Exclusively Setters

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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)

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Hi Sam, my first reaction is to ask if Sophie is neutered (spayed)?

I strongly suspect she is, and if I'm right, then that's the reason for the coat changes. They sound quite classic. The lack of hormones has this disasterous effect on the coat, and is one of the main reasons why many people prefer not to spay an Irish Setter.

Regards, Dawn R.
was going to ask the same question as dawn.
we had a setter who had to have an emergengy hystorectomy thru endometerosis and her coat went all fluffy and dawny on her sides.in some places there was barely any hair at all.
Hi there Sam
She could have a hormone imbalance, but if she has been spayed then this is a classic for this, be it male or female, try a king comb on the coat, but first look to see if there is any 'top coat' under all that wool. If not then you had probably best just leave her as she is...
She will be just the same even if you do have to fend off questions as to her parentage, BUT your breeder should have better manners than to put the phone down on you, after all she did bring your wee girl into the world, I know that some of my puppy owners want to spay or castrate their puppies, I have advised against it, to me there is a lot more problems than just the few inconveniences of seasons and dogs going after bitches, this can be avoided with training and closeting your girl there is of cause Piometra (not sure how to spell that) and Mammary tumours, but so much more when they are 'dressed' this is all dealt with in another Debate.
But just love her for what she is, and get an answer off pat to tell people when they ask about her lineage, and the Grizzly Bear one is as good as any..
Good luck and lets have some pictures of her......please.....;o))
Thyroid problems can cause lighter coat. You could have her thyroid tested and see if it is ok. My red Aussie coat was lighter for years and when I had her thyroid tested it was low and since being on meds her coat is now dark again. She is 14 and was spade at 3.
You can also have your vet send the blood work to Hemopet. Dr Dodds is wonderful

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