Grooming an English Setter for Dog Shows

Check out this 1949 dog grooming standard for English Setters in the dog show ring.

Dog World June 1949From the Archives of Dog World: Enjoy this all-access pass to dog history from the pages of the longest published dog magazine. This content remains in its original form and reflects the language and views of its time. Health and behavior information evolves and only the most current advice should be followed.

The subject of grooming or trimming an English Setter for the dog show ring seems to follow no set pattern. Observing the dogs presented by the outstanding handlers, it seems that each follows a pattern all his own.

In preparing my dogs for the show ring I first make a study of the individual dog. On a dog with outstanding conformation, I trim extremely close using the following equipment—comb, brush, thinning shears, stripping knife, and clippers.

1. HEAD—whiskers cut close and hair smooth with stripping knife.

2. Ears—clipping clean ½” from head and long hair taken from beneath, causing them to lie close to head and neck.

3. NECK—3” above breast bone beneath the neck to head, clean with clippers and from this, taper coat up sides of neck and into shoulders.

4. BRISKET—thin long hair making it fall straight down, trimming sides and ends, making a clean graceful blend into shoulders and front legs.

5. SHOULDERS—thin to blend neck line in.

6. FEET—remove long hair to show shape of foot.

7. TAIL—trim top and sides to take all bushiness out so that feathering will fall straight down, even up feathering to graceful curve tapering to point.

At this point the English Setter should be posed, remembering the over-all picture of the dog is take with the judge 10 to 20 feet away. The backline should follow from the neck to the tail on an even straight line, slightly higher at the shoulders. You may need to thin coat over hips to get this effect.

Coat on the body should lie flat with straight or slightly waving hair, never curly. The line from the neck should swing gracefully into the brisket and chest showing a slight tuck-up which should be done by trimming or thinning the under coat.

Remember the body stops at the root of the tail and will give a much cleaner appearance with the coat or feather trimmed close at the root of the tail to give light between the body and the tail and with shoulders and hair, your English Setter will be ready for the dog show ring.


Excerpted from Dog World magazine, June 1949, Vol. 34. For back issues of Dog World, click here.

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Article Categories:
Dogs · Grooming