Irish Setter Information

Overview

The Irish Setter is a fun-loving, high energy dog. An aristocratic bird dog, it is also one of the most distinguished sporting breeds. It was originally bred to be red and white. The distinctive rusty red color appeared in Ireland during the 19th century and became a mark of superior quality. The Irish Setter is a rather large dog, standing over two feet tall from the shoulder. It is appreciated for style, powerful movement and a rollicking personality. The breed grew quite popular throughout Ireland and the British Isles during the 18th century.

Irish Setter
Basic Info
NameIrish Setter
Other NameRed Setter (Irish: sotar rua), Irish Red Setter
OriginIreland
Size Type Large Dog Breeds
Breed Group Hunting Dog Breeds
Life Span12 - 15 years
TemperamentPlayful, Companionable, Energetic, Independent, Lively, Affectionate
Height24 to 27 inches
Weight35 to 70 lbs
ColorsChestnut, Red, Mahogany
Puppy Price$800 - $950 USD

Irish Setter

Physical description

Body Type

The male Irish Setter stands from 26-28 inches from shoulder to ground and weighs between 65 and 75 pounds. The female stands 24-26 inches and weighs between 55 to 65 pounds. The Irish Setter is slightly longer than its tail.

The head is lean and long with length double the width between ears. Delicate chiseling below the eyes, along the cheeks and around the muzzle emphasize the beauty of the head. The almond-shaped eyes are set wide apart and the expression is alert, yet soft. The ears are set back and low, below the level of the eye. The thin ear leather hangs in a neat fold near the head, reaching almost to the nose.

The skull appears oval from the front or above view and slightly domed with a side view. The muzzle is moderately deep with jaws almost parallel to the top line. Teeth may either meet evenly or in a scissors bite. The moderately long neck is strong yet lean, slightly arched and fits smoothly into the shoulders.

The tail is strong at the base and is a natural extension of the topline and almost long enough to reach the hock. The chest is deep and approximately reaches the elbows. The chest is of a length that allows for a forward motion and extends back to well-sprung ribs.

The loins are firm, muscular and moderately long. The wide and long shoulder blades slope back and are somewhat close together at the withers. The shoulder blades and upper arms are nearly the same length. The free-moving elbows do not incline in or out.

The forelegs are straight sinewy with pasterns that are strong and nearly straight. The feet are smallish, firm and have close, arched toes. The hindquarters are wide, powerful and broad. The thighs are well-developed, and the hind legs long and muscular.

Color

The Irish Setter's body coat hair is moderately long and flat. The hair on the head and forelegs is short and fine. Long and silky feathering is featured on the back of the ears, forelegs and thighs. A fringe of hair on the belly and brisket extends into the chest. Fringe on the tail is fairly long and tapered. When trimmed for the show ring, the top third of the coat is trimmed and excess feathering is removed to emphasize the natural outline of the foot.

The coat color is a rich mahogany or chestnut red. The nose is chocolate brown or black. There may be some white on the throat, chest or toes or in a narrow streak across the skull. These white markings are accepted by the AKC for show.

Coat

The Irish Setter's body coat hair is moderately long and flat. The hair on the head and forelegs is short and fine. Long and silky feathering is featured on the back of the ears, forelegs and thighs. A fringe of hair on the belly and brisket extends into the chest. Fringe on the tail is fairly long and tapered. When trimmed for the show ring, the top third of the coat is trimmed and excess feathering is removed to emphasize the natural outline of the foot.

The coat color is a rich mahogany or chestnut red. The nose is chocolate brown or black. There may be some white on the throat, chest or toes or in a narrow streak across the skull. These white markings are accepted by the AKC for show.

Characteristics
Good with Kids
 
Cat Friendly
 
Dog Friendly
 
Trainability
 
Shedding
 
Watchdog
 
Intelligence
 
Grooming
 
Popularity
 
Adaptability
 
Hypoallergenic  No

Grooming

The Irish Setter has one of the most beautiful coats of all dog breeds. Long and glossy, it must be groomed regularly to keep it that way. Regular grooming will prevent snarls and matted hair.

Daily brushing and combing will go a long way in keeping the Irish Setter's coat looking neat and in excellent condition. Extra brushing may be necessary when shedding.

After being outdoors, check the coat thoroughly for burrs and tangles. Only bathe an Irish Setter when necessary. Use cornstarch, baby powder or a dry shampoo between baths.

Check and clean the ears once a week. Use a good canine toothpaste and toothbrush two or three times a week to prevent tarter build up on the teeth.

History

The Irish Setter was developed by crossbreeding the Irish Terrier, English Setter, Gordon Setter, Irish Water Spaniel and the Pointer. In 1845 it was noted that Setters in Ireland were very red, red and white or lemon-colored. At one time, the red and white Irish Setter had shorter legs than today's Irish Setter. The shorter legs most likely helped the dogs "set" the game by couching low so the hunter could toss a net over dog and prey.

The name Irish Setter was first used in the United States. Selective breeding in the 19th century removed all white and produced a pure red coat. This breed is most likely older than the English Setter. Over the years, breeders started breeding more for looks than hunting ability. Nevertheless, the Irish Setter is an excellent game bird hunter, very fast and with a good nose. Talents for the breed today include hunting retrieving, tracking, pointing, agility, competitive obedience and watchdog. Standards for the modern Irish Setter were drawn up by the Irish Setter Club in Dublin in March of 1886.

Temperament

The Irish Setter has a lively, clownish personality. It is neither hostile nor timid. It has an outgoing and stable temperament. They are also intelligent, energetic and affectionate. They get along well with children and other pets.

The Irish Setter is very outgoing, never shy or hostile. They must receive enough exercise and mental stimulation to avoid destructive behaviors. Otherwise, they can become high-string and reckless.

The Irish Setter can tend to have an independent spirit and act impulsively. They must understand that the owner is stronger minded than they are. They are very sensitive to voice tone. They also will not listen to a harsh voice tone. Owners need to be calm but possess and air of authority.


Interesting Irish Setter Facts

  • Irish Setters and English Setters are ancestors of the Spanish Pointer.
  • The Irish Setter alerts hunters of game by running back and forth in front of them.
  •  U.S. President Richard Nixon received an Irish Setter as a gift from the White House staff in 1969.