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Irish Setter heads

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  • Irish Setter heads

    I groomed my first Irish Setter today and it didn't look good. I looked at my grooming book and it said to do the head, ears, and face like a cocker.

    I tried it and it was bad. The hair was so short the it only took off parts and left ugly marks and color changes. The dog also had a giant bone lump on the back of it's head too so that made it look worse.

    I just need some advice on heads like this.

  • #2
    We do a Gordon's head with a #05, the same as her body.


    • #3
      I usually don't do the head of an irish like a cocker because they aren't that furry. Just shake the top of the ear and skim off any strays on the face and head.
      Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on.


      • #4
        That giant bump of bone is the occiput. It's supposed to be there. It's more prominent in some breeds, and setter breeds do have a prominent occiput, as do Collies. If a dog is elderly or on the thin side, the occiput will also be more prominent.

        When I do setters, I use a 40 blade to card out the fuzz on top of the head, if there is fuzz. I blend in with thinners over the ears and base of the skull, but I don't clip the top of the head. I do clip the the underside of the jaw and down the throat, usually with a 10, to give the dog a clean neck, leaving a nicely pronounced bib.


        • #5
          Keep in mind that there are different ways to do a Cocker head as well! I was taught in school years ago to use a 10 on head/face/top of ears. They look so nice when left longer and blended with thinners and not all gouged up.


          • #6
            On all setters, I dry the coat "flat", (including the head) by brushing in one direction and blowing the coat in one direction only. This makes the hair lay flat against the body. I know setters have that peice of soft hair that grown on top of their head and sticks out kind of like a mohawk, and sometimes when you "clip" it or scissor it off, it looks "choppy" Thinning shears will usually do the job nicely. I pick the hair up with my fingers and just keep "thinning it" until it's gone.


            • #7
              Setter heads

              Yeah, they usually don't have hair like a Cocker, so it's rare to clip one like that. I like to use a stripping knife to take off wisps on the head and face, and don't like a #10 on the ear because it can look too bald and not the right color. If the ear is fuzzy, a #5 and/or thinning shears can look good.

              Make sure you look at the type of hair a dog has before trying "one-size-fits-all" instructions. Setters usually have quite a flat coat on their faces and heads, and it looks ugly clipped, in my opinion. It's like clipping a Sheltie face - ewwwwww!

              And the bone on his head? That's an Irish Setter head, lol! My advice is to look at the dog thoughtfully before following your book. I saw a groomer once shave an old Poodle with skimpy hair with a #10 cuz it said so in her book, and then she panicked cuz he looked so bad!

              Just head to a couple of good dog shows this year, and you will see all these breeds and you can see which ones are clipped and which aren't, and you will notice the different coat types more now that you have had this experience.

              I hope you told the owners that you won't do that again on his coat - they will usually understand if they know you are learning and are not happy with the result.


              • #8
                i have an english cocker and i thin the top of the head and clip the ears against the grain with a #10.
                for the setter..if it has that light colored fuz i would just try to strip it out or take thinners and thin it out. if you are going to groom the head like a show dog the top of the ears are clipped (kind of like a cocker but not as much of it is clipped).


                • #9
                  I start with the ears and use a 10 or 15 and clip the top 1/3, but I leave the fold in the front long, It gives a softer image when you view it from the front. I then use a 10 on the underjaw and neck. If the top of the head is really furry you can take a 7f and lightly skim some of the hair on the head. From there I use thinning shears to blend in the jaw line, around the ears and neck where the shaved part meets the hair on the side of the neck. After that I will hand strip the top of the head and continue down the back and neck . Hope I have explained this okay. I'm more of a show then tell person and that is hard to do in writing. Almost forgot, if the face is a little furry you can also strip that out also. I like to use a stone or 40 blade to strip but also have stripping knives also.


                  • #10

                    Thanks for all the advice. I'd never groomed that breed before so I just blindly followed the book. The owners were happy anyway, the dog is very old and bites so they're just happy when she gets finished. At least I learned something out of it!


                    • #11
                      irish setter heads

                      I have 2 Irish setters that I used to show. You clipper 1/3 of the way down the ears with a #10. For the throat go down from the jaw to about 2 fingers up from the breastbone with a #10. Strip the fuzzies off the top of the head OR I will use a #3 just on the top of the head and go against the grain then with the grain. Shaving the head is not something you want to do if you are showing the dog though. Use thinners to blend the sides of the neck and around the ears. Don't clip the coat on the back because it will get orange fuzzies and never grow back right. Thin the hair from between the toes. I have an English cocker I'm showing now and they are groomed nearly the same.