Irish Setter Overview
Setters have a long history in Ireland, being used to hunt fowl. They would freeze in place after flushing a bird, rather than chasing it, to prevent the dog from being accidentally shot by hunters. Irish Setters were originally all Red and White, however the breed split as the all red Irish Setter became popular. The Red is a more popular show and family pet.
Irish Setter Characteristics
The Irish Setter features a look similar to an Irish Red and White Setter except for the key difference of being completely red instead of white with red spots. They feature the same long feathery coat, long narrow nose, and narrow-chested body of other Setters.
Irish Setter Temperament
The breed, like other Setters, is a great family dog, being loyal and affectionate. He is a high-energy dog, which may be interpreted as being high-strung or overly boisterous. However, the Irish is loving, sweet and gets along with everybody, family or not.
Irish Setter Care
The Irish lives on average 11 to 15 years, slightly higher than other dogs their size. A few breed health concerns include genetic diseases such as Von Willebrand’s, a bleeding disorder and Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency, another blood disorder. Cataracts and bloat, or Gastric Dilation and Volvulus are also of some concern as well as hip and elbow dysplasia, Patent Ductus Arteriosis and osteosarcoma. The longer list of diseases compared to the related Red and White may be due to line or inbreeding to keep the all red color of the Irish.
Irish Setter Coat
The long, feathery coat of the Irish should be brushed often to keep it looking its best. The coat may be prone to tangles or matting if not regularly cared for. Dogs that are active outside should also be inspected regularly to remove and burrs or other debris that may become stuck in the fur. The feathers should be maintained and can be trimmed, but should not be shaved.
Irish Setter Training
Like other Setters, the Irish is known for having a bit of a short attention span when it comes to training. Small, short sessions are best to get in activities before the dog becomes distracted. Patience and repetition are key to getting concepts into the head of a Irish, hopefully before he gets too bored and moves on to hunting or other, more fun activities.
Irish Setter Activity
Activity is great for the Irish, especially anywhere he can be in a wide open space exploring. Long hikes, frequent walks or hunting trials are all great ways to exercise the body and appeal to the hunting instinct of the Irish Setter. The more time outdoors, the happier.