Irish Setter Dog Breed
- General Appearance:
- The Irish or Red Setter is generally known for its medium length silky red coat and sleek appearance. Acceptable colors for this breed are mahogany or rich chestnut red. Black is a disqualification. Minimal white allowed. Balanced and elegant, the breed strides through the show ring, or alongside its owner, with its head held high. They are quite muscular dogs and should not carry any excess weight.
- Other Names:Irish Red Setter and Red Setter
- Country Of Origin:Ireland
- Dog Group Kennel Club:Gundog
- Varying shades of red.
- Affectionate, lively and playful are three words that would sum up the breed. They love exercise and running and adore open spaces. They like human and canine company and are also known to be good with children although they do require considerable exercise. Being terribly friendly, this is not a good guard dog, though it will announce the presence of a visitor. If bored, Irish Setters are known to bark to excess so it is best to keep them happy and active. Again, they should be trained early on as they have a tendency to scavenge and can eat some terrifying objects, e.g. light bulbs, fish-hooks, etc. Despite its noble appearance, The Irish Setter remains a pup at heart throughout its life, one of its more endearing traits.
- Free flowing and co ordinated.
- Care and training:
- An average shedding breed, daily brushing or combing is required to keep the coat flat and free of mats or tangles. This is a rather clean breed and does not require much coat maintenance. Bathing can be done as needed. A professional groomer may be needed for extensive trimming once in a while.
Firm handling is a must with this stubborn and free spirited breed. May be difficult to train, but consistency and exercise will ensure a happy life with your Irish Setter. Does well in hunting activities and water retrieving. Early obedience training is a must in order to get this dog to come back if it ever gets off the lead. Being a hunter, although an easily distracted one, it will follow a scents all over if not trained to come back to its owner.
- Overall Exercise:
- 2 hours per day.
The Irish Setter needs a lot of exercise. This dog was bred to hunt birds and is thus very active.Three walks per day are recommended as this dog has the tendency to become restless. Long of leg, it can be well exercised alongside a cyclist.
- Feeding Requirements:
- This is a breed that is susceptible to bloat so care must be taken with feeding, two smaller meals are ideal. The breeder should give you advice, and a diet sheet, regarding the feeding of your Irish Setter.
- Personal Protection:Low
- Suitability As Guard Dog:Low
- Level of Aggression:Low
- Compatibility With Other Animals:Medium
- Suitability for Children:High
- Often Docked?No
- Average Litter Size:7-8
- Life Expectancy (yrs):12
- Health issues:
- Skin problems, epilepsy, hip dysplasia and bloat. Bloat is a health issue to most dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs other than cancer, but Irish Setters can be particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests. Other health concerns include eye problems, hypothyroidism, and osteosarcoma.
- Developed by crossing Irish Water Spaniels, other Spaniels, Setters (Gordon) and pointers (including the Spanish Pointer, which is unknown outside of Spain), they originally had a red and white coat. During the 19th century a chestnut red coat was introduced and is now the only accept color by American standards. Back then, however, the two both came in the same litter. The red and white, as well as the solid red colors on this breed have existed in Ireland thought to be as far back as the 1700s. Although the Irish claim this breed to never have mixed with pointer blood, they do in fact resemble pointers more than some of the other Setters. As Bede Maxwell, author of The Truth About Sporting Dogs, says, “Irishophiles may prefer to believe their Setter sprang full-formed from among the shamrocks, but history yields no proof of it.” Edward Laverack, a man who spent his lifetime trying to perfect the English Pointer, is most credited with the development of the Irish Setter. For much of the 18th and 19th centuries, the breed flourished as both solid red and red and white. Only until the breed began to prosper in dog shows in Victorian England did the solid red color become more popular and begin to dwindle the population of the red and whites. In 1882 the Irish Red Setter Club was formed, and thus continued the streak of red. Today the red and whites are considered a different breed than the solid reds, although they are entirely similar except for the color of coat. The breed proved itself a worthy gundog to the English, and is still used today for that purpose. Mostly, though, this breed has been moving into the position of family pet rather than hunting dog. Today the Irish Setter is widely used as a friend of the family, as well as in dog shows around the world.