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Llewellin Setter Breed History


The most important cross in the development of the field English Setter was the Duke/Rhoebe-Laverack cross. This cross provided the sportsman of the late 1800's a Setter with boldness, stamina and pointing instinct not known prior to this time. The Llewellin is based on this cross. According to the FDSB to be a FDSB registered "Llewellin" an English Setter must be 100% Duke/Rhoebe-Laverack. No other blood is allowed.

The most widely known Llewellins are the American and Humphrey Llewellins. The American Llewellins (Bombers and Blizzards are current lines) are the descendants of the early Llewellin imports into America. These dogs were largely 50% Laverack and 50% Duke/Rhoebe. Today few survive as pure American Llewellins and are close to 55-60% Laverack 45%-40% Duke/ Rhoebe. Due to being strong willed and bold, they were used extensively in the develpement of the field trial English Setter.

The Humphrey Llewellins (Horsford Dashing, Horsford Count & Countess, Dashing Bondhu's and Windem's) were the result of Mr. Humphrey combining his Llewellins from Mr. Llewellins stock with American Llewellin and Laveracks from Law Turner and others. His Horsford Dashing were almost 100% Laverack and his Dashing Bondhu's were 80 to 90% Laverack. His Horsford Counts and Countess's were American Llewellins and his Windems were the result of breeding a Count or American Llewellin to a Dashing. These dog were known to be bold but easy to handle - gentleman's dogs. Today they survive with some American Llewellin outcrosses as Advie, Highland, and Machad Ambassador lines. There are pure kennels of Dashing Bondhu (also called Scinn Amach) and Windems (also known as Clonclurragh) in Belgium and Italy. The Humphrey Llewellin is a great foot dog and house pet.

The Llewellin currently suffers from poor documentation requirements and the lack of a strong central organization to lead the Llewellin into the next century. Recent imports from have been accepted as Llewellins even though the the documentation supplied by the importer did not support acceptance as a Llewellin. In some countries the Duke/Rhoebe-Laverack is not used as the definition of a Llewellin. Here in the States the AKC calls all hunting type English Setters "Llewellins". In Europe many claim all setters from the Horsford Kennel as "Llewellin". Sadly Mr. Llewellin not only bred Llewellins, but also English and other setters.

Some commercial breeders use the Llewellin Registration as a marketing tool to sell English Setters puppies. To curve the falsefication of Llewellin Registrations a group of concerned breeders have begun DNA testing their dogs and is in the process of forming a Llewellin club.Opposition to a strong organization is apparent due to the fear that the Llewellin will be established as a breed. This would open the door for the Llewellin to be bred for show reducing their field ability. Arguements are also being made for the abolishment of the FDSB "Llewellin" registration due to the lacking credibility of the registration.

For more information on DNA testing and Llewellin history contact Stephen Weyer at

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