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Dr. Tom and Dr. Jim Flanagan in 1929 with setter from their uncle Dr. George Manley

About Us
Dr. Flanagan’s interest in setters was kindled by his Uncle George Manley’s involvement with setters in the early 20th century. Dr. Manley imported dogs from Sir William Humphries in England, the son-in-law of R. Purcell Llewellin. The setters that Dr. Manley raised were terrific bird dogs who could hunt all day and were personable companions as well. He bred some of his dogs to the great producer Eugene M (National Champion 1911) and some of his descendants. While Dr. Manley discontinued his kennels after marrying for the first time at age 45 his appreciation for Eugene M bloodlines was not lost on his nephew.

Dr. Flanagan too was “out of bird dogs” during college years, med school, a stint in the U.S. Navy and his surgical residency in New York city. Returning to Norwich, N.Y. in 1950 to open a medical practice he also purchased his uncle’s old farm and kennels in Preston, N.Y. and bought several setters. The Grand National Grouse Championship was being run in nearby Pharsalia, N.Y. and Dr. Flanagan received his first exposure to field trials winning a place in the novice stake.

He then set out to obtain a setter that could win field trials. His perception of the ideal bird dog was a bit ambitious by most standards of today. He wanted a dog that could run competitively in grouse trials, quail trials, pheasant trials, or on any type of game bird, foot or horseback and be hunted in between.

Dr. Flanagan obtained Ebbtide from legendary trainer Jack Harper in 1953. His impressive pedigree contained the founding sires of what were then considered the three great setter families (the Ginger’s, the Beau’s and Sports Peerless). Ebbtide crossed with Grouse Ridge Countess, a “Chief” setter with heavy influence from Eugene M (like the Gingers), produced our first great performer and sire Grouse Ridge Smokey. The rest as they say is history.

The breeding program has developed an unbroken string of champion performers and producers that now spans six decades. The focus is still on producing English Setters that can hunt anywhere and under any conditions. Discriminating sportsmen in the U.S. and abroad (England, Japan, Korea, Norway, Canada, Mexico and Africa) can attest to the success of this approach.


Pete Flanagan with 1977 National Amateur
Pheasant Champion Grouse Ridge Billyboy

Field Trial History

While 95% of the dogs ever raised at Grouse Ridge have gone to dedicated birdhunters, the Grouse Ridge setters and their progeny have none the less amassed a spectacular Field Trial resume that includes championships on Grouse, Quail, Prairie Chicken, Woodcock and Pheasant in all types of terrain throughout North America and Japan.

While some hunters think they should avoid “Field Trial Dogs” like the plague we feel this is a serious mistake. Field Trials are a benchmark for performance. Our setters are publicly shown and independently evaluated. While other breeders may disdain competition with claims of generations of class hunting dogs, it is really hard to tell whether “Old Briar” or his Grandpa were indeed great dogs or whether his owner is just a great promoter.

The fact that Grouse Ridge Kennels has campaigned winners in championship competition in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and the 2000’s is proof that these setters have consistently met a high standard. The kennel has been blessed with more than a score of title winners over its history and both Dr. Tom Flanagan and his great champion Grouse Ridge Will have been enshrined in the Bird Dog Hall of Fame in Grand Junction, Tennessee. The prestigious English Setter Awards also bestows an annual award in honor of Dr. Flanagan (Cover Dog Homepage) for the top English Setter Grouse and Woodcock Derby in the U.S. Those interested in a more detailed history of the kennel can contact us for Ryan Frame’s booklet “Grouse Ridge Setters 1950-1996. While the kennel’s current field trial endeavors involve primarily walking cover dog events, we feel the Grouse Ridge setters can hunt or compete in any venue.


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