Irish Red And White Setter – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Are you interested in Irish Red And White Setter? If so, check this guide to learn if this red and white dog could be your next dog.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder
50 to 70 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Irish Red and White Setter is a gun dog highly loved and popular in the UK.

The Red and White Setter was the original Irish Setter and was traditionally used by falconers.

This is a medium-sized bird dog that was primarily used for hunting.

Sportsmen have high admiration and love toward this breed, as the Irish Red and White Setter is irreplaceable when it comes to hunting.

They are powerful, sturdy, well-boned, and have enough strength to get the job done at any time.

They are probably best known for their vivid red coat.

Did you know that this coat actually has a specific purpose or that breeders deliberately focused on breeding dogs with the red coat?

The red coat actually enables hunters to spot these dogs from a large distance.

The Irish Red and White Setter can be still for a long time and they can spend a whole day hunting.

This is something that you should take as a serious trait if you are really serious about getting the Irish Red and White Setter.

Regular walks, exercise time, and short, but positive training time are great options to keep this breed physically satisfied.

Overall, this breed is charming, cheerful, and with a good measure of humor.

Quick Facts

Real name: Irish Red And White Setter
Other names: Irish R&W Setter, IRWS
Origin: Ireland
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 50 to 70 pounds
Height: 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 10 to 14 years
Litter Size: 6 – 12 puppies
Color: Red and white
Coat: Long and silky coat

Irish Red And White Setter History

The Irish Red And White Setter is an old breed.

Originally from Ireland, this red and white dog appeared sometime during the 18th century, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that this breed’s popularity reached its peak.

At one period, this elegant dog was known as Rossmore Setter, but the Irish Red and White Setter name stuck.

Dog historians claim that this beloved breed originally appeared in the 1600s when their main duty was to sneak up on game bords by crawling on their bellies. You may even today see them moving around like this.

Once they would locate a bird they would sit still ‘freeze’ and indicate with their tail that there is a bird nearby.

This would be the moment when a hunter would throw a net over the birds.

Like many dog breeds, the Irish Red And White Setter numbers went down during World War I, but an Irish clergyman Noble Huston attempted a revival of the breed, which was successful.

This wasn’t over the night’s success, but slow progress over time.

The breed became established in 1981 and started gaining not only national but international recognition as well.

Important milestones for the Irish Red And White Setter:

  • During the 1980s the Irish Red and White Setters were being imported into Great Britain
  • Canadian Kennel Club recognized the breed in May 1999
  • The Irish Red and White Setter was fully recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as of 1 January 2009

Today, the Irish Red and White Setter are a breed recognized by almost every major national breed.

All registered Setters today are direct descendants of the dogs accepted by the Irish Kennel Club at the time of the revival of the breed during the 1970s.

The Irish Red and White Setter are listed by the Kennel Club in the UK as a Vulnerable Native Breed.

A breed is listed as vulnerable when the number of registered dogs is very low.

In this case, the Irish Red and White Setter are listed as a vulnerable breed due to registration numbers of less than 300 per year.

Irish Red And White Setter Physical Appearance

Irish Red and White Setters are often described as beautiful dogs of elegant posture, and long hair.

Their coat is medium-length and silky. As such their coat is extremely soft on the touch and requires regular brushing to maintain it the best way possible.

These dogs are well proportioned and of powerful posture. They may look slim, but they are heavy being between 50 to 70 pounds.

As for the height, they are commonly 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder, with females being slightly smaller in size when compared to males.

As for the color they are mostly white with solid red patches.

Their soft coat is called ‘Feathering.’ When moving their gait should be very lively and graceful.

Irish Red And White Setter Personality

The Irish Red and White Setter are great family dogs.

Setter will be devoted, affectionate, and loyal as long as they are trained the right way.

If you are in search of a family dog, and you have experience as a dog owner, this red and white dog should be at the top of your list. They are ideal all-around family dogs.

These dogs of silky coats will love any family activity and will love outdoor activities.

In fact, getting the Irish Red and White Setter means that you are an active person in general.

