The Irish Setter is a setter, a breed of gundog, and family dog.
It is renowned for its elegant build and its bright, mahogany-colored coat.
The Irish setter is noted for being good-tempered, intelligent, and swift in the field.
The average lifespan for an Irish Setter is about 12 to 15 years.
Irish Setters range in height from 61 to 71 cm (24 to 28 inches), males weigh 29 to 34 kg (65 to 75 lb) and females 25 to 29 kg (55 to 65 lb).
Its shiny coat is straight and flat, with feathering on the ears, legs, chest, belly, and tail. The coat comes in a range of shades, from deep mahogany to rich chestnut.
The Irish Setter was developed in early 18th-century Ireland to locate birds for the hunter.
The breed was originally used to “set” game, crouching low near the birds so that the hunters could walk up and throw a net over bird and dog. When firearms were introduced, the Irish adapted into a gun dog that pointed, flushed and hunted in an upright stance.
Developed from a mix of Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Terrier, English Setter, Spaniel, Pointer, and a dash of Gordon Setter.
Early versions of the breed were white with red blotches on their coats, much like the Irish Red and White Setter of today.
The Earl of Enniskellen is credited with the development that gave the breed their rich red coat in the early 1800’s.
Irish Setters are a tireless, wide-ranging hunter, and well-suited to fields and wet or dry moorland terrain. Using their excellent sense of smell to locate the mark (or bird), the Irish Setter will then hold a pointing position, indicating the direction in which the bird lies hidden.
The breed standard for the modern Irish Setter was first drawn up by the Irish Red Setter Club in Dublin and approved on 29 March 1886.
The Irish Setter was brought to the United States in the early 19th century.
This breed was one of the first 9 breeds to gain early AKC-recognition in 1878. Along with the English setter and Gordon setter, the Irish setter was well on its way to becoming a popular dog breed in the United States for hunting and companionship.
During the 1970’s, the Irish Setter was among the most popular breeds in America.
Irish Setters love to be around people and are great with kids.
They are an active breed, and require long, daily walks and off-lead running in wide, open spaces. They are, however, a breed with a tendency to ‘play deaf,’ so careful training on mastering the recall should be undertaken before allowing them off-lead.
Though they are usually alert to their surroundings, Irish Setters are not well-suited as guard dogs, as they are not a naturally assertive breed.
It requires frequent brushing to maintain its condition and keep it mat-free.
Irish Setters are also widely used as therapy dogs in schools and hospitals. Therapy dogs are permitted in hospitals with special permission and can visit patients on the assigned floors. In schools the dogs may be used to create a calming and relaxed environment. A child may read to a dog without being corrected or judged.
Their name in Gaelic is “Madra Rua” which is translated as “red dog.”
Irish Bus, also known as Bus Éireann, the national bus company in Ireland, uses the Irish Setter as its corporate logo.