Dog Breeds 101: Irish Setter

Dog Breeds 101 - Irish Setter - WP
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The Irish Setter is a type of family and gun dog crossed from various breeds including the Gordon Setter, Pointer, Irish Water Spaniel, English Setter, and the Irish Terrier. The dog was originally red and white and was not known for its solid color until the 19th century. [1] Setters are known to be good at hunting, retrieving, pointing, and tracking. They also excel in agility, rally, and obedience training.

The breed is best recognized for its flame-red colored coat. They are also noted for their grace, enthusiasm, and athleticism. Setters normally have a moderately long and silky coat which is recommended to be groomed daily, making this breed slightly high-maintenance. They are also noted for their deep chests and relatively small waists. Known to be overly energetic, they do not thrive in all types of home settings. Large backyards and countryside access allowing for long walks are highly recommended to those interested in this breed.

In addition to being energetic, Irish Setters are known to be affectionate, high spirited and loving. They can be great companions to children, and they get along well with other pets at home. However, they are not necessarily excellent guard dogs because they have the tendency to greet visitors enthusiastically whether they have good intentions or not! Irish Setters are well known for their inquisitive, friendly, and mischievous nature.

These dogs can be very sensitive to the tone of voice of their owners. It should be noted that they are unlikely to respond to commands stronger or more dominant than their owner’s. Irish Setters also respond negatively to harsh discipline. In order to have a happy and well-trained Setter, owners need to be calm and relaxed but also authoritative, consistent, and confident.

Irish Setters need to get an adequate amount of mental and physical exercise daily, otherwise they may become destructive and out of control. In fact, lack of physical activity may lead them to become bored and hyperactive. Nonetheless, they are known to be useful in all types of hunting because of their impressive sense of smell. [3]

This breed cannot tolerate being left alone for too long as they often thrive on human companionship. For example, they are more than likely to become very attached to the people they are living with. In the long run, leaving them alone for an extended period of time may trigger the onset of separation anxiety.

The Irish Setter does not mature quickly. Some reach maturity after 2 years, while others remain somewhat puppy-like throughout their entire lives. The Irish Setter has an average life expectancy of 13.5 years. [4]



[2] Stuart A. Kallen, Irish Setters (ABDO, 2010).


[4] Silvan R. Urfer, Kimberly Greer, and Norman S. Wolf, “Age-Related Cataract in Dogs: A Biomarker for Life Span and Its Relation to Body Size,” AGE 33, no. 3 (September 1, 2011): 451–60, doi:10.1007/s11357-010-9158-4.

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