Celtaur English Setters
Fleur’s offspring by Sh Ch Mindenday Music Master born 17/09/81
My Clover – Celtaur Bright Eyes
Fleur – Silverteal Sappho of Celtaur, at 11 years with her ‘best mate’ Flynn
Sammy – Celtaur Bahia Blue owned by the Brunt family.
Frank – Celtaur Babaji owned by the Hockey family
Sophie – Celtaur Broadway Melody owned by the Bower family.
Bonnie – Celtaur Bonny Moorhen owned by
ALL LOVED, LONG DEPARTED, BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN
Celtaur Gordon Setters
My first Gordon – ‘Tassie’ Santanas Indian Summer Born Feb 22nd 1980
Santanas Black Hussar – Tassie’s Dad
I bought Tassie in a way that I would never advise anyone to acquire their foundation bitch. I answered a newspaper advert, drove from Essex to Lincolnshire, where I found Tassie’s breeders going through a very rough patch in their lives and living temporarily in a council house along with 30 dogs! Any sane person would have walked away, but every dog was in shining condition and all running around together without a grumble. The litter that I had gone to see were healthy, happy well boned pups. These folk were obviously passionate about their dogs and took so much time and trouble to give me all the information that I needed. Never judge a book by it’s cover. I left with an 8 week old Tassie in my arms and have never regretted it for one minute.
When Tassie succumbed to parvovirus at 5 months old [ some will remember those awful days before a reliable vaccine was manufactured] her breeders pulled out all the stops to find information to help me nurse her. Thankfully she made a full recovery with no residual effects: a few months later no one would ever have known how close she had been to death’s door.
It soon became clear that my English Setter friends had been misinformed. When I had told them that I was getting a Gordon they all warned me how she would be much more challenging than an English, that I would have to be very firm and let her get away with nothing. Gordons are tough physically, but intelligent and sensitive mentally, and do not tolerate being over chastised. If I over stepped the mark I got the ‘look’ and a complete refusal to co-operate at all. I learnt that softly, softly, and praise where due achieved much better results, and Tassie’s lessons have stood me in good stead with all my dogs since. I would go as far as to say that as a ‘behavourist’ her training of me was exemplarary !
She was my undisputed pack leader until the day she left our lives, never had to growl at any one as the Tassie ‘look’ was enough to quell any youngster’s exuberance and make them consider their manners.
Tassie ‘the matriach’ with babies
A wonderful show dog for a novice, she completely showed herself and loved to be in the centre of the ring saying ‘look at me’ She never forgot a friend and once when in an Open bitch class she took off over the ring ropes and landed on the lap of a man spectating, who we used to stand in the same class with way back in Junior! She won many classes and was a sound, stylish mover, but a little plain in head for the judges and therefore lost out on top honours. For the character that she was at home I wouldn’t have had her any other way.
Tassie had three litters and is behind every Celtaur Gordon bred, bar one litter. She is still missed but her personality shines through eight generations down the line.
Celtaur ‘First Generation’ Tassie’s children
LITTER ONE: Born April 11th 1982 Sired by Salters Blackthorn of the Speygrounds.
I kept Celtaur Gaelic Star [Flynn] & Celtaur Witches Promise [Janna]
Flynn was indeed my ‘star’ of the time and did well in the show ring as a Puppy and Junior. He missed his Junior Warrant award by only one point, and won a Reserve Challenge Certificate at Windsor Championship Show in 1985.
He was a real gentleman and got along with everyone ..he had a reputation for having an outstanding temperament and folk who knew him would let their males off their leads to run with him in absolute confidence that he would never cause any arguments. He really got under my skin, was a wonderful companion, and a great ‘second in command’ to his Mum. He eventually quietly took over Tassie’s bed and pack leadership along with it, when she died following a stroke at 11 plus years.
Flynn was my shadow, and of all the dogs I have ever lived with, if I could choose only one to walk through eternity with, it would have to be him.
