About Twombly Setters
Earl Twombly began training and showing sporting dogs in 1925 - breeds such as English Setters, English Pointers, Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers and German Shorthaired Pointers were raised and trained at Coronation Kennels in Waterbury, VT. He was most famous for his expertise in breeding English Setters, with lines originating from early English field and bench bloodlines.
“My strain of English setters are distinguished by their beauty, their lovable dispositions, and the care with which they handle in the field.
I have sold to my Sportsman friends throughout New England a goodly number of setters of this Coronation strain with the most pleasing results. If you are looking for your ideal gun dog, it will be an English Setter, with looks to fill your eye - a true...belton in color, good size - a proud head - square muzzle, low-set ears, soft brown eyes, and all the brains and bird sense you can wrap up in one dog.” - Earl M. Twombly, circa 1940
Earl Twombly worked hard to have good-looking and strong-going field dogs, now known as “dual purpose” - beautiful yet still full of bird sense. Earl’s daughter, Becky tells that their dogs frequently would win at a show on Saturday, then point and retrieve grouse and woodcock on Sunday!
Rebecca Twombly Higgins and
three English Pointers
Becky Twombly Higgins, in correspondence with Warren Scheckels of Pine Coble Kennel, wrote: “As I mentioned to you, I was certainly involved in the dog business and can tell you that my Dad wanted to breed a strain of hunting dogs that would not only have real bird sense but have good conformation too, and a nice head. He felt that too many of the field-type dogs were too small in size and often had weak heads and pointed noses. I think you will see from the pictures of the pups and grown dogs that he managed to accomplish exactly what he set out to do. He raised a strain of gun dogs that were “birdie”, strong in the brush and field and yet were very good to look at, rugged, nicely ticked and with excellent feather.”
Earl Twombly’s most notable English Setters included CH “Joe Silver" in 1930, "Duke of DeCoverly" (not related to the Pennsylvania kennel by the same name), "Cider", Corey Ford's beloved setter in the 50s, and, in the ‘60s, "Tober", Cider's son, along with Earl’s own CH "Chief". All were bred, developed and trained through Earl’s methods.
Earl Twombly and Chief
Earl Twombly and
Duke of DeCoverly
Many current breeders have built their kennels including Twombly setters. Pine Coble, Setter Hills, Alderwood and October Setters are some of the kennels that include Twombly Setter lines. Almost 90 years after Earl Twombly started Coronation Kennels, the “Twombly Setters” of today are still the same large, beautiful and “birdy” setters he strived for.
The legacy of Earl Twombly and Coronation Kennels continues today through his grandson Legh and wife Jenn, who have benefitted from the love and guidance of Earl's daughter Becky. Legh and Jenn Higgins both grew up on Blush Hill in Waterbury, VT, and Jenn's parents were friends and among the best customers of Earl's "back in the day". Now Legh and Jenn live in and hunt the coverts of the Northeast Kingdom in October and travel south in November to central Virginia, where they train, hunt, and guide other hunters with their 7 English Setters. Legh Higgins said: "We have a family 3 generation love for gun dogs. We've dedicated our retirement to these fine setters".
The late Becky Twombly Higgins and Clover of Coronation
Legh Higgins and
Willoughby of Coronation
Jenn Higgins and some pups in late summer of 2016!
Legh and Jenn Higgins at Coronation Kennels