Irish Setter

Other names/Nicknames:
  • Red Setter
Country/Date of origin:
  • Ireland
  • 1800′s
  • 25 to 27 inches
  • 60 to 70 pounds
  • This is a dog with an Irish sense of humor.
  • A clown.
  • Energetic and excitable.
  • Not as intelligent as the other setters and often difficult to train.
  • Has a reputation for being flighty and featherbrained.
  • Nonaggressive towards people and other dogs.

The original setter was used to point game and then drop, or set, while nets were thrown over the birds.  With the advent of firearms about four hundred years ago, the job of the field dog changed.  The original setters were bred with heavier Spanish pointers and a whole new, and quite handsome, type of dog was created.  The English Setter and Irish Setter share a common ancestor.  The original Irish Setters were red and white (a color not allowed in United States show rings) and is still found in Europe.  A star in the show ring due to its burnished copper coat, it is overshadowed in the field by the English Setter.  The Irish Setter was one of the foundation breeds represented in the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Body Type:
  • A medium-sized, gun dog built along racier lines than the English or Gordon Setter.
  • Hanging ears are well feathered and are not altered.
  • Long tail is low set and held well below the topline of back.  It is not altered.
  • Moderately-long coat without wave or curl.
  • Hair on head, forelegs, and ear tips is fine and short.
  • The hair on ears, backs of forelegs, and toes is long with silky feathering.
  • The only acceptable color is red, from mahogany to chestnut.
  • Moderate grooming required.
Health and Wellness:
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome (GDV, also commonly called bloat).
  • Persistent right aortic arch (PRAA).
  • Metabolic bone disease.
  • Granulocytopathy.
  • Wheat-sensitive enteropathy.
  • Megaesophagus.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy.
  • Atopy.
  • Otitis externa.
  • Idiopathic epilepsy.
  • Acral lick granuloma.
  • Perianal fistulae.
  • Melanoma.
  • Osteosarcoma.
What you should know:
  • The name setter comes from the breed’s habit of setting or crouching when game is spotted.
  • There is a red and white variety of Irish Setter, which is recognized in Europe but not the United States.
  • Irish Setters are rovers, roaming all over the countryside if given the chance.
  • If confined to an apartment or not given enough exercise will become hyperactive and/or destructive.
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