Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

I have been trying to teach myself how to groom an English Setter from the book 'The New Complete English Setter' by Davis Tuck 3rd Edition Revised by Elsworth S Howell which I purchased 22 years ago. The main area I am interested in is trimming the back of the neck down from the occiput and around the sides of the neck. The tools used in the book include a Duplex Dresser, Durham Duplex trimming knife or stripping knife. Whenever I have tried to purchase a stripping knife or the equivalent of the Duplex Durham tools in Australia or asked someone for advice, I have been advised not to use the stripping knife and instead use thinning scissors for this area or clip with a #7F blade or use a pumice stone or use the Wahl clipper blade as a comb or buy a cheap Blade Dresser from a pet shop. I did not like the look when this area was clipped. I have not been taught how to use thinning scissors so have never felt comfortable tackling this area with a pair of one-sided thinning scissors. I did not find the other 3 tools useful. I understand you have to be careful using a stripping knife because the coat of an English Setter is fine but I thought I'd order a fine stripping knife to try. Before I do this I was wondering what members use to groom this area to produce a clean outline. The Mars coat king is good for general grooming but does not produce the look of show English Setters.

I tried to purchase a video about grooming an English Setter from www.learn2groomdogs.com but this video is not for sale. I have purchased a video from the UK English Setter Assn but it was not detailed enough. Unfortunately there are still no local dog grooming schools where I live which have classes on how to use clippers correctly, how to hand strip, etc.

I was also wondering if the book 'Notes from the Grooming Table' by Melissa Verplank is worth purchasing. I have been advised that only several pages are relevant to grooming an English Setter and this book is only useful to those working in the dog grooming business.


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Hi Greg, Please clarify that you are referring to me. I wanted to make certain of this before I respond.

Absolutely such an absurd statements to make.Those who present and exhibit at English Setter Specialty Shows in Australia present their dogs at standard that has been admired around the world  many of the dogs is world class.People have trevelled internationalyy to fine tune their grooming. To suggest otherwise is simply untrue and an apoligy would be in order.

For goodness sake, "finding beau" only started the conversation to learn how to best grroom her setters, not start a war!    This over strutting reaction is ridiculous.  Our dogs are our escapism from the horrible world that HUMANS have created.  They give us friendship with both dogs and human and excercise,   And this sort of reaction is exactly why I stopped showing because it became too political and extremist both in people's attitude and presentation of their dogs.  The dogs became extensions of their egos rather than their companions and much loved pets they became tools for their own glory.  I can't imagine that this site was set up as an outlet for such rudeness to one another - IT IS CHRISTMAS and the pity about that is that humans seem to think that they only have to behave for this time of year instead of using "Christmas Time" as their general daily behaviour throughout the whole of their lives.   We are lucky that we can contact people throughout the world through Setters and discover that dogs are great levellers and allow us to understand that we are people NOT NATIONS,

and through OUR DOGS humans should learn how to behave towards to one another.


Susan would give her life for her animal children, if she could have her beloved Beau and Annie back she would live in a tent I am sure ! She may want her dogs to standard but never at the expence of there happiness. I have never shown my reds only Sofie at a village fete for charity, and at the " East and Southeast England Country Show" and that was an accident as we went to the show and while drinking a cup of tea a lady came to us and asked if we had entered our dogs yet, we said we didnt intend to but I did as my huband was off to see the shooting.. My reds are not groomed ( only feet and ears when needed) I didnt even have a brush with me and there where 30 Gun dogs entered. My dogs have never been to puppy classes or obediance classes and I have never done ringcraft.That`s just me <:0)

Well said,Georgina ! Thank you for putting a bit of friendliness back here! :-)

Yesterday I read the forum topic “Over trimming or shaving of the Show Irish Red Setter” and was particularly interested in the comment of the Australian groomer/show exhibitor because this was in complete contradiction to what she wrote in my forum topic. It appears she noticed this as well because unless I am going blind she deleted her comment today. As it turns out, I copied her comment which says: 

“But practical over pretty only applies if the owners have been told the options, it isn't a groomers job to do what they prefer unless the dog is in such a state there isn't an option or the coat quality means it may not be doable. 

Groomers are there to do what the breed should look like with any changes done with consent of the owners. 

I am a full time groomer & 80% of our clients want the breed to look like the breed, you can certainly do a modified trim but some groomers just do what is easy for them & that isn't what where paid for. 

I groom a number of Setters & all want them in show coat condition they also have to do there part by working on the top coats where required but i find most want to go through a stage of having there dog look pretty & then if need be go for practical latter on but a good Setter coat is very easy to maintain. 

I have groomed a few Setters that have been butchered by groomers & it will be a long term project to get the coats back & these owners are very keen ,they unfortunately weren't told what the groomer was planning to do & sadly most groomers have no clue what a Setter is anyway or the damage they can do to coats in one session. 

We are popular with clients because we hand strip coats & educate the owners of varying breeds how to do it & with what tools & send them off with there homeworks to do & they love seeing the result.”

This Australian ES member did not comment to be helpful. I knew this at the time. Even though I was labelled as “prickly” by another nasty ES member who has since left the site, there was a valid reason for my response which was constrained. I could have said a lot more. 

I can handle being bullied and targeted but I am pleased that ES members do not have to put up with this nonsense anymore (unless the lurkers come back). 

Fortunately I started this topic so I can close this again before anything nasty is said.

Well said Angela, that was what showing was supposed to be about, a bit of light entertainment.    Dear oh dear oh dear, what a lot of fuss, and all because Susan wanted to keep her pet dogs neat and tidy she doesn't deserve both barrells, indeed any barrells.   Mr Browne is a much respected international judge I would have thought that he would have considered his remarks before letting loose on a dog loving member of our community.   I would imagine that of the general public who buy his puppies, if he has litters, that Finding Beau would have been exactly the sort of person to whom he would want his pet puppies to be loved by for the whole of their lives . 

Your dogs piled on the couch look wonderful and much loved.   My little parson terrier has just jumped up on to the best armchair which is in full sunlight - yea honestly sunlight!! - because she has just spent the last hour or so in the forest trying to catch deer.  The herd split up  and I'm sure they play games with her because they just stott off because they know she gives up quite quickly.   She is now gently snoring.............

Well said, Angela! Why , oh why , people start writing horrible and patronising comments before thinking a tiny bit of the impact of their words! This is how wars are started indeed and I hope we are not going to have another controversy here again.....we were doing so well in the last few months and a lot of people were coming back in the Forums!:-)

OOpppppp`s`s my dogs are groomed every day, what I ment was profesional groomed/trimmed ( but you knew that!) <:0)

Angela, professionally groomed or groomed by you......I am absolutely certain you absolutely adore your dogs and this is what this site is for......Irish Setters lovers.......Not a site/platform for patronising people and putting them down ......I hope we can now move forward in a friendly and positive way.....and perhaps somebody will just tell us what is the best way of trimming......Myra is in Australia, perhaps she has some ideas? The photos of her dogs are stunning and they certainly look very happy!

Absolutely right!   

Just looked at Myra`s page, yes they are beautiful dogs stunning in fact and so many, my idea of heaven <;0




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