The Irish Red and White Setter almost became extinct until hunters realized his hunting abilities and began preserving the breed. He is similar to his cousin, the Irish Setter, and can be just as stubborn. The Irish Red and White Setter is enthusiastic and loves to work. Many people describe him as tireless. He needs an active family who will take him on long walks or jogs. He also needs to live inside with his family or he could become a nuisance to the neighbors. If he becomes frustrated and has excess energy, he can easily become destructive. Be sure to give him a job to do to keep him happy.
The Irish Red and White Setter originated before the Irish Setter. The first actual written record that refers to a setting dog that was red and white dates back to the mid-17th century. Artwork that is dated at least a century before depicts similar red and white setting dogs. The paintings depicted these dogs with hunters in the field. The Irish Red and White Setter faced extinction when people began favoring setters that were a dark red with no white markings. When World War I began there were only a few Irish Red and White Setters left. Reverend Noble Huston and his cousin, Dr. Elliott began preserving the breed. As they bred these dogs, they began exporting some of them to other countries. Irish Red and White Setters were sent to Spain, England and the United States. Will Cuddy and Maureen Cuddy, a married couple, picked up where Huston and Elliott left off and championed the breed. Maureen Cuddy researched and recorded the Irish Red and White Setter’s history in the early 20th century. They helped to form the Irish Red and White Setter Society in Ireland in 1944. This society helped the breed gain separate recognition from his cousin, the Irish Setter. The first recorded Irish Red and White Setters were imported into the United States in the 1960s. More Irish Red and White Setters came into the United States from Ireland in the 1980s and the popularity of the breed within the United States spiked. The United Kennel Club officially recognized them as a separate breed in 1995. The Canadian Kennel Club followed suit in 1999. The American Kennel Club did not officially recognize the Irish Red and White Setter until 2009.
Obviously, the Irish Red and White Setter has to be red and white in color. His base color is white with solid red patches. Flecking or freckling is permitted around the face, feet, up the forelegs to the elbow and up the hind legs to the hock. Flecking, roaning or mottling on any other part of his body is not desirable. His hair should be fine and silky to the touch. Long, silky hair called feathering is usually present on the outer ear flap, on the back of the forelegs and the hind legs and also on the flank to the chest and throat area. The feathering cannot be curly or wavy and needs to be straight. It can also not be overly dense or appear puffy. The Irish Red and White Setter also has a feathered tail. His head, front legs, back and sides have short, flat hair that is not feathered and does not curl. A slight wave to this shorter hair is acceptable.
The Irish Red and White Setter has a silky coat that does moderately shed. His hair easily repels dirt and therefore he does not need many baths. He will need a bath when he gets into something smelly or really dirty. He will need to be brushed and combed out a few times a week when he is not working in the field. If he is used in the field, then he will need brushing every time he comes in. Tangles and mats need to be worked out, especially in the feathering and ears. By brushing him regularly, his coat will stay relatively clean. The Irish Red and White Setter will need his nails trimmed every two to three weeks, depending on how fast his nails grow. His ears should be cleaned weekly and kept free of oils, wax and dampness to prevent infections. It is always a good idea to brush his teeth often with veterinarian approved toothpaste.