Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Breeding the better red setter...

This coming March the National Red Setter Field Trial Club will conduct the running of the 36th Annual Red Setter Futurity. Over the past 36 years, the Red Setter Futurity has been instrumental in increasing the quality and calibre of the red setter. The National Red Setter Futurity is a major tenet of the Purest Challenge. Over the years, virtually every Red Setter champion has started their career by winning or placing in the Red Setter Futurity. Not only have these improvements lead to improvements in the calibre of horseback field trial Shooting Dogs, they have also fostered the improvement of the breed overall. The red setters being hunted throughout the United States, as well as the numerous placements in walking stakes, NAVHDA tests, NBHA trials, and other similar venues, is due in no small measure to the efforts of the Red Setter Futurity.

What is the Red Setter Futurity? A futurity is a field trial run specifically as a breeder’s stake. A breeder decides to breed a litter of dogs. He chooses a sire and dam that he hopes will produce puppies of the highest possible calibre. He "nominates" the litter to the futurity in the hopes that his choice of breeding will be the best, and pays a small nomination fee to register the litter (also called the "first forfeit" fee). For the Red Setter Futurity the first forfeit fee is $25. Once the first forfeit fee is paid, the puppies produced will be eligible to run in the futurity, when they are derby age dogs (typically around 2 years of age, depending upon the date of birth)

What do I do if I have a pup that has been nominated? In the year after their birth, individual puppies of the litter are nominated to run in the futurity. Again, a small fee ($20 for the Red Setter Futurity) is paid; this puppy nomination is usually referred to as the "second forfeit" fee. This fee is due no later than December 31 of the year prior to the actual futurity. When this fee is paid, the puppy is now eligible to run in the futurity once he/she reaches derby age. The futurity is typically run in the spring, on a venue that permits the use of multiple courses, each brace of 30 minutes, over quail-preferred habitat.

How do I enter my futurity dog in the Futurity? At the time of the futurity, the eligible dogs are entered by their owner/handler. A drawing is conducted, in the same manner as for any trial, to provide the brace number for the dogs. An entry fee is also assessed. The collection of the forfeit and entry fees provides a cash purse for the futurity. Both handlers and breeders are rewarded with cash purses, thus providing a monetary incentive for breeding and training the best possible red setters for the year. The current payout for the Red Setter Futurity is $1000, spread over four placements, between handler and breeder.

How is a futurity dog evaluated? Young dogs run in a futurity trial are evaluated for their potential as future championship field trial calibre horseback shooting dogs; these dogs exhibit the characteristics the National Red Setter Field Trial Club desires in its championship calibre horseback shooting dogs... style, class, drive, intelligence, bird finding ability, ability to handle, and ground race. Those dogs exhibiting the most potential as future championship calibre dogs are rewarded.

What are the rules for the Red Setter Futurity? The Board of Directors of the National Red Setter Field Trial Club has established the standards under which the Red Setter Futurity shall be conducted:

1. The Futurity shall be run in the spring of each year over preferential bob­white quail territory.
2. Placed dogs shall display an intense desire to find birds, a keen nose to detect the presence of game and ability to locate it quickly and accurately by body scent.
3. Placed dogs must show staunchness, positiveness and style on point but not necessarily be steady to wing and shot. (Staunchness should mean positiveness on point; where the dog establishes point but not necessarily where the handler can dismount, flush and fire before the dog moves on.)
4. Placed dogs must show determination under adverse conditions and intelligent adjustment to terrain and cover, the ability to hunt independently with speed and proven endurance.
5. Placed dogs shall adjust range to cover and character of the country and to show desire to please the handler.
6. The event shall be run under standards established by the American Field and Field Dog Stud Book, the Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America and the National Red Setter Futurity.
7. The futurity shall be run, if necessary in order to name a winner under these standards, in two series.
8. The first series shall be run over continuous multiple courses, each brace to be run for thirty (30) minutes unless earlier ordered up. Said continuous multiple courses shall contain native birds plus liberated quail which shall be released in coveys in such manner as to simulate natural conditions as much as possible. The numbers of liberated quail shall be decided by the Futurity Secretary, the Club President and the Trial Chairman in consultation with the Area Manager.
9. If four dogs, which in the sole discretion of the judges are otherwise capable of placement have not pointed birds at the conclusion of the First Series. A Second Series shall be run, each brace being run for thirty (30) minutes unless earlier ordered up on a single course with liberated birds released in the manner previously indicated of sufficient quantity to permit adequate opportunities to point. The number of dogs called back for a Second Series shall be at the sole discretion of the judges and may be augmented by the judges if necessary in order to place four dogs that have pointed.
10. All dogs in each series shall be announced as "called back" in the order in which the judges would place them if they shall adequately demonstrate their ability to point birds by doing so. The callback shall be conducted from horseback.
11. Judges may not, except with the concurrence of the Futurity Secretary or his designee, who may seek advice from the Board of Directors of the National Red Setter Field Trial Club, deviate from these standards.
12. Dogs with bird contact must be fired over with a blank cartridge gun of not less than cal. 32.

If you have questions about the Red Setter Futurity, or would like more information, be sure to check out the info on our website at or contact the Futurity Chair at

If you have a young red setter, be sure to check with your breeder and consider entering your young dog in the Red Setter Futurity. You might have a future champ on your hands!

2007 Red Setter Futurity Winner Breakstone
Roger Boser, breeder/handler

No comments: