Breed Group: Sporting Height: 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder Weight: 35 to 70 pounds Life Span: 10 to 11 years
The Irish Setter is a rowdy and rollicking redhead with energy to spare. At his best, he is sweet and trainable, but he is sometimes stubborn. Expect him to retain his puppy-like vigor until he is at least three years old.
Did You Know the Irish Setter is a Super Competitor in Dog Sports?
The 1962 Disney movie “Big Red” gave the breed’s popularity a big boost, as did the White House presence of King Timahoe, President Richard Nixon’s Irish Setter.
This charming Irish redhead is known for its carefree personality and rocket-launcher energy. “Tireless” and “enthusiastic” are the two words frequently used to describe the breed. The Irish Setter loves to run, but given an ample daily quota of exercise, he’s a calm, fun-loving companion. The Irish Setter can be a good choice for families with older children, but he’s probably too rambunctious to be set loose with toddlers. He also gets along well with other pets such as cats if he’s raised with them. Irish Setters are alert and will loudly and excitedly announce when someone is approaching.
Choose an Irish Setter if you are an active person who can give him the exercise he needs. A long walk or run of an hour or so will do, or you can take him hiking or run him alongside your bicycle. (Hold off on the jogging and bicycling until he reaches physical maturity at two years of age so that his skeletal development isn’t impaired, and clear any exercise program with your vet.) He’s also a super competitor in dog sports such as agility, obedience, and rally and can be an excellent therapy dog. Be warned: if you don’t give him an outlet for his energy, he will become frustrated. A frustrated Irish Setter is a destructive Irish Setter.
As with so many sporting breeds, there are differences between Irish Setters bred for the field and those bred for the show ring. Field-bred dogs are smaller with a lighter coat and have much more hunting instinct than their show-ring siblings, but both types make good companions.
Last but not least, it should go without saying that a people-loving dog like the Irish Setter needs to live in the house.
Other Quick Facts about the Irish Setter
The Irish Setter’s stunning, medium-length coat is mahogany or rich chestnut red with no black. He may have a small amount of white on the chest, throat, or toes, or a narrow streak of white on the head.
The Irish Setter’s head is long and lean with a delicately chiseled appearance. The head is framed by long ears and set off by dark eyes that show intelligence and good humor.