The rich red color of the Irish Setter is the unmistakable mark of one of the favorite Sporting Dogs in the United States, at least in the Conformation Ring. This dog usually sends the crowd into huge rounds of applause as it floats around the ring. This is an animal that is definitely a “crowd-pleaser” and it is no wonder. A well balanced smoothly moving Irish Setter is a breathtakingly beautiful animal…the sort that all the crowd can take pleasure in watching.
Irish Setters originally were developed from the very old breed, the Red and White Irish setter which was a familiar sight in Ireland and Great Britain as early as the fifteenth century. The Red and White still exists is smaller numbers today but the pure red Setter has proved to be a much more popular breed, although in stature and structure there are only small differences.
The Irish Setter that is used as a hunting dog possesses an untiring desire to hunt and works well in the field, however those who use him in the field often will have to sacrifice some of the beautiful coat to the scissors in return for a few less cockleburs to pick out. In truth there has been more emphasis placed on breeding for the coat color , texture and and its length than on breeding hunting qualities. As a result the Irish Setter has become less in vogue as a hunting dog than it was in years past.
The Irish Setter should always have a deep red coloring, over the whole body including the nose and rims of the eyes, which should be “self-colored” . He has the build of the typical bird dog, well laid back in the shoulder and well angulated in the rear, giving him a long ground covering stride and the essential ability to quarter and turn when hunting for the covey of quail or pheasant.
His entire appearance should present a picture of aristocratic elegance. The dog should stand 25-27 inches at the shoulder. The longer rear legs should be well angulated and the dog when moving should be absolutely free and straight. There should be long straight feathering on the dog’s ears, chest, belly, inside of the thighs and the backs of the front legs, the rear legs and the tail, with the rest of the coat lying flat and relatively smoothly with little wave or curl.
The Irish Setter breed certainly does have more than beauty, for a well bred Irish Setter is a thorough gentleman and a faithful friend in the home or on the weekend hunt.
Their temperament is irreproachable, always happy and always willing to please, although a puppy can be quite boisterous, he is usually also very tractable and easy to train. The typical Irish Setter is a dog that displays great family loyalty and a generally even temper, making an ideal companion and family dog for those who like to have a big dog. Being good with all ages, from the very young to the very old, the Irish Setter has endeared himself to the hearts of all who have known him.
- Active, Outgoing, Sweet-Natured
- AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 77 of 191
- Height: 27 inches (male), 25 inches (female)
- Weight: 70 pounds (male), 60 pounds (female)
- Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
- Group: Sporting Group