Irish Setter

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53-64 lbs
22-25"
Ireland
Red Setter

The Irish Setter was bred from various hunting dogs in 17th century Ireland to be the perfect hunting companion. Originally, they boasted red and white coats, but the standard famous red coat appeared in the 19th century, when the Irish Setter enjoyed a great popularity at home and abroad. Its agile and lean frame made it fast and tireless in the field, while its elegant and graceful build gained it show dog notoriety. Today, its sweet and gentle nature makes it an excellent family dog. Playful and energetic, this is a breed for an active family, who thrives on daily games, runs, and dog sports.

Purpose
bird setting and retrieving
Date of Origin
1700s
Ancestry
setter, pointer, spaniel

Irish Setter Health

Average Size
Height: 23-26 inches Weight: 60-71 lbs
Height: 22-25 inches Weight: 53-64 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Gastric Torsion
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
Minor Concerns
  • Cataracts
  • Megaesophagus
  • Von Willebrand's Disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Blood Test
  • Dna Test For Vwd
  • Dna For Pra
  • Thyroid Tests
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Irish Setter Breed History

The story of the Irish Setter originates in Ireland, where hunters crossbred Pointers, flushing Spaniels, other Setters, and possibly Bloodhounds to produce an effective gundog that could point, track, and retrieve game birds. In the 1700s, the Irish Setter boasted a bicolor coat of red and white, and it had shorter legs. It was in the 19th century that the coat became solid in white or the distinctive red mahogany color that is the signature of the modern breed. The red was so popular that the Earl of Enniskillen declared he would only have these kinds in his kennels in 1812, and the color became the standard in the United States. The Irish Setter became known as a game bird hunter in Ireland, where it used its boundless energy to run back and forth in front of his hunter companion to find game. The breed was also recognized as an excellent hunting dog in America in the mid-1800s. In 1862, one particular Irish Setter was born with a longer head and more slender build. These traits gave him a refined look, one that his owner disliked so much that he ordered the dog to be drowned. Lucky for us, Palmerston was saved by a dog fancier who turned the Irish Setter into a show dog. Palmerston sired many offspring, and it is now widely believed that most Irish Setters of today are descended from him. By 1878, the AKC officially recognized the Irish Setter. The red dog gained in popularity, and sparked a Disney movie called “Big Red” in 1962. By the 1970s, Irish Setters were considered one of the most popular breeds in the United States. 

Irish Setter Breed Appearance

The Irish Setter is an elegant and graceful dog whose body is built for agility and speed. Straight, muscular front legs and powerful, wide hindquarters end in small feet, making this breed faster and lighter than other setters. The Irish Setter is long and lean, being a bit longer than it is tall. The long head is gracefully sculpted, featuring a lean muzzle, brown almond-shaped eyes that project an alertness, and extraordinarily long and soft ears that hang close to the head. The jaws are about equal in length and the teeth fit closely. The tail boasts long, tapering hair, and is often held horizontally. While the slender and elegant build of the Irish Setter lends him agility while hunting, and admiration in the show ring, it is the distinctive red coat that has become the trademark of the breed. The standard is a solid chestnut or mahogany red coat, sometimes with patches of white seen on the toes or chest. Any traces of black will be faulted at shows. The hair itself is fine and straight, and fairly long. Feathered areas include the ears, chest, tail, legs, and stomach. 

Eye Color Possibilities
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
Red
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Irish Setter Breed Maintenance

The beautiful, long and silky coat of this red dog does need daily to weekly brushing to keep it in good condition. The long hair can easily get tangled and form mats. Pay extra attention to the longer areas, such as the ears, tail, and other feathered places, as burrs love to hide in there. Spritzing with water can make brushing and combing easier. Consistent grooming can also help reduce the amount of hair in the house, as this breed does shed an average amount. Clipping and trimming every three to four months will keep the coat from looking frayed. An occasional bath or dry shampoo will keep the coat looking clean and well-groomed. Regularly check and clean any debris out of the Irish Setter’s long and floppy ears, as well as trim the nails and brush the teeth. This breed is highly energetic and requires vigorous daily exercise. Not recommended for apartment life or for sedentary families, the Irish Setter thrives in the country, or with a huge yard where it can run and play often. Without this exercise, this breed can become frustrated which could lead to difficulties in training. These dogs also have a high prey drive, and need to be fenced in or leashed during walks. Ideal as hiking and biking companions, Irish Setters also excel at dog sports, such as field and agility trials.

Brushes for Irish Setter
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Dematter
Comb
Deshedder
Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Irish Setter Temperament

The Irish Setter is a wonderful family dog. He is intelligent, sweet, and good-natured, and forms strong bonds with his family. His friendly and carefree disposition ensure he can make friends anywhere. The Setter’s gentle nature and even temper make him a good fit with children, although his rowdiness can be a bit much for them. This breed does well with other animals, especially if socialized at a young age. The Irish Setter thrives on the relationships with his family, and can be prone to separation anxiety and boredom if he does not get enough attention. He can exhibit protective behavior, and may occasionally bark at strangers, but prefers not to be left alone to guard the home. While the intelligence of this breed makes them willing to be trained, their high energy may not allow for long training sessions, and their stubbornness dislikes harsh corrections. These dogs do best with positive and short training sessions. Ensuring the Irish Setter gets enough exercise can also help with his attention while training, as his energy can seem boundless. He enjoys daily walks, runs, games, and lots of space to be active in. This energetic nature is why he is such as good hunting dog.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
15 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
90 minutes

Irish Setter Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$2 - $2.3
Monthly Cost
$60 - $67.5

Irish Setter Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 21 inches Weight: 38 lbs
Height: 19 inches Weight: 29 lbs
12 Months
Height: 22 inches Weight: 53 lbs
Height: 20 inches Weight: 45 lbs
18 Months
Height: 24 inches Weight: 65 lbs
Height: 23 inches Weight: 58 lbs

Top Irish Setter Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Irish Setter breeders of 2017.
Seafarer Irish Setters
Orange Park, Florida
Muffett Farms
Reedsport, Oregon
Bright Star Setters
Petaluma, California
Ruairis Irish Setters
Lakeland, Florida
Sugar Stop Irish Setters
San Diego, California
Redfeathers Kennel
Smithton, Illinois
Mythodical Irish setters
Hilliard, Ohio
Stardust setters
Hollywood, California
Ironfire Setters
Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Irish Setter Owner Experiences

Penny Lane
5 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Playing Ball
Hiking
Car Travel
Going to Market, Doctors Office
Taking Naps!
I've been a Parent to an Irish Setter as well as a Gordon Setter in excess of 30 years.
1 month, 3 weeks ago