Irish setter | Information & Dog Breed Facts


The Irish setter is considered one of the most beautiful and glamorous dogs on the planet, because of its slender figure and its beautiful reddish fur. Even if he was originally a hunting dog, his undeniable beauty made him a dog that frequents dog shows more than hunting grounds.

Irish setter
Irish setter

He is much appreciated for his noble cachet, his contagious enthusiasm and the beauty of his mahogany coat, a physical characteristic which also makes him known under the name of Red Setter.

It would seem that the hunting dog should be strict, obedient and rather malicious. After all, his mission is to track down and get game for his master. In fact, hunting dogs are friendly, playful and affectionate. The proof is the Irish Setter.

In this breed sheet of Pets Feed, you will know all the information you need if you plan to adopt an Irish setter dog, such as, for example, that he is an independent, sociable, curious and very active dog. , or that it is perfect for living with children, because the Irish setter is very friendly and familiar.

Origin of the Irish Setter

The Irish setter originates from the Irish red and white setter, which is today a less known breed. In fact, the Irish setter has grown in popularity, surpassing its predecessor, that today, as far as the Irish setter is concerned, we generally speak of red.

By the 18th century there was already a well-defined type of red and white Irish setter that was widely used for hunting birds, but it was not until the end of this century and the beginning of the 19th century that they have started to breed entirely red dogs.

At that time, these dogs were used exclusively for hunting, and there was a habit of killing puppies born with undesirable characteristics for such activity. Around 1862, a puppy that did not have the desired characteristics was born on a farm. He had a longer head and a more delicate constitution than the others in the litter, so the breeder decided to drown him like that. was the custom. Fortunately for the puppy, another breeder who loved these dogs was delighted with the puppy and decided to keep it, saving his life. This puppy was named Champion Palmerston and has become a sensation in dog shows.

This completely changed the history of the breed, as the champion dog Palmerston left many descendants and became the type desired by breeders, although they are no longer hunters but dogs linked to dog shows. This is why all of the Irish Setter dogs today have their ancestor as the little puppy that was saved from drowning. This is also why today’s Irish Setter is more common as show dogs and pets than hunters, even though they still have the strong instinct of hunting dogs.

Subsequently, already in the 20th century, some enthusiasts of the breed made efforts to recover the original Irish Setter and obtained a slightly smaller, compact and shorter-haired variety than the current Irish Setter, but never gained popularity among hunters. Today, this dog is practically absent from the hunting grounds and looks much more like an excellent pet. Despite its beauty and good character, the breed is not one of the most popular in the world, perhaps due to its great need for exercise.

Irish setter
Irish setter

Physical characteristics of the Irish setter

According to the FCI standard of the breed, the height at the cross of the males must be between 58 and 67 centimeters, while that of the females must be between 55 and 62 centimeters. The ideal weight is not indicated in this standard, but the Irish Setter dogs generally weigh about 30 kilograms.

The Irish setter is a large, elegant and slender dog with a very striking silky reddish brown fur. The body of this dog is athletic and well proportioned, with a deep and narrow chest, and a muscular and slightly arched back.

The head is elongated and thin, with the oval skull and the naso-frontal depression (stop) well defined. The nose may be black or mahogany. The muzzle is of moderate depth and the bite closes with scissors. The eyes are not very large and may be dark hazelnut or dark brown. The lower and posterior insertion ears fall, forming a sharp fold. The tail is of medium length and low insertion. The ferryman carries it to the level of the upper or lower rear line.

Silky fur is one of the most striking features of the Irish setter. In the head, the front part of the legs and the tips of the ears are short and thin. In other parts of the body, it is longer, fringing in the ears, chest, belly, back of the legs and tail. The color accepted by the standard of the Fédération cynologique internationale (FCI) is the raised chestnut (slightly reddish brown to mahogany). Small white spots are accepted on the chest, paws, fingers and even the face, but black spots are not allowed on the fur of this dog.

Irish setter
Irish setter

Character and temperament of the red Irish setter

Generally speaking, Irish setter dogs are cheerful, independent, very sociable and curious. They are also intelligent and friendly, but with a strong hunting instinct.

These dogs are easy to socialize, both with adults, with children, with other dogs and even with other pets, as their innate aggressiveness is low. Therefore, they are excellent pets for families with children or who already have other pets. However, it is important to take the dog’s socialization process seriously from an early age to avoid fearful behavior or aggression due to fear in adulthood.

