Irish Setter Dog Breed Information

All About Irish Setter Dogs and Puppies

Are you looking for a large, exuberant dog that will bring a lot of love and endless energy into your home? If so, an Irish Setter might be the perfect choice for you. In addition to being among the most strikingly beautiful of all breeds of dog, Irish Setters can make terrific pets for active families of all sizes.

Before you decide to add an Irish Setter to your family, it’s important to consider whether or not you can provide your pet with the companionship he or she needs. These dogs are perfect for people who work from home and retirees. However, if your entire family is away from home for most of the day, this probably isn’t the best type of dog for you.

When fully grown, Irish Setters typically stand about two feet tall, and can weigh as much as 75 pounds. They enjoy being active, and are not well suited for life in apartments or condominiums. They need plenty of room to roam around. These dogs fare best in homes with large fenced yards that afford them ample opportunities to engage in active play.

A breed for couch potatoes, the Irish Setter is NOT. Only active families need apply for the position of responsible Irish Setter owner. If you are an active family looking for a sensationally attractive, fun, companionable, loving, intelligent and exhuberant breed that will help you get out and enjoy plenty of outdoor activity, the Irish Setter is probably the perfect breed for you.

PLEASE NOTE: Always invest plenty of time and effort in locating a highly reputable Irish Setter dog breeder from which to buy a puppy. Never buy an Irish Setter in haste from a local newspaper ad or pet store. Take your time and research the breed and breeders offering puppies. One of the best resources for finding a reputable breeder is your local all-breed kennel club, or the nearest Irish Setter dog breed club.

Irish Setter Dog Breed Facts and Information

Irish Setter Facts


  • Country of Origin: Ireland
  • Size: None
  • Height: Males: About 27 inches
    Females: About 25 inches
  • Weight Males: About 70 pounds
    Females: About 60 pounds
  • Color: Irish Setters have a glorious coat that ranges in shade from a mahogany color to a rich, chestnut red shade.
  • Exercise Needs: Demanding
  • Grooming Demands: Reasonable
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years
  • Good With Children: Yes
  • Ease of Training: Moderate
  • AKC Breed Group: breedgroup


Irish Setter History


The Irish Setter is the product of decades of selective breeding by Irish hunting enthusiasts, who needed a swift, keen-nosed dog that was large enough to be seen at a distance. It is thought that the Irish Setter is the result of the blending of Spaniels, Pointers and other Setter dogs, including the English Setter and the Gordon Setter.

These crosses produced the Red and White Setter; the progenitor of today’s Irish Setter. The Irish Setter (known at the time as the Irish Red Setter) originated in the early 1800’s in Ireland, and very soon thereafter found their way to North America, where they were found to be excellent bird game dogs and family companions.

In 1862, a special Irish Setter dog, Champion Palmerston, arrived on the scene. This dog was considered too refined for the field, and his less than humane owner intended to drown the hapless pup. Fortunately, another Irish Setter fancier stepped in, and led Champion Palmerston on the path to show ring glory. This more refined Irish Setter went on to sire many offspring, and almost all modern Irish Setter dogs can trace a part of their ancestry back to Palmerston.

This change from the original Irish Setter breed; with emphasis on looks over ability, dampened the ardor for this breed for many a sporting dog enthusiast. At the same time, the Irish Setter found glory in the show ring, and a strong following among those seeking the ultimate family dog.

Despite the breed’s exceptional good looks and spritely personality, the Irish Setter remains a capable and desireable gun dog breed, and many gundog enthusiasts stand fast in their preference for the breed as a hunting companion.


Irish Setter Appearance


If you’re looking for the canine version of a tall, good looking redhead, the Irish Setter might be the dog of your dreams. This strikingly beautiful breed has a silky mane of deep mahogany red hair that feathers elegantly over his legs and tail.

The Irish Setter is long and tall, standing up to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 70 pounds.

The Irish Setter has a regal appearance that belies his exuberant personality and hunting accumen. From his medium sized, almond shaped brown eyes to the end of his beautifully feathered tail, the Irish Setter is one of, if not the most, beautiful dog breeds in existence.

Irish Setters have low-set ears and relatively small feet. The coat is smooth and silky of medium length. It feathers gracefully over the legs, ears, chest, belly and tail. While this feature adds to the Irish Setter’s overall beauty and grace, it also serves to protect the hunting Irish Setter from bushes and brambles while performing it’s duties.

Irish Setter Photo Gallery


Irish Setter Temperament and Personality


Irish Setters enjoy the company of humans, and they get along very well with children. However, they are not cut out for being left alone for extended periods of time. When bored or lonely, these dogs have a tendency to be very loud and become quite destructive. An Irish Setter who doesn’t feel he or she is getting enough attention will devote his or her energy to chewing everything in sight and barking incessantly.


