The early origins of the Irish Setter are unknown, although the many setter breeds from the British Isles may share some of the same ancestors. Today’s Irish Setter came into being in the early 1800s and quickly became a favorite of both hunters and those looking for handsome companion dogs.
The Irish Setter looks handsome with a rich red coat.
The Irish Setter body is slightly longer than tall at the shoulders. The head is long and lean, the eyes are almond-shaped, and the ears are dropped and folded. The tail reaches the hocks. The crowning glory of this breed is the rich red coat. The coat is short on the head and forelegs but is of medium length elsewhere. There is feathering on the ears, backs of the legs, belly, and tail. This breed requires regular grooming. The coat should be brushed daily to remove dirt and burrs and to prevent matting. The neck and feet are often trimmed, especially for show dogs, but many pet owners want the same clean look.
The Irish Setter is an active dog who needs vigorous daily exercise. He can run alongside a bicycle, go for a jog, or take long, brisk walks. This breed can be funny and silly and enjoys playtimes. All exercise should be inside a yard or on leash; the breed’s silliness can sometimes get him into trouble. The Irish Setter puppies should go through training that is firm yet affectionate and not forceful. Although Irish Setters are silly dogs, they are also very bright, so training is good for keeping their minds busy. Puppies are slow to mature, so training should continue into adulthood. This breed also enjoys many dog sports.
The Irish Setter needs a fun-loving owner who doesn’t take life too seriously. He can be good with children, although puppies may be rowdy and rough. It is good with other dogs but should not be trusted with smaller pets. Health concerns include hip dysplasia, as well as thyroid and eye problems.
Even though they do well with household pets, small animals may pose a problem for the Irish Setter dog breed, as they are a hunting dog breed. Some Irish setters may have problems with cats in the house, and may be too rough with small children. The breed should be demonstrably affectionate. As a result, Irish Setters make excellent companion animals and family pets. Irish Setters are an active breed, and require long, daily walks and off-lead running in wide, open spaces.
Irish Setters are not well-suited as guard dogs, as they are not a naturally aggressive breed.
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. Irish Setters enjoy having a job to do. Lack of activity will lead to a bored, destructive, or even hyperactive dog. The Irish Setter is not a breed that can be left alone in the backyard for long periods of time. Irish Setters thrive on constant human companionship. Irish Setters respond swiftly to positive training and are highly intelligent.
Irish Setters are also widely used as therapy dogs in schools and hospitals. Therapy dogs are permitted in hospitals that allow service dogs and can visit patients on the assigned floors. Patients appreciate the opportunity to stroke the silky heads of the Irish Setters and also share stories of their childhoods when they once owned an Irish Setter. Irish Setters are people dogs that do require to be with their humans.