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Irish Setter (Dog Breed Information)

Irish Setter – The Ginger Pointer, And Family Dog

This gorgeous ginger is a well known excellent family dog along with being a gundog pointer.  They are outgoing, lovable, and are great at making new friends. The Irish Setter responds well to positive training and is most eager to please their humans.

These beauties stand at more than two feet at the shoulder, with a strong yet sophisticated build, the Irish canine is blessed with a most beautiful coat of mahogany or chestnut.

At A Glance

  • Breed: Irish Setter
  • Breed Group: Sporting
  • Temperament:
  • D.H.T. Outdoor Ranking: -/10 For Temperate Climates
  • Worldwide Popularity: Low
  • Breed Origin: Ireland

General Information And Breed History

The Irish Setter was originally bred for hunting game birds.  This setter is a wide-range hunter, who is tireless, and physically well suited for wet or dry terrain, and fields.  Once birds had been located by using their superb sense of smell, the dog would then point their entire body towards the direction of the birds.

Although the exact origin of the Irish is a bit of a mystery, it is most likely that they come from a mixture of spaniels, pointers and other setters with more of the English Setter than the Gordon.   The Irish Setter first appeared in the 1800s. A few years after their debut, they had gained huge popularity because of their gorgeous red silky coat and became more of a family dog than a hunter.

The Irish Setter canine arrived in the United States of America by the mid-1800s and proved to be an effective American gamebird hunter as they were in Ireland.  

The Irish Setter was brought to the United States in the early 19th century and became more of a show and family dog rather than what it was initially bred for because of their beauty and friendly temperament.  However, they are still used to this day for Pointing and pointing field trials.

The Irish Setter is good-natured, full of life and excitement. They are known to be graceful and make great family dogs, great companions, and lively playmates for the kiddies.

General Appearance

The Irish Setter is a beautiful, active, noble bird dog, with a straight, fine, shiny rich red coat. They have a strong build, but still manage to look classy.  The Irish Setter stands over two feet tall at the shoulder. Their build is a little longer than the tail, which gives them lots of room for rapid movement without any interference going on between the and hind legs.  


 The neck of the Irish setter is quite long, strong but not really that thick, with a slight arch to it, and fits smoothly into the shoulders. The top line of the body from withers to tail should be firm and point faintly downward without a sharp drop at the croup. The body is long to allow for a straight and free stride. Chest deep and of moderate width so there is no interference with forwarding motion.  Ribs are well sprung, loins are muscular, firm and good length.

  • Head- Long and lean with distinct stop and well defined
  • Ears- Long and low set
  • Eyes- Medium almond-shaped


The coat is moderately long, silky, and of a red or chestnut color. It requires frequent brushing to maintain its condition and keep it mat-free. The undercoat is abundant in winter weather, and the topcoat is fine. Their coats should also feather in places such as the tail, ears, chest, legs, and body.

 Legs & Feet

Feet rather small, very firm, toes arched and close.

Tail & Hindquarters

The tail is set on nearly level with the croup as a natural extension of the topline, strong at root, tapering to a fine point, nearly long enough to reach the hock. Hindquarters are powerful with broad, well-muscled thighs. Hind legs long and muscular from hip to hock; short and perpendicular from hock to the ground.

General Statistics

  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Height (at the withers): 
  • Male: 27 inches
  • Female: 25 inches
  •  Male Weight: 70 pounds
  • Female Weight: 60 pounds

Recommended Dog House Dimensions

The recommended dog house dimensions can be found on the dog house dimensions charts for 440 recognized breeds which includes this dog breed that looks like a wolf.  But to save you time, here are our dog house minimum size recommendations:

  • Door Height: 29.7 inches
  • Door Width: 18.9 inches
  • Inside Ceiling Height: 36.5
  • Interior House Length: 59.4
  • Interior House Width: 37.8

Expected Costs

Breed Average Puppy Cost: $825USD

Starter Costs: $2,800

This is our estimate for initial purchase, shots and a few things like food, a bed, leash, that sort of thing.  Basically, this will get you set up but the costs will be greater once the dog is old enough to get spayed or neutered.

