Showing The Irish Setter

showing the irish setterIn addition to conducting basic training for an Irish Setter, some owners are interested in further training their Irish to become a show dog . This desire will require further research and training according to the American Kennel Club requirements for showing the dog in the Sporting Category. Some owners will want to show their own dog while others prefer to use a “handler” during shows.

The owners of an Irish Setter will learn that show training can actually begin when the dog is a puppy. Preparing to show an Irish Setter will require learning about requirements for appearance, body size, color and coat. All of these factor into the standards for showing this breed of dog.

While an owner is preparing an Irish Setter to show, it can be beneficial to watch and or attend dog shows when possible to help develop a better perspective on the expectations. There are experiences called “Ringcraft Classes” that will help to prepare an Irish Setter to enter the show ring.

There are behaviors that the dog must learn in order to “show” properly. A handler and dog will need to learn the routine. The dog will need to learn to “stack” which is the term for square, still standing and there are specific rules for stacking which must be followed. During the stacking portion of the show, judges will want the dog to appear happy, and look at the handler. A leash and treats (called bait) are allowed during this event. In addition, the dog will have to tolerate the judge handling his/her body, legs, head and teeth.

The gait of the dog will also be judged and there are certain requirements for gait. Typically gait is judged while the dog is trotting which also means that the handler is trotting. The dog will be judged trotting into the ring and during an exercise called “down and back.” During these activities, judges will be able to observe if the dog is moving correctly. During a show, when the dog trots, the legs move on opposite sides. In other words, the right front lrg and left back leg move simultaneously. During this portion of the show, a handle will trot the dog approximately 40 feet, turn and trot back. The section will end with the dog leaving the show ring trotting. Show rule will indicate when bait (treats) can be used.

The current article has focused on typical dog shows according to AKC rules. There are other types of competitive showing with different requirements. These include showing an Irish Setter in field trials. Some owners might also be interested in looking into requirements for agility competitions which are now actually included in the Westminster Dog Show.