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!!!!!!!!
To my mind excessive trimming goes hand in hand with excessive coat. My Irish never have an enormous amount of coat (maybe due to the life they lead...) and all I really need to do is tidy their ears & feet and use thinning scissors on the neck.
The (FCI) standard says: "HAIR: ... tips of ears short and fine / feather on upper portion of ears long and silky"
I wonder how many Irish still have naturally short hair on the tips of their ears?
I think the american style of trimming tries to accentuate the extreme feathering by clippering the areas which used to be only 'tidied'. I do not understand why face (whiskers) and the top of the head and part of the back of the neck need to be clippered. It brings out such an ugly dull sandy colour.
Personally as a judge I have put 'overtrimmed' in a written critique.
"The (FCI) standard says: "HAIR: ... tips of ears short and fine / feather on upper portion of ears long and silky"
I wonder how many Irish still have naturally short hair on the tips of their ears?"
Have actually seen quite many of that sort of feathering in their ears...including the ones lying on my sofa at the moment. What I´m wondering is that when it actually stands in the standard why is it ok for judges to see clipped ears in the rings? Totally against the standard ;)
I agree with your point on excessive coats! My dogs also don't have dramatic coat length and even at 6years Rua has a moderate coat! The only part of the head I touch are the wispy bits on the top but I just hand strip them out! They are just little tufts and make the dog look a bit scruffy! I also only tidy up feet, ears, neck and from hock to heel! I used to overdo the ears with the scissors but not any more, as I found it was too severe a look!
I'm a novice - first show dog - living in America. I've come to love the (very little, only neck and ears) clipping that is done on IS here. I feel it does accentuate the features - nothing is hidden - no throatyness, it shows up the chiseled features of the face, the long elegant neck. Gives a very clean look. The judge has no trouble seeing the 'natural outline' of the dog. I don't clip anywhere else (head/back of neck ect) , and don't personally know anyone who does - so while it may be done, it is NOT standard on all american showdogs. I also have one of those beatiful 'dark' (mahogany) setters, who does not have a colour change when clipped.
My take on all this is..... grooming doesn't matter as much as people think it does. OK - the dog must be in great condition, clean (naturally), and not unkempt looking. After that, if you have a great dog, and present it in whatever way makes YOU say "WOW!" my dog looks great - a good judge will (should) agree too.
Like Susan, there are judges (in any country) who will not like 'overtrimmed". There are also judges who will expect a certain level of presentation. There are judges who won't like your dog no matter which way you groom it, and others who will see his greatness no matter how much/little hair is removed.
I have a great dog (nothing like a modest novice owner, lol). Poor thing. He has been my 'practice' dog. We are learning this game together, and he is the one I get to practice different techniques and tools on while I learn. He has been shown overtrimmed, undertrimmed, with scizzor marks, holes plucked out - I could go on, but you get the point. I don't even own a generator to "Blow him out" at any outdoor shows. We arrive often, (like I hear they do in Europe), with just a brush in pocket on showday. I can honestly say his win/loss ratio hasn't had much reflection on how he is groomed on any given day.. The judges either like HIM, or they don't... but not because of my mistakes (well, maybe because of my 'handling' mistakes, lol). I will say he is in excellent condition, shines with health, and has attitue to die for. Add that to a dog who is very correct, moves beautifully...... and the grooming becomes pretty secondary (luckily).
I'm a novice to this. I may be wrong. I enjoy the whole 'dogshow' game. I still believe it is mostly about the dogs and not all the other nonsense : ) Groom your dog in a way that YOU believe he looks his best in, and his day should come.
My eldest dogs are fourteen and nine. They never needed trimming, shaving or plucking. Feather on ears is by nature just like the FCI-standard describes. Likewise the coat (standard: moderate). This is an answer for the question of Susan.
A "standard-coat and feathers" saves you a lot of time. Nearly no grooming needed. Mud or whatever is not a disaster, its quick gone while galloping and just enough for protection.
Well rather we like it or not, grooming is here to stay, just depends on your area of the world how much you can get away with and win in the conformation ring, or much of it keeps your dogs healthy. We know keeping the hair cleaned out between the toes, and in the ears can be helpful. Trimming around the mouth and neck can also keep them from looking so messy. Can't imagine not doing some type of trimming, but to each his own.
Grooming can give the effect of a better dog, but a good judge can put their hands on it and tell right away what the eye has been tricked in to seeing.
I always try to explain to the pet people who think they want a Irish Setter that looks just like the ones they see at the dog shows, that those dogs have been groomed for the "show" and its not something everyone can do.
We have lots of grooming palors here in the United States. Are they a common business where you all live?
Grooming parlours are common enough given our small population!! But we do get groomers who are not familiar on how to groom the setter and some of them have clipped everything(all feathering) rather than take time to detangle pet Irish! It has happened to two of Rua's daughters who are in pet homes! The hair did grow back but the owners were very upset to have bald setters to take home! Needless to say they didn't go back to those groomers! I do my own trimming and only send them to the groomers to be washed and dried(I am in a rented house and dont like to use the bathtub here for the dogs!!) Well I actually use a mobile grooming parlour which is very handy!! But for quick washes I use a bucket outside and hose them down afterwards! Works very well!
It is not just the irish setter 'pet' people who see dogs at shows and think the pup they buy should grow up to look just like the showdog without any effort on their part. The Irish setter is actually one of the very lucky breeds in that regard, as, dispite this grooming topic, it a relatively low-maintenance dog. Pity the poor cockers, and poodles, and cock-a-doodles more! They are the ones whos owners show up with pelted messes saying "you mean I have to BRUSH it???" And the pugs, bulldogs etc with sore, sticky faces, and the goldens - with all that undercoat as well as the length!
EVERY dog needs grooming.
And the majority of grooming parlors and grooming schools (in MY area anyway) do 'generic' dog grooming, not show-grooming. The dog will be kept clean and neat and healthy..... but one needs to research the groomers knowlegde of specific breeds if you want anything more than a good basic groom : ) Otherwise your 'wirehaired' terrier could be clipped and fluffed into a really cute stuffed animal look, your cavalier will have his feet tidied and.... your IS will be clipped like a cocker!