The Irish Setter: A Graceful, High-Spirited Gundog


The Irish Setter (originally called the Irish Red Setter) is a breed of gun dog that has been around since the 1800s. The name came from the Irish words 'sotar rua', which means ‘red setter’.

Before, early hunters in Ireland wanted a new breed of dogs that can work fast, have a keen nose and are large enough to be seen from afar.

Some theories say that these dogs were developed by crossing various breeds including spaniels, pointers and other setters. The mixing of these breeds produced another type of dog breed: the Red and White Setter.

These dogs arrived in America by the mid-1800s and became one of the most popular breeds during the 1970s.

The term Irish Setter is frequently used to incorporate the show-bred dog identified by the AKC as well as the field-bred Red Setter identified by the Field Dog Stud Book.

Traits and Behavior

This dog can be headstrong and usually possesses a dominant stand as an alpha dog. It is intelligent, obedient and friendly when trained at an early age. It can work for its owner which makes it more valuable especially when trained as working or hunting dogs.


This breed is slightly aloof when it comes to strangers. It is shy and wary when encountering people it is not familiar with. But these dogs are not temperamental and have calm behavior when faced with an unfamiliar dog or person.

In terms of training, this dog is eager to learn and is usually well-behaved. It easily adapts to training and therefore can develop as an excellent all-around gundog in which obedience, loyalty, and hard work are expected from their breed.


They can be friendly, affectionate and loving when disciplined at a young age, being exposed to other domesticated dogs or animals. They are also good with children and can be a good companion during playtime.

Pet Care and Diseases

With its thick coat, this dog needs regular brushing using a firm bristle brush at least twice a week.

On some occasions, hairs are recommended to be plucked especially during spring or summer seasons where it is very uncomfortable for them to maintain heavy coat hairs.

In this manner, professional grooming is necessary. Bathing them is considered only when necessary. Ears must be checked for ear infections and mucous plugs.


Irish Setter 3This dog is active and playful and, therefore, needs ample time for exercise. It can be brought along for jogging, running or walking sessions as long as the dog is regularly involved in physical movements.

The dog will display inappropriate behavioral problems like biting, chewing, and destroying property when not much regular exercise is introduced.

They are usually a healthy breed but can be susceptible to other health problems such as hip dysplasia, cancer, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), epilepsy, entropion, hypothyroidism, hyperosteodystrophy, bloat, osteosarcoma, Von Willebrand’s disease, patent ductus arteriosus, canine leukocyte adhesion deficiency (CLAD) and celiac disease.


Generally, Irish Setters stand around 25-27 inches (64-69 cm) tall. Adult males weigh between 60-70 pounds (27-32 kg) while adult females weigh between 53-64 pounds (24-29 kg).


The head is lean and long while the muzzle is slightly deep with a distinct stop. This breed has a deep chest and a small waist. The long coat is silky to touch that comes in various colors: mahogany to a rich chestnut red. Feathering of the coat can be seen on the chest, ears, tail, legs and some other parts of the body.

General Information

The Irish Setter has a lifespan of about 11-12 years. The average litter size is between 8-10 puppies. This breed is also called Irish Red Setter or Red Setter.

Breed Club

Visit these dog club websites dedicated to Irish Setters. Click this link:

Featured Video

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