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The judge Mr Ronny Blomme, Norcroft Irish & English Setters

The first dog I started with was a non-pedigree bred Irish Setter male. This was in 1976, the years when Irish Setters were very popular and realize when writing this article this is already almost 45 years ago and all those years I have never been without a Setter. At this moment 2 Irish Setter bitches are keeping us company at home.

I liked the breed, its style and elegance together with the deep red coloured coat and its wonderful character. But very soon I also became very much interested in English Setters as well whose sense of humour really caught me.

Since then I have owned, shown and bred successfully several Irish Setters and English Setters under the Norcroft affix. I first started with males in Irish, bred from the successful lines and kennels in those years in Belgium and the Netherlands such as Lowfield, Of the Hunter’s Home, etc. all going back to UK breeding as was the norm in those days.

Later I imported from the UK a male Irish Setter and later came also from the UK an Irish Setter bitch, followed a few years later by an English Setter bitch. Both were the foundation bitches of our small kennel with limited breeding as professional duties did not allow much breeding. In both breeds several puppies we bred and owned, or owned by others, made up their champion titles and some have been influential to other kennels.

Meanwhile after about being in these breeds for 10 years I found it interesting to start judging and after having passed the obligatory exams I judged for the first time Irish Setters in 1988 in Belgium. Later followed the exams for the other Setter breeds and English Pointer, but also the Weimaraner. These are the only breeds I judge in FCI group 7. My interest in Gundogs has always been mainly in the British Gundog breeds, thus followed judging Spaniels, Retrievers but Waterdogs too which I find is an interesting breed. Now being qualified as a group judge for all breeds in FCI Group 8.

During all those the years I have been very much involved with the Belgian Irish Setter Club, organizing for almost 15 years the breed specialty for this club, and also having been the president of this club during 10 years. During that time I very much supported the idea to organize the internationally very much attended “Irish Red & White Setter Conference” a two days event which took place in 2004.

After 30 years judging I still judge Gundogs only, this is a decision I made for myself and almost for sure it will stay like that – although there a number of non-gundog breeds I do like very much - as I see myself as a Setter and British Gundog Breeds judge for the above mentioned breeds, and judging Setters & Pointers will always be my preferred breeds to judge.

Judging has brought me over the years in so many countries all over Europe from north to south, and west to east for judging on “All breeds CAC/CACIB shows” including the World Show in Bern, Switzerland in 1994, but with no doubt I found most pleasure in judging the many Setters and Setter & Pointer Club Specialties in so many parts of Europe. Judging even took me to the other side of the world to Australia for judging an Irish Setter Specialty.

I am very honoured, and dare to say proud, to have judged all the Setters breeds altogether 10 times now on CC level in the UK which means very much for me, including Breed Specialties and All Breeds CC Shows.

I am honoured and thankful to the organizers of all those shows for having invited me to judge on their shows.

I am very honoured and thankful for being invited – and very much looking forward as Tallinn is with no doubt one of my favourite places since my first visit in 2001 – to judge my beloved Setter breeds on this Setter Specialty again in your country, as this will be the 3rd time judging at this show.

R. Blomme

Photo: private