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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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It looks like God placed a lot of hair all over the setter so that we can use our clippers and scissors! :-)))
Seriously ;o)))) Whiskers have a specific purpose for dogs and play a significant part in tactile action..... and all that hair is there to keep the skin protected and warm and dry in our cool, moist climate! It was never intended as coiffure material ;o))
Quite correct Ann!
And we have finally got a RECOMMENDATION in Sweden stating that whiskers are not supposed to be shaved off horses. Same there...I dont know why horses that are competed in showjumping should do so whithout whiskers???!
No, I feel they should be on the dog as well...
Some dogs have really thick, long flews and hair can grow in there that gets thick, and food gets stuck sometimes. I had a cocker spaniel with this problem, and I found if I'd keep that hair trimmed down it stayed cleaner and didn't smell. Most Irish Setters have what I call a clean mouth so its not necessary.

Yes, we clip the whiskers off here for the show ring and some use clippers or scissors. I understand you guys don't cut them off. That's okay with me. Either way works.

Loma
Exactly Ginger. Sometimes I can't seem to find the correct terms to make it as clear as mud. Loma and Red Friends
Oh dear, here we go again: the great divide;-)

I agree with Ann and Ursula in feeling that cutting off a dogs whiskers is a big DON'T. This is not a question of fashion or taste. The whiskers are important for the dog's tactile sense. They are extremely sensitive and end in nerves that transmit information to the brain about what the dog is touching and sniffing. Just as our finger tips and skin transmit information of what we touch.

I know much has been said about grooming helping to keep the dog clean and healthy. But is it necessary to go so much over the top? Thinning the hair betweeen the toes make sense, trimming underneath the ear also. But it is the extremes that I dislike (l'm learning, Ursula!). Breed for a little less coat and even the pet owners would have less trouble.
I agree also on the whiskers being important and should not be touched! Unfortunately a lot of setter people in England and Ireland cut off the dog's whiskers!! We have got to stop the over sculpturing of animals coats to suit humans! But setters don't have over pendulous flews and folds around the mouth(or shouldnt have!) to cause problems! We dont touch that area either!
Well in a perfect world I'd agree that a Irish Setter should not have pendulous flews, but in the real world some do. I've seen them and boy can they slobber.

I don't see my dogs having a problem with their whiskers being gone. We also cut the wild hairs that shoot out of the eyebrows off too. I rather like a clean shaven dog.

No five o'clock stubble at my casa................just kidding.

Loma
I am happy with my hairy dogs and spikey faces!! I did live with a bearded husband for over 30 years!! No problem with 5 O'Clock shadow at the Murphy teach(irish for house!);o)=
Loma, I don't mean this personally but more generally... you say 'I rather like a clean shaven dog' - I also prefer to see an Irish trimmed within reason, but I do not agree with changing what the dog needs for normal behaviour, ie I do not agree with 'I like cropped ears on a Dobermann 'or 'I prefer a docked tail on a Boxer' or 'I like a droopy eye on my Bloodhound'. One can not 'like' cutting off whiskers, the same goes for the sensitive long hairs over the eye brow.
It is not about liking, it is about what the dog needs for communication with it's surroundings.
I would imagine if I didn't show most of my dogs at conformation events, I'd not do nearly the trimming I do, but since I do, and all the others dogs are, then that's the way things are going to be done.

Now if everyone else quit trimming whiskers and eyebrows then I'd happily do the same.

Can you give me a example of what problems my dogs might have by going around without their whiskers or eyebrows? I'm curious about the communications they might be missing . I'm trying to be serious here Susan as I value your insight in to this.

Loma
I know, Loma, the show ring makes the rules and all wishing to participate must follow the example set by the winners.

I will try to explain my understanding of the use of dog's whiskers, but I am sure there are others on this list who could explain this more clearly.
Dogs confronted with an unknown object will generally first look at it, then sniff and 'feel' an object with their whiskers, then possibly paw it and finally mouth it. Imagine wolf cubs discovering the dead crow that has been brought back to the den from the hunt.
The whiskers are part of this feeling process. The same goes for playing and general contact with their mates. Dogs can be extremely soft with their mouths, nibbling one another, nudging their dam for food, licking her face. All this is felt not only by nerves in the skin but also by these long wiry hairs known as whiskers, which are connected via the roots to sensitive nerves.

Not being a dog, I can only imagine what it may be like without these sensitive tools. I'd imagine my finger tips going numb and not being able to feel what I touch. Of course I could still live and communicate, but I may not notice when I touched something burning hot until it was too late...

Is this as clear as mud? :-)))

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