Irish Setter | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures

Irish setter

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.

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.

Dog sheet Irish Setter

Irish setter photos

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Physical characteristics

The Irish Setter is a large dog. But it is worth noting that in comparison with other large species, the setter does not have overdeveloped muscles.

As for the height and weight of Irish Setters, in males, the height at the withers is 58-67 cm, in females – 55-62 cm; dogs weigh between 27 and 32 kg.


Distinctive features

  • Head: The head is small, narrow and elongated. The skull and muzzle are perfectly proportioned. The occiput and the eyebrow ridges are clearly visible.
  • Jaws: The teeth are strong. The upper and lower jaws are the same length. Bite “scissors”.
  • Ears :
  • Ears of medium size, low landing, soft. The tips of the ears are slightly rounded, lowered parallel to the line of the cheekbones.
  • Eyes: The eyes are almond-shaped and set close together. The eyes are slightly tilted. The color of the iris is rich brown or dark hazel.
  • Frame: The body is elongated, proportional. The back is straight with a slight slope. The croup is slightly elongated, sloping. The neck is muscular and arched, long. The chest is narrow and deep. The abdomen and groin are strongly retracted.
  • Limbs: The forelegs are long and strong, parallel. The hind limbs are markedly elongated with well-developed muscles. The paws are small, the fingers are densely located. When running, the animal moves in a classic gallop with its head held high.
  • Coat: The coat is thick, straight, of medium length, with a slightly wavy coat. The texture of the hair is harsh. The undercoat is missing. A fringe hangs over the tail and in the abdomen. Brown, mahogany color. There may be white spots on the legs and chest.

Character and behavior

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.


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.

Life expectancy

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.


Care for Irish setter is simple, but the focus is on grooming:

  • Comb every day, avoiding stalling.
  • Wash 1-2 times in 7-10 days using professional natural shampoos, conditioners and oils.
  • Mandatory intake of vitamins that improve the coat structure.
  • The eyes are checked daily, cleaned of impurities.
  • Clean and air the ears 3-4 times a week.
  • The nails are cut 1-2 times a month.
  • Brush teeth 1-2 times in 7 days.


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.

Living conditions

The Irish setterr is perfectly suited to stay in a private home, and they adapt perfectly to an apartment, but with the condition of daily walks and active exercise. The absence of physical discharge leads to the degradation of the animal.

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.

History of the breed

Among all breeds in Ireland, two are in a special position: the Irish Setter and the Irish Wolfhound. These two species are the pride and national treasure of the country. The wolfhound is mainly popular in his homeland, while the Irish setter is widespread and popular all over the world, constantly participating in exhibitions in different countries.

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.


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