Irish Setter Dog Breed at a Glance
The Irish Setter dog breed, also known as the Red Setter and Irish Red Setter, is a very active dog that’s moderately easy to train and thus is a good breed for owners with little or no previous dog ownership experience. With children, this large dog breed is affectionate and playful, although it may be a tad boisterous for young children. Being a highly active and outgoing breed, it needs a committed owner to perform various fitness activities, like jogging or running.
Breed Group: Sporting Group
HISTORY of the Irish Setter Dog Breed
The Red Setter originated from Ireland and was bred for bird setting and was a common sight in hunting clubs in the 19th century. They were never, nor are they today, watchdogs. Instead, this is a gundog used for locating gamebirds, tirelessly. Hunters depended on their keen sense of smell to point to and find birds.
The Irish Setter’s earliest ancestors were actually red and white, and not solid red! It is believed to have been developed with the English Setter, the Spaniel Pointer, and the Gordon Setter.
The sweet-natured, sometimes mischievous Irish Setter is an energetic, lively, and alert dog that’s extremely friendly and social. It rarely barks unless there’s reason for it. However, it does tend to be mouthy, which can be corrected with chewtoy training. Moreover, these are highly sensitive dogs that do not respond well to reprimanding. Instead, positive training with praise and rewards will provide the desired results.
Irish Setters are good with kids and new owners, as well as with cats. However, they have a high hunting drive and impulse to wander, so keep them on a leash when out and about. Also, being a hunting breed, small animals, including cats, may be a problem with this dog.
These dogs need their families and should never be left alone for too long. Do not expect these friendly dogs to be guard dogs as they will befriend anyone. In fact, Irish Setters make excellent therapy dogs and have been used in hospitals and schools.
Physical Characteristics of the Irish Setter
This dog breed has a glossy, fine, straight, and medium-long coat. Its coat is longer on the chest, on the legs, on its tail and ears. This is a graceful and agile athlete with a flashy red coat. The aristocratic Irish Setter is a tall dog with a long and lean head.
The common colors of the Irish Setter is just the one: rich red color.
The Irish Setter weighs between 52 and 70 pounds and stands between 22 and 26 inches tall, depending on gender.
Shedding is to be expected with the Red Setter, so plan on vacuuming frequently. It is not a hypoallergenic dog breed, but it has a low tendency to drool.
HEALTH and CARE of the Red Setter Dog Breed
The life expectancy of the Irish Setter is between 12 and 14 years, which is average for this size dog.
Common Health Concerns
Each dog breed is susceptible to certain health issues. The Red Setter is at risk of developing the following:
- Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy
- Lick Granuloma
- Persistent Right Aortic Arch
- Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)
- Hip Dysplasia
This high-energy dog needs regular exercise during its growth stage. Long walks are perfect for the Irish Setter because owners need to protect their growing bones and forming joints. Only after your pup reaches 18 months can you exercise him more intensely, such as with running, hiking or biking. Ensure your dog gets the adequate amount of exercise to avoid weight gain. Also, an Irish Setter that is not adequately exercised to burn off all that energy could become destructive when bored. Being so energetic, this dog breed is not suitable for apartment living and instead, thrives in a home with a backyard.
When it comes to training this breed, be patient and keep sessions focused and short as these dogs are upbeat beings.
Feed your dog a high-quality dog food to ensure health and longevity. A large dog like the Irish Setter would require between 2.5 and 3 cups of kibble each day.
Expect plenty of grooming with the Irish Setter to avoid mats. Brush and comb your dog regularly to keep its coat in top shape. Also, check your dog’s ears regularly for any wax or debris buildup to avoid an infection from developing.
The Irish Setter dog breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1878.