock. Just as the Dashing Bondhu's, Mr. Humphrey's Wind'ems of the 1950's & 60's were development of Mr. Humphrey's breeding program not that of Mr. Llewellin's. Mr. Humphrey bred fresh American and Dashing blood into his Wind'ems.

The dogs of Ms. a Goes's kennel descended 100% from Mr. Humphrey's kennel. She received 2 Wind'ems from Mr. Humphrey and later 11 Dashing Bondhu from Father Bannon all descended 100% from the Horsford Kennel. She also used a Belgium Dashing Bondhu stud of the same. Mr. Humphrey told Glenn Roark that an outcross breeding would be the same as pure after the 7th generation. When Miss a Goes passed her death her kennel was made up of mostly Wind'em's, but they were mostly Dashing Bondhu - 99% or more Dashing Bondhu. . Miss a Goes in a letter told me the following, "a Dashing Bondhu bred to a Dashing Bondhu is a Dashing Bondhu and a Dashing Bondhu bred to a Wind'em is a Wind'em. As a result, she never called her Wind'ems "Dashing Bondhu's". In my mind, these dogs are neither Dashing Bondhu nor Wind'em, but HUMPHREY LLEWELLINS!



Q: How big will a Llewellin Setter grow?

As in most breeds, males (known as dogs) are bigger than females (known as bitches). Typically, bitches weigh between 35 and 50 pounds fully grown. Fully grown dogs weigh 45 to 65 pounds.


Q: Are my living quarters suitable for a Llewellin Setter?

Generally Llewellin Setters do make good kennel dogs. But as a breed, they love being with people and are happiest if kept in the house in the company of their family.


Q: Do Llewellin Setters have genetic problems?

All breeds have some genetic problems. Fortunately, Llewellin Setters have relatively few, but you should be aware of the following:

Canine Hip Dysplasia. This is an inherited abnormality of the hip joint that can lead to arthritic problems later in life. Responsible breeders x-ray the hips of their breeding stock and evaluate their suitability for breeding. The current average for hip dysplasia in Llewellin Setters is about 17.4% affected, and the percentage is decreasing, due to responsible breeding practices. This disease is very complex and not well understood. There is no way to guarantee that you will not get a puppy with hip dysplasia, but you can maximize your chances for good hips by looking for lots of good hips in the pedigree. Ask the breeder to explain the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or PennHip registries to you and to tell you which dogs in the pedigree have had their hips certified as showing no evidence of dysplasia by one or both of these organizations or by a reliable and experienced local veterinarian. Nutrition and exercise also play a role in the expression of the trait. Affected dogs that are allowed to get too heavy or that do not get enough exercise may stand an increased chance of developing a disabling case of hip dysplasia.

For more information on Canine Hip Dysplasia please see Canine Hip Dysplasia

For some excellent articles of Canine Hip Dysplacia see Canine Hip and Elbow Dysplasia Resources

For a comparison between OFA and Penn Hip certifications please see Comparing PennHIP and OFA

For a list of OFA'ed Llewellin Setter's please see Llewellin Setter OFA Database

Elbow Dysplasia. Llewellin Setters also can develop elbow dysplasia. This is an inherited abnormality of the elbow joint that can cause lameness of the fore limbs. X-rays are the way to confirm a diagnosis.

For more information on Canine Elbow Dysplasia please see Canine Elbow Dysplasia

Llewellin Setter Online use's and recommends Syn-Flex© for Older dogs with Arthritis and/or dogs at risk or diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia. Also a great product for humans use.

Other. Llewellin Setters have been susceptible to other health problems that the buyer need be aware. These problems, while not affecting a large percentage of the breed, are nonetheless present. These include eye disease, canine hypothyroidism, a thyroid deficiency that is easily controlled through medication and diet. Allergies to pollen, flea bites, and molds are also known to affect Llewellin Setters. As in any allergic patient, medication and proper environmental control can keep the dog healthy and normal in all respects. Recently, the research of Canine congenital deafness has been joined by Llewellin Setter Breeders. Preliminary data suggests that approximately 10% of the breed may be deaf in both ears (bilateral deafness) or deaf in one ear (unilateral deafness). The positive diagnosis is confirmed by the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test, which can be easily performed after the puppies are 5 weeks of age. While unilateral deafness is not preferred by breeders of show and field trial Setters, a unilateral dog will be normal in all other respects. However, unilaterally deaf dogs should not be bred, as they will pass on the defect.