I had a stud enquiry for him and had his hips x-rayed for scoring under the KC/BVA scheme .. unbelievably, given his strong,sound movement his score came back as 90. Needless to say he was never bred from, even though his hips caused him no obvious problem throughout his 14 years, my conscience would not allow him to be used, as I thought that the very real possibility of him siring hip dysplasia affected pups was just not worth it.
Flynn 17 months winning Junior BGSC Champ Show 1983
and 8 years old, an expression of love and loyalty.
Flynn’s litter sister was lightly shown in an era when big and rugged Gordon Setters ruled the day . She was compact and solid, but only 23″ in height, however still won a few classes and achieved her Kennel Club Stud Book Number in good competition. An absolute little dear, so affectionate and comical in her ways. She adored being groomed, and would leap on to the nearest table or work surface as soon as she saw me reach for a brush ..as if to say ”me first please!” She had just one litter to Show Champion Hinchinbrook Dragonfly, one of only 3 males in the breed at the time who had a KC/BVA Hip Dysplasia CLEAR certificate.
Janna, 17 months winning her Junior class, …. then at 4 years old in 1986 after winning a Limit bitch class.
LITTER TWO: Born May 28th 1984 Sired by Murrayhill Woodcock of Dalbiers [Jethro]
I chose Jethro as father to my second litter because he was such a gentleman, and a really honest old fashioned Gordon. His temperament was impeccable; he lived day to day with 2 other Gordon males, all of whom were used at stud. He was also another dog with a KC/BVA Hip Dysplasia CLEAR certificate.
From this litter I kept a bitch, Celtaur Silver Shadow who was not quite the type I had had in the first litter, and who was a little bright in tan for me [matched her personality!] She was a real madam at times, always wanted to push her way out of the door first, had complete ‘cloth ears’ when I wanted her to listen, and the place she preferred to sit was on my head! Some of the less endearing Gordon traits. She would have liked to be leader but did not quite ‘walk the walk’ and could never get past the quiet authority of Tassie and Flynn.
It is not my usual policy to rehome older dogs, but while going through a particularly unpleasant divorce in 1991, I had to stop letting my heart rule my head, and accept that while I was putting my life back in order, while I was out all day at college retraining, and working, my dogs were not getting the quality of life and the attention they deserved. A couple who were looking for an adult bitch came to see Shadow and took to her right away. She walked off with them without a backward glance and lived with them to the grand old age of sixteen. Thank you, John and Sally, for giving her such a wonderful home for the second half of her life.
Shadow, Living with me, ……………………………………………..then happily retired to her new home.
LITTER THREE: Born 0ctober 13th 1986 Sired by Santanas Ambassador [Callum]
Callum belonged to Tassies breeder, and although he was Tassies half brother and an unseen, unshown dog, I liked him so much that I decided to ‘take a chance’ and use him for Tassie’s last litter. Callum was grandson of the notable Gordon, full Champion Swanley Strathbeg who sadly did not live a long life, and who therefore features in very few Gordon Setter pedigrees today.
Tassie had only 4 puppies to Callum, and as the one bitch was already booked I kept a male Celtaur Phantom [Musket]. Bouncy and full of beans he was the perfect foil to his more serious minded elder half brother Flynn. At times he played me up dreadfully in the show ring, He could show like a dream, but the days he had his ‘clown’ head on ……..
Musket sired just one litter to my friend Sandra Cheshire’s bitch Clemansall Lysanda Coridon before he was sadly taken from the life that he lived so full on. He swallowed bedding while in boarding kennels, which caused an obstruction, but he did not survive the surgery. I found his loss very hard to come to terms with ..it is hard enough to day goodbye to an old friend who has lived life to it’s natural conclusion, but even worse when they are taken before their time.
A special boy who will never be forgotten by me, .. or any of his friends who he made laugh so much with his ‘comedy performances’!
