Our Thoughts on “Dual” Rymans

Sir Roger DeCoverlyII2A study of English Setter history shows that Rymans were not dual dogs in the traditional sense. “Dual” refers to a dog that actually has placements in both shows and field trials, not simply a cross between the two types like Ryman bred, or an attractive hunting dog, which is how the term is commonly used today.

Although Ryman did enter some of his early dogs in shows and trials, competition was not the main focus of his breeding program and there are no champions registered as a Ryman. Most Rymans would not have been competitive in either venue. Maybe this is why Ryman usually called them “Dual-Type”, similar to current breeders calling their dogs “Ryman-Type”. The dogs aren’t really dual dogs or Ryman setters but the terms are useful to describe a distinct sort of dog.

We would not be interested in breeding dual dogs even if it were possible today. We think Ryman had it right. The only way to prove whether your setters are the kind of hunting dogs you want is to hunt them. Whenever competition enters into the picture qualities which have no bearing on how well a dog hunts inevitably creep in.

The field trial dogs must have extreme speed, range, and independence bordering on out of control to win the big events. These are characteristics we are not remotely interested in having in our dogs.

We also have no interest in breeding show quality dogs. The current show standard has nothing to do with hunting, the movement required is not an advantage, the coat is not practical, and crosses to them with Ryman-Types produce inconsistent results in the field, with mediocre hunting abilities in many of the dogs for multiple generations. Today’s show setters are nothing like the show dogs George Ryman used in the 1930’s.

The reason people like Ryman-Types is precisely because they are NOT show dogs or field trial dogs. Trying to make them either ruins them for what they are intended to be- Great Hunting Dogs.

Breeders of Classic foot hunting English Setters from Ryman and other close working bloodlines.