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The Great Ones – The Red Torch

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100 – September, 2021

By Kerrin Winter-Churchill

Charisma! That’s an often-used word in top show dog circles today. If a champion show dog has this indefinable essence, its chances of making it to the heights of the show world are greatly increased. As glamorous as dog showing has become, it’s easy to understand why modern fanciers might believe that they invented the word charisma but, of course, they would be wrong. If we could travel back in time some eighty-odd years ago to the 1930s dog show scene, we’d hear the word being used liberally and with enthusiasm–when discussing a big red setter named Milson O’Boy. In his blood O’Boy carried forward the age-old flame of breeders’ passion for elegant red setters and through him that flaming red torch burns brightly to this day.

“I loved O’Boy! He was a marvelous dog. When you saw that big, happy dog in the ring you couldn’t help but laugh and smile. He loved life and his happiness was contagious. He was really special,” said respected dog woman, the late, AKC judge Peggy Newcombe, who as a teenager was captured by his spell. Indeed, the dog was so special that Ch. Milson O’Boy had his own adoring fan club headed by a pack of teenage girls. When the girls started showing up at every near-to-New York show that O’Boy attended their mothers insisted that for their safety, the dog’s owner, Mrs. Cheever Porter, be responsible for bringing their gone-to-the-dog daughters back and forth to the shows. Agreeing to do so, the very wealthy and reclusive Mrs. Cheever Porter once remarked that although it was quite a bit of trouble to play chauffeur to a group of zealous girls, she was only too glad to foster their passion. After all, O’Boy was her favorite show dog, too.

Although hardly more than a name in a breed book by most Irish Setter fanciers today, all who love the Rollicking Reds should bow their heads in homage to the happy-go-lucky O’Boy. Not only did he have a profound effect on the public, bringing great attention (and quality breeders) to the breed, he is directly behind almost all-good Irish Setters of today. With his clean shoulders, effortless gait, and winning personality, he was much sought after as a sire in the 1930s and ‘40s. Lucky for all modern Irishers, O’Boy’s pedigree was one of purposeful breeding, orchestrated by one of the great Master Breeders of all time – still referred to as “the one and only Harry Hartnett”.

The Milson Maestro

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100 – September, 2021

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  • September 2021