I will concentrate here on two strains of English Setters, as they are what I know.
The following two lines have their roots in the Laverack line. Edward Laverack received 2 dogs from Rev. A Harrison in about 1825, Ponto and Old Moll, and from that line he developed the basis for 2 of the best strains of field setters today.
These are English Setters with bloodlines tracing back to the breeding program of R.L.Purcell Llewellin of Pembrokeshire, Wales in the nineteenth century. In the 1860’s Llewellin obtained dogs from Edward Laverack, another respected breeder. Llewellin experimented with crossing different bloodlines to acquire the desired traits for a top notch field dog. He purchased 2 dogs at a field trial in Shewbury in 1871. Dan and Dick, were sons of a dog named Duke and a bitch named Rhoebe. The crossing of the Duke, Rhoebe and Laverack lines produced the field dog for which he was hoping. They are intelligent, have strong natural field abilities and a willingness to work.
This line was created to produce a line of setters that would epitomize an upland game bird dog by George Ryman of Pennsylvania in the early 1900’s. He started with Laverack type setters, large boned, square muzzled with belton markings. This line came from the famous Sir Roger DeCoverly- Sir Roger DeCoverly II bloodline. They were excellent in the grouse woods and could even rank well at bench show competitions, not a common accomplishment among hunting dogs. He combined American grouse dog bloodlines with bench and field champions imported from England, Canada and Europe. These are popular dogs among hunters, they are very handsome, as well as excellent hunting dogs.
I got lucky, I have a dog that came from the Ryman line. She doesn’t get any hunting time as I acquired her as an adult from my mother, but she shows many characteristics of a show dog that she hasn’t lost through lack of training and practice. She does, however, drag some small furry goo into the garage every once in a while, birds, squirrels, etc.
When she was a puppy and I in high school, I would take her for a walk around the University of Northern Colorado; she was a babe magnet. I was talking to a group that was sunbathing and they wanted to pet her, so I let Missy (my Setter) off her leash. After securing my place in the conversation, she promply took off for a nearby football game full of shirtless players that these girls were now ignoring. Missy got there, left a present, and came back to me. Good girl!!!!