The Irish Setter is a gun dog with a distinctive long, silky red coat. They are generally used for hunting in wide open, dry areas. They have a strong desire to please. Excellent tracking and hunting abilities make them popular choice for upland birds.
The Irish Setter will also make a very patient and loyal family pet as long as they are given plenty of exercise and attention. They are not an aggressive breed, but will bark to alert if strangers are approaching.
AppearanceHeight: 24-28 inches Weight: 55-75 pounds Lifespan: 11-15 years
The Irish Setter has a noble head with the length of the muzzle equal to half of the length of the entire head. The ears are triangular, thin, long and low set. The dog is slightly longer than tall with long and muscular legs. The fringed tail is carried horizontally.
The abundantly feathered silky coat comes in rich shades of chestnut to mahogany, occasionally with patches of white on the chest and feet. The undercoat is abundant in winter weather.
The field variety of Irish Setter is smaller than the show variety. The distinctive red color remains, but the coat is shorter and easier to maintain.
Using in the FieldThe Irish Setter can be used for all types of hunting. They are swift and hardy, with an excellent sense of smell, working well in wide open fields. Irish Setters will flush out game as well as sit on point and can be trained to retrieve.
Over breeding and ignorant ownership practices have marked the Irish Setter with the reputation of being over-excitable and dim-witted. In reality, these dogs are highly intelligent. They do tend to have an independent streak and will sometimes play deaf and not listen to commands. Proper training is necessary.
The Irish Setter at HomeIrish Setters get along well with children, other dogs, and other household pets. Irish Setters thrive on constant human companionship and will greet visitors enthusiastically. Though not an aggressive breed, they make excellent watch-dogs and will bark to announce the presence of strangers.
Irish Setters are active dogs and require long, daily walks and chances to run in wide, open spaces, though careful recall training must be done to insure the dog returns. This is not a dog that can be left alone for long periods of time. Without proper exercise and companionship an Irish Setter can become hyperactive or even destructive.
HistoryThe Irish Setter comes from Ireland where its name in Gaelic is Madra rua or “red dog”. It derived from a variety of spaniels, setters, and pointers. This breed dates back as far as the 1600s where it was originally bred to be a hunting dog for wild game in wide open places. By the mid-twentieth century the breed was used primarily for show because of its handsome looks. There have been cases where show dogs crossed over to win field championships.