Irish Setter – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Is Irish Setter the right breed for you? Read on and discover could this be your next dog.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
2 feet, 1 inch to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
60 to 70 pounds
Life Span:
11 to 15 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?

Irish Setters are among the most popular dogs today. This is a great gundog packed with high-spirit and a flashy red coat.

They are amazing family dogs, although due to their size they can be too big to deal with small children. This is why it’s important to start socialization and training early, as well as to educate your children on how to behave around dogs.

This breed isn’t for you if you don’t have some dog experience already and enough time to spend outside walking, training, and exercising your Irish Setter.

They require an intense amount of daily exercise.

During the winter they need even more grooming, while during the other months, you should brush him at least three times per week.

Setters can take years to fully mature, so make sure that you know when it’s time to spay or neuter your Irish Setter.

Irish Setters usually have up to 27 inches and 70 pounds, which makes them larger dogs, although they still move with grace and swiftness.

They are famous for their red coat and sweet temper. Officially, this is one of the most beautiful dog breeds.

Irish are outgoing dogs who can easily make new friends both in the human and canine world.

They thrive on positive training and will respond to many commands when trained right.

Fanciers of the breed claim that the beautiful Irish Setter is a bold and fearless hunting partner.

Quick Facts

Real name: Irish Setter
Other names: Red Setter, Irish Red Setter
Origin: Ireland
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 60 to 70 pounds
Height: 2 feet, 1 inch to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 11 to 15 years
Litter Size: 8 – 12 puppies
Color: Mahogany, red, aor chestnut
Coat: Moderately long and straight

Irish Setter History

The Irish Setter is a breed that originated in Ireland for a specific purpose. These dogs were developed to assist bird hunters.

They have been developed in the 18th century and most likely as a result of mixing English Setters, spaniels, pointers, and Gordon Setters.

Originally, they were called red spaniels. First Irish Setter imported to the States in 1875 was named Elcho.

AKC registered the first Irish Setter in 1878, a Setter named Admiral. In no time, this breed become known across the States.

These working dogs are today mostly companion dogs and among the top 100 popular dog breeds in the States.

Irish Setter Physical Appearance

As for the size, Irish Setters stand around 27 inches at the shoulder and usually weigh up to 70 pounds.

Females are slightly smaller and lighter in weight than males. Female Irish SetterS are usually around 60 pounds and 25 inches. Their long bodies are covered with long and silky coats or red or chestnut color.

To keep their coat neat and clean, regular brushing is a must.

Regular brushing will keep your Setter’s coat neat and mat-free. The outer coat may be soft, but the undercoat is dense and serve as a great protection during chilly days.

If you provide a safe environment, proper nutrition, and overall good care and extra love, you can expect your Irish Setter to live up to 12 years.

Irish Setter Personality

Irish Setters are dogs of easy-going attitude. They are in fact known for their attitude that is often called ‘rollicking.’

Irish Setters are a bit clownish, as they are massive people pleasers and intelligent dogs. Mischief is their second name.

These dogs were bred to hunt, and as such, they have a strong need to be active all day long. Rough terrain won’t stop them from being active.

Irish Setters are outgoing and they love being around people. These reddish dogs won’t be scared to protect their people in times of strong need.

Since temperament is affected by several different factors, it’s important to start training and socialization early.

Irish Setter Training

Irish Setters are dogs who love to learn.

They will also love to make their people happy, which is why experienced dog owners are recommended here.

They are curious and playful and training sessions should support that. To make the training successful, make sure that you organize training sessions that are short, fun, engaging, and packed with treats.

Have the right training toys on hand, and serve treats as a reward. Dogs love rewards, especially when they come in form of delicious bites.

Always use positive reinforcement methods. Never use any harsh training methods.

Dogs are sensitive and they are living beings, so make sure that you address them as such. After all, they feel pain.

If you feel like training sessions are too much for you, think about puppy classes, or hiring a professional dog trainer.

Irish Setter Exercise

Irish Setters are dogs of great stamina.

They are energetic and packed with energy that should be burned on a daily level.

Exercise is also a great way to bond with your dog further and keep his joints healthy and strong.

To keep your Irish Setter strong provide up to 2 hours of exercise per day. Think about dog sports for more structured exercise time, such as agility and obedience.

Are you a runner? If so, you are in luck because the Irish Setter is an excellent running partner.

Irish Setter Grooming

Grooming is something to think about when getting an Irish Setter.

Since their coat is longer and silky it’s easy for debris and dirt to stick to their hair.

Make weekly brushing mandatory to check your Setter for fleas and any sign of skin infection. Plus, brushing will keep debris away.

Irish Setters have beautiful coats that should be maintained the best way possible to keep it neat.

Perfectly, brushing your Irish Setter daily would be the best way to keep his coat matt-free. Plus, regular brushing will make his coat shiny enough.

The rest is basic care that should include monthly nail trimming, bathing when needed, and weekly gums and eyes check.

If grooming your Irish Setter is too much work for you, think about professional groomer services.

Irish Setter Health

Irish Setters are considered to be healthy dogs.

If you want to be sure that you getting a 100% healthy dog, you should deal only with responsible dog breeders.

This way you will get the medical documentation on the puppy, learn about the puppy’s parents and even see the facilities. Responsible dog breeders care highly about their puppies and they want the best possible home for them.

This means that they will ask you several questions, to make sure that you are a good fit.

If for any reason they suspect that you are not ready or suited to own a dog, they will never give you the puppy.

On the other hand, if you are adopting you will also know the exact health conditions of the dog.

You will also get a dog that is already microchipped. Still, no matter how healthy your puppy is, certain conditions may appear.

That being said, some of the health conditions that you may expect to see in this breed, including:

  • Hip dysplasia. A heritable condition frequently seen in older dogs. Commonly seen in larger dog breeds, such as German Shepherd.
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD). This condition is mostly caused by the specific growth of cartilage in the joints.
  • Hypothyroidism. This condition stands for an extremely low level of the hormone that is produced by the thyroid gland.
  • Canine Leukocyte (CAD). This is an inherited abnormality that strongly hits the white blood cells, and their ability to fight infection.
  • Epilepsy. Just like in humans this condition leads to mild or strong seizures that may occur at any time.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). This is one of the most common eye-related issues that may appear in dogs. In some severe cases, it may cause blindness.
  • Bloat. Dog owners of large size dogs know that no feeding should be practiced after an intense workout. This is the best way to avoid bloat, a life-threatening condition that directly hits deep-chested dogs.

Irish Setter Nutrition

Just like in humans, when it comes to health, nutrition is more than half health.

Do you know how much you should feed your dog?

When it comes to feeding your Irish Setter, you should know that recommended daily amount is two to three cups of food.

If possible, feed him on high-quality food, and learn how to read dog food labels. This way you will know how much to feed your Irish Setter exactly and with which food.

Know how much food your dog depending on his size, age, sex, and activity level. If you have any concerns regarding feeding your Fido, talk to your veterinarian.

Once you get a dog you are directly responsible for his weight.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise, and you dont want your dog to be part of this growing trend.

Is Irish Setter For You?

Irish Setters are great dogs.

Just like any other breed, they come with certain features that make them one of a kind.

These characteristics are what can inspire someone to get this specific breed or to go for another breed. That being said, this breed isn’t for you if you don’t have time to invest in his exercise needs, to deal with his strong jumping, or deal with separation anxiety.

On the other hand, this breed is for you if you want a medium to large dog, that has a lovely feathered coat, and cannot be happy without regular exercise and athletic activities.

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