Llewellin Setter History

A refined line of the English Setter, Llewellins date back nearly 200 years to the original lines bred by Edward Laverack.  A wealthy hunter, Mr. Laverack is credited with originating what we know today as the English Setter by maintaining his own line of dogs with no outcrosses for over 50 years.  Over the years, Mr. Laverack encountered another well-off hunter by the name of Purcell Llewellin who had the same passion for developing the ultimate hunting dog.

In his efforts to produce the perfect setter, Mr. Llewellin took the best dogs from Mr. Laverack and out-crossed them with the best of the Duke/Rhoebe strain of Setters.  In promoting the Duke/Rhoebe-Laverack cross, Mr. Llewellin nurtured what is considered to be the most successful Field Setter of that time.  These Field Setters performed so well abroad and in the United States that they garnered recognition from the American Field as a separate breed, the Llewellin Setter.

Over time, the original strains of Llewellin’s Setters have been passed on to affluent breeders around the world who shared his passion to cultivate the perfect setter.  Today, the most widely recognized strains are the American and Humphrey Llewellins.  The American Llewellins (Bombers and Blizzards are current lines) are the descendants of the early Llewellin imports to America. These dogs were largely known for their wide ground coverage in the field often excelling in Field Trials involving hunters on horseback.  These dogs were largely 50% Laverack and 50% Duke/Rhoebe.  Today, few survive as pure American Llewellins and are close to 60% Laverack, 40% Duke/Rhoebe.  The Humphrey Llewellins (Horsford Dashing, Horsford Count & Countess, Dashing Bondhu and Windem) were the result of Mr. Humphrey combining his Llewellins from Mr. Llewellin’s stock with American Llewellin and those from Law Turner and others.  His Horsford Dashing were almost 100% Laverack while his Dashing Bondhu were 80-90% 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 dogs were known to be bold but easy to handle – true gentleman’s dogs.  

Registered Llewellin Setters with the American Field Dog Stud Book must show direct lineage to Mr. Llewellin’s line of dogs (100% Duke/Rhoebe-Laverack) with no outcrosses.  Today, the American Field requires DNA verification of the sire and dam for Llewellin Registration.