Anticipated Annual Care Cost: $500 – $1,000

How The Irish Setter Canine Reacts To


Irish Setters get along well with children and make great family pets.  However, they may not be ideal for a family with toddlers because the Irish Setter is a little rambunctious and may unintentionally knock down a small child. That being said, it is not impossible to raise these two together. Early socialization will definitely help. Always remember to never leave a child and a dog unsupervised by an adult. Accidents happen and we don’t want our children or dogs injured.

Other Dogs  

Irish setters are very outgoing, lively friendly dogs that love to make new friends. They tend to get along quite well with other dogs and will excel in dog sports. Dog sports are a great way for you and your dog to make new friends.


Some Irish Setters may have problems with cats in the house, so it would be a good idea to socialize them early when the dog is still a pup.

Other Animals:

The Irish Setter does get along well with household pets, but small animals may be in danger due to the hunter instincts of this breed.  Again early socialization is recommended for the Irish Setter and smaller household pets.

Care Requirements


Just like most sporting breeds, the Irish Setter requires daily exercise to keep physically and mentally healthy.  An Irish Setter that does not get its daily physical activity can become frustrated and lead to some destruction around the house.  This breed is not ideal for apartment or condo living. They are best with an active family that has a lot of property that the canine can cover.  But truth be told most of us don’t have acres of land. That is okay though, there are other things that we can do to ensure the dog gets its exercise.  Dog sports are always a good activity for any sporting breed. We will get into which sports are good for this breed in the training section of this article.

Grooming & Coat Info

The Irish Setter’s breathtaking red coat requires moderate grooming to look its best. The coat should be brushed at least twice a week with a pin brush or a soft bristle brush. A long-toothed metal dog comb will suffice to help work out any tangles or mats that may be starting to form. The nails should be trimmed at least once a month. Long nails can cause pain and discomfort as well as interfering with day to day walking and running.  An occasional bath with a shampoo meant for dogs will help aide to keep the coat and skin clean and healthy.

Health & Nutrition

Irish Setters should be fed a high-quality dry or wet dog food appropriate for the dog’s age and activity level. If you want to feed your dog human food, then you need to know which foods are safe and which are not. If you are not sure, contact your vet. The breed can experience bloat (gastric torsion) which is a sudden and life-threatening swelling of the abdomen. Owners should be aware of their symptoms and know what to do should bloat occur.


The Irish Setter is happy, affectionate, and eager to please. Full of lots of energy and loves having a job to do. Training methods should be consistent, fun and interesting so as not to lose interest. This canine breed responds well to positive, reward-based training methods. The Irish Setters are sensitive, so they do not do very well with harsh training and corrections. Early socialization and puppy training classes are essential. Setters shine in canine sports such as hunting, agility, dock diving, rally, tracking, and flyball.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Irish Setters Aggressive?

The Irish Setter is not known to be aggressive, actually, they are quite the opposite.  This family dog is known to be very affectionate and loves to please their humans.

They do quite well with children, other animals, and people.  Although they are alert dogs, they would not make a good guard dog because they don’t really have an aggressive bone in their body.

Do Irish Setter Shed?

Yes, Irish Setters shed, and they shed a lot.  So, be prepared for lots of vacuuming and sweeping.  A good tip is to make sure to brush this breed as required.  It will remove dead hairs before they end up on your floors and furniture. 

What is the temperament of an Irish setter?

The Irish Setter was bred to be a tireless hunter.  It loves life and approaches it with a good-natured attitude, so, therefore, makes a great family dog.  They love to please and are affectionate and sensitive, oh and did I mention, they do fantastic with children? Smaller children maybe not so much without early socialization. These dogs take longer to mature, so they can grow with your children, and they can be best buds!


  1. Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds- D. Caroline Coile Ph. D
  2. A.K.C.
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Canadian Kennel Club
  5. The Kennel Club

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