Irish Setter

Breed History

Irish Setter Training

Irish Setter is a tall, medium size dog, with a red long coat. Their personality is playful like a puppy while being gentle and affectionate. This is dog is beautiful on the outside and the inside.

Hard working dogs with endless stamina you can expect these dogs never tire once they get on the track and leading their crew to where the birds are located.

Setter is a word that came from the type of position the dog would be in when the work was done. Setting is like any dog that has training performing a certain task once done. If a police dog smells something they sit down, and the setter will settle on his stomach once the bird was in his possession.

Strong sense of smell and tracking ability makes them great companion for hunters. Rare abilities like the smelling strength with the stamina makes them an excellent gun dog.

Coming from Ireland were there was heavy terrain these dogs feature a solid bone structure big enough to handle the poundage. Adapting to their environment and distinguishing themselves from other setters.

One of the oldest dogs to get registration in American Kennel Club. They were the first wave of dogs to get registration and no other dogs were before the dogs in 1878.

Breeds looks much different today than it did in the past. Old descriptions in writing describes the dogs as being red and white. Today you will exclusively see these dogs appear as only red without any white on the coat.


In 1878, there were a handful of dogs who got their registration and it was the beginning of the American Kennel Club. Old breed that was in America before this time.

Top 80 in popularity these dogs are still more popular than most of the dogs in America. After hundreds of years people are still very fond of the Irish Setter.

Gun dog or Sporting Group in every major Kennel Club most people view them as bird dogs around the world.

Here are the major kennel clubs and their breed standards for this breed.


Male Height: 27 inches

Female Height: 25 inches

Male Weight: 70 pounds

Female Weight: 60 pounds

Boy dogs are taller and weigh more, but not by much. It is not easy to tell if it is a boy or a girl.

Litter Size

8 puppies are the average litter size. These dogs can produce up to ten plus puppies which is a lot for a medium size dog. Mothers have no issues while giving birth and no c-section is required unless it is an emergency.

Types of Irish Setters

Field – The field version of this dog is bred for their hunting instincts and still have them to this day. When you mention this type of dog being in the field it means that they are true to the bird dog hunting style of dog that they were bred to have.

Show – different qualities are important when trying to get a dog that can win in a show. Crossbreeding has come up in many circles resulting in this dog losing some of their key field qualities pertaining to hunting and stamina.


  • Chestnut
  • Mahogany
  • Red

A small white mark is still something that is allowed on the chest, neck and head area. Too big of a mark will symbolize that the dog has gone away from or is of a crossbreeding kind when there is too much white. White use to be a color but has been bred out of this dog a long time ago. Solid colors are the only ones that are acceptable.


$1,000-$5,000 is the price of an Irish Setter with papers. Depending on the bloodline you can expect to pay much more than a regular dog due to their championship pedigree.

Without papers you will notice that the price will come down dramatically. Expect to pay a couple of hundred dollars, but there will be a few issues when buying without papers.

When you don’t get papers, which show you documentation of the bloodline and kennel clubs, you should have a strong understanding of the breed standards.

Knowing what the parent physical features should look like as well as the puppies will assist you in finding a high-quality puppy without papers.


Irish Setters need a lot of grooming on a weekly basis to keep the coat healthy.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

You need to brush your dog multiple times per week on average. Shedding is something that happens routinely, and regular brushing will help you remove the dead part of the coat as soon as possible.

Comb the dog multiple times per week as well. Doing the brushing and combing at the same time or different days doesn’t make a difference but you can kill two birds with one stone.

Bathing a dog should happen at least once per month. High volumes of shedding will happen a few times per year and bathing will help remove the hair quicker.

Ears should be clean once a week to avoid any infections. When a dog has long floppy ears there tends to be moisture buildup. Combine this with dirt accumulation and you can start earning yourself avoidable vet bills.

Trim the nails by exercising the dog outside, which we recommend. If you don’t choose to exercise, which we don’t recommend, cut them with nail clippers.

Professional help is a recommendation to anyone who will spend no time grooming their Irish Setter. There is no reason to have the dog never groom them and never take them to get groomed. Groom the dog or hire some help.

