Irish Setter Resource

Irish Setter


Bred in Ireland for bird setting, the Irish Setter is a sporting breed with a top-notch athletic resume. Since Setters were used in clubs to work with various hunters, sociability became a hallmark of the breed.

Other than a bit of barking, few Setters make avid watchdogs. They’re typically social not only with people but with other dogs too. Although eager to play any game imaginable with older children, they may be a bit boisterous for tiny children.

With great athleticism and endurance, the Setter needs a high intensity exercise routine, and preferably a big yard for rollicking play. Setters can keep up with serious joggers and run circles around just about any sportsman. Excelling in field trials, Setters may also enjoy tracking, and occasionally (but don’t count on it!) obedience work, if the owners can convince them they’re having fun.

Training should be gentle but firm and started at an early age. The breed makes an affectionate family pet, but is a bit too fond of people to be counted among the better watchdogs. Because of its sporting dog heritage, the Irish Setter is never happier than when running in the field. This high-octane dog needs an active family that will provide daily exercise and playtime.

The Irish Setter:
  • Refined one minute, rustic the next
  • Mahogany-in-motion
  • Worry-free
Should I get an Irish Setter?

Terrific for a person who:

  • Bounces from activity to activity, and hopes a dog can sustain the pace.
  • Reckons high activity requirements are a fair price to pay for athleticism.
  • Calculates a long, silly puppy stage as an unexpected delight, not nuisance.
Think twice if you’re a person who:
  • Sets his sights on protection and obedience success above all other dog events.
  • Lives as a city slicker, believing the outdoors is best viewed from a window.
  • Strolls anytime the rest of the world hurries, naps when everyone else plays.

Irish Setter Grooming:

Frequent (ideally daily) brushing and combing is needed to avoid mats. Average shedding.

Irish Setter Look:

With a long, lean head, well-feathered ears, tail, legs and underbody, and a strong ground-covering trot, the Irish Setter looks every inch an aristocrat. Many consider this to be the most beautiful show dog of them all, but beneath that beautiful exterior lies a rollicking, devil-may-care dog. Tallest of the setters, males stand 27 inches at the shoulder; females are 2 inches less. They weigh 70 and 60 pounds, respectively. The straight, flat coat requires brushing about three times a week, and some trimming may be necessary to tidy head and throat. Examine ears weekly and gently clean them as needed.


Watch AKC/Eukanuba National Championship Dog Show Videos

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Breed Details

Country of Origin:
Large Dog Breed
Mahogany or rich chestnut.

Medium length. Close to body with fringe on chest, legs and tail.


Brush weekly.

Life Expectancy:
10 to 13 years
AKC Group:
Sporting Group
UKC Group:
Gun Dog
25 to 27 inches at the shoulder
60 to 70 pounds
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Bird dog