When properly educated, the Irish setter does not present serious behavioral problems. However, you have to take into account that it is a very active dog that needs a lot of daily exercise. If he does not exercise daily, he becomes frustrated and easily develops destructive dog habits.

Due to his friendly and sociable nature, this dog is an excellent pet for those who have enough time and space to give him love and exercise daily. The Irish setter is generally gentle and good with children, so it is generally a good pet for families with children. Of course, due to its high activity level, it is not the right dog for sedentary people and is better for dynamic families who enjoy outdoor activities.

Irish setter
Irish setter

Basic care

You can keep the Irish setter both in the apartment and in the house. A private house with a fenced land is recommended. Aviary is not recommended, except that the aviary will be spacious and equipped with an insulated booth or a dog house with heating. Categorically you cannot keep the setter on the chain.

The above statements are explained by the following features of the breed:

  • The Irish setter is very sociable, he needs to be near people. Loneliness is disastrous for him.
  • The Irish setter is freedom-loving, loves space and movement. Limited space during the day is not for him.
  • A poorly developed undercoat cannot protect the setter from winter frosts, it requires a heated room without drafts.

You cannot leave such a dog for a long time. From loneliness and boredom, a dog can get sick, become depressed or become aggressive, destructive. If there is not enough time, it is recommended that you keep two setters together. Together they will find something to do and will be easier to bear separation from the owner.

The Irish Setter is a very active dog. Physical activity and daily training are vital for him. Therefore, every day walk your pet at least twice. Each walk lasts about an hour.

Irish setter
Irish setter

In public places it is not recommended to lower the Irish setter off the leash. He has a highly developed hunting instinct, because of which he can arrange a pursuit of a cat or even a bird. Also, this inborn bloodhound, smelling an interesting smell for him, is capable, having forgotten about the owner, to rush in the wake.

At least once a week, take the Irish setter out of town, into the forest, field or to water. There he will be able to run around freely. It is worth noting that Irish setter dogs swim very well. Therefore, in the summer, the dog will gladly splash around in the river or in the lake.

In the house from the first day, determine the place of the dog. Arrange a bed there, put bowls for food and water. Also make sure the dog has a lot of toys.

To maintain health and a beautiful appearance, we conduct the following procedures to the Irish Setter:

  • Comb the hair 3-4 times a week. Show dogs comb out daily.
  • We bathe once a year or as absolutely necessary. Frequent use of detergents can damage the skin and disturb the natural balance, which provides a water-repellent property of the coat.
  • After each walk, we wash its paws and examine the paw pads for evidence of injuries, foreign objects. This inspection is especially important after a walk in the country.
  • Every day we brush our dog’s teeth with toothpaste and brush or buy special bones for this procedure. Thanks to brushing the teeth, tartar is removed and the unpleasant odor from the mouth of the setter is eliminated.
  • The Irish Setter is prone to ear diseases. All because of the long hanging ears in which there is insufficient air circulation. Therefore, it is important 1-2 times a week to clean its ears with special tools and carefully monitor their condition. If you find redness, inflammation or excessive accumulation of secretions, urgently seek help from a veterinarian.

The power of the Irish setter must be balanced. You can use a natural way of feeding or artificial. In the first case, buy quality products and do not forget about vitamin and mineral supplements. If you get dry food, it must be premium.

It is necessary to always feed your dog at the same time. Fresh water should always be available to the dog. Keep food and water containers clean.

It is worth noting that in the body of the Irish setter, too much metabolism occurs. Therefore, representatives of the breed need more food than other types of dogs with the same height and weight.

Irish setter
Irish setter

Irish Setter Health

The average life span of an Irish setter is 12-15 years. It depends on the owner whether his dog will be a long-liver. It is the owner who must monitor the health of his pet.

It is necessary to carry out preventive examinations once a year in a veterinary clinic. Deworming, treatment with skin parasite preparations and routine vaccination are also important.

