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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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Very well said Susans! I too prefer moderate coats as per breed standard(country of origin!) I can see the very heavy(long) coat creeping into England and Ireland also and the over grooming of dogs! I would love to see all these dogs in their natural state(just washed and brushed!) At Crufts last year there was a soft coated wheaten terrier trimmed like an airedale(a big no no here in Ireland to trim a wheaten!!) It looked awful! I think it was brought in from the US(not sure!) I also hate to see the over groomed border collie,newfoundland etc(it is now a beauty comp. instead of a conformation comp.!!)
I too agree, and as you said Susan, 'Shame on the judges' some judges just can't see past the over trimmed coats, or the popular dog of the moment. BUT to compete against all these over trimmed and over 'chemicalised' coats, (don't think that is actually a word) you have to do a bit more than you used to do back in the 70's and 80's it is a modern phenomenon. I do use clippers (Cant use scissors all the time because of arthritis) but with a guard so I don't go too close. (I certainly wouldn't take the whiskers off,) and I do use thinning scissors to finish the 'blending' but only to give a 'natural' look, But there are dogs in the UK that haven't got a hair out of place, and are carried into the ring if it is wet or muddy, my girls look like 'unmade beds' (I have always used this description for them when they are not in the ring), they are proper dogs mud, water, brambles etc. They have a life, and that is how it should be. Not cardboard cut-outs to be put back into a kennel when they come home...
I totaly agree with you Dee, my girls only come in touch with the clipper when we go to a dog show.
the only thing I do between the shows is the coat under the paws and under the ears I think it`s more comfortable for them and for me, `cause they love to jump, run and wallow in any kind of mud :-))
I let them, `cause they look so happy doing it.
I don`t shave the ears or the throat, I don`t like it, if you aks me I wouldn`t cut the ears, but unfortunatly you have no chance on any dog show.
And yes Dee my girls also look like an unmade bed ( most of the time) and I love it !!!!
Great to have more unmade beds here, and I am like you as far as trimming between shows, leave the poor things alone, let them have fun, anyway mine HATE being bathed and trimmed, and as for the claws, I get the Dremmel out and they disappear, and 'hide' their feet.
I was replying to the comment that Susan made that the dogs that were over trimmed 'didn't get out and go to the fields because they lost too much hair and got 'stuff' tangled up in their coats. I don't recall commenting on anything that you said.... and certainly haven't accused anyone, there is nothing personal, only a generalisation. Obviously there are many dogs out there that have their coat shaved and there are many dogs out there that live in the house (as mine do, and yes mine sleep on the bed as well) but also there are many dogs out there that DO live in kennels and DON'T have a life, and actually I was referring to dogs in the UK. In the main. And I think looking at your picture you are from US or perhaps Canada or Australia??? Dogs that are well groomed are a credit to their owners. Most of us that show dogs DO take a pride in them, and so we should, again I didn't accuse YOU of not taking a pride in or presenting your dogs well, again this is a generalisation not an accusation, these comments shouldn't be taken personally.
read above
Could you please tell me why you have to write what has already been said it seems a wast of time to me, you wouldn't do that in conversation and this is a form of conversation after all??
From what I can gather, with the small amount of showing that I have done, that it ISN'T always the best dog that wins, over the few years that I have been in showing, I have noticed that it can be the best, but also can be who the judge knows or knows the lines of the dog that is in front of them or it can be the dog that looks the best, this doesn't mean that under all that hair there is a sound dog, it just means that the dog looks good. That is all that is being said..and being Dyslexic all that re-writing has totally confused me, so I am not quite sure what you have replied to.
Does it not prove a point that when you said that there are US & UK lines that there is a difference and Viva la difference. so we should all agree to differ, as to types of dogs, and presentation of dogs, there is US Canada and Australia v UK and most of Europe This is just to help people who don't know how to trim (not shave off) the hair to make the dog look natural, I had a mongrel once that would have conformed to the Irish Setter Breed Standards so it is all in the eye of the beholder.....
I will say it again, this was being said about UK exhibitors, I don't think I even mentioned US I can only talk about what I know, In my ''limited experience'', that is.....there is nothing I know about US trimming, I personally don't like what ''I'' think is over trimming, but that is just me, (and MY opinion), and I am sure that you wouldn't agree.......but I do have the rite to have MY own opinion, or do I, perhaps you think that the way you trim your dog is the ''only'' way to do it????? I would like to think that I do a good job with mine, and it takes me a long time to get that 'natural' look, that is the way I like it, a few curls, whiskers and probably a few hairs out of place, but with my girl you can see the structure, and that is the way ''I'' like it, and a few Australian Judges think that she is worth giving top honers ....and many UK judges
I certainly did not mean to imply that grooming/not grooming has anything to do with whether a dog is happy or not. I ALWAYS think that a dog MUST be kept groomed to the extent that his skin and health are not impacted. Certainly that extends to keeping the hair on the inside of the ear opening tidied to allow the ear to keep dry, and keeping the hair coat matt free, and clean to the extent that the skin and hair are not full of dirt or excess oil/dampness.

