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Reading the Irish Setter breed standard which states:


On head, front of legs and tips of ears, short and fine; on all other parts of body and legs of moderate length, flat and as free as possible from curl or wave. Feathers on upper portion of ears long and silky; on back of fore- and hindlegs long and fine. Fair amount of hair on belly, forming a nice fringe which may extend on to chest and throat. Feet well feathered between toes. Tail to have fringe of moderately long hair decreasing in length as it approaches point. All feathering to be as straight and flat as possible".


it seems that a large proportion of the IS's have very wavy if not curly coats; not that I have anything against that but we seem to be getting away from the breed standard?  I understand that coat is only a small part of the important make up of these beautiful dogs and conformation is more important.

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I for one have tried to keep out of this debate....but....sorry, I have got to put my 10p worth in at this stage....

The whole thing began with a very valid comment....personally I agree wholeheartedly with what has been said by some here....

The breed standard.....and that is what we should ALL be working from...states 'the coat should be as free from wave and curl as possible....(and of 'moderate length' although this wasn't in the first question, so I wont be commenting on that at all)

Although it doesn't state that it should be 'straight' it should not be curly, (it does state that), we seem to be producing 'curly coated setters', these are Irish setters not Curly coated retreivers/setters....although I for one have a dog that has got a curlyish coat you would never see her in the ring with it in curls, yes a few waves but no curls...(as she has got older her coat has curled up even more), so goodness knows what the curly coats will look like as these dogs get older....but I don't like to see this breed with 'curls'

Yes curly/wavy coats are difficult to control. But it can be done...

The thing that I personally have noticed, is that if one person doesn't agree with another then they are ridiculed, some of it quite visious....we all have our own opinions...some rite some wrong...but we shouldn't get 'nasty' with each other, just agree to differ at times.

Susan I agree with you, and so eloquently put...

The question was about the texture of the coat (curly) not about colour, shoulders, croups or anything else stick to the subject, and don't get nasty and personal about it....personal opinion yes, but not personal nastiness and aggression please...keep this site how it was years ago...amicable...yes we may not have agreed with each other, but it didn't get downright nasty as it seems to a lot lately....

The 'fit for function' part of the breed standard.....having only tried to 'work' my dog only once, I can see how hard it would be to work a dog with masses of curly coat, you would be trying to get the 'detritus' out of their coat for the next week or so...and the straighter coat don't seem to pick up so much. My curlyish girl picks up everything that is on the ground and some...she ends up not being able to walk with all the twigs and bits of heather that are caught up in her coat...

Rasbridge may have said that the thin 'pointer' coats were wrong...because of the dogs shivering at work...and yes a very short thin coat isn't correct...but he didn't see what is in the ring now...and we as people now can't talk for someone else, especially as they have been gone for many years now,.. and as a person that 'started in this game' in the early 70's myself, (and Rasbridge was around at that time) I do remember some of Janis's dogs, (Cornevon) ... and yes he had a curly coat...and yes they did become a champion, and one of my own breeding had a curly coat back in the 70's

So please try and stick to the breed standard and produce dogs with the correct coat...but a dog is more that a coat. People should try and adhere to the breed standard for the whole dog and don't deviate from that....or what is the point in having one....It was designed to produce and keep the dog looking the same over the years...extreems of any point and uncharectoristic...we will end up with something that doesn't resemble the breed that we all love..

very well expressed.


Not aimed at anyone in particular Sue....so don't worry.....and yes perhaps a split will happen eventually, and regard to all the other faults perhaps when dogs start to win with them, as they do from time to time, then the breed standard will be changed to accommodate them....

Not sure if it is lifestyle Eva, mine are in and out of the wee burn that runs through the forest every day, winter and summer. And they get drenched every time....one curly, one slightly wavy, and the other.....well blow dry him and it is straight....but I add not pointer like...and all three do have a lovely double coat....

Hi Eva,  I have just being looking at your photo's and I must say I have seen dogs with lot's more curl in their coats than your beautiful Fearnley Grace.

Not smart to make two different breeds, there can be wavy and straight coat in same litter... And what point to make breeders breed only the coat, there is so much more.

We have different situation here in Finland, because we have two lines, American/Australian line breeders and English line breeders...they look sometimes quite funny together in the ring :)))

I did say that it wasn't good to split the breed earlier on I think....but yes that is very difficult when you have the two types of Setter....but again they should all be the same...we should all be using the same breed standart....FCI states that the place of origin makes the breed standard so that is Ireland....so Carmel's link should show just what we all should be striving towards....

You are absolutely right Eevi, you can get many different types of coat in the same litter.  Concept was the only wavy coated dog in his litter, and it was a big litter.  The adult coats varied from one extreme to the other.  You can also get different shades of red within a litter from deep mahogony to very light.  You cannot predict which pup will carry what type of coat as they are all the same at eight weeks.  You pick your puppy on head and shape, not on coat.  Concept himself has sired dogs with coats right across the board from wavy to very straight and in all shades of red.  An adult coat can change in quality and texture as the dog gets older. 

I would just like to make an observation on Dee's remark FCI states that the place of origin makes the breed standard so that is Ireland......so Carmel's link should show just what we all should be striving towards.....

The UK does not come under the aegis of the FCI and it's Breed Standard is based on the original Dublin Standard of 1886, amended on 1930 and again in 1986.  All UK dogs should comply with this Standard and not the re-worked FCI Standard which Ireland had to accept when they became members of the FCI and which includes height parameters forced on the Irish Setter Club of Ireland by the FCI. 

In conclusion may I add that there have always been Irish Setters with wavy coats.  Certainly in my memory and earlier.  Just go into the South of England Book of Champions.  It did not stop them winning then and I will be surprised if it does now.  A good dog will win.....regardless

The breed standard on the Irish Red Setter Club site is exactly the same as a publication issued by the Irish kennel Club in 1984, long before we joined the FCI. The only new part is the height standard!!

An interesting quote from this publication is "Our dogs are bred to fit our Standard, not our Standards written to fit our dogs"

It is my understanding that the Irish Setter Club of Ireland did not want the height standard but had to accept it as a condition of becoming members of the FCI and was given time to comply.  Are the interim heights working?

Deviating from the subject of coat on to the subject of height.  The FCI states that an Irish Setter should be 23-26.5 inches for males and 21-24.5 inches for females.  Interesting that there are more show IS in the UK who would fall within these guidelines than there are in FCI countries and we don't have a height standard.  So how about having a discussion about the FCI Breed Standard with respect to size of the Irish Setter..........and breeding our dogs to fit our Standard, not writing our Standard to fit our dogs then?


The heights in the new section of the standard are actually working very well and most dogs and bitches comply. Most were in that range anyway!! As far as I know the French Club has a lower height standard which is different from the FCI? Personally I believe the French working dogs are too small! Our working dogs are improving in height! Another subject for another day;o))

Eva, You seem to refuse to use the word CURLY for some reason.

Every reply you have made refers to wavy coats and some dogs coats are far more than just that!

It's the curly coats that are unacceptable not a few waves here and there.

Val, believe me you are reading more into this than it merits.  I will use the words WAVY AND CURLY from now on just to make you happy.  However as the Standard states the coat should be as free as possible from curl or wave it obviously does not differentiate between the two so it can be argued that both are unacceptable not just one or the other or degrees thereof.   You are cherry picking lady.




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