Irish Setters


Irish Setters

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Breed Notes:

The Irish Setter is most likely a cross between the English Setter, Spaniel and Pointer and was developed during the fifteenth century. It was called the Red Spaniel in Ireland but in 1876 became known as the Irish Setter. The name Irish Red Setter was chosen first by the American Irish Setter Club because of the acceptance of only red dogs as typical of the breed. In other countries, red and white markings are acceptable. The Irish Setter is a gun dog used to flush fowl.
The Irish Setter is a loving, faithful companion. He is high spirited and full of vitality. He is "an exuberant extrovert." For these reasons, he needs a lot of exercise. As a field dog, he is bold yet gentle.
The head of the Irish Setter is long and lean. The top of the muzzle and the top of the skull are parallel and of equal length. The length of the head is double the width between the ears. The eyes are almond shaped and of medium size. They are to be medium to dark brown. The ears are set back and low, not above the level of the eye. They hang in a neat fold close to the head and are almost long enough to reach the tip of the nose. The bite is scissors. The throat is long and strong. The body has a deep chest with a sloping topline. The legs are strong and sturdy. The tail tapers to a fine point almost at the hock. The gait of the Irish Setter is lively and graceful. The coat is straight, fine, glossy and has a rich chestnut or mahogany color. In the United States, a little white is permitted on the chest and toes. The coat is of medium length, straight, silky and fine on top with long, silky feathering on the ears, chest and legs. The average height of the Irish Setter is 25 to 27 inches and the weight is between 60 and 70 pounds.


aukselpj@aol.com of Kokomo, IN writes:

Most Irish Setters now very solid with wonderful temperament.
It's too bad that so many folks have bad memories of Setters being hyper and barking a lot. In the mid-'70s, these wonderful dogs were fearfully overbred, and their temperament was the first to go with improper breeding. Now that the dog is not as popular (yippee), the serious and ethical breeders who still exist have done an excellent job of restoring the rollicking spirit of the dog and of eliminating bad behaviors and flighty temperaments. Irish are wonderful, faithful, loving companions that will follow you all over the house. They can be boisterous, but with proper training and lots of attention, they can't be beat. There is nothing prettier than a clean Irish running in a green field, and there is nothing like your Irish companion curled up "spoon in a bowl" with you at night (on the bed, of course).
Crating your Irish is the best way to curb its "hunger" for furniture and shoes when it is a puppy. Those who don't crate will find these independent dogs can get into mischief. If you spend a half hour per day grooming and brushing out your dogs, they won't get so matted. Find an Irish breeder in your area and ask for help in learning to groom and train yours. I did and I ended up grooming her for seven years and learning so much about showing in conformation and obedience. It made the biggest impact on the way I became a responsible pet owner.


mlamphr@visuallink.com of White Post, VA writes:

Devoted, trustworthy family dogs.
Irish Setters are completely trustworthy with children, adults and other pets. They learn very quickly, but may decide to spice up repetitive drill exercises if the trainer is not on top of things. They are adaptable for a variety of purposes and compete successfully and with flair in all areas of dog competition: bench, field, obedience, agility and a variety of other social tasks such as rescue and therapy. And they accomplish these tasks while being incredibly beautiful. These are not dogs for the person who wants to leave the dog in the backyard or a run most of the day. They are social animals who require frequent and sustained interaction. They want and need to be an integral part of the family. They repay this interaction one hundred times over with consummate and exuberant devotion to family members.


Name withheld by request of Virginia writes:

Total love with a sense of humor.
Having owned two Irish Setters I can say they are great for people who enjoy a very active dog. They love everybody, are totally devoted to their people and mine have never been in a bad mood. Forget them as protection dogs &shyp; I've always said our Setter would lick any burglar to death and show him the good stuff. Since they are apt to make a spectacle of themselves with visitors early training is a must. My dog is seven and is as exuberant as a puppy. I have found them to be very bright and fast learners but are easily distracted. My dogs have been healthy except for minor allergies. Setters need to be with their families and become depressed without them. They love to run and may take off for a lengthy tour of the neighborhood if not restrained. They are a little extra trouble but the reward of total devotion, gorgeous appearance, and a fun-loving companion is worth the effort.