Life Span

12-14 years is a long time for a dog to live. Owners should be aware of the lifespan and adjust accordingly. Sometimes we forgot that the dog isn’t going to live long in comparison to how long a human will live.

Health Issues

Bloat – One of the major killers for dogs is bloat. Stomach expansion puts a lot of pressure on arties and veins causing the dog to pass away from complications from this condition. A lot of times they will die without any notice or symptoms of bloat.

Hip Dysplasia – Medium to large size dogs should all get an examination of the hips to make sure they are functioning properly. If there are no signs of discomfort or lack of interest with exercising you can take to the get this procedure around 24 months. If there is any limping or favoring of a leg take them to a professional vet or pet hospital right away.

Thyroid – dogs have issues with thyroid and should get some blood work done to determine if everything is functioning properly. Weight gain and massive hair loss are just a few of dozens of symptoms your dog could be suffering from. Because of the wide range of symptoms, it is best to get this test done to rule out issues from the thyroid.

DNA Test – genetic diseases are common with this breed. Their kennel club suggests that you should get a DNA test to rule out anything that could have inherited from past generations.

Breed Group

Sporting Group, or Gun Dog, is a group of dogs known as bird dogs. They can help a human hunt down birds in one of two ways. The first is to find the areas that the birds are at so the hunter can shoot the birds down. The other way is to pick up the shot bird and bring it back without harming the dead bird.

There are few dogs that can excel at this task with grace to not cause further damage.

Here are a few of the dogs that make up this breed group

Exercise Needs

Irish Setter needs a moderate amount of exercise. The real question the that answer is how we determine what is and isn’t moderate. Luckily, we don’t have to answer this question your dog’s behavior will answer it.

Bad behavior will always tell you a lot about how much exercise your dog needs. When the dog is biting, nipping, running away, not listening, and other undesirable behaviors that tells you the dog needs more exercise.

For example, you don’t walk or run them at all and now you start giving them one hour per day. After this examine how much the dog does bad at this point. If it continues you have a dog that will need at least two hours at this point in their life.

Once you hit those exercise peak times everyday the bad behavior will cease to exist. Energy they were using to exercise themselves is now being exhausted in a positive manner.

Here is a basic guideline for dog exercise.

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 minutes (run, walk, or treadmill)

When the behavior is bad run more often than walk and when it is good walk more often than run. Using the treadmill will help on days when you don’t feel like working out with the dog. Don’t exercise when the dog clearly needs some recovery. Take the day off.

Older dogs need less exercise and a walk around the corner will normally be all they can handle before passing out for the entire day. Remain cautious throughout the dogs entire life and work them out properly their whole lives.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Corrections

Homes are built on a solid foundation and the same goes for your training program. Exercise should be the focal point and an area you want to spend all your time for the most part. Let’s look at a homeless man who is a dog owner. Dogs get exercise every day, social, calm, walks without a leash, and isn’t getting training from a world class dog trainer. What that dog is getting is exercise every day and that’s all they need for behavior.

Command training should be the least time-consuming and for good reason. Dogs will learn these commands in a few days and repeat them the rest of their lives. Sit, stay, and lay don’t teach behavior modification or lower excitement. People love to get help to get their dog to listen, but without exercise the owner isn’t listening to the dog’s cry for help through bad behavior.

Correcting a dog should have a goal and a purpose. Only correct a dog because you can’t get its attention. Quick example, dog sees a cat and you are telling the dog no, but it is in the zone. At this point you can correct with a leash to get the attention. When the dog gets the correct and continues the correct was too soft. After getting the attention make the dog sit or lay. Going through this routine will communicate effectively with the dog. Ensuring that the dog never blacks out and will always listen to the owner regardless of circumstances.

Are Irish Setters Good Family Dog?

Yes, they’re fantastic dogs that can blend in excellent with the kids, friends, family members, and other dogs. Owners should do a great job at getting them the right amount of exercise to ensure a healthy mind and physical outlet daily. Failure to get the dog exercise will have a domino effect causing the high energy levels and low levels of control from the owner.

Additional Resources