My favourite head study ……………………………….. and a rare moment, standing still for once
The ‘Second Generation’ – Tassie’s Grandchildren
JANNA [Celtaur Witches Promise]
LITTER ONE: Born July 3rd 1985 Sired by Show Champion Hinchinbrook Dragonfly [Dragon]
I travelled to several shows with Dragon. He was a beautiful dog with a lovely character [ his favourite place to sleep was on top of his family’s dining table! ] What is it with this breed??!!
Mindful of the number of dogs I had at home, I kept a male from this litter Celtaur Launcelot [Yodel] in partnership with Karen Woods, and he lived with her. She handled him to several Puppy and Junior wins, but when he was Hip screened he had a score in the mid 40’s. We did not carry on campaigning him, and although another three in the same litter had good Hip scores of 11,12, and 14 respectively, I decided that I would not breed from Janna again.
Sandra Cheshire had a bitch Celtaur Morgen Fey [ Freya ] from this litter, and later I was able to bring a daughter of hers back home.
‘Yodel ‘ just a handsome pup, …and litter sister ‘Freya’
SHADOW [Celtaur Silver Shadow]
LITTER ONE: Born July 17th 1987 Sired by Tamarod Firebird [ Liam ]
Liam’s and Dragon’s fathers were litter brothers, so they were quite similarly bred. Not surprisingly Liam was another male with excellent temperament and of the type I admired.
I kept Celtaur Silver Ghost [Grace] Grace means ‘strong and dark’ and she lived up to her name, what a gentle dignified girl she was, hard to believe that she was Shadow’s daughter!
Grace had one litter for me, then during my early 90’s turmoil, she went to live with Carol and Tim Matthews, where she had a ”Bramblehurst’ litter for them sired by Winterwood Willow. Carol and Tim kept Grace for the rest of her life, she had a wonderful home with them and I can only express my appreciation for them helping me out when I needed it most.
Grace at 18 months old
LITTER TWO: Born February 1st 1989 Sired by Tamarod Firebird
This was a repeat mating of the previous litter, although we had actually been to visit another dog who did not ‘oblige’
From this litter Purdey [Celtaur Silver Charm] went out to South Africa to join Doug Robinson’s Southern Star Setters near Johannesburg. She became a South African Champion.
Celtaur ‘Third’ Generation
Sandra Cheshire who had Freya [ Celtaur Morgen Fey] mated her to Moonglade Move Over.
Their daughter Psyche [ Clemansall Psyche of Celtaur] came to live with us and took over as boss bitch between the days of Tassie her great granny, and Fay Large Munsterlander who ‘rules’ until the present day. Psyche was an easy Gordon with many of Tassie’s characteristics, who kept the pack in line with quiet authority.. another one who did not have to be stroppy to be in charge! She was hardly shown, loved nothing better than to gallop flat out across the fields but always came back as soon as called. Running was her joy in life, and she died the way she lived with sudden heart failure following her exercise …. I was devastated at the lack of warning, but probably she left us in the best way she could have chosen for herself.
Loyal, intelligent, affectionate and with such a zest for life, Psyche was a real treasure and a pleasure to have known.
Psyche looking after the family …… mine ………………. and her own.
GRACE’S LITTER: Born April 3rd 1990 Sired by Show Champion Timadon Briar [Robbie]
Grace was a lovely bitch, but I would not have wanted her to be any taller or darker in tan. So we chose Robbie as her mate because he was a nice size with good bone, but a bit more compact than she was and with a lovely rich correct tan colour.
I did not initially keep a pup from this litter, mindful for once of the number of dogs that I already had, and also Tassie’s breeder, Wendy, had asked me if she could have the pick of the bitches. So Celtaur Lorelei [Tiffany] went to live with Wendy in Lincolnshire.
By 1994 my life circumstances had stabilised, but Wendy had had a stroke in her early fifties..from which she subsequently died some months later. She was a great friend, and I still miss the many occasions we sat through the night with a bottle of wine putting the world ‘to rights’, and her irreverant offbeat sense of humour!
