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Handstripping an Irish Setter

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  • Handstripping an Irish Setter

    I have a friend who is getting an Irish Setter puppy in July and she is wanting to groom him. I’m wanting to handstrip him instead of clippering to keep him in proper coat. I was taught how to handstrip terriers and spaniels in school. But not a lot else. When would i start stripping/carding him? And what all would I strip on him, just his back or his head/muzzle/ears also? Or would I clipper his head/muzzle/ears? And how often would I need to strip/card him? Would I basically pluck the undercoat out like a spaniel? I have Notes from the Grooming Table and will be using it to get the pattern. Sorry for asking so many questions. I’m really excited to get to groom a setter, I love them and hope I can do a good job on him. I appreciate any advice about grooming this breed, I’ve never done one before.

  • #2
    I tried stripping my English Setter when he was a pup. I used a pumice stone instead of plucking or stripping combs. I liked the way it looked but it was just way too time consuming once his coat came in. Unless its a show dog, I wouldn't waste my time. If you do decide to do it, the dirtier the dog, the better, they have fine hair. It used to take me about 3 hours not including bathing and I consider myself pretty dang fast, so charge accordingly because your hands are going to ache so bad you will need a massage if you want to work the next day. And yes, I still clippered the head, ears and tummy.

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    • #3
      You're right in not wanting to use clippers on the body of an Irish Setter. You can get away with it on an English or Gordon, but on an Irish, the coat will lose it's wonderful color when it is clippered. You can still clipper the throat and ears, but I usually just strip or thinning shear the top of the head. It's pretty much like stripping/carding/thinning the spaniels . . . most Irish don't need a lot of stripping on the body, though. You can also use a coat king — it will do wonders for getting rid of the soft junk hair and keeping the correct color. A pumice stone also works fairly well, but it is messy. Most of the stripping and carding (even the coat king) is done before the bath, so you would wash away the grit from the pumice stone if you use it. Just be careful not to overuse the pumice stone — you can "brush burn" the skin with one.

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      • #4
        Thank you for the replies. To keep the color is another reason i don't want to clipper him. I love their coloring and would hate for it to fade. I only like using a pumice stone for stripping, so im glad thats a good suggestion to use. What size coat king should i use on it? I've never used one before. Any suggestions on when to start stripping him though? and how often to do him.

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        • #5
          I was told

          by a long time breeder to do your clipper work every few days to keep the short clippered areas red. For some reason it works.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by epilady View Post
            by a long time breeder to do your clipper work every few days to keep the short clippered areas red. For some reason it works.

            That wont be possible for us, because they are going to live in Dallas and i live in OK, so ill only see them maybe once a month when they come up to visit. Thanks though, ill try to do it as often as i can.

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            • #7
              I am learning to groom Irish Setters for show.

              You need to CARD out the coat with a classic stripping knife. You can also use other means such as the stripping stone on the legs where it's more boney, and on the head, too. Stripping is mostly needed on the head, and maybe a few other areas. Carding is much easier than stripping in my opinion!

              The tail should be no longer than the hock bone. Don't trim off the hock hair, give the dog some angulation by trimming them at an angle (longer at the hock bone, shorter toward the foot). The feet should be trimmed well but not tight like a perfect foot---they should look like they came from the field.

              Use a #10 reverse on the throat, about 3-5 fingers above the breast bone (depends on who you ask, and whether you live in the East or West as to how they do it). #10 reverse on tops of ears. BLEND BLEND BLEND. That is the main thing, you need to blend your ears where the shaved part meets the head, and your throat into the neck.

              Do not shave or trim the front edge of the ears (that can also depend on what neck of the woods you live in, but it helps them to keep that soft expression if you leave that hair).

              To keep the color, some breeders/handlers use a henna rinse. Patrick, one of the setters I will be using for competition in the future, has really pale skin, always has, and he gets a henna rinse.

              If you want to see it done right, get Jodi Murphy's Irish Setter DVD, it's excellent, and she really simplifies it and goes into detail in her explanations. The price is right, too. www.jodimurphy.net

              Tammy in Utah
              Last edited by SpikeyTheYorkie; 04-30-10, 09:56 PM. Reason: where not "wear"
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              • #8
                Originally posted by SpikeyTheYorkie View Post
                I am learning to groom Irish Setters for show.

                You need to CARD out the coat with a classic stripping knife. You can also use other means such as the stripping stone on the legs where it's more boney, and on the head, too. Stripping is mostly needed on the head, and maybe a few other areas. Carding is much easier than stripping in my opinion!

                The tail should be no longer than the hock bone. Don't trim off the hock hair, give the dog some angulation by trimming them at an angle (longer at the hock bone, shorter toward the foot). The feet should be trimmed well but not tight like a perfect foot---they should look like they came from the field.

                Use a #10 reverse on the throat, about 3-5 fingers above the breast bone (depends on who you ask, and whether you live in the East or West as to how they do it). #10 reverse on tops of ears. BLEND BLEND BLEND. That is the main thing, you need to blend your ears where the shaved part meets the head, and your throat into the neck.

                Do not shave or trim the front edge of the ears (that can also depend on what neck of the woods you live in, but it helps them to keep that soft expression if you leave that hair).

                To keep the color, some breeders/handlers use a henna rinse. Patrick, one of the setters I will be using for competition in the future, has really pale skin, always has, and he gets a henna rinse.

                If you want to see it done right, get Jodi Murphy's Irish Setter DVD, it's excellent, and she really simplifies it and goes into detail in her explanations. The price is right, too. www.jodimurphy.net

                Tammy in Utah

                Thank you for the info! Do you know when i should start carding him? And should i do it maybe once a month? Or could it maybe be more like every 8 weeks?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SpikeyTheYorkie View Post
                  (depends on who you ask, and whether you live in the East or West as to how they do it).
                  Yes, a lot of people follow what the handler of the current winning dog is doing, but that is based on what that dog needs, ie. does the neck need to be lengthened, does it have a ewe neck, etc.

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                  • #10
                    Tammy's answer was good.

                    you can often get away with coat kinging body wise. The only different thing I would put is as kputman said it depends on the length of neck. Per my Irish Setter Breeder Handlers that I work with, you could not have too much length of neck. An 8 1/2 blade can work nicely to blend the sides of the neck in with the 10 blade shave. Then thinning, thinning, thinning to show a slim lengthy neck.
                    Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.

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                    • #11
                      Shaina:

                      Once a month, for sure. Those dogs get hairy in 8 weeks! Depends on the coat, too.

                      One thing you will see are matted armpits. If they're not showing it, just shave them out. They get mats between the toes, too.

                      Here are Before/After photos taken of Quigley, an Irish Setter that just won Best of Breed at a show in our area.

                      Tammy in Utah
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