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Over trimming or shaving of the Show Irish Red Setter?

I would like to know the opinion of all show people on the over shaving(trimming) of the setter? I was very surprised to see that trimming is actually mentioned in the AKC breed standard (coat section)"Trimming is done to preserve the natural appearance of the dog" How over trimming or shaving can preserve a natural look is quite puzzling to me!!!! I make my dogs as neat as possible for shows with a scissors or hand plucking but never put a blade near them!! I think that over grooming is quite the opposite of the natural appearance!! I believe over trimming/grooming makes setters look a bit like cardboard cut outs,not real dogs!!!!!!!!

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If I wanted my Irish to look like they did 100 years ago, I'd try to find one. I don't, I much prefer the advanced and improved setter who has better conformation than they did in the past. It's called improvement in the breed, not stagnation. Like I've said before, we are all entitled to our personal likes and dislikes. I don't like a dog to be over trimmed either, but, I don't claim that every dog in the same country as the over trimmed dog are groomed exactly the same either, because they aren't. Every dog is trimmed differently, by different people who see their dogs differently. Oh my goodness, viva la Difference! Does not make one better than the other.
If you think that I was Disparaging to American, Canadian or Australian Setters.......if it is me that you are writing about, I was actually talking a one or two dogs HERE IN THE UK, I wasn't even thinking about the other country's.
As Susan says WE ALL HAVE OUR OWN OPINIONS but NOTHING was said about those three country's it was all about UK.Lets all agree to disagree its like everything else we all have our own way of doing things. And different country's do things differently, you take one of our dogs to say America, and the trimming would look dreadful, likewise if you showed an American dog in any UK show it too would look dreadful so we should just do our own dogs in our own ways, and lets get back to being nice to each other...Eh!!!!
I always use a clipper on the neck, about two three weeks before the show. On the ears I only use a sissard to make the hair not turn to thick or to long. I leave the hair longer on the bitches ears and shorter on the boys. Use to shave the ears some years ago but I dont like the hair quality after that. The hair is getting almost grey or white.
Just have to show you this photo of a bitch from my first litter. The proud owner sent me this photo and I asked a little considerate if he would need some help trimming her, but no he likes her the way she is, and I have to respect that.
But believe me, it really itches in my fingers.
Than I told myself, the dog is happy so why bother.

Oh yes my Ir Sh Ch is like ''an unmade bed'' at the moment I will go at her for Crufts and make her look good but I know what you mean about the itchy fingers, have you ever found yourself standing with someone with a pet dog and you find yourself plucking the hair from the top of the head, you just can't help yourself. The girl in the picture would look wonderful with a clip.
I too used to shave the ears, and like you I have come to leave a bit of hair on them now, and the colour has come back as well..
Love the picture though
Oh yes, Dee I just cant help myself pluckin hair from their head. Of course from my own dogs everyday but also others dogs.
The girl on the photo is reminding me of an Afghan dog with this long hair on her hed.
I love your description of 'unmade bed'! That truly describes my Irish Garnett when she's in need of a grood trimming! LOL!!!! Would love to see photos of your dog's after grooming for Crufts. I'll bet it's a lovely dog under all that hair!
Will try and do a before and after, she is just a mass of curls at the moment, a lot of hard work to make it look natural.
Good advice! Each dog's coat is different. One of the best male Irish Setters I've seen in over 50 years has a wavy coat and it's extremely thick. This is not an easy coat to keep groomed and looking just presentable! I don't strip the coat on the backs of my Irish Setters, if they need to have some dead undercoat removed, I can strip it out by hand, using the tips of my fingers or a pumice stone. Some of the short cuts used by some exhibitors to take out undercoat on the backs of their Irish are actually using a tool with knives built in that cuts the top coat. That ruins the topcoat (in my personal opinion). They never look the same afterwards either. However, you work with what type of coat your dog has, not what someone else's dog has. I groom my own dogs and groom dogs for others, out of the 3 Setter breeds that I groom frequently, I much prefer grooming the Irish. I hate stripping the backs on English Setters, when I first started showing English in the early 1970's, we did not strip their backs, nor did we strip the back coat on a Gordon. It was left natural, just like the Irish. Still miss that glossy look, the stripped coats don't have the high sheen and gloss of the Irish who hasn't been stripped.
Thankyou for the tips!! Which do you prefer - blowdried or natural? I was hoping to get some ideas about ear-trimming at Kizzi's first show last weekend, but we were the only Setter entered. She actually showed well on the end of the lead (not at all like practise at home) and I was very proud of her, but the judge only had eyes for the Pointers on the day.
Personally I prefer to blow dry mine (most of the time) as if not they will curl up in their beds and end up with bits of hair sticking out all over the place(not occuring naturally only as result of wet hair!!) Even if I wrap them in a towel the same thing happens! At least if you blow dry, thats them finished and they can go lie down and relax!!
Have you tried the 'Dry Coat' I tend to use a combination of the two, dry naturally and blow dry, I bath, condition and then place the coat carefully on the dog, to make sure that the hair on the back is lying flat, then I (if the weather is good) take them for a walk, that semi dries the coat, and then when I get home I brush and blow dry the hair, which does seem dry to the touch, but actually isn't. If you are careful when brushing, because you shouldn't really brush wet hair, and use a strong hair dryer, or if you are rich you will have a dog blower, I use a hair dryer, but carefully brush out the hair, which in Jas's case is now in dreadlocks, and it will brush out strait. You must get the hair 'DRY' because if it is still, just a little bit damp, it will 'crease' up when the dog lies down, and you are back to square one.....I did see someone the other day had used a horses tail bandage to flatten the hair on the dogs tail. But again the hair must be 'bone' dry first, and if you can find a plug socket at the show get stuck in there to just to finish them off, but unfortunately in UK we don't have many of these.
Thanks for that Dee. But I would probably put the dry coat on badly so would end up with problems!! I use an ancient hair drier(80s vintage)just a regular people one(no posh blasters!!) But Megan has easy coat to take care of(not very thick and pretty straight anyway!)Milo has even easier coat(well no coat at all!!)and will have to wait for Abbey to get bigger before I know how she will be!!!!




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