Irish Setter Dog Breed

Country of Origin: Ireland
Height: Males 23 to 27 inches, females 21.5 to 25 inches
Weight: Males 70 to 75 pounds, females 60 to 65 pounds
Coat: Moderate length, straight, flat, with feathering
Colors: Rich chestnut red with no trace of black; may have white markings|also mahogany
Other Names: Irish Red Setter
Registries (With Group): AKC (Sporting); UKC (Gun Dog)

Origin and History

Setting dogs have existed in Ireland since the 1700s. Although their exact origins remain a mystery, the Irish Setter is believed to descend from a variety of spaniels, setters, and pointers. They were used to locate birds with their highly developed sense of smell, and once the prey was discovered, had to hold their position instead of chasing it, which ensured that they would not accidentally cross into the line of gunfire. Setters bred in Ireland throughout the 18th century and into the 19th century were both red and red and white. It was in the mid 1800s, when all-reds started to turn heads in the show ring, that they became increasingly popular.

These setters were brought to the United States in the late 1800s to work as gundogs. Their flashy red coat also made them popular in the show ring, and by the mid-1900s, they were one of the most popular breeds in the country. The demand for puppies strained the breed, though, and its popularity fell off. The decline in popularity has allowed breeders to recover the Irish Setter's better traits, and today's breeders are working hard to reemphasize his qualities as a hardworking field dog and an eye-catching show dog without sacrificing temperament.

Personality Profile

Big, elegant, and athletic, with a flowing red coat and upbeat personality, the Irish Setter turns heads wherever he appears. His devil-may-care personality, paired with a happy-go-lucky air, endear him to all he meets.

Care Requirements


The Irish Setter needs plenty of exercise. Long walks, opportunities to hunt, hiking, jogging, and biking are all activities he will enjoy and that he needs to stay healthy and happy.


The Irish Setter's long, flowing coat must have regular brushing and combing to look its best, especially where there is profuse feathering. Show dogs require professional grooming.

Life Span

This breed's average life span is 11 to 15 years.


The Irish Setter's enthusiasm can make it difficult for him to focus on training for long periods of time. Working him often and for shorter periods is the best way to achieve results.

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