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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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The Sussex has the same look.  In those days preparation and grooming was not as intensive as it is now and dogs were shown trimmed and bathed but not blow dried as we do.  No one really obsessed about coat texture in those days and dogs were shown without tweaks.
Great Cheryl.....many many thankyous       the mutt  next to him is one of my Sussex Spaniels   Skip
Thankyou  Sue  he was gorgeous

Lovely to see the photo of your dogs June - the Irish has the look that would make me 'waste time' just admiring him. As for his coat definitly wavey but he looks to be a dog that 'enjoyed' his life!  I looked on the IS pedigree collection but couldn't see how many litters he sired.

My personal opinion is I dont think judges look at the coat a lot of the time I have a 5 year old irish setter Mantafield dennis the Menace he has an outstanding pedigree i would class him as old school as he is a big dog with an old fashioned type head, his movement is outstanding and he has a beautiful outline he does have coat which is straight, he did well winning as a puppy, I have retired him now which is sad as he loved the show ring, I know the breed has changed the boys have gone smaller in some areas we all have different opinions to what we like, there will never be a perfect setter  my opinion is a lot of the time in the ring its not the dog but whos on the lead! I have had setters for 7 years some of you may say I am a novice but my mum and dad also had Irish setters that they bred and attended shows so I have always been around setters, we spend alot of time and money training and getting to the shows to be thrown out, im not exspecting to get placed at every show there are some stunning  dogs out there, I do how ever have to look to see who is judging before I decide weather or not to enter, it is sad because sometimes I feel like giving up  there is maybe a  few people that feel the same!


This may cause some feedback but i must say I feel better for saying it!


It happened a year ago....One judge on one show said to me :" Your dog has a great anatomy,much better than the other one,and better movement, but the other one has a straight coat,so CACIB goes to him" This judge was few months later expeled and can't judge in this country any more. So, it happened to me and my Klajd. He was wavy just the way I like it,not too much,not too straight coat. I definitely prefer "middle" in everything.....I don't like it too curly, I don't like too straight coat,but I could never put the coat  before the anatomy...So I respect every breeder to keep what's important to him,but it would be great  that all of us keep as much as possible closer to standard as they can :) On the other hand,it seems to me that standard also says that the coat should not be too long (for working in field) and yet,somehow,all of us want longer coats...;)

I totally take the merging wavy European coats with a healthier conformation and overall health ,over the perfect straight coats that covers a lot of the North Americans Setters underlying health issues!

Ellie has a wavy coat and has lots of health problems!

I'm new to showing so still learning the ropes with regards to grooming for the ring.  I left the feathers between the toes as it states in the breed standard that there should be, but was told by another competitor that this was "unacceptable" so I now trim his toes.  A puppy in one of the classes looked as if the coat had been sprayed with hair spray as it had no wave or curl and to me looked unnatural as I've never seen a Setter without SOME movement in it's coat.  For me, I like a little wave in the coat.

Rigsby lives indoors so his coat isn't as thick as some that live in kennels but he is developing his feathers and has a very rich, deep colouring.

I don't know much about grooming, though we engage one of the leading groomers in the US to look after our Irish Setter, Justice. Even so, I wonder about the standard that calls for maintaining  feathering between the toes. While I suppose that's  customary and usual for confirmation, for non-show dogs it strikes me as impractical. That's because all kinds of crud  finds its way onto the feet feathering during a walk or a romp, such as bubblegum or small pebbles. These can cause the dog considerable comfort and even pain.




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