- AKC recognized in 1878
- Lifespan: 11 – 15 years
- Size: Medium-large
- Energy: High
- Recommended Crate Size: 42” dog crate.*
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The Irish Setter is a family breed. The term Irish Setter is commonly used to encompass the show-bred dog recognized by the American Kennel Club as well as the field-bred Red Setter recognized by the Field Dog Stud Book.
These medium-to-large-sized dogs are solid, powerful, and sinewy, with enough stamina and bird sense to get the job done any day of the week.
It has a stunning coat (vivid red floating on a sea of pearl white), which enables hunters to spot their dog at a distance.
As early as 1845, Setters in Ireland were predominantly red.
The Irish Setter was bred for hunting, specifically for locating or setting and pointing upland game birds.
They are a tireless, wide-ranging hunter, and well-suited to fields and wet or dry moorland terrain.
They are commonly used for their excellent sense of smell to locate the mark (or bird).
The Irish Setter was brought to the United States in the early 19th century. The Irish Setter of the late 19th century was not just a red dog. The AKC registered Irish Setters in a myriad of colors. As described by Frank Forester, a sports writer in 19th-century: "The points of the Irish Setter are more bony, angular, and wiry frame, a longer head, a less silky and straighter coat that those of the English. His color ought to be a deep orange-red and white, a common mark is a stripe of white between the eyes and a white ring around the neck, white stockings, and a white tinge to the tail”.
The American Kennel Club formally recognized the Irish Setter in 1878.
These large energy dogs are known as a hunting breed. However, it gets along well with children, other dogs, and will enthusiastically greet visitors.
Even though they do well with household pets, small animals may pose a problem for this breed, due to their hunting instincts. Some Irish Setters may have problems with cats in the house and may be too rambunctious with small children.
Irish Setters make excellent companions to both animals and as family pets, but it is important to have early and quality obedience training.
Irish Setters enjoy having a job to do and a lack of activity will lead to a bored, destructive, or even hyperactive dog.
This is not a breed that can be left alone in the backyard for long periods of time, nor should they be.
Irish Setters thrive on constant human companionship. Irish Setters respond swiftly to positive training and are highly intelligent.
Irish Setters are widely used as therapy dogs in schools and hospitals. Therapy dogs are permitted in hospitals with special permission and can visit patients on assigned floors. Therapy dogs are sometimes permitted in schools and asked to sit with children as the students read to the Irish Setter. This process helps to enable the student the ability to read without being corrected or judged.
Though they are usually alert to their surroundings, Irish Setters are not well-suited as guard dogs, as they are not a naturally assertive breed.
The Irish Red and White Setter are bred primarily for the field.
The appearance is strong and powerful, proportioned and well balanced; athletic rather than racy with an aristocratic, intelligent and keen attitude.
It has a coat which is moderately long, silky, and a red or chestnut color. Thus, frequent brushing is required to maintain its condition and keep it mat-free. The undercoat is abundant in winter weather, and the top coat is fine. Their coats should also feather in places such as the tail, ears, chest, legs, and body.
Irish Setters range in height from 24 to 28 inches (61 to 71 cm), with males weighing 65 to 75 lb (29 to 34 kg) and females 55 to 65 lb (25 to 29 kg). The FCI Breed Standard for the Irish Setter stipulates males stand 23 to 26.5 inches (58 to 67 cm) tall, and females 21.5 to 24.5 inches (55 to 62 cm).
Irish Setters are deep chested dogs with small waists.
It is recommended to provide feed formulated to medium-large-sized breeds. It is highly recommended to discuss your dog’s feed with your veterinarian and/or breeder in order to determine the size and frequency of meals in order to ensure a healthy, long life. It is also important to ensure that clean, fresh water is always available.
As is common grooming for dogs, their strong fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking.
Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection.
Teeth should be brushed regularly.
In their growth stage (puppy to 18 months), it is recommended owners provide them with regular exercise such as walking. It is important for protecting their forming joints. This means no jogging or biking during this phase of their life. Free exercise in a fenced yard or dog park is ideal and means the pup stops when they are tired.
Upon maturity, the Irish White and Red Setter is well suited to walking, hiking and biking with their owner.
Their high spirits can make it difficult to train them for long periods.
Short, positive training sessions are best for these sensitive dogs.
Irish Setters are an active breed, thus require long, daily walks and off-lead running in wide, open spaces. With this being said, they tend to 'play deaf', so careful training on mastering the recall should be undertaken before allowing them off-lead.
Pet Crate Size
Pet Crates Direct recommends a 42” dog crate* for most adult Irish Setters.
Return to the main Dog Crate Sizes Breed Chart.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.