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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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Hi Dee! I would not have noticed that you had used clippers! I have done so myself but only very carefully and you would not know either! My original discussion was only on the "over use" of the clippers and scissors to give a sculptured look!! Like you I prefer the more natural finish but the dog still looks beautifully groomed! And you must see beyond the grooming to see the breed standard first and foremost!
Ah yes I couldn't agree more, BUT, how many dogs do you see in the ring, with not a hair out of place and winning, not because the underneath is good, ie structure, but it looks good.....with mine you get what you see, the structure is good and the coat just to (dots the I's and cross the T's) to finish of the picture NOT to 'make' the picture. And yes some of them do look like 'cardboard cut outs'
I don't recall anyone disparaging Irish Setters in other countries because they lack the heavy coats of the American, Canadian and Australian Setters. However, we deal with what we have, which is a lot of hair in the best way that we can. If that means trimming a dog to present it in a way that shows off it's lovely head, neck and ear set, so be it. At least our dogs are always shown sparkling clean, well groomed and looking their best at all times. Feet are trimmed just enough to make them look neat. Personally, I prefer a Setter with long, silky ear feathers to the stripped blunt look of a setter with no feathering on their ears. It softens their look and is soooo very nice to stroke and pet. We're all entitled to our opinions, but let's be "nice" and not throw stones at those who have dogs that look different than your dogs do. I've had Irish Setters for 58 years, there have not been any cross breeding done with Afghans, we didn't need to. The "Afghan type coat" seen in one snapshot taken of a neutered (de-sexed and ungroomed male) Irish taken at an Irish Setter Specialty does not prove the "rumors" that we have cross bred with a Hound. If your country spayed and neutered it's setters for as many years as we have here in the U.S. and Canada, you'd have seen more of this type of coat yourselves. The coat becomes a lighter orange color and is cottony, from lack of hormones, not from being cross bred. I get really tired of the mud throwing accusations of idiots who aren't educated in the breed long enough or thoroughly enough to know what they are talking about. They're just repeating what one person said 15 years ago who hates American style Irish Setters. All it takes is reading, looking at photos from 50 years of breed progression, thru generation after generation, to see the actual development of the heavier and more beautiful coats that our Irish Setters carry today. It's genetically bred into them. Buy, borrow or rent some books on breed history. You'd be surprised at how much you can learn, just by doing some reading. Adding a photo taken of my home bred Best Brace In Specialty winning brother and sister team. They were less than 3 years old in this photo. A litter brother was shown in Europe, especially Austria as a Canadian and American show Champioin. Chance also finished his International Field requirement in one day, with a heavy coat and no field training whatsoever. His coat and show bloodline didn't stop him from proving he would and could hunt, with the setters without coat. The 2nd photo is of my personal hunting companion, Annie, photo taken 8 months after I had shaved her down completely.
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I don't understand why you're so angry, we all groom the way that suits us best and our dogs. I don't disparage the way you groom your dogs, so why all the hostility at people who groom differently than you do? Get over yourself. Personally, I think the dog looks unfinished, some fine tuning on his grooming would improve his look tremendously. But, that is my personal opinion too, I like a dog to look neat, tidy, and oh my gosh, show off the ear set by cleaning it up and leaving the ear feathers long to enhance the look. But, that's my opinion and for what it's worth, there are thousands of people in 3 very large countries with large numbers of show Irish Setters that agree with me when it comes to grooming our red dogs for show. Disparage us all you want, we don't put you or your dogs down or the way you groom your dogs. It's your choice and we leave you to it. It means NOTHING to us HOW YOU CHOOSE TO TRIM YOUR DOG. Someone asked for opinions on grooming and you put yourself out there as the only authority on the proper or correct way to groom an Irish Setter. The rest of us just explained how we groom our dogs, in our country for presentation to judges around our country. Does not make us wrong or incorrect, just DIFFERENT.
I agree with you Barbara! I trim my dogs in a very different fashion to you (see my earlier posts) but there is absolutely no need for anger or animosity ! This is a public forum where different ideas should be shared and respected! After all we are only to get the best out of our dogs !
Catherine, I'm not angry, Susan was being very sarcastic about the way Americans trim their dogs. Not all Americans trim their dogs the same either. Neither do the Canadians, the Australians, etc. I've seen some Irish over trimmed and don't like it either, but, I don't claim that's how all dogs in one country are groomed either. I know better. I don't care for the plucked ears on setters, I love the long flowing ear feathers left alone, but I don't put down the countries who trim their setters ears. It's just not the look I personally prefer. I bred a dog who competed quite successfully all over Europe who had one complaint lodged against him by exhibitors and judges alike, too much hair. He was a Canadian and American Show Champion before moving to Austria. He was correct in size, temperament, structure and attitude. Excessive coat was his only 'fault'. His owner refused to trim him just to suit the other exhibitors, she showed him in the Champions class, proudly I might add. His dam, my Rustwood Drum Magic had very little coat in her lifetime, her offspring were all heavily coated. Comparing today's Irish Setter to dogs from the early 1800's and early 1900's is like comparing politics. If there's no progress, then you're stuck in the middle ages. The style of yesterday has changed, improved, moved forward. Some people prefer to stick their heads in the sand and remain in the past.
yes Barbara, I hope Susan was being sarcastic but obviously some people are more gifted at diplomacy than others. I am absolutely certain that your dogs are beautifully presented ,it is just that we are used to doing it differently over here in the UK.
I think the whole point is that different countries have different styles of dogs and therefore, different styles of grooming them. Doesn't make one type superior to another, just different. My Magic was sired by an Australian bred dog whose pedigree was 2/3's American lines. The blending of both types gave me the look that I wanted. More important than type is good health and vigor in our setters. European lines have health issues that so far haven't hit the American or Canadian bloodlines, I pray they never do. We imported PRA from Great Britain and went thru many years of test breeding to clear our lines from this recessive gene. I just hope it doesn't take that many years to clean up epilepsy, PDA and MegaE too. Grooming differences are the least of problems in the breed. Just some of the reasons why Americans aren't importing from Europe or the UK as extensively as they do from Canada and Australia.
I trim very little and show very little as well, but I do agree with Catherine. This is a site where all setter-owners all over the world meet.

And just as well as hunting and non-hunting owners should try to see each others point of view, so should show-people from different parts of the world.

To me the american variety of the irish setter looks strange, but in fact so does the scandinavian field-trial variety.
My first setter was bought in England, and that is the type I have grown used to and the type I prefer.
Had I lived in the US and bought my first setter there, I am certain that that would have been my favorite type.
Good point Ursula! Same here.

I have had both" Irish "irish setters and the US variety!! But my US boy was in the '70s when the coats were still moderate! Personally I prefer the moderate look(easier to manage also!!!) But I think the trimming could still be less severe even on the heavier coated dogs(we have some like that here too!) It is a matter of taste as to how you do your grooming! I will stick to my moderate grooming of my moderate coated dogs and those with heavier coats(dogs that is;o)) will do what they wish also!! Picture of my moderate Megan lightly trimmed!!;o)))


Hey Barbara, Richard Nixon did not live in the middle ages! Scanned King Timahoe (pictured - frontpage dailies) from Tirvelda-kennels, later an IS bitch puppy was offered as company - Scarlett Empress. Thats seventies!

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