Irish Setter



Irish Setter


The Irish Setter's profusely feathered silky coat comes in rich shades of chestnut to mahogany, sometimes with splashes of white on the chest and feet. Black is not allowed. Some young dogs have silvery-gray hair behind the ears and legs, but these may disappear as the dog matures. Its coat is long and silky except for the head, where it is short and fine. Even the feet should be well covered with hair. The Setter's ears are triangular, thin, soft to the touch, long and low set, and the legs are long and muscular. The dog is slightly longer than tall. The length of the muzzle should be equal to half of the length of the entire head. The nasal canal is straight and the nose is black or brown. The jaws have a close fitting dental arch. The stop is greatly accentuated and the eyes are chestnut or dark hazel.  The chest is rather narrow and the thorax is deep and streamlined. The tail is carried horizontally and is fringed.


Irish Setters are energetic, intelligent, affectionate, high-spirited, and full of energy. They have no guarding instincts, get along with other animals, and are good with children. Irish Setters are responsive yet sensitive. This breed can be giddy and high strung, while some are more reserved. It is very lovable and impulsive. Some are difficult to train, probably because of their independent spirit, but given firm handling and plenty of exercise, these dogs can be a joy to own. Irish Setters are extremely swift, with an excellent sense of smell and are hardy over any terrain and in any climate. The Irish Setter is used for all types of hunting. It even works well on wetlands. Train this breed firmly at an early age to prevent development of bad habits, as this breed tends to pick up bad habits quickly. It is important to train for good house manners. These dogs are said to be easily housebroken. Both field lines and show lines make good pets, though the field lines are generally smaller with shorter coats and a much higher activity requirement.

Height, Weight

Height: Dogs  26-28 inches (66-71cm.) Bitches 24-26 inches (61-66cm.)
Weight: Dogs 65-75 pounds (29-34kg) Bitches 55-65 pounds (25-29kg.)

Health Problems

This breed tends to bloat. It may be wise to feed 2 or 3 small meals a day instead of one big one. The Irish Setter is particularly prone to epilepsy and severe skin allergies. They also suffer from eye problems and elbow & hip dysplasia. Also prone to PRA, auto-immune disease and hypothyroidism. The ears should be watched for ear inflammation. Ear operations for otitis often make the dogs ill-tempered afterwards.

Living Conditions

The Irish Setter is not recommended for apartment life and does best with a large yard. It is best suited to country rather than city life, as he has a high activity requirement and needs a lot of exercise.


All Setters need plenty of exercise, if possible, running free. If they don't get a long, brisk walk at least daily, they will be restless and difficult to manage.

Life Expectancy

About 11-15 years.


Daily brushing and combing of the soft, flat, medium-length coat is all that is required to keep it in excellent condition. Keep it free from burrs and tangles, and give a little extra care when the dog is moulting. Bathe and dry shampoo only when necessary. This breed is an average shedder.


The Irish Setter was originally called the Irish Red Setter in the United States. It derived from a variety of spaniels, setters, and pointers. At one time the Irish Setter was a red & white dog with shorter legs than today's breed. In the 19th century, following intensive selective breeding efforts, the lustrous, pure chestnut red setter emerged to win both prizes and hearts. It is probably older then the English Setter. The English and Irish Setters are both ancestors of the Spanish pointer. The Irish Setter is a fine all-around hunting dog. He is fast with an excellent nose, and is good on any terrain. His technique for finding game is to run quickly back and forth in front of the hunter. The Irish Setter is both a pointer and retriever - particularly good for hunting game birds. Because of his handsome looks, however, many breeders have selected for beauty rather than hunting ability. So today's Irish Setter is usually a show dog or a family companion, though he sometimes still serves as a hunter. The Irish Setter's talents include hunting, tracking, retrieving, pointing, watchdogging, agility and competitive obedience.


Gun Dog, AKC Sporting




CKC = Continental Kennel Club
FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
AKC = American Kennel Club
UKC = United Kennel Club
KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
NKC = National Kennel Club
NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club
CCR = Canadian Canine Registry


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