Hi....I'm new to this forum so forgive me if this topic has been covered. (I did try to read through the other questions asked but I may have missed it, as there are so many...) I have 2 Red Setters, a male- Tucker, aged 7 years, and Sophie, aged 9 years. Tucker was a rescue dog and has a beautiful dark mahogany coat. Sophie is "papered" (although we have never shown her) and comes from a long line of show dogs. My question is in regards to Sophie. She is the craziest looking setter. She started out dark red but her coat has turned very blonde and fuzzy. I have had Irish Setters for 40 years and have never seen this before. I called the breeder we got her from to ask about this and she almost bit my head off. She was very rude. She asked me if Sophie had ever been shaved rather than "hand stripped." I tried to explain to her what had happened but she rudely cut me off and said IF Sophie had been shaved, I could forget it! and basically hung up on me. Sophie HAS been shaved ONCE, years ago, after a terrible run-in with some of our native Spear Grass. After romping in the bush, one fall day, I noticed her walking funny. I took a look at her underbelly and found she had shafts of dried Spear Grass sticking out like porcupine needles. The vet said they were actually worse than porcupine quills as quills can be removed one at a time. The Spear Grass would break off at the skin line making it impossible to remove all of it. The vet had to shave her underbelly in the attempt to get as much out as possible. After antibiotics and daily cleaning she did recover nicely. I took her to our groomer to "even" her coat up. I didn't think too much of it at the time, but I guess she did shave her. Her coat grew back in a bit lighter. Over the years she has gotten lighter and lighter and fuzzier. People always ask me what breed she is and when I say Irish Setter, they ask, "And what else?" People insist she must be half Afghan or something. Sometimes, just joking around I answer, "She's half Irish Setter and half Grizzly Bear!"
My question is: Is there anything I can do to restore her coat to the dark red she had before? Many (almost every one I have talked to in our area) refuses to "hand strip" any dog. My current groomer did try hand stripping for over a year but we never could see any change really. We live in the country and of course, never show her. Should I just give up on the idea of her ever being "RED" again and just love my Irish/Afghan-looking/Grizzly hound for the Sweetheart that she is? Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, Cassandra (Sam)