Show Dog Grooming

Crufts 2020 English Setters

By Rebecca Goutorbe Post updated January 2021

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Show Dogs

Billy, ‘Redhara Billy Whizz’ was my young English Setter show dog I had bred myself and was campaigning at dog shows. Although Billy didn’t go to every dog show he was already on his way in the show world with one CC (a challenge certificate) he had won at just 2 years old. Then disaster struck in October 2019 and Billy had to be put to sleep at just 4 years old because of bloat.
 I knew then Crufts Dog Show March 2020 was going to be my last dog show for a long time.
I had entered my Show Champion English Setter Travis again for Crufts in Veteran dog. He was 9 and would be retired after the show. I have been to Crufts nearly every year for over 30 years and have never been without a dog to show on Gundog day.

Because of all this I treated myself back in the December to a Claudio Lugli Jacket to wear for Crufts. I love the shirts Claudio Lugli makes and wasn’t disappointed with the jacket its absolutely beautiful. I was looking forward to showing my dog in the jacket, it’s the only time I get chance to dress up. 
As it got closer to the Crufts date, Covid-19 had arrived in the UK I must admit I did wonder whether or not to go to Crufts at the time. Looking back little did we know then what was about to happen in the UK and all over the world. 

Crufts was the last dog show of 2020, the photography show which should of been the following week at the NEC was cancelled and within just a few weeks the NEC was turned into a NHS Nightingale Hospital. 

Redhara Billy Whizz

Crufts 2020 English Setters

 The lead up to Crufts again was a few months of hard work preparing Travis’s coat with the Dirty Beastieconditioner and a steel comb ready for the show like in 2018. It was all worth it as he won the Veteran Dog class and went on to win Best Veteran in Breed again. Another Son of Travis went on to win the Dog CC and Best of Breed too. Another fantastic dog show day out. 

Crufts 2020 English Setters Veteran Dog Write up

Here is what the Judge Mrs C Guy wrote about Travis. 

Veteran – Dog 12 ( 2)
1st Goutorbe’s SH CH DYRHAM DIVERSITY AT REDHARA JW
Lovely orange dog with beautiful balance and flow of one part into the next with no ugly joins. 9 years old and is in absolutely superb condition with a beautiful silky coat excellently presented. Lovely head with a kind gentle eye. Well boned with good depth and spring of rib. Shoulders are long and well laid back with elbows close to his body. Excellent quarters with good width and well turned stifle. His movement was a joy to watch going so positively on a good stride with strong rear pasterns and a gently wagging tail. Considered him for the Res CC. Sire of the BOB. A great ambassador for the breed. Best veteran. 
Judge Carol Guy

show dog grooming

Grooming English Setters for Crufts

Travis hadn’t been to a dog show since Crufts 2018. There was quiet a bit of work to be done to get him in some order for the show ring again. At 9 years old he isn’t the kind of dog who goes crazy out in the field and comes back with half the field in his coat. But being older and lot more steady he lies down a lot including in the grass run. Lying down in the grass is fine on a sunny day but when the grass is damp or muddy thats when you start to get matts in the coat if you don’t keep on top of the brushing and combing.

Weekly Dog Grooming

I spent weeks brushing, combing and bathing Travis to keep his coat matt free. If you have a show dog who goes every weekend to shows the dog gets continuous grooming. You probably don’t even realise this is happening because you just go from week to week, show to show and the dog is always trimmed, bathed, ready for a show and looking it’s best. But when I thought about entering Travis for Crufts 2020 there was work to be done to get on top of his coat. At this point to me the perfect cut and style for the ring isn’t important. What is more important is getting the whole coat into condition. De shedding the hairs and keeping the coat matt free. Keeping the coat matt free is so important so you don’t end up with gaps where you have had to cut out matts. I cut out the matts and knots because it can actually hurt the dog to de matt it sometimes. It is far kinder to just clip or cut out bad matts when a dog is older as they tend to tolerate the de matting process a lot less. 

Brush, comb and de-matt the dogs coat

When a dog moults as well as the hair dropping out all over some of the hair also stays in the coat and drops into the feathers. If you don’t regularly brush and comb the coat when a dog is moulting this is when matts can form quickly. There are lots of other ways which coats can matt up, but as a general rule with Setters and Spaniels moulting is one of the ways which matts form. Especially in the feathers if not brushed out. The back end tends to be worse than other parts of the dog. The best way I find to get rid of dead hairs when a dog is moulting is to first brush and comb the dog. Then bath the dog with shampoo, rinse and then comb through the coat with conditioner and blow out the rest of the dead hairs with the high powered hair dryer. That usually does the trick.
The photos and video below show how much coat can come out of a dog with a good brush when they are moulting. 

show dog grooming
show dog grooming

Show Dog Trimming

As the show date starts to approach then it is time to concentrate on the cut and style. Although it is a standard cut and style for English Setters, each show dog has its best attributes and these can be enhanced with good trimming. This is Travis after his groom a week before Crufts.

show dog grooming
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