Irish setter dogs have a predisposition to the following diseases:

  • Osteosarcoma – a distinct lameness and swelling occurs at the site of osteosarcoma formation.
  • Bloating – with such a problem, measures must be taken with lightning speed, since the dog can die within 2-3 hours.
  • Otitis – can lead to partial or complete hearing loss.
  • Dermatitis – most often allergic.
  • Epilepsy – accompanied by convulsions, involuntary bowel movements. The disease is not treatable, but it can be controlled.
  • Hypothyroidism is a lack of thyroid hormones.
  • Melanoma is a malignant tumor that develops from pigment cells.
  • Idiopathic megaesophagus – expansion of the esophagus, congenital form.
  • Entropion is eliminated exclusively by surgery.
  • Pyometra – inflammation of the uterus in females, accompanied by purulent discharge.
Irish setter
Irish setter


Large breed dogs, in addition to having a large appetite, require a different nutritional balance, including minerals and vitamins, than smaller dogs. Irish setter dogs are prone to bloating and stomach problems, the risk of which will be reduced with smaller and more frequent meals.

If you get an Irish setter puppy from a breeder, it will give you a feeding schedule and it is important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid stomach upset.

Older dogs are not known to be picky or fussy eaters, but that doesn’t mean you can feed them inferior food. It is best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening, making sure that it is good quality food that meets all of its nutritional needs.

The Irish setter is sensitive to bloating, which means that it should not be fed with a single large meal per day, but preferably 2 small ones.

Irish setter puppy
Irish setter puppy

Feeding guide for an Irish setter puppy (depending on puppy’s construction)

Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet to develop and grow as they should. As a guide, an Irish setter puppy can be fed each day with the following amounts, ensuring that its meals are distributed evenly throughout the day and it is best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:

  • 2 months – 264g to 284g
  • 3 months – 327g to 354g
  • 4 months – 354g to 384g
  • 5 months – 381g to 423g
  • 6 months – 405g to 460g
  • 7 months – 403g to 460g
  • 8 months – 374g to 429g
  • 9 months – 349 g to 401g
  • 10 months – 318g to 366g
  • 11 months – 290g to 333g
  • 12 months – 288 g to 331g
  • 13 months – 286g to 330g
  • 14 months – 286 g to 328g

Once a puppy is 15 months old, it can be fed with food for adult dogs.

Feeding guide for an adult Irish setter (depending on activity)

Once fully mature, an adult Irish setter should be fed a good quality diet to ensure good health. As an indication, an adult Irish setter can be fed daily with the following quantities:

  • Dogs weighing 24 kg can be fed from 256g to 343g
  • Dogs weighing 27 kg can be fed from 291g to 383g
  • Dogs weighing 29 kg can be fed from 307 g to 404g
  • Dogs weighing 32 kg can be fed from 322g to 424g
Irish setter
Irish setter

Training and education

It would seem that such intelligent, intellectually developed dogs are easily trained. But besides mental abilities, they are characterized by mischief, injustice and independence. Therefore, the process of education and training requires patience, consistency from the Irish setter.

With the right approac, you can achieve high results in agility, search and obedience. The most difficult thing is to get an unquestioning obedience from the restless pet and fulfill the command “to me”, “next to me”.

Special preparation is not required for the exhibition representatives of the breed. If the Irish setter is working, he needs to undergo special training. The training of the hunting dog begins at the age of eight months. Admission to a real hunt dog is possible only at the age of one.

Irish setter
Irish setter

Irish Setter Fun Facts

  • The main object of hunting for the Irish Setter – birds, swamp game.
  • In many countries, the special temperament of the Irish Setter is used in dog therapy in nursing homes, shelters for people with disabilities.
  • The Irish Setter is the hero of books and movies.
  • The breed was a favorite of President Nixon.
  • The Irish bus company with its logo chose the image of the Irish Setter.

Irish setter Dog Breed Highlights

The dog breed “Irish Setter” is suitable even for inexperienced owners. The main thing is to find an approach to the pet and conduct the correct training with the help of a dog handler. The Irish Setter is definitely not suitable for couch potatoes, people with a sedentary lifestyle. Before buying a puppy, you should familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of the Irish setter.

Positive points

  • The Irish setter is known to be a wonderful pet.
  • It is a good choice for new owners as long as they have time to devote themselves to an energetic canine companion.
  • He has a low loss coat.
  • This dog is social by nature and gets along with other animals.
  • The Irish setter is good with children although the playing time can get noisy.

Negative points

  • The Irish setter requires a lot of maintenance on the grooming front with his coat requiring daily brushing.
  • It is not the easiest to train and can sometimes be stubborn.
  • Puppies and young dogs can go through a destructive stage.
  • The Irish setter needs a lot of daily physical exercise.
  • It forms close bonds with its owner and can suffer from separation anxiety if it is not taught that being alone is not a stressful experience.

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