There hasn’t been a true Ryman setter since George Ryman was breeding. A number of current breeders have dogs that are heavily influenced by the Rymans in their background but this doesn’t make any of them Rymans. One thing breeders are beginning to catch on to is the fact that Rymans were defined by the type of setter George Ryman bred, not their pedigrees. The trick looking back at them 50 years after they are gone is determining what that Ryman “type” really was.
Any breeder of Ryman-Type setters can trace their pedigrees back to George Ryman’s breedings, but they virtually always go there through several generations of the Calkins era dogs with their inherent changes. Breeders who started with George Ryman’s dogs rather than the Calkins’ are almost non-existent. The Old Hemlock setters have roots in the Rymans, but George Bird Evans wanted dogs closer to the show type and his priority of conformation over hunting abilities was reflected in his breeding program.
In our opinion the current dogs with origins closest to the real Rymans were/are bred cooperatively by a small group of Appalachian grouse hunters. The breeder who best exemplifies this group is Walt Lesser with his Alder Run line. Walt began with dogs bred by George Ryman and his goal as a breeder has been to keep the same hunting abilities, conformation, and size of the original Rymans in his dogs. We are not aware of another living breeder who had any experience with dogs actually produced by George Ryman.
Alder Run Setters