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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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I do agree with you Carmel. Nothing very natural about shaved necks etc. I keep my trimming to the minimum. On the other hand, I do tend to get negative comments about the lack of trimming. I think if I was in to showing, I would feel forced to adapt... :-))))
In Ireland and England we see very few shaved necks or ears!! Most show people still trim setters to look neat and well groomed without the severe shaving seen in other countries. We are not under pressure yet to go to extremes!!
Thank God(forbid me) somebody else feels the same as me. I have wondered this shaving trend that has been going on, for years. I have never had the courage,as you Carmel, to ask the same question.
Why make beautiful dogs look like idiots, a shaved neck and all of a sudden appears a load of hair in the chest.
I have come to understanding with scissors being used to tidy up the neck, never had that problem before for my dogs have no hair, except for my youngest redhead ;))
And the ears, why OH why, the hair is shaved of?
in the netherlands , or Europe , most of the "show "people do not shave the setters , they use the scisscors with the thinning blades or hand stripping , i have two gordon setters with lots of coat , i strip the back , the neck i do with the siccors , my Irish i also use siccors to thin out the neck and ears and underneat the foot , we groom different than the American Irish or Gordon we strip the long hair from the ears while the American let the hair long on the ears , i do not like shaved dogs , if you can groom properly no one can see that this is not his natural look , shaved dogs you always can see and feel it.
Show dogs here are not just tided up! There are groomed very well but within reason and still retain a natural look! I believe any good judge will see beyond coat when they do a hands on examination and watch the dogs movement. After all it is a conformation show not just beauty pagent!! If a judge is blinded by superb grooming and dripping coat as opposed to substance I would not think highly of such a judge! First impressions can be deceiving!;o)
I agree that handlers want to make a best ever possible impression on the judge with a perfectly groomed dog.... but this judge winces to see the feathering touching the floor, the shaved throat, the scissored neck, the clipped top of ears and the long dangly ear feather. The character-look of the dog is altered and in extreme cases, I could weep!
But I guess it's what you are used to..... I do not like to see ear leather stripped either and never did with my setters - the hair thinned, yes and the bottom of the ear feathering neatened, but not stripped out. And it is a mystery to me how you get all that long belly fringe - running naturally, outside, our dogs left a lot of it among the heather - for lining wild birds nests of course ;o))

Incidentally, the Irish (FCI) IRWS standard FORBIDS any trimming other than, tidying the feet and thinning the neck hair beneath the ears; the UK standard does not have a clause on this, but we actually do trim up the hind pasterns to the hock joint as well when we tidy the feet and we neaten the 'ruff' that, unattended, would alter the natural look of the dog.

Although European setters are not presented in the manner of American setters, I assure you they are groomed to catch the judge's eye.... of course some better than others!
I exhibited Irish Setters in the UK for approx. 12 years and as they say "When In Rome do as the Rome's do!"
Necks, ears and any blending were done on the floor with thinning shears.And have to say I could never understand why the UK exhibitors cut off the feathering. Was once told that it is done so the judge can see how long the leather was to make sure the length adheres to the Standard. Found this to be a weak explanation as determining length of ear leather can be done even with the feathering. Since I arrived back to the States and become active in the USA dog show scene, I was very pleased to see the lovely ear feathering is not cut off.And have to admit the feathering DOES present a softer image. And would now NEVER cut it off! Once I got heavily involved in showing my Irish here in the States, I found grooming on a table a back saver.So much easier to see the dog at every angle.And yes I use clippers on the top of the ears and inside which to me is a positve health factor. When the hair inside the ears is shortened it is much easier to keep ears clean and helps decrease ear mites.The clippers are also used on the neck. This exercise is a real time saver as opposed to using thinning shears.You can get the same affect in lesser time to attain the SAME look when using thinning shears. All depends on the number of the blade.Grooming the USA way was very daunting to me at first but could never go back to grooming on the floor again. Some might say the USA grooming techniques are overkill but I do take my hat off to the Americans. They spend a great deal of time with their presentation and should be commended.Some of the USA grooming is an art pice in itself and have to say this type of grooming has some very positive effects. It can most definitely bring out the best conformation qualities when done properly.I have 8 Irish Setters and when I start to groom all of them I know that from start to finish (Shampoo, conditioning,blow drying and grooming) I need approx. 4 hours to complete each dog.God knows how long it would take me if I continued grooming the European way on the floor.Some would argue that this is a Dog Show not a Beauty contest but would have to disagree. Why not show off your dog the best way you can. There are some UK exhibitors of Irish Setters who do spend the time with their grooming and their dogs do stand out from the rest.
Catching a judges eye from the onset when entering a ring with one's dog is one aspect I feel we would all agree upon.

Regards,
Rosemary & The Kerrsienna Irish Setters
PS: Now going to start the grooming process with one of my Irish Setters today! 3 down and 5 to go.
i groom my boys on the table , and what i said before use siccors , and my gordon setter always show, groomed the natural way ,and i got lots of compliments on the way he is groomed , i thin the earset with the thinning siccor and the result is super as long as you know how far you can go , about the Irish , ik like the hair off the ears , the expression is , in my opinion , more soften than with the hair on the ears , with the Gordon it is just the other way round , they look much more smarter with the hair on the ears and below , it is no face trimming them all of like we do with the Irish.
I have always groomed my dogs on a table! I would find it difficult to do so on the floor(most Irish exhibitors do the same) I cant agree that you get the same look with clipping the neck as you do with scissors as it seems clipping(that I have seen in photos and in real life) is almost down to the skin. As for ears, yes we do trim off a little off the ends but having left a dog go for more than a year without cutting the ear feathering he still had quite short hair on his ears!! Nothing like the length seen on dogs in US, Australia etc. There are plenty of very well groomed dogs here and in England but they should still be judged on conformation first and of course we all have our dogs looking their best in the show ring! I also disagree that it is a beauty competition, otherwise we should just forget the breed standard and judge the best groomed dog? Good luck with your grooming of the next 5!;o)
I certainly never meant to say that well groomed dogs were not excellent specimens! My point was more that some judges could be blinded by expertly groomed dripping coats that are hiding a fault better than a lesser groomed dog(not everyone is an expert at grooming and we cannot afford to pay a groomer every time we have a show to go to) So if grooming was less severe and more natural our dogs could all be judged more fairly, on the conformation only! And I don't advocate dogs coming in the show ring ungroomed either(before someone takes me to task!!);0))

We could all attend seminars but not everyone is gifted in grooming regardless of education!!( so my dog is never going to look as good-grooming wise-as the more gifted person's dog) Condition of coat is a different matter and comes down more to feeding and general health of the dog. And please dont put words in my mouth(I have never mentioned poor condition and a level playing field in this topic!!) handling is also another topic. I am only talking about the OVER clipping and trimming of show dogs which makes them look totally unatural! I think all setters can look stunning being well groomed but not exaggerated! That is my main point and I feel the same about all working and hunting breeds!! They should all look as natural as possible!
Yes we are all entitled to our opinion which is why I asked the question! Thanks for the inputs and please dont think I was only referring to the US only(I only used the AKC standard as its content surprised me!!) I was talking about over grooming in all countries(including Ireland where a few people do shave the neck!)But for now we mostly see moderate grooming!!;o))

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