Name withheld by request of Georgia writes on 1/17/01:

Beautiful, but obsessive behaviors were awful.
A female Irish Setter was my first dog. I am truly surprised that I ever got the nerve to get another dog of any kind after that fiasco. That dog barked for 14 solid years (don't know when she slept). She had a half acre, fenced in yard and was played with at least twice a day every day (fetch with a tennis ball, walks on a leash, rides in the car, etc.) and was allowed in the house almost every day for company as well. I can't stress "barked TOO much" too much. Awful experience. I have owned 5 dogs since (1 Australian Shepherd, 3 Dachshunds and a mutt) and had wonderful experiences all other times). That Irish Setter gets 1 points for beauty and one for being a great retriever of tennis balls, but I think I am being overly generous.


ktrenkie@Yahoo.com of Alma, MI write son 10/6/00:

An all-purpose dog.
Irish Setters are one of the greatest companions one could own. They can really do anything! Dumb- they are not! They can do anything, from confromation (And Well!) agility, therepy, obedience, hunting trials, and helpers for the deaf and blind. They are truly an all purpose dog! Mine is just so sweet and kind. She is always faithful and true, I can tell it in her soft, sad, brown, eyes. She participates in confromation, only, even though she is capable of doing everything. They have wonderful, fun-loving personalities, that just seem to warm your heart on a cold winter's day! If you teach them basic tricks young in their life, they will use those skills later on in their life, like open a door with their paw! They are not for "Couch Potatoes" though. They seem to be saying,"Hey, don't just sit there! There is a whole world to discover, and we don't have much time to do it!" They love to play frisbee and catch. I guess it simulates retrieving a bird, like they were breed to do. Sweetest dogs in the world. Very beautiful as well! Artists have claimed them to be the world's most beautiful dog. I am a believer in that. Not just in their apperance, but in their personality and spirit!


Laura.House@Kohlerco.com of North Carolina writes on 5/10/00:

Utterly fantastic.
Growing up I had an uncle who had an Irish Setter and I think that was when I first fell in love with them. My husband and I aquired our first Irish Setter 8 months ago and he made himself a
major part of our family within a day. We have four young children, including 4 year old twins, and never once have we had to fear our dog being around them. They love him to death and he loves them right back. He is even wonderful with our cat. The only word of caution I have is that I was told that Irish Setter's remain a puppy for two years and from what I've seen so far, I believe that to be true. They do need alot of exercise and do love to explore the neighborhood. If ours is given half a chance, he's off like a shot! But all in all they are wonderful, loving animals.


mmerci2858@aol.com of Farmington, MO writes on 5/2/00:

More than an aristocratic loving beauty.
I've had the great pleasure of owning two Irish Setters. They are wonderful companions and pets. Sometimes I feel as if they have the ability to read by mind. They want to please you. When you give them love you will receive a smile unlike any other breed. Some say they are hyper - I think it should be called enthusiastic. They are easy to train and have an uncanny ability to determine what they are allowed to play with. They are delicate when around fragile things. Get out a ball or frisbie and a game must be played. If you give them love and training they will reward you with more joy than you can imagine.


seube@gci.net of Anchorage, AK wrotes on 2/16/00:

Beautiful, intelligent, and highly active.
The Irish Setter is a dog that can truly be a source of pride to own. But they are an active breed and do not do well in apartment living. While they are intelligent, trainable, and loving, they must have access to frequent, regular exercise. Without this, they can tend to acquire undesirable behaviors from both boredom and a lack of outlet for energy. Coats require regular brushing, with special attention paid to areas that may mat, such as where the inside of the leg meets the body. The area around the ear canal must be kept free of hair to avoid ear infections. A truly intelligent, loving dog, but not meant for everyone.


Name withheld by request of Cupertino, CA writes on 10/11/99:

Aristocrat of the dog world.
Having had Irish Setters for nearly 30 years, I feel that I know them very well. For some reason their intelligence and exuberence has been mistaken for "hyperness." These dogs tend to be smarter than their owners. I am a prime example. I dropped our of obedience because the dog was ahead of me. They need love, excercise and food in that order. They're beautiful, faithful and have the best temperament of any dog I have known.


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