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Breed Overview

The Irish Setter is easy to identify with its distinctive long, feathered red coat. These dogs were originally prized as bird dogs in their native Ireland dating back to the 1700’s. They use their great sense of smell and stamina to locate and track prey. Used to working closely with hunters to locate and point out game birds, the Irish Setter loves to be close to people.

There are two types of Irish Setters. Field lines are smaller with a shorter coat. Used mostly for hunting, they tend to be more energetic. Show lines, also called bench lines, are bred for the show ring. They tend to be larger with a fuller coat.

This breed is very affectionate with their people, and make excellent family pets. They can suffer from separation anxiety when excluded from family activities, so plan on including them on your outings.  Irish Setters are happy-go-lucky and enthusiastic about life. Slow to mature, their extended puppy-like stage can last up to three years. These Setters are smart and inquisitive dogs who respond well to positive training, although they can be mischevious and stubborn. They have a long memory and will retain everything you expose them to, both good and bad.  This breed is often employed as therapy dogs due to their sweet temperament.  Their high activity level, eagerness to please, and trainability makes for a dog who loves to compete in dog sports.

For more on the breed check out the American Kennel Club.

Irish Setter Featured Image

Life Expectancy

The breed has a life expectancy of 10-15 years.

Size & Activity Level

The Irish Setter is a large dog who will average between 55-75 pounds. This sporting breed is athletic as well as enthusiastic, as they were bred to be wide ranging hunting dogs. They need lots of time to run, romp and play to expend their high energy level. Visitors are greeted with great enthusiasm, making them great watch dogs but not great guard dogs.

Care & Grooming

The Irish Setter’s long silky coat sheds moderately and needs daily brushing to ward off tangles. They are clean by nature and potty train easily. Setters have long, hanging ears that are prone to infection. This breed has a strong hunting instinct requiring a secure fence and/or excellent recall training. They have a long memory, so a lesson learned is never forgotten. Be careful of developing bad habits as they will be difficult to unlearn. These Setters don’t love the cold, preferring moderate temperatures.

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