(aka: Red Setter, Irish Red Setter)
The Irish Setter is large in size and is an elegant, dignified, and sturdy dog. The coat of the Irish Setter is long, feathered, and silky, with finer, shorter hair on the head and legs. He has long, silky ears that hang to the side of the head, and a very meaningful expression. The coloring of these dogs is chestnut red or mahogany. The weight of the Irish Setter is around 60 pounds for females and around 70 pounds for males, and the height is around 25-27 inches.
Irish Setter Temperament
A spirited, energetic, and friendly breed, the Irish Setter is a great choice of dog for a family pet. These dogs have plenty of love and affection to give to the right owner, and are entertaining, amusing, and very sociable. These active dogs are eager to please, willing, and enthusiastic, but they do thrive on the attention of their owners and if neglected can become bored and very destructive. Some Irish Setters can be willful and strong minded, but these dogs are intelligent and eager to learn, making them well suited to those with little or no experience in dog ownership, as well as for the more experienced.
The Irish Setter gets along well with children, but his large size and boundless energy may prove a problem around smaller children in the household. They will also get along well with other pets, although early socialization is recommended where other animals and pets are concerned. This is a sociable breed, and the Irish Setter will be friendly around strangers too, which makes him ineffective as a watchdog, although he will bark to announce visitors. The Irish Setter needs plenty of exercise, and is not suited to owners that don't have the time or space to provide physical stimulation.
The grooming requirements for the Irish Setter are moderate, and you will need to brush his coat twice weekly to keep it in good condition. Look out for and trim any stray hairs, and trim the hair around his bottom for hygiene reasons. You should also check the ears are dry and clean to reduce the chances of infection. The Irish Setter is a medium shedder, and can shed more heavily at certain times of the year, making him unsuitable for those with allergies.
The Irish Setter was first developed as a color variation on the original Red and White Setter breed in the 1700's in Ireland and other areas in the United Kingdom. In the 1800's breeders started to select the more solid colored dogs in the Red and White Setter group to develop the all red, solid Irish Setter we know today. Originally the Irish Setter was known as the Irish Red Setter, but this name is no longer used in registries.
The Irish Setter, prior to 1862, was used strictly as a hunting dog. They have a unique tendency to run in a zigzag pattern in front of the hunter, scanning the area for scents. The Irish Setter was trained to be both a scent dog, a pointing dog and a retriever. This all round hunting combination was extremely popular especially with hunters than were hunting on their own or only had the ability to have one dog with them.
In 1862 an Irish Red Setter was born that set the standards for the current breed. It was longer, more angular, faster and had a more distinctive face and coat than the other dogs in the breed at the time. This dog, named Champion Palmerston. Almost all Irish Setters can trace their lineage back to Champion Palmerston and his features are still evident in the breed standards used today. It is interesting to note that the original owner of Champion Palmerston did not like his looks and actually ordered the puppy to be killed, but it was given to another dog breeder that began showing the dog and started winning competitions.
The Irish Setter is a very intelligent and alert dog that has a high ability to problem solve and think independently. To train the Irish Setter the owner must work with the dog and enter into a partnership, not try to dominant or force the dog into participating in the training exercise. They love to please and will simply follow commands to please the trainer they have bonded with. Spending time and making this dog a part of the families life is key to obedience and training.
While not a dominant dog the Irish Setter can be stubborn and somewhat independent at times. Typically they tend to be less complaint when they have not had the correct amount of exercise. Always start training sessions with a game, a long walk, or some time to run off leash to burn off excess energy. Once they have physically exercised this breed is ready for mental challenges. The Irish Setter does not need continuous repetitive instruction and will often learn commands within one or two training sessions.
Never train an Irish Setter using harsh or negative methods. They need to feel part of the owner's life and always should be given lots of positive attention and interactions. Since they are a hunting breed they can be taught hand signals or to respond to whistle commands.
Irish setters can be trained to compete in various events including agility, obedience, tracking, hunting and retrieving events. They are very self-assured dogs that are not worried about performing in front of people, nor are they shy or timid if properly socialized and trained.
The life expectancy of the Irish Setter is around 12-15 years, and there are a number of health problems to look out for with this breed, which includes thyroid problems, bloat, epilepsy, PRA, and HD. The parents of the Irish Setter should have OFA and CERF certificates.