Golden Irish

55-80 lbs
21-28"
Unknown
Golden Retriever
Irish Setter

Some hybrids or crossbreeds just seem to make instant sense, even without knowing much about them at first or even seeing an example of one.

The Golden Irish is one of those. A combination of Irish Setter and Golden Retriever? That strikes us as a near-perfect creation, with two parent breeds that complement each other impeccably.

Even so, the Golden Irish dog may be a mixed breed that you haven’t heard a lot about; it’s certainly not as well known or anywhere near as established as the setter or retriever.

In this breed profile, we’ll take a closer look at the history of this dog, the health conditions you, as a pet parent (or potential pet parent) need to be aware of, and what you can expect when owning a Golden Irish — exercise needs, temperament and typical behavior.

With our guide to the Golden Irish, you’ll come away with some useful takeaways, including:

  • This Irish Setter Golden Retriever mix is a blend of two famous gundog breeds
  • Like both its parent breeds, the Golden Irish can suffer with hip and elbow dysplasia
  • They have bags of energy, and love the water
  • Warm and friendly, they’re easy to train

Golden Irish breed overview

In recent years, there’s been an emergence of so-called hybrid or mixed breed dogs, with some unlikely combinations. The Golden Irish, however, is a natural alliance, a crossbreed of two much-loved gundogs.

If, therefore, you’ve been weighing up a choice of Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever, allow us to present what could be the ideal solution.

A Golden Irish dog has the beautiful traits of its parent breeds; the enthusiasm, loyalty and downright daftness of the Golden Retriever, and the graceful poise and elegance of the Irish Setter.

Both are long established as popular breeds in the US (according to American Kennel Club statistics, the Golden Retriever has consistently featured in the top three in the last few years) and are two of the friendliest breeds you’ll ever wish to encounter, too, so it's easy to see the appeal here.

The Golden Irish may not suit the first-time dog owner or beginner pet parent, though. The gundog spirit in this breed means they display a lot of energy and need plenty of exercise; of course, if you’re up for the challenge and prepared for an active dog, they’ll reward you with loads of love and affection.

If you’re looking for a Golden Irish to add to your family, be sure to source a reputable breeder. You could also consider rehoming a rescue pup.


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purpose Purpose
Agility, Companion
history Date of Origin
Unknown
ancestry Ancestry
Golden Retriever, Irish Setter

Golden Irish Health

Average Size
Male Golden Irish size stats
Height: 21-28 inches Weight: 55-80 lbs
Female Golden Irish size stats
Height: 21-28 inches Weight: 55-80 lbs

Golden Irish Breed History


When it comes to the exact beginnings of many hybrid or crossbreeds, it’s difficult to pin it down to a particular year or credit an individual breeder behind the emergence of a mixed dog breed.

The Golden Irish falls into this category. We haven’t been able to find any confirmation on when the Golden Irish was first established, but fortunately that’s not a major problem — because we know plenty about its parents. And that knowledge tells us a lot about what a Golden Irish dog will be like.

Let’s start with the Golden Retriever. This famous breed dates right back to the 1800s, when it was bred by Lord Tweedmouth. Tweedmouth had a yellow Wavy-Coated Retriever (called Nous, incidentally), who bred with a Tweed Water Spaniel when the Lord took the pup to Guisachan, his estate in the Scottish Highlands.

The litter produced were yellow retrievers, and the Golden Retriever was officially recognised as a breed by the UK’s Kennel Club in 1920. It soon became a popular breed in the US, and was recognised by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1925.

The Irish Setter is another breed with a long history; it was recognized as a breed by the AKC even earlier than the Golden Retriever, in 1878. Setter-type dogs originated in Ireland in the 1700s, though there were several different variations; the Irish Setter, as it was, tended to be white and red in color.

The famous red coat became more dominant in the 19th century, and that’s the breed that migrated so successfully to the US. Although it was originally deployed as a gundog in the States, its strikingly handsome looks saw it featuring in shows and competitions.

Golden Irish Breed Appearance


As a mixed breed, you can expect some slight variations in the physical appearance of a Golden Irish dog; it doesn’t have a breed standard to adhere to, unlike pure breeds.

So, the Golden Irish will inevitably inherit physical traits from both its parent breeds and, as an Irish Setter Golden Retriever mix, it has some seriously good-looking genes. Whichever wins the Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever dominance, the result is a magnificent dog with lots of lovely qualities.

