Irish Setter Club of America est. 1891

Excerpts from 1991 and 2021 Pictorials, as well as “The Official Book of the Irish Setter” by Connie Vanacore

In February 1891, 21 dedicated Irish Setter fanciers, benched together at the fifteenth annual Westminster Kennel Club show (Max Wenzel judged Irish), banded together to form a club. William Dunphy called the meeting to order, and the Irish Setter Club of America (ISCA) was born. The Constitution was formally filed with AKC on May 30, 1891. ISCA has been the only recognized Irish Setter Club and, therefore, is the Parent Club of all local Irish Setter Associations.

The twenty-one ISCA founders, men from all walks of life, shared a common goal: expanding the potentials of the Irish Setter. They chose William H. Child as their first President. He later became the third president of AKC. Dr. N. Rowe, editor of American Field, was elected vice-president and later became ISCA’s second president. Dr. Gwilym G. Davis was secretary-treasurer and later served for 23 years as president of ISCA. An ardent supporter of Irish Setter affairs for 3 decades, Dr. Davis owned Currer Kennels.

The Executive Committee members were Max Wenzel (a judge and founder of Fisher’s Island Field Trial Club), Charles T. Thompson, (Rockwood Kennels), and F.L. Cheney (Nota Kennels) from the East. The West, which extended only to Kansas, was represented by E.B. Bishop and Frank Perry. The majority of the original members were from the East, a few reaching to North Carolina and west of Kansas and Iowa.

The Irish Setter Standard

One of the first official acts of ISCA was to adopt a “standard of points of judging the Irish Setter’’ which had been in effect since 1886. This standard was patterned after one used by the Red Irish Setter Club of Dublin, Ireland. Preservation of certain bloodlines, prolonged purity of strains, types that were successful in field and show, popularity and sales value were the elements for a standard, or blueprint, of type for a particular breed, especially at a time when breeds were under great change.

This early standard emphasized breed characteristics such as a long lean head, well defined occipital protuberance, deep chest, etc. It was quite satisfactory over a long period, undergoing only slight revisions in 1895, 1908 and 1919.

During the administration of Lester Gatchell, 17th president, the ISCA Board undertook a study of the Standard. The new Standard, which abandoned the scale of points previously used, was the result of more than four years of intensive study by the Board which during that time, canvassed all the local Irish Setter clubs for their recommendations.

The standard was unanimously approved by the ISCA membership and became effective June 14, 1960.  In 1975, Mr. E. Irving Eldredge suggested a graphic illustration of the wording of the standard. Board member Harriet T. Burkart and AKC delegate Eldredge persuaded a former member of the Board, renowned animal artist and veterinarian, Dr. Robert F. Way, to produce “An Illustrated Study of the Irish Setter Standard.” In 1990, after a revised Standard was approved by the membership and by AKC, a new illustrated standard was commissioned. This standard and its illustration, are still in effect.  Official Breed Standard for the Irish Setter

National Competitions

President Louis Iacobucci was the moving force behind the Annual National Specialty Shows and the National Field Trials.

The auspicious first National Specialty Show, Sweepstakes, and Obedience Trial was held at the Valley Forge Military Academy, Wayne, PA, on August 10-11, 1973. No expense was spared to make the show a memorable occasion. The record-breaking catalog contained 280 pages, 206 of advertising and recorded 511 dogs with 767 entries.

Chairman for the first three National Specialty Shows was Ed Treutel. Bernard Baron was show secretary for the fifth to ninth specialties.

The National Specialty rotates each year, covering each of the four ISCA Regions. Events in conjunction with the Specialty are an educational symposium, a health clinic, the annual membership meeting, and the gala awards dinner.

The forerunner to the National Field Trial was held in Lenexa, Kansas in 1973. Virginia Hardin, who became ISCA’s 21st president, chaired and Tony Baron was secretary of the event. The first National Field Trial was held the following year, November 15-17, 1974, with Robert Oram as chairman and Marjorie Dillard as secretary.

For more details about the ISCA History, please see your 2021 Pictorial.