Is the Irish Setter the Right Dog Breed for You?

by PetCloud / Breed Search / 30 Jun 2020

Irish Setter

Originally bred as sportive, hunting dogs in their native Ireland, the Irish Setter is a distinctive dog breed that's known for its silky flame-red coat, high energy, and athleticism. These confident dogs are popular with Aussies who enjoy active canine companions. Here's everything you need to know about Irish Setters. 

Breed Snapshot: 

  • Size: Medium size. Average weight: 25-34kg; average height: 55-67cm
  • Coat: Long silky coat with moderate shedding. Famously burnished red to chestnut brown.
  • Energy: High energy. These dogs that thrive on activity.
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Country of Origin: Ireland
  • Breed Type: A setter--originally bred as a gun dog.
  • Other Names: Red Setter
  • Great Breed for: Families / owners with a backyard. Not ideal for apartment dwelling. 

What Is an Irish Setter?

An Irish Setter was originally bred as a bird dog in Ireland. It still retains its hunting instincts; though these days, the breed has become more popular as a companion or family pet. The breed is famed for its high energy, obedience, and agility. They're also known to be extremely friendly and lively.  When left to their own devices, Irish Setters can be mischievous owing to their independent nature and need for activity. With proper training and plenty of exercise, these dogs can make excellent pets. Some find that they may be a bit too rambunctious for families with toddlers, but, again, with training, their natural exuberance can be channeled to backyard play. 


What Do Irish Setters Look Like?

Graceful in the extreme, Irish Setters sport a lustrous silky coat made up of fine long hairs in shades of burnished red and brown. They have a sleekly elegant medium-sized build and long, floppy ears. They stand tall on their long legs and feature a lean head and long tail.  


What Makes the Irish Setter Special?

The Irish Setter is a talented bird dog, though they aren't used for sport as often as other breeds may be. Their personable nature has made them a popular companion for owners and families. The breed is quite agile and athletic and enjoys walking, running, and playing. Because of its friendly nature, it's good with children. In most cases, this breed also does well with other household pets, especially when socialized as a puppy. 


How Often Do I Need to Groom My Irish Setter?

The Irish Setter needs brushing every other day--or daily--to keep its coat shiny and free from tangles. Unless this dog gets especially dirty / smelly, it likely will not need a bath more than a few times per year. It is important to make sure Irish Setter's ears are clean as the floppy nature of its ears are prone to infections. Be sure to check the ears periodically to ensure they're in good health. 


How Often Should I Walk My Irish Setter?

The Irish Setter is an active, high-energy dog. It requires daily walks and play time that amounts to about two hours per day. With this requirement met, the dog should be happy and fit. An energetic dog that is pent up indoors without exercise is apt to get into mischief.  


How Do I Train My Irish Setter?

Irish Setters are independent and aren't especially known for a long attention span. It's important to start training early in order to socialize these dogs and to prevent them from forming bad habits. Positive reinforcement training sessions that are consistent, short, and fun poise this breed for success. Pet Cloud offers dog training classes in blocks of six-week, one-hour sessions with registered trainers. An experienced trainer will come to your home and use positive reinforcement techniques as recommended by the RSPCA to teach your puppy.  


Quickfire Irish Setter Questions: 

Can I leave my Irish Setter alone during the day?

Irish Setters can be nervous dogs, so that means it may take some training to ensure that your dog is comfortable when you have to leave for long periods of time during the day. Your trainer can help you work with the dog to reduce its anxiety and make it more comfortable during its alone time. 


Are Irish Setters barkers?

Irish Setters have a medium propensity for barking as well as chewing and digging. If their barking bothers you, you can work with a trainer to develop strategies for reducing the barking. 


Are there Irish Setters prone to health risks I should know about?

Like most breeds, Irish Setters are associated with certain health conditions. Some of these include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, and bloat. If you're obtaining your Irish Setter puppy from a breeder, be sure the breeder has a positive reputation. Good breeding practices can reduce the risk for many health conditions among purebred dogs. 


Where can I get an Irish Setter?

If you're open to rescuing and adopting an Irish Setter, check with local rescue organizations. With their high exercise requirements, some owners turn them into these organizations upon realizing they aren't the right dogs for them. You may be able to find a wonderful pet who simply needs the right living situation and companion. Check out the RSPCA's adoption guide to see if this is the right solution for you. If you want to purchase your Airedale Terrier from a reputable breeder, be sure to use this helpful guide for finding the right breeder from the RSPCA.


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