It’s natural that some pups will inherit more Golden Retriever characteristics while others might inherit more characteristics from the Irish Setter.

The coat of the Golden Irish can vary in color, from the red hue of the Setter to yellow, light brown or, of course, golden brown. The coat itself is usually long, fine and silky; ears are soft and floppy. Its head is often round and wide, and handsome.

The Golden Irish is a reasonably large dog, but although the Golden Retriever can look somewhat stocky, the influence of the more graceful Irish Setter means that its build can be leaner and more muscular. It has a long tail, which may have some feathering on it.


Similar breeds to the Golden Irish

The Golden Irish is a wonderful dog, but is by no means the only breed of its type. If you’re looking to welcome a dog like it into your home, you may also wish to consider breeds with similar characteristics.

Parent breeds the Golden Retriever and Irish Setter are obviously closely related; other similar breeds include:

Golden Irish Breed Maintenance


That lovely, soft coat needs regular grooming. The Golden Irish certainly isn’t considered one of the more hypoallergenic breeds — it will shed, and sometimes heavily, so give your pup a good brush every couple of days.

Unless it’s dirty — and in wet weather it’ll probably return from an off-leash adventure soaked through and covered in mud — it won’t need a bath often.

Otherwise, brush teeth regularly, check ears and keep nails trimmed as and when needed.

Golden Irish health

All being well, your Golden Irish will live a happy and healthy life, with an average lifespan between 10-15 years. Like all breeds of dog — pure breeds and crossbreeds — it can be affected by health issues throughout its lifetime, though. As a pet parent, it’s your job to be aware of poor health and take appropriate action when it comes to consulting a vet — that’s where pet insurance comes into play.

There aren’t any major health issues specifically associated with the Golden Irish dog, though it may inherit problems from its two parent breeds. These can include:



Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia

Both hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are reasonably common health issues in many dog breeds; Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters are among those. With hip dysplasia, the ball and socket of either one or both hip joints is malformed, which prevents smooth movement.

The joint or joints are loose, so the leg moves around too much, causing pain and discomfort. This can be an inherited condition or occur because of incidents such as injury, or fast weight gain.

Elbow dysplasia is arthritis of the elbow joint. It can make a dog limp after exercise, cause stiffness and lameness. Primarily a genetic developmental condition, it can affect large breed puppies that grow rapidly; Golden Retrievers are among the breeds more commonly impacted. 


Ear infections

Ear infections in dogs are very common — one of the issues you should check for regularly. Because both the Golden Retriever and Irish Setter are breeds that love to be active and enjoy being in the water, they’re prone to getting dirt, debris and foreign objects such as twigs stuck in their ears.

Those lovely large floppy ears can also get hot and heavy, trapping moisture inside the ear canal. Watch out for your Golden Irish shaking its head from side to side or pawing at its ear; the ear might give off an unpleasant smell, too.

Read more on how to clean a dog’s ears here.


Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

GDV is a potentially life-threatening health condition. It can start when the stomach fills with gas, but it becomes a major problem if that progresses into a situation when the stomach rotates from its normal position, effectively flipping over. It can cause the stomach to balloon. It’s a serious issue, and needs immediate action — surgery — to resolve. GDV is sometimes known as Bloat.

GDV can be caused by a number of things — eating large meals too quickly is one, as is anxiety; it’s thought that a dog suffering from stress is more at risk than a relaxed pup.

Vets advise not feeding one main meal a day — a hungry dog is more likely to bolt down its dinner. Large, deep-chested breeds are more likely to experience GDV, and the Irish Setter is listed as one of those.

A Wag! Wellness Plan can cover many of your dog’s routine vet appointments and annual boosters. Choose from three plans, with optional add-ons like grooming and flea and tick treatment available.

What to feed an Irish Setter Golden Retriever mix


The correct type of diet is always important, regardless of breed — what you feed your pup has a huge say in terms of health, stool quality, growth and more. There’s so many dog food recipes available that it’s almost overwhelming — dry dog food, wet dog food, grain-free, raw — and it can be difficult to know what’s best.

We’d always recommend asking your vet for advice, but also looking for breed and age specific dog food. Don’t feed a large dog like a Golden Irish a recipe formulated for small breeds, and don’t feed a Golden Irish puppy adult food.

Generally, a Golden Irish needs a dog food made with the best quality ingredients available and, because they’re an active breed, recipes need to be relatively high in protein to provide some of the energy they’ll inevitably burn off during the day.

