Animal-World > Dogs > Sporting Dogs > Irish Setter

Irish Setter

Red Setter, Irish Red Setter

Family: Canidae Irish Setter Picture, also called Red Setter and Irish Red SetterCanis lupus familiarisPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Justin Brough

  The Irish Setter is a popular gun dog used for hunting, but also makes an enthusiastic and friendly pet.

Although originally bred for hunting, the Irish Setter makes a wonderful pet. The breed is known for being energetic, cheerful and affectionate. They enjoy people and are very good with children, as well as other pets.

Irish Setters do well in any climate. When selecting an Irish Setter, it is important to be aware of common health problems of the breed. These include epilepsy, skin allergies, eye problems, and joint problems.


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Canidae
  • Genus: Canis
  • Species: lupus familiaris

Common Name(s) Irish Setter, Red Setter, Irish Red Setter

Breed Type The Irish setter is a sporting breed. Bred as a gun dog, this breed is popular among bird hunters as well as other types of hunters.

Background As its name suggests, the Irish Setter was developed in Ireland. Its ancestry includes the Old Spanish Pointer, Scottish setters, and setting spaniels. Once red and white with shorter legs, the breed underwent a number of changes before becoming what it is today.
Popular Irish Setter Hybrids include the Golden Irish (cross with the Golden Retriever) and the Irish Doodle (cross with the Poodle).

Description The Irish Setter is distinguished by its beautiful, silky red coat, which may be light or dark. Some have white markings on the chest and feet, and some puppies have gray hair behind their ears and legs that turns red as they age. Irish Setters have triangular ears, chestnut or dark hazel eyes, and black or brown noses. Males are 26-28 inches tall and weigh 65-75 pounds. Females are 24-26 inches tall and weigh 55-65 pounds.

Care and Feeding Irish Setters do well on diets that include potatoes, carrots, rye, lamb and poultry. They should ideally have two or three small meals each day to help prevent bloat. The Irish Setter needs a good daily brushing to keep its coat looking great. Baths or dry shampoos should be given only when needed.
Irish Setters need annual checkups to stay healthy. Vaccinations are due as follows:

  • 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus (DHLPPC)
  • 10-12 weeks: Second DHLPPC
  • 14-16 weeks: Third DHLPPC and rabies
  • Annually: DHLPPC and rabies booster

The Irish Setter sheds moderately. If kept indoors, it will be necessary to vacuum regularly. Due to its predisposition to allergies, you may need to avoid using certain chemicals or maintain a special cleaning regimen.

Housing Your Dog Irish Setters are best suited to outdoor living. At the very least, they should be able to get out for regular exercise in a large yard.

Social Behaviors Irish Setters enjoy the company of humans, and they do very well with children. They also tend to get along with other animals.

Handling and Training This breed is rather independent, so it is sometimes difficult to train. Firmness is important. Housebreaking the Irish Setter is usually easy.

Activities Irish Setters need lots of exercise. Daily walks are critical, and they also enjoy running in a fenced yard.

Breeding/Reproduction When selecting a mate for your Irish Setter, it is important to check bloodlines for hereditary disorders. Those common to this breed include epilepsy, joint dysplasia, eye problems, and Von Willebrand's disease.

Common Health Problems Irish Setters often have skin allergies, so it is important to take care to avoid things that trigger reactions. Epilepsy is also common, and must be treated by a veterinarian. Ear infections can be problematic as well, but may be prevented with proper ear care.

Availability Irish Setters are hard to find in some areas. Breeders may be located online. Prices average between $300 and $600.

References "Irish Setter", Wikipedia, Copyright 2008
"Irish Setter", Dog Breed Info Center, Copyright 1998-2008
Cusick, William D., "What to Feed an Irish Setter", Referenced online, 2008
"Irish Setter Puppies for Sale", Copyright PuppyFind.com, LLC, Referenced online, 2008


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