AKC Group: Sporting
First developed to be a color variant of the original Red and White Setter in the 1700s, they were originally known as an Irish Red Setter. Prior to 1862, Irish Setters were only used for hunting. Uniquely, they run in a zigzag pattern ahead of the hunter, scanning for scents. They were used for pointing and retrieving as well. All these hunting skills made them a hunter’s best friend.
Size: 24 to 28 inches tall; 55 to 75 pounds
Color: Mahogany or chestnut red.
Life span: 12 to 15 years
Health problems: Thyroid issues, bloat, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy or hip dysplasia.
Spirited, energetic and friendly, the Irish Setter makes a fine family companion. They have plenty of love and affection to give. They are amusing, sociable and entertaining. Enthusiastic and eager to please, they thrive on your attention. When neglected, an Irish Setter can become bored and destructive. Some Irish Setters can be willful or strong minded, but remember these dogs are eager to learn and very intelligent. They love kids, but may have too much energy for youngsters. They do well with other animal companions, but early socialization is still recommended. With strangers (or guests), they are friendly there too. (If you’re in the market for a watchdog, keep looking; Irish Setters are just too sociable.) He will bark to announce an arrival though. They do require a lot of exercise. Your Irish Setter is able to problem solve and think independently, not always the greatest combination for easy training. You’ll do best if you can establish a partnership, where you don’t dominate or force participation. When there’s a strong bond between you, he will be only to happy to please you. Always start a training session after he’s had some exercise, he’ll be better able to concentrate. They tend to learn new skills after only one to two sessions.
The Irish Setter is a large, elegant, dignified, sturdy dog. They have a long, silky, feathered coat with fine, short hair on the head and legs. His long, silky ears hang down the side of his head. Grooming requirements are moderate. He requires brushing twice a week. Trim stray hairs and trim bottom hair for hygienic reasons. Check that his floppy ears are clean and dry to avoid infections. They are all around medium shedders and shed seasonally as well.