Read our guide to choosing the best dog food for your dog here. You might also find our recommendations for the Best Dog Food for Golden Retrievers useful.

For detailed ingredient analysis of major dog food brands, visit our partner website, Dog Food Advisor.

Golden Irish Temperament


It should come as no surprise to learn that this Irish Setter Golden Retriever mix has a sweet nature — both its parent breeds are renowned for their gentle disposition and friendly temperament.

The Golden Irish is the same. Providing the environment is right, they’re really happy dogs, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and highly likely to make you laugh every day. 

They see their role as pleasing their pet parents, and they love to be as close to their people as possible. Although they make great pet dogs for a single person or a couple, they thrive in a larger family — the more people to play with and spend time with, the better.

Like most gundogs, they don’t bark much and make little noise. They’re placid and expressive rather than vocal. If you want a guard dog for your home, the Golden Irish is 100% not the right choice; they’re more likely to greet strangers with a wagging tail and licks to the face than warning growls.

They’re great with children, and can mix contentedly with other dogs. Socializing them early is important and again, the gundog heritage makes them receptive to training.

Just one tip, though — a Golden Irish dog can be sensitive (the Irish Setter is famously highly strung) so won’t react well to being told off. You may well find yourself on the wrong end of a Golden Irish sulk, with those beautiful big eyes gazing mournfully at you. Instead, positive reinforcement and praise goes a long way.

Golden Irish Activity Requirements


Golden Irish dogs aren’t hard work, necessarily, but you’ll definitely know you have one in your life. They’re full of energy, and don’t spend a lot of time sitting still — especially in their younger years.

If you’re not planning to be a particularly active pet parent, this almost certainly isn’t the type of dog for you. A Golden Irish dog loves to run, play and swim — remember, both its parent breeds are gundogs at heart, so they’ll happily charge into water and bushes, however overgrown they may look. 

If they don’t get sufficient exercise, mental and physical stimulation, like so many other active breeds, the Golden Irish can get easily bored, and potentially then seek its own entertainment; this can lead to destructive behavior.

They shouldn’t be left at home alone for long periods, either.

Golden Irish Owner Experiences

Oscar
13 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
swimming
Fetch
Ball
Walking
A rescue from Spain at 7 months old. Now lives with us in UK since 18 months. An absolutely amazing dog. Human like understanding and character. We've had 2 children from when he was 4 and he's been like their older brother. Not a bad bone in his body. Loves rivers and the sea. Is obsessed with 'rescuing' stones from the bottom of riverbeds. Even at 13 he's still running about making younger dogs look old. Would definitely recommend
2 years, 3 months ago
Bodhi
7 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Frisbee
Run
Hike
Wonderful breed, affectionate, smart, funny
2 years, 7 months ago
Kimber
5 Years
5 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
She loves people! Alwayhas to be touching us
5 years, 10 months ago
Copper Boy
6 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Copper Boy and I especially love playtime at our cabin.
5 years, 10 months ago
Piper
1 Year
2 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Piper is a very fun dog. She is up for anything. Riding in the car with the head out the window or up, out of the sunroof is especially exciting. This dog relishes activity and our company.
5 years ago
Buddy Lee Greene
13 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking
Playing
Kayaking
Hiking
Biking
Walking, Running,
Our dog is the neighborhood favorite! He is good with other dogs, people, and kids. He is smart, intuitive, and well-behaved. He is getting older now but is still active and healthy.
3 years, 7 months ago
Rhys
12 Weeks
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
He still a puppy but we are enjoying all his puppy energy. Still waiting for his next round of shots before we can take him on walks
3 years, 6 months ago
Isabel
12 Years
3 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking
Running
Dog Parks
She’s getting older now, overall healthy, just stiff. She’s always been a happy, kind dog! Loves people even more than she loves other dogs! Gets along with everyone and everything! Beautiful coat and not too difficult to take care of!
3 years, 6 months ago
Phoenix
1 Year
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
Walk
Daycare
Work
Dog Parks
swimming
Phoenix is such a energetic and bubbly dog! She’s definitely a Velcro dog where she wants me to be in her sights at all times! All and all she’s the best dog a girl could ever ask!
3 years, 3 months ago
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Question

my dog is 9yrs about 25 lbs over weight she started to pant all the time she drinks lots of water and eats sur gain fish and oatmeal food should i be alarm

Answer
Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
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