For more information on Canine Eye Diseases please see Canine Eye Registration Foundation

For more information on Canine Hypothyroidism please see Canine Hypothyroidism

For more information on Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER)please see Canine Congenital Deafness

Other than the previously mentioned issues, Llewellin Setters are a strong and sturdy animal.

CAUTION: It is the buyers responsibility to check to be sure all info given by breeders are true and accurate.



Q: Should I get a male or a female?

This depends on your personal circumstances and what you want in the personality of a Llewellin Setter. In this breed, females are usually mellow, get along well with other dogs , and love to be babied. Males are also mellow but are more likely to test an owner to see how much they can get away with.


Q: Should I get a puppy or an adult?

Though Llewellin Setters are mellow as adults, they are very active and into everything as puppies. Llewellin Setter puppies are really, really cute, but if you don't have time to devote to training and socialization, you owe it to your dog to get an adult dog instead. Although generally Llewellin's develop a strong bond with their owners, buying an adult dog, you may not develop as strong of a bond as you would get from a puppy.


Q: What is a normal lifespan for Llewellin Setters?

Normally, a Llewellin Setter who is given proper care, nutrition, and exercise lives to about 12 years of age. With luck, they can go to age 14 or 15. A Llewellin Setter's prime is about age 4 to 7. If they have enjoyed good health, they don't start slowing down due to the effects of aging until about age 9.


Q: Where can I get more information about Llewellin Setters?

Llewellin Setter Mailing list

Llewellin Setter Page

Our Llewellin's Discussion Forum

North American Llewellin Breeders Association (NALBA), Inc.

National Llewellin Gun Dog Club (NLGDC)



Q: Where can I buy a Llewellin Setter?

Llewellin Setter Breeders

North American Llewellin Breeders Association Inc.

A reputable breeder will always ask lots of questions about you, your family, your home, your reasons for wanting a Llewellin Setter, etc. The breeder will be attempting to ensure that you have a suitable environment for a puppy that he or she has carefully bred. The dog's welfare is central to these inquiries. If you're not prepared to answer some personal questions, then you would probably not be the right person for a well-bred Llewellin Setter.

A reputable breeder will be prepared to show you the mother of the puppies and other adults in the breeding program so that you can get a fair prediction of the temperament and appearance of the puppies when they grow up. Good breeders will also be willing to talk openly about health issues in the breed and describe the precautions they have taken to try to ensure that puppies produced by them do not have genetic problems. Of course, genetic problems are very difficult to breed out (if it were easy, they would have disappeared long ago), and even the most careful breeder can get an unexpected and unpleasant surprise. A good breeder will have a plan to deal with genetic problems when they do crop up. Sometimes this involves replacing a puppy or refunding part of the purchase price.


Q: What is the IPDBA?

The International Progressive Dog Breeders Association is a registry that came about soon after the FDSB started requiring DNA of the Llewellin Setters. The majority of Llewellin owners and breeders only recognize Llewellins that are registered and DNA'ed thru the FDSB. The FDSB does not recognize the IPDBA registrations. The FDSB dropped the registration of Russian Setters as Llewellins due to the inability of the importer to provide documentation to document the registration of Russians as Llewellins. To the contrary the IPDBA recognizes the Russian Setters as Llewellins even though they are lacking in documentation to satisfy the FDSB.

We encourage people to buy FDSB Llewellins if they have any interest in prolonging the strain (ie: breeding) or competing. IPDBA dogs are not eligible for AKC, UKC, or American Field registration nor can they compete in these registry competitions. A limited amount of IPDBA registered dogs are registered with NSTRA so owners of those particular dogs may compete in those shoot-to-retrieve events.

We support the FDSB registry and competitions, but again, IPDBA dogs cannot enter in any AKC, UKC, or AF events nor can they be registered with these registries."


Q: What should I do if I can no longer keep my Llewellin Setter?

If you're having trouble training or living with your Llewellin Setter, contact your breeder, a regional club, or a breeder near you. Sometimes, the problems you are having can be solved by consulting a person familiar with the breed. At times, despite the owner's advance research and the breeder's careful screening, a placement does not work out. The breed may not be what the owner was looking for after all, or the owner's circumstances can change so drastically that it is no longer possible for him to keep his Llewellin Setter. If this happens to you, do not take your Llewellin Setter to an animal shelter. Your first step should be to call your breeder and see if he or she can take the dog back or help you with re-homing. All reputable breeders want to be informed when a dog they have placed will not be staying in its original home.





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