Irish Setter

53-64 lbs
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 Purpose
bird setting and retrieving
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
setter, pointer, spaniel

Irish Setter Health

Sketch of Irish Setter
Average Size
Male Irish Setter size stats
Height: 23-26 inches Weight: 60-71 lbs
Female Irish Setter size stats
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. 

Appearance of Irish Setter
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Irish Setter eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Irish Setter nose
Coat Color Possibilities
red Irish Setter coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Irish Setter straight 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
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Irish Setter requires daily brushing
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 activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
15 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
90 minutes
activity minutes

Irish Setter Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$2.00 - $2.25
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$60.00 - $67.50
food bag monthly cost

Irish Setter Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Irish Setter at six months
Male Irish Setter size stats at six months
Height: 21.0 inches Weight: 38.5 lbs
Female Irish Setter size stats at six months
Height: 19.0 inches Weight: 29.5 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Irish Setter at 12 months
Male Irish Setter size stats at 12 months
Height: 22.5 inches Weight: 53.5 lbs
Female Irish Setter size stats at 12 months
Height: 20.5 inches Weight: 45.0 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Irish Setter at 18 months
Male Irish Setter size stats at 18 months
Height: 24.5 inches Weight: 65.5 lbs
Female Irish Setter size stats at 18 months
Height: 23.5 inches Weight: 58.5 lbs

Top Irish Setter Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Irish Setter breeders of 2024.
Top Irish Setter breeder Seafarer Irish Setters
Seafarer Irish Setters
Orange Park, Florida
Top Irish Setter breeder Muffett Farms
Muffett Farms
Reedsport, Oregon
Top Irish Setter breeder Bright Star Setters
Bright Star Setters
Petaluma, California
Top Irish Setter breeder Ruairis Irish Setters
Ruairis Irish Setters
Lakeland, Florida
Top Irish Setter breeder Sugar Stop Irish Setters
Sugar Stop Irish Setters
San Diego, California
Top Irish Setter breeder Redfeathers Kennel
Redfeathers Kennel
Smithton, Illinois
Top Irish Setter breeder Mythodical Irish setters
Mythodical Irish setters
Hilliard, Ohio
Top Irish Setter breeder Ironfire Setters
Ironfire Setters
Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Top Irish Setter breeder Stardust setters
Stardust setters
Hollywood, California

Irish Setter Owner Experiences

Penny Lane
5 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Playing Ball
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.
6 years, 6 months ago
11 Months
Irish Setters get along well with children, other dogs, and will enthusiastically greet visitors. Even though they do well with household pets, small animals may pose a problem for this breed, as they are a hunting breed. Some Irish Setters may have problems with cats in the house, and may be too rambunctious with small children. As the FCI, ANKC and UK Standards state, the breed should be "Demonstrably affectionate." As a result, Irish Setters make excellent companion animals and family pets.[3]
6 years, 3 months ago
4 Years
playing with sticks
The setter I walked was an absolute stunner. he was a big boy, and had the most gorgeous coat. While he was pretty tall, he was a lanky dog, and walked easily and politely without pulling much at all. He was interested in squirrels and other little critters, but was still well behaved even around all the temptation. He was very food motivated, and was happy to sit for a mini photo-shoot at the promise of a couple of cookies! Though he looked incredibly elegant, he was very much the goofball and was ready to roll around in the grass the second we got to the park. Very well mannered dog, and very easy for a walker! He was a little challenging as a city dog, as his long legs made the few flights of stairs a little clumsy.
6 years, 3 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd