Irish Setter

Dog Breed Profile
Irish Setter

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• High energy level
• High exercise needs
• Very playful
• Very Affectionate
• Very friendly towards other dogs
• Very friendly around other pets
• Very friendly around strangers
• Fairly easy to train
• Great watchdogs
• Not very protective
• Moderate grooming requirements
• Medium tolerance to heat
• Medium tolerance to cold


This good-natured, red-coated dog breed has been a popular choice as a family pet for many years, likely due to his eager-to-please, stable and good behavior with children (although the Irish Setter can be a bit much for very young children). The Irish Setter is almost unrivalled in his appearance; elegant, distinguished, and also friendly and pleasant personality.

His energy level requires regular exercise to avoid frustration or destructive behavior. His beauty and enthusiasm, combined with his stamina or speed produces an amazing sight when he’s given the opportunity to run.

Prone to matting if not properly groomed, the Irish Setter requires regular maintenance to keep his appearance as luxurious as it is.

  • Best suited to being a part of the family as opposed to living outdoors
  • Health conditions that need to be tested for include PRA, hips, eyes and heart
  • Grooming needs include brushing every couple days and occasional trimming
  • The Irish Setter is a very affectionate and friendly, energetic animal that can be fairly easily trained
  • Has a great relationship with family members, is not very protective but do make great watchdogs
  • The average size of a male is 70lbs and 27 inches tall
  • The average size of a female is 60lbs and 25 inches tall

Care & Health:

You can’t skimp on giving this dog his daily exercise – he won’t be happy. Without at least an hour a day the Irish Setter can become frustrated. He’s not made for apartment living, and although he can live outdoors in warm weather, he’s not made for cold climates. He’s most happy with his family.

Brush him every couple days and have him trimmed occasionally to keep him looking as beautiful as he’s meant to.

Major Health Concerns:

–PRA, CHD, gastric torsion

Minor Health Concerns:

–epilepsy, megaesophagus, OCD, panosteitis, HOD and occasionally hemophilia A

Test for:

–PRA, hips, eyes and heart

Life Span:

– 12 to 14 years

Additional information:

– PRA testing should have been removed as an issue if proper breeding and testing has been conducted

Breed History:

Believed to be descendants of Spaniels, Pointers and Setters, this breed was created for speed, intelligence and size. First appearing in the early 1800s, the Irish Setter were almost immediately noticed for their appearance, and in the mid-19th century they brought to America. They were equally effective in their hunting abilities in their new home as their homeland.

In 1862 in Ireland a stroke of luck saved one dog, about to be drowned for its longer head, and slender body, but instead he became a prized show dog. He was a busy dog, having many pups of his own lineage.

His days as hunter were all but over as he quickly became a popular show dog and show piece for fashionable people. Hunters who valued the Irish Setter continue to breed him for this purpose, but they are known today more as pets and show dogs.

  • Family history is gundog, setter, pointer
  • Originally from Ireland
  • First bred in the 1700’s
  • Original purpose was bird setting and retrieving
  • Today they are used for pointing, pointing field trials
  • Also known as Red Setter