All About Irish Setters

About This Breed

The Irish Setter was bred in Ireland in the 18th century and was used for hunting, pointing and retrieving.

Physical Characteristics

Irish Setters are large bodied dogs with long heads and a long neck. The ears are long and droopy, and the tail is long and skinny. All of these features work together when pointing at game.

COLOR(S)

Irish Setters are most commonly seen in deep chestnut red or mahogany. There can be a small patch of white seen on the chest, neck and toes.

COAT

The coat of the Irish Setter is flat, silky, long and soft. They have feathering on the chest, belly, legs, tail, and ears.

Personality and Temperament

ACTIVITY LEVEL

High

POSITIVES

Irish Setters love to play and run. They are loving and loyal to the family. This breed makes a wonderful running mate. They are great with kids and do better with active families. They are good with other animals.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Irish Setters need a lot of exercise and needs to be groomed regularly. Irish Setters also need to be given a lot of attention and space to run off-leash. This is a breed that will wander, and if left unattended they will run away; they are very explorative and curious about their surroundings.

Care

IDEAL LIVING CONDITION

The Irish Setter would do best in the suburbs or country.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

The Irish Setter needs to be exercised daily and groomed on a regular basis.

Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in Irish Setters:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Ear Infections
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Bloat

History and Background

Bred as field hunting dogs in Ireland, the Irish Setter took to pointing with great talent and enthusiasm. With a naturally strong olfactory sense, the Setter is able to sniff out marks (birds) from distances, track the location, and then silently freeze in place so the hunter can follow and bag the prey.

Dog enthusiasts really took notice of the rich red setters around the 19th century. Although they were being bred in multiple color combinations, the deep red coloring took precedence, and breeders selected those of ideal coloring for further breeding. These came to be identified as Irish Red Setters. The Red Setters were brought into the United States around the middle of the 19th century, and accepted into the American kennel Club (AKC) in 1878.

Over the years the breed has gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the most popular breeds in the 1970s. As hunters, Irish Setters make excellent companions, but are considered more popular today as pets. In fact, the Irish Setter is currently at number 67 in the AKC's dog registry.