The Llewellin Setter Page is designed to be a central point for all Llewellin Setter resources on the Web (Llewellin Links, mid-page). The Sparks Family has been training, hunting, and breeding the Llewellin Setter in Indiana since 1970

My Grandmother Piper, mother (Jane), and her sister (Virlee) with a blue Belton Llewellin, Joe (ca. 1947) ...and yes, that is an outhouse.
(Like many others with Llewellin Setters my Grandfather Piper hunted Llewellins way back in the 'olden-days').

High Cotton Lucy and her litter sired by Set, pictured with Jane and Roy Sparks III (June '70)
Sparks Setters began with the purchase and breeding of High Cotton Lucy to Dashing Set Bondhu from the late Ira Griste, Sardis, MS. Dashing Set Bondhu was imported from William Humphrey's kennels of England by Mr. Griste. Our personal line of Llewellins ended with the death of its progenitor, Joe Dashing Bondhu (whelped from the above cross). Additionally, Dashing Annie Bondhu was one of our most talented females, and she was sired by Dashing Paley Bondhu (Imported by Glen Roark from Trevor Wostenholm, So. Africa. Mr. Wostenholm obtained his dogs from Humphrey as well.) out of Dashing Vickie Bondhu.

While we no longer breed for sale (our last whelped litter was in 1993...we do get the occassional request from the old days), we do maintain our own personal hunting dogs. While my twin brother and I are not experts on Llewellin history or professional trainers, we have cared for, raised, and trained Llewellin Setters since we were 3 years old (going on some 35 years, now). We learned practically all we know about raising and handling them from our mother. It was our responsibility to socialize all puppies, daily feed and water all our dogs (begining at 5), and obedience train them for 4-H competitions (begining at 10). Below is a brief history of the Llewellin Setter. If you know of other appropriate links please let me know. Copyright © 1998-2005 Troy D. Sparks. All Rights Reserved.

To jump to the appropriate section, Use the following links:

[Llewellin History] [Llewllin Links] [Llewellin Kennels] [Dogs Supplies/Health, Training, Conservation]

LThe National Llewellin Gun Dog Club (click the image to the left): See the Newly designed National Llewellin Gun Dog Club (NLGDC) site. Now, with its own vanity URL: promotes, sponsors and coordinates Llewellin walking trials. Contains info. on Officers contacts, Upcoming Trials, Trial Results and Rules, Forms, Bylaws, and a "Members Only" section! ....I started the official Club site in 2000 and have been hosting it for free for the last 5yrs. I have gladly handed the webmaster torch to Ernie Hardman! L

The very top Sparks Family picture: Roy K. Sparks III, Becky Sparks (1964-94), Mom (Jane Sparks) with Joe Dashing Bondhu, Dad (Roy K. Sparks, Jr.; 1944-97), and Me (Troy Sparks) with Dashing Annie Bondhu (Fall '78).

The following is a brief history of the Llewellin Setter. The below quoted text is taken from Lone Star English Setter Club's page The LSESC page also explains the differences between Llewellin, Laverack, and Ryman lines (all rights reserved). Additionally, I've added my own verbage in order to futher clarify certain points. Please note, while I'm currently a grad. student at Texas A&M, I was born and raised in the great Hoosier state: Indidna. Cheers and Enjoy, Troy

A Brief History...

Roy Sparks (III) and Sparky's Dashing Sally at the Llewellin National Classic Shoot-to-Retrieve trial in Southern Illinois (Mar. '00)

"English Setters have always been among the most popular gun dogs in the world. The earliest reference to the breed extends back to the 1500s. One of the interesting points about this breed, is that lines of English Setters exist to meet diverse needs. Whether your preference is hunting, field trialing, or bench showing, or whether you want a dog to hunt on horseback or on foot, there is a line to meet those needs. As a result, very distinct lines of English Setters have evolved over time. Field setters are bred with hunting or field trialing in mind (they are not the same thing), Bench setters were bred for conformation and bench showing in mind. That doesn't mean that bench setters can't hunt nor does it mean that field setters have bad conformation. Its simply a matter of which characteristics the breeder desired." While there are many lines/strains of English Setters, this page will focus on the Llewellin Setter. Also, please take the time to note the correct spelling of Llewellin. Enjoy...

"Llewellin fanciers maintain their breed is a strong contender for anyone interested in a stylish, easy handling, and good looking gun dog that harks back to the good old days of gentlemen's bird hunting."

"So what exactly is a Llewellin Setter?" It's a very specific, pure strain of "English Setter with bloodlines tracing back to the breeding program of nineteenth century sportsman R. L. Purcell Llewellin. Llewellin and Edward Laverack played a key role in the development of the breed. Llewellin's name has been irrevocably associated with those English Setters bred for field work." It should be noted that not all field-type English Setters are FDSB Registered Llewellin Setters, and "Llewellin-type" setters are not FDSB registered Llewellin Setters. The generic use of the term 'Llewellin' for all field-type English Setters does NOT mean that the dog is a registered Llewellin. If the dog is not registered as Llewellin with the Field Dog Stud Book (FDSB) of Chicago, then, it is not technically a Llewellin in an historic sense. I, personally, don't have a problem with folks using "llewellin" as a generic term to describe field English Setters as long as they know that there is difference. Llewellin bloodlines include Dashing Bondhu (= Scinn Amach = Luathas), Wind'em (= Machad = Cloncurragh = Advie (but >90% Dashing)), Bomber, Gladstone, Tony-O, Royacelle and Blizzard.