Are you a runner? Your Irish Red and White Setter will be happy to run next to you, just make sure that you know how to run with a dog next to you.

Do you love long hikes? Once you get an Irish Red and White Setter you will never hike alone.

Know how to hike with your dog safely and enjoy nature the best way possible.

This breed will thrive only in active families or with active individuals. They aren’t best suited who passionate stay-in people.

Irish Red and White Setters need larger space to stretch and a big backyard for them to run freely.

This is a working breed so be careful with puppies – do not force them to be extremely active, as their joints are just developing.

Setters are great with children as long as children know how to behave around dogs and respect them.

Children should know not to pull their ears or tails, while dogs should follow house dog rules.

Setters should get along with other dogs as well if introduced slowly and in a safe environment.

Irish Red And White Setter Training

Every dog needs to go through proper training and early socialization.

The Irish Red and White Setter is no exception as they need experienced dog owners and someone who knows their way around active dogs.

Always try to learn as much as possible about the breed’s exercise and energy needs, as it will make the training process easier and faster.

If training is too much for you think about puppy classes, or hiring a professional dog trainer.

To have an effective training session you should make them consistent, fun, engaging, and packed with treats.

Dogs love rewards, and a treat is a great way to show your Irish Red and White Setter how good a boy he is.

Irish Red And White Setter Exercise

Again, if you are not an outdoor person, this breed isn’t for you.

If you are an outdoor lover and you understand how active this breed is you should know that providing enough exercise is a must when it comes to having a physically fit and happy Irish Red And White Setter.

If you miss providing enough exercise, you will learn just how destructive this dog might be.

Provide a long walk or run of an hour or more a day, or take him hiking.

Fancy participating in dog sports? That’s great because this breed will love competing with other dogs in dog sports, such as agility, rally, or obedience.

Irish Red And White Setter Grooming

Keeping that red and white coat clean and shiny, won’t be time-consuming, but it will require some of your time.

To keep your Setter clean you must groom him the right way.

The very first step is to have the right grooming tools, to make the process easier and more fun.

Use a soft brush and a slicker or comb to remove any tangles. Your goal when it comes to grooming is to keep Setter’s natural look.

Brushing him once again should be enough to keep Setters coat healthy, shiny, and clean.

Bathe only when needed. Check eyes and gums weekly, and trim or grind nails on a monthly level.

Too long nails can lead to numerous issues, provide discomfort or even pain if they are too long.

Irish Red And White Setter Health

Irish Red and White Setters are considered to be healthy dogs.

If you want a truly healthy puppy, you should be working only with responsible dog breeders.

Reputable breeders will always screen puppies for the most common health issues in the breed.

They will also present you with medical documentation on the breed, and inform you about any possible health issues later on.

Some of the conditions that may appear in your Setter are:

  • Posterior polar cataracts
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Von Willebrand’s disease (a blood clotting issue) hypothyroidism
  • Immune disorders

To keep your dog healthy stick to the recommended vaccination schedule, regular parasite control, and regular veterinarian check-ups. Prevention is the best thing when it comes to keeping your dog healthy.

Five Reasons Why The Irish Red And White Setter Would Be A Dog For You

First thing first, if you are a first time dog owner, this breed isn’t for you.

If you are just thinking about getting your first dog, you should focus on getting a breed that is more suitable for novice owners.

Check breeds for novice owners here.

On the other hand, if you have a rich experience as a dog owner, and you know how much it costs to have a dog, and you can afford it, here are the top five reasons why the Irish and White Setter might be the breed for you:

  • This is a powerful field dog, that will enjoy long hikes and all-day activities. A great dog who outdoor lovers.
  • This white and red dog is powerful and packed with energy. As such they are great for dog sports and mastering even the most challenging dog tricks
  • This is a gentle breed. As a gentle breed, the Irish and White Setter will be calm and great for families of any size
  • They have a good sense of humor. Goofing around is an everyday occurrence with this breed
  • They have unique appearances. If you love grooming and brushing dogs, and keeping their coat clean and shiny, you will love this breed’s silky coat

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