Count Noble

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Count Noble
Count Noble.jpg
Species Canis lupus familiaris
Breed Llewellin Setter
Sex Male
Born August 1, 1879[1]
Sewickley, Pennsylvania[2]
Died January 20, 1891(1891-01-20) (aged 11)[2]
Resting place The National Bird Dog Museum
Grand Junction, Tennessee
Known for Hunting dog and show dog
Owner Benjamin Frederick Wilson
Parents Count Windom (sire)
Nora (dam)[2]

Count Noble (August 1, 1879 - January 20, 1891) was a male Llewellin Setter.[note 1] He was so well known that when he died in 1891, The New York Times ran an obituary.[2] He was popularly known as the "$10,000 hunting dog."[3] He was described as a "national symbol of what was great in bird dogs."[3]

Benjamin Frederick Wilson, Count Noble's owner

His owner, Captain Benjamin Frederick Wilson, was a banker and coal barge operator.[3] While he was well known for his hunting prowess and show skills, it was his prepotency, the ability to pass on his best traits to his progeny, that made him the most famous.[3] In 1880, he won the national amateur Derby dog show.[2] He was so famous that owners of other setters refused to compete in shows with him.[2] Other shows offered special inducements in order to encourage his owner to compete.[2]

Writing in 1904, Joseph A. Graham gives this description of Count Noble: "A large white-black-tan dog, long in the body and not considered a well proportioned setter. He weighed sixty pounds."[4]

A portrait of Count Noble by Edmund Osthaus hangs in the first-floor reading room of the Duquesne Club.[3]

Following his death, his preserved body was displayed in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in a scene showing him hunting quail.[3] The display was moved to The National Bird Dog Museum in Tennessee.[3]

In 2011, American Kennel Club judge Richard LeBeau began an effort to raise $2,000 to establish a historical marker honoring Count Noble outside Osborne Elementary School, which stands on the site of Wilson's former home.[3]


  1. ^ 'Llewellin Setter' is a name sometimes used to describe a specific strain of working English Setter.[1]


  1. ^ Hardman, Ernie. "A Pedigree of Count Noble". Llewwllin Setter Online. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Death of Count Noble - A Famous Setter Dog Expires Near Pittsburg" (PDF). The New York Times. January 22, 1891. Archived from the original on 2011-01-23. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Pitz, Marylynne (January 23, 2011). "Honoring Count Noble, the 'Man O'War of English setters'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  4. ^ Graham, Joseph A. (1904). The Sporting Dog ... With Many Illustrations. New York: Macmillan Company. p. 61. 

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