Irish Setter Health Concerns


Just like most purebred breeds of dog, the Irish Setter is not without hereditary health conditions that can crop up in a litter of puppies. Although there is no 100% guarantee of acquiring a healthy, disease free puppy, your best insurance is to purchase an Irish Setter puppy ONLY from a highly reputable, knowledgeable breeder who health tests their breeding dogs and offers a reasonable health guarantee.

A responsible Irish Setter breeder will usually have their breeding dogs undergo the following tests:

– Eye Testing
– DNA Testing for PRA
– Hip Testing and Clearance (OFA Hip)
– Heart Screening
– Thyroid Testing

Major health concerns that can be prevalent in the Irish Setter Dog Breed include:

– PRA (If both parent dogs have been DNA tested for PRA, this is very rarely a concern)
– Gastric Torsion

Minor Health Concerns in Irish Setters:
– Megaesophagus
– Panosteitis
– Osteosarcoma
– Hypothyroidism

Occasionally seen in Irish Setters:
– Epilepsy
– Hemophilia A

Be sure to choose your Irish Setter breeder carefully. Ask for and check references. Request detailed information about what health tests the breeder has had performed on her breeding dogs, and the details of any health guarantees offered by the breeder. With due diligence in choosing the very best Irish Setter breeder you can find, you have the best chance of acquiring an Irish Setter puppy that will be healthy and sound with a great temperament to provide you and your family with many years of love and companionship.

Irish Setter Exercise Needs

Boundless balls of energy and joie de vivre are Irish Setters. These glorious dogs are extremely high energy and need to be placed in families where plenty of outdoor activity can be provided. You won’t be likely to find an Irish Setter sitting patiently at the feet of a family engrossed in the WII for the 8th consecutive hour. This is one of the selling points of this glorious and gorgeous breed – it will get you and your family off your arses!

Irish Setter owners can expect to spend about 3 hours a day providing their dog or puppy with fun and exercise. Whether this is comprised of a long jog, a couple lengthy walks, or several spirited games of fetch in the back yard, your Irish Setter won’t be a happy, healthy and well behaved dog without it.


Irish Setter Training Tips

Irish Setter dogs are highly intelligent creatures that also tend to be strong willed and somewhat stubborn. They are very fast learners, and they tend to do very well with obedience training.

It’s best to start training Irish Setters when they are very young. If training doesn’t start soon enough, your Irish Setter may pick up environmental cues that can lead to the development of bad habits. It’s much better, for you and for your pet, to teach your Irish Setter good habits before negative behaviors begin to develop.

As with any dog breed, early and consistent obedience training is a must for the Irish Setter. Obedience training Irish Setters helps ensure that you have a well-behaved, amiable pet who will provide your family with fun and recreation, rather than knock down toddlers and any household knicknacks that get in it’s way. Irish Setters are “party dogs” – they love to romp and frolick with great gusto. This tendency, although endearing, needs to be kept in check for the good of small children, visitors, your panty hose, etc.

Although not the most popular of hunting dogs, Irish Setters are an enthusiastic and tireless hunting breed – a great choice for waterfowl hunting enthusiasts. They have a keen nose, boundless energy, lightning fast speed, and intelligence to spare. Irish Setters are an excellent choice for a family who wants a companion that can be happy in the field – and in the home.


Irish Setter Grooming Tips

Irish setters do in fact originally come from Ireland, and share the physical characteristic of red hair with many of the people who hail from the same country. Irish Setters have thick, wavy coats that need to be brushed frequently. Even though these dogs have a lot of hair, they do not require much grooming. Some people have their dogs’ coats trimmed fairly regularly, but many others find that weekly brushing and regular baths are sufficient to keep their dogs looking their best.


Finding a Reputable Irish Setter Breeder Near You

Find a reputable local puppy breeder on our Irish Setter Dog Breeder Directory.

Choosing the right Irish Setter breeder is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your quest for the perfect Irish Setter puppy. There are many dog breeders out there – some are highly responsible – others not so much.

We recommend the following criteria be used when choosing a responsible Irish Setter breeder:

  • Breeding only health screened, AKC registered parents, or health screened generational Cockapoos with AKC registered, health screened lineage.
  • Breeds for health and temperament.
  • Is knowledgeable and truthful about their dogs and puppies, and does not make exaggerated claims as to the non-shedding or hypoallergenic traits of the breed.
  • Offers advice and assistance with housetraining, puppy care, nutrition, etc.
  • Places puppies only with carefully screened owners with a good potential for providing a loving, forever home.
  • Puts the welfare of her dogs and puppies before profit.
  • Is committed to her dogs and puppies for life, and will provide advice and support after you take your puppy home.
  • Can provide you with plenty of references from past puppy buyers, veterinary references, etc.


Additional Irish Setter Resources

Learn more about Irish Setters here.