Life is full of unexpected twists. Tiffany came back to live with us, and if she had not, I would not have had a bitch to carry on the Celtaur line. Tiff stayed with us for the rest of her 12 years, and was a very gentle affectionate girl, just like her Mum Grace. We lost her a couple of years after moving up to Scotland, I kept her ashes until I was able to drive down to Lincolnshire and scatter them on Wendy’s grave ..part of Tiffany always belonged to Wendy and I felt she should be re-united with her last Gordon Setter.
Tiffany … back home with us in ’94 ………………………………………growing old with dignity in Scotland 1999
Celtaur ‘Fourth’ Generation
How time passes before you know it. When it came to choosing Tiffany’s mate Flynn was 13 years old, and Tassie his Mum, Janna his sister, Musket his half brother and Fleur his best mate had all gone on before him, leaving me with some unfillable gaps but many happy memories too.
TIFFANY’S LITTER: Born September 17th 1994 Sired by Clemansall Webley Huricane
So far I had not linked back to my foundation, so it made sense to choose a SON from Musket’s one litter. Clemansall Blunderbuss owned by Karen and Ramsay Nagaty was a lovely dog, and a great ambassador for the breed until old age. However I decided to use his brother Jake [Clemansall Webley Huricane] ..pulling up on the driveway outside his owner Hilary’s house I had to stop and compose myself before I went in …the head that appeared at the front window was Musket waiting to greet me!
Musket’s sons. Gunner – Clemansall Blunderbuss .. and Jake – Clemansall Webley Huricane. True Gordon gentlemen.
Tiffany had 10 puppies to Jake in true ‘Celtaur’ style! 8 boys and 2 girls! I was determined to keep a bitch and chose Ceilidh [Celtaur Crazy Diamond] How well I named her. She could have been her great granny Shadow re-incarnated with most of her unpredictable ‘I will go through the door first’ traits!! Believe me, they do ‘come back’ sometimes.
I had no intention of keeping a male, but old Flynn clearly thought otherwise. He was no threat to pups but he really didn’t like them milling round his feet and swinging on his undercarriage. He would rumble at them, and remove himself and I respected his wishes and didn’t push it.
One little chap in this litter would sit on my feet and act aloof, refusing to interact with visitors. needless to say nobody chose him! One morning I discovered Flynn, sitting sunning himself on the doorstep, with this same chunky pup tucked between his front paws. He NEVER made friends with pups. 6 weeks later Flynn’s brave old heart gave out and he was gone. I felt that he had handed over his legacy, and Clyde [Celtaur Clairvoyant] STAYED.
Leggy 11 month old’s Clyde – Celtaur Clairvoyant and Ceilidh – Celtaur Crazy Diamond
Celtaur ‘Fifth’ Generation:
CLYDE & PSYCHE’S LITTER: Born March 4th 1997 Celtaur Clairvoyant & Clemansall Psyche of Celtaur
Ceilidh’s hip score was 26 – Gordon Setter breed average at the time. But by then my Gordon’s were consistently scoring lower than 20, many less than 10, so I decided not to breed from her.
The obvious next step was to put Clyde and Psyche together. The resulting litter links all 3 lines from Tassie’s litters for the first time. Psyche had only 5 pups and Sandra Cheshire took home Leia [ Celtaur Bandruidh of Clemansall] Leia is currently a fit and active 11 year old and brings our Gordon Setter history up to the present day.
Celtaur Roll of Honour
In memory of all the Setters & Munsterlanders who have shared our hearth, every one special, and a priviledge to have known. They all ‘shine on’
Tassie Flynn Janna
Shadow Musket Grace
Fergus the phantom [Fay’s best pal, followed her only 3 months later]
Elke & Daisy our rescued English Setter
Photo courtesy of Jesper Hogsted
Fay – completely irreplaceable -‘ remember me as light breaking through’