"In the mid-1860s, R.L. Purcell Llewellin of Pembrokeshire, South Wales, began his breeding program utilizing dogs obtained from Laverack. Llewellin was primarily interested in developing dogs for field work, and he experimented with various crosses before discovering the nick that would ultimately establish his name as a synonym for topnotch field-bred English Setters." As an aside, confusion also stems from the fact that the AKC does not recognise the Llewellin separately from English, and they refer to all "field-type" English setters as "Llewellin" which is technically incorrect....but we all know what the AKC has done for field dogs :)

"Llewellin's breakthrough occurred when he purchased two dogs, Dan and Dick, while attending a field trial at Shewbury in 1871. Dan and Dick were sons of a dog named Duke, owned by Barclay Field, and a bitch named Rhoebe (Rhoebe's dam was half Gordon and half South Esk, a now extinct breed), owned by Thomas Statter; both of these dogs were out of northern England stock noted for outstanding field work. Llewellin bred Dan and Dick to his Laverack females, and a new era in bird dog history was begun."

"The Duke, Rhoebe, and Laverack crossing produced exactly what Llewellin was looking for, and the offspring quickly attracted the notice of sportsmen in both England and North America. Dan proved to be especially preponent, and it was he who sired Gladstone, one of the most important Llewellins of all time. Gladstone quickly established himself as a top field performer and sire. His achievements contributed greatly to the surge of popularity the Llewellins were soon to enjoy."

Count Noble, cornerstone of the American Llewellin dynasty. Pictured here on display at the National Bird Dog Museum, Grand Junction, TN.

"Count Noble, another great Llewellin furthered the recognition begun by Gladstone and surpassed Gladstone's record for siring winning progency. When mated to Gladstone's daughters, Count Noble produced dogs that swept the field trial circuit, firmly fixing in sportsmen's minds the notion that the Llewellins were the "ones to beat" in trial competition. One of Count Noble's sons, Count Gladstone IV, won the inaugural National Bird Dog Championship, run at West Point, Mississippi in 1896."

"Today, only the Field Dog Stud Book (FDSB) of Chicago, published by American Field, recognizes Llewellins as those English Setters whose ancestry traces back to the Original Duke-Rhoebe-Laverack Cross." Hence, all Llewellins are currently registered via the FDSB separately from English. Although some do breed English to Llewellin, in such cases, the litter must be registered as English Setter with the FDSB and NOT Llewellin. Any such outcrossing of Llewellin lines disqualifies the resulting litters registration as Llewellin with the FDSB.

So, why do Llewellins have a separate registry with the FDSB, and other field-type English don't? This is a simple matter of timing and history. Llewellins were so dominant to any other 'English' setter of the day that they, in essence, won a separate registry in 1902. In fact, Llewellins were the base stock for most (if not all) field-type English in the U.S. today. So, the percentage of Llewellin blood in most modern English lines is most likely quite high. Current field-type English (Ryman, DeCoverly, Tomoka, Tekoa Mountain, etc...) were not established for several decades after the Llewellin; therefore, they are not recognized separately from English by the FDSB.

"Traits: Intelligent, strong natural abilities, a desire to please, willingness to work for the gun and a companionable disposition. You can make a pet of these dogs and you won't have a bit of trouble with them in the field. Their disposition contributes to the dog's easy handling. One of the most interesting and controversial points to arise in any discussion of Llewellin setters concerns their appearance. Many sportsmen erroneously believe that a purebred Llewellin can be identified by its color and markings. In actuality, a Llewellin can be marked and colored like any other English Setter, and appearance is neither a guarantee nor a condemnation of bloodline purity." Indeed, it is not surprising that many modern field-type setters have a Llewellin like physical appeareance since these dogs are also bred for nose, and stamina. "Because many of the early

"CH Count Gladstone IV, winner of the inaugural National Championship in 1896."

Llewellins were tricolors - white with solid black heads and tan eyebrows and check patches - that coloration has long been considered standard by many sportsmen. But equally common are the blue and orange beltons. And although somewhat rare, there is also a chestnut belton, a color particularly favored by Llewellin himself. The term "belton" was first used by Laverack, and was taken from the name of a town near Northumberland, England where many of the setters carried this distinctive color scheme" (ticking only with no spots; my Indy (below) is a blue Belton). Additionally, one may here the term 'Belton-type' setter. This is a misnomer, and is misused to describe field-type English that are used almost exclusively to hunt grouse and woodcock.

Pups that are born all white will eventually develop small black, orange, or chestnut ticks (very small spots) all over their bodies. When older, these pups will end up with a great number of ticks and are called "beltons" (blue belton, orange belton, or chestnut belton). Blue refers to black hair that mingles with the white surrounding hair to form bluish-gray coloring. Ticking will not be completed until a pup is about 9 months old. All large spots will show up on a pup at the time of birth (pups with large spots on the body, and/or partially or solid heads are not referred to as belton). Adult weight averages around 50 pounds and height is about 24 inches with females being slightly smaller.

"Although lacking the exaggerated beauty of bench setters, the modern Llewellin Setter is indeed a good-looking dog, and he is every inch a sporting dog."

For more detailed historical information see What is a Llewellin Setter at

[Back to Top] [Llewellin History] [Llewllin Links] [Llewellin Kennels] [Dogs Supplies/Health, Training, Conservation]

The Sparks' Hoosier gang: Sally, Jack, Dutch (Owner is Roy) and King (Aug. '01; Sally, Jack, and King are owned by my mother).