I DO mean to imply that I should not have to do anything more than tidy my dog to have a judge be able to see and feel that it is a good dog. I am not implying that if I take a dog into the ring who departs from standard in some way (as we ALL do from time to time if we feel the dog is great overall but has some departure we feel acceptable) that it should win if there is a dog who does not depart in any way from standard - heck that is what dog judging is about.

What I intensely object to is that it is so uncommon now to see a dog presented in North America "tidied to preserve its natural appearance" that it will virtually never win. Judges have said to me that my dog was not presented properly. THAT is what I object to. It has become so common place to see the sculpted and over groomed dog that judges (and BREEDERS!) feel it is correct. That some how the natural dog is not. That somehow the naturally presented dog sends the message that the exhibitor does not care about his/her dog or breeding program. THAT is a travesty.

I really hope that the IRWS standard and presentation here in NA does not change to meet the "norm" within the ring. If they can stay t rue to their roots, and avoid the grooming hook, then perhaps it will make it easier for folks like myself to present a dog in a CLEAN and NEAT state without overgrooming.

I DO take offense to anyone telling me that their dog is just as correct a specimen with its flowing coat that is very long, somewhat fuzzy (or downright cottony) as a dog with a correct wash and wear practical length coat. I dare them to take that dog into the field on a routine basis. Not only will their grooming chores be a livng hell for a while (until the coat rips out or is brushed/cut out) but their dog will suffer. I do have to remove burrs from my dogs' coats if I hunt or trial in an area with many burrs. but it takes minutes, and their coat helps protect from cuts, and their coats are of moderate length. I should not have to "put them away for six months" to grow enough coat to win at shows. That is just wrong. The coat should reflect the practical use of the dog whether one chooses to actually hunt/field test or not.

Sorry for any typos, I am late for an appointment, go to run - great discussion folks!
I agree entirely you put it much better than I can, I think that there are too many dogs winning because they ''look'' pretty not a hair out of place, when under all that hair there is something that is very wrong, could be that the chest isn't deep enough or the elbows are out, just for an example, (and no I am not saying that about anyone's dog, just examples) too many words being put into peoples mouths, you know we all have our own way of doing things, I have asked people from US how they get their coats so flat, have had a few really good tips back, and I have passed some good tips on to others, I am the sought that will help anyone to get their dog prepared, I don't care how long they have been in dogs, and I am not scared that their dog will beat mine, does it really matter....I have asked people overhear about coat preparation and been told ''it took us a long time to learn so go and find out yourself'', and I did, and have beaten them, must say they weren't happy about that.
I feel sorry for you Susan if you have a good dog and are told that it hasn't been prepared properly that is so sad for the dogs in your country and (as it has already been said) SHAME ON THE JUDGES!!!
The coat should reflect the practical use of the dog whether one chooses to actually hunt/field test or not. wrote Susan from Canada. Yes plus the rest thats all in a nutshell.
An interesting aside to this discussion is whether or not the best dog in the ring, if he is overgroomed incorrectly as per the actual wording of the Irish Setter Standard (AKC) should be so heavily penalised as to remove him from consideration. The IRWS parent club have made it quite clear over here that such a dog should never recieve more than a second place ribbon. Should that be the case with our Irish? I am torn, for I realise that would penalise an otherwise good dog. Still, I think I would be hardpressed to condone such a dog personally, and heaven knows that right now dogs who are not overgroomed are penalised... Then again, I also realise how dificult it can be to judge what is presented to you on a given day. I've stood in there and said to myself "Please, God, send me something I can use" - both as a trial judge and a show (sweepsstakes) judge! LOL!

What would you do as a show judge?

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