The Setter of the Emerald Isle – What a joy to behold this flash, red fellow with his big gait, driving smoothly from the rear with that vision of length and strength from hip to hock. His is a glamorous silhouette, and a good one presented beautifully, is darned hard to go past in the show ring. The Irish Setter takes a bit of understanding for his best grooming and a decided effort to put in the hard yard between shows.
Your Irish is a bit of a busy dog and because of his exuberance tends to end up messier than most, gathering up bits of the yard like a moving compost heap. The secret is to keep the coat oiled to prevent damage. Between the shows I strongly recommend oiling and rehydrating their coat. The best results we have found is a mixture with Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil at a ratio of 1 tablespoon to 1/2 gallon/2 liters water added with 1 tablespoon Plush Puppy Coat Rescue. This allows the benefits of the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil to hydrate and protect the coat combined with the coat strengthening and protection of the Plush Puppy Coat Rescue. For males daily rinse the pee feathers and reapply. For the girls use every week and if needed reapply to featherings Work this well into the coat with a sponge or carefully pour over and squish well through. This is a bad area for breakage. Keeping it oiled will help to prevent the coat getting brittle or tangled and will dissuade the accumulation of debris from the yard. This is a super oil as it is water-soluble and won’t build up or be nasty to live with. It is also all naturally derived and there is nothing quite like it. Love the depth of color it tends to add to the coat and the wonderful healthy vigor that goes with continued use.
Now for the show grooming and your standard calls for the coat and feathering to be as straight and free as possible from curl or wave. It also states that the texture be fine and silky, so, after bathing with the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo which is the shampoo for high shine due the high-quality natural henna and particularly wonderful on reds, (at a ratio of 3:1 i.e. 3 parts water to one part shampoo) you then condition with the Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner diluted at ratio 1:3 One part Conditioner to 3 parts water. You can dilute both further but I like the intensity of the shine from the shampoo at this dilution and the silkiness of the conditioner for the show occasion. Rinse the conditioner 90 percent out just leaving in a small amount for the softness and to allow for the heat of the dryer. Okay here’s where the harder stuff begins.
The head and expression is an important part of the breed. Use Plush Puppy Let’s Face It Shampoo. Another one of the famous Plush Puppy products with the latest technology and the highest amounts of naturally sourced ingredients has developed into a product that is a must! This is a hypoallergenic sulfate free low foaming shampoo designed for faces. It’s a nil fragrance, no tear formula with the highest quality Blue Cypress Extracts, Panthenol with Pro-Vitamin B and SugaNate. These special ingredients clean soothes, add moisture, aids healing and has anti-inflammatory benefits. A small golf ball sized amounts directly to the face and eye area allows you to thoroughly clean without causing irritation. Can be used in and around ears also with the same benefits. Its low foaming design allows easy rinsing yet complete cleaning. Best used first and left on whilst using all other shampoos and rinsing off with the final shampoo rinse.
In order to get that soft draping fall to the lengths without wave, use Plush Puppy Swishy Coat at recommended dilution as you have a large dog and it is easier to get even dispersion throughout the coat this way. Dilute at a ratio of 1 tablespoon to 750 ml of water depending on the texture of the coat. You can dilute further or less. Sponge or pour thoroughly through the coat ensuring even distribution. Squeeze out excess and blow-dry. Use the Plush Puppy Ultimate Pin Brush regular for this as you don’t want to rip the coat or overstretch at this point. When ¾ dry, switch to an oval ½ bristle ½ dialon brush such as the Plush Puppy Ultimate Anti-Static Porcupine Brush.
This will give you that smoother, straighter and glossier finish to your drying that the pin brush won’t do. You need also to get in under the lengths with the brush and gently bend the ends around the curve of the brush. I never entirely dry with a top brushing action only. This just flicks the short pieces in the coat outwards and gives that fly away look to the coat. You are after a polished professional look that once you have mastered, is just breathtaking. When drying I lightly mist the coat with Plush Puppy OMG. I like to use a mixture of 1 part omg to 30 parts water. Now for show day itself, the new Plush Puppy OMG is a fabulous grooming spray. Not called OMG for nothing, because, “Oh My Goodness, it works”. As a concentrate, it can be diluted to suit every coat type or individual situation. OMG reduces static and allows for easy show day prep and won’t build up on the coat. This stuff just sells itself! It allows grooming without causing any drag and damage to the coat.
The trimming is relatively easy but does need attention and time. There are those who are the purists and don’t like a trimmed neater look and those that do. Whatever is your preference and whether as in the AKC standard which does stipulate trimming is required or the ANKC standard where it doesn’t mention it at all and does not, therefore, penalize you for doing it, it is up to your conscience if and how much you do it.
This is up to the individual. The nape of the neck ought to be hand stripped in concert with a stripping knife and the use of extremely fine thinning scissors to blend. All whiskers should come right off to emphasize that long and lean head. Some like to get in with the blade of the clipper and emphasize this further along the whisker area, with long strokes stroking back and upwards. The topline ought to sit flat and should need relatively little stripping. The ears some like to take almost right off and others just the top 1/3 off depending on which standard is applicable. The featherings use the thinning shears and following the desired arc, gently shape that edge for a softer effect giving a fairly natural look to the curve. All excess feathering is to be removed from the feet but I am advised by an expert that the rear hock looks just wonderful if when trimmed, you angle the line slightly outwards as you go upwards and then angle downwards from the top of the hock to meet the upward line already created.
This gives the illusion of a really long line from the hip to the hock thus enforcing the requirements of the standard. Show day spray with Plush Puppy OMG for brushing and refreshing the feathers and Plush Puppy Shine and Comb over the topline for that final glamour. I do like a dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust just lightly applied on strategic areas with your brush. The secret is just a dusting and not to turn it into the glitter fairy.
He may not be in Ireland and you may not be Irish, but the dog now will at least look the absolute essence of an Irish Setter. I do like this breed and I hope you all present them as they ought to be, glamorous and magnificent.
Article courtesy of Plush Puppy Australia