Exclusively Setters

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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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I couldn't agree more its when people over step the mark making absurd remarks and indulge themselves  the issues arrive.If comments are factual there would be no need to correct them. If people wish to post inaccurately they must be prepared to be corrected If other wish to indulge them that's their choice.

Ba humbug.....where is the spirit of Christmas!

Christmas is the time for indulgence...is it not??


Greg, this post is asking for help in grooming English Settersin Australia........if you cannot give any ,why are you posting?Or are you able to give names and contact numbers of experienced people near Susan who can help her with grooming her dogs?

Despite her claims there is no one in Australia who can groom an English Setter as previously stated most exhibitors are very skilled. Michelle is acknowlged internationally as an exceptional presenter of all the Setters..I cannot think of anyone who has not passed on their skills when asked  often trimming out dogs at shows to asisst novice exhibitors.

Its iis very frustrating to have  dedicated breeders and exhibitors and the breed to be constantly portrayed in in such negative manner by Susan.


So, leave it to them to speak for themselves if they feel the same, and end this childish " must have the last word"

Anyone got an anser to Susans question ?

You seem to have missed the discussion there is no one in Australia qualified to help her so over you

Hi Guys

              We now have a lovely Orange Belton girl. She is my first show English Setter and I have to say the help offered to me had been great. Michelle has offered plenty of advice and took the time to write a long and detailed e mail explaining what to do in regards to trimming and maintenance of the coat. Indeed today we spent the afternoon with our girls breeder learning trimming.

At times on this site I feel discussions become heated for no reason, which is a shame, I too in the past have becomed involved in heated arguments which really achieve nothing in the end.    

I view the statements made about me e.g. English Setter exhibitors dismiss your remarks as simply nonsense; absolutely such absurd statements to make; when people over step the mark making absurd remarks and indulge themselves; dedicated breeders and exhibitors and the breed constantly portrayed in such a negative manner; etc. as harassment. I am not going to bother Gene with this matter. However, if this harassment against me continues I will be taking other action against this Australian member.

I did not bring up the issue of English Setter breeding and exhibiting. An overseas member talked about her opinions. She is entitled to do this.

I did not say anything in my responses which degraded English Setter breeders or exhibitors. I did repeat some opinions of retired breeders I know and if we were in a court of law, they would happily testify to this. I do not deserve to be degraded and abused for this.

I did not say “there was no one in Australia who can groom an English Setter”.

The truth is that there are very few experienced English Setter groomers in Australia because there are very few English Setter owners in Australia. There are 16 breeders listed on Dogzonline. 2 no longer breed English Setters. 1 breeds working English Setters. 1 is Annie’s breeder (I will talk about her when I complete Annie’s story) and the remaining breeders breed infrequently. On the other hand there are 239 Golden Retriever breeders. What does this tell any rational human being about the English Setter breed in Australia.

I was personally labelled as “prickly” by a member who has always behaved nastily towards me. The truth is that I was generous in my response. I believed the comments of the member who is a groomer to be offensive towards owners of English Setters in general, and particularly towards her clients. Even though she has not publicly named her clients, because there are so few owners of English Setters in Australia, if another client or someone who lived in the local area read these comments, they would be able to identify the owner/s. This groomer has made these degrading comments on a public forum. If her clients discover what she has been saying about them, not only will they not come back and tell their friends how they have been treated, they might also decide their next dog is not going to be an English Setter.  What this groomer is failing to recognise is that these owners care enough about their English Setters to buy books on grooming and to take their dogs to a groomer.  These owners have not been given an opportunity to present their side of the story. None of these comments were helpful or relevant to the question I asked. I am entitled to say this. I do not deserve to be personally labelled and abused.

I could say a lot more but I feel completely disgusted and I have better things to do with my time. I sincerely regret I asked the question of what tool owners of English Setters (not Irish Setters) use to groom this particular part of the head of an English Setter. This is no big deal to me. The primary reason I groom my English Setters is for health reasons. Hobson is only now starting to grow his coat. The last thing I would want to do is thin out his coat anywhere!! I posted this topic purely out of interest. One of my best friends is a retired English Setter breeder. I can ask her. We talk often on the phone but because grooming is not a big deal, I never think to ask her. She does not have a computer.

I am going to close the topic now.

Today I was taught to trim this area with thinning scissors. Susan, you will be fine and with some practice will get confident. You do not show your English so if you make a mistake, well it will grow back. Goodluck.

In addition to deleting her comment on 18 June 2012 at 9.54pm in the forum topic ‘Over trimming or shaving of the Show Irish Red Setter’ (refer my previous comment on page 3), Michelle has now deleted her comment on 19 December 2012 at 4.27am on page 2 of this forum topic in which she said:

“There are plenty of very experienced Setter groomers out there in Australia.

As for grooming an English i never use a mars coat king & never use a Duples.

English are very easy to groom providing owners are prepared to do the work & sadly i find very few aren't willing to put the time in.

I groom alot of Setters here & only a handful work on the coats & most otherss bring them in butchered from chopping the knots out .

The worst thing i find is owners expressing what they want & what end result they get.

We will question an owner over & over with many things they say explaining what there words mean to a groomer  is most likely not what they mean & will end up with

But some are very sure  that is what they want until they collect there dog but we now the lengths we have gone to explaining.& we show them the Setters here so they can't say they don't understand but some read books & things others have said & think that is gospel but each coat can also play a role in the final outcome

We groom alot of butchered Setters but when the owners explain to us what they want i totally see why the dog is groomed in such a way .

We hand strip any Setter we groom unless it has been clipped many times prior to us & then will assess the coat & whether it could be strip & then determine how keen the owners are .

Blending the neck is very easy , a duplex on the other hand can ruin an area very easily & make an easy job harder.”

Even though there were only months between her comments, she has completely contradicted herself. The truth is that there are only a handful of very experienced groomers of English Setters in Australia, and this issue has very little to do with the 2 questions I asked. Choosing to degrade other groomers and Setter pet owners on a public forum has absolutely nothing to do with the 2 questions I asked.

This situation is relevant to my blog “Choices”. I believe the best way to handle down-right mean spirited human beings is to stand up to them.

By the way my comment on page 3 and goodness knows where this comment will end up relate to page 2.




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