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Irish Setter Dog Breed Characteristics And Health

Characteristics Facts History Irish Setter

The Irish Setter is considered one of the world's most elegant dogs thanks to their beautifully soft red coat, although the breed was developed for hunting, their popularity has grown as a companion animal and they can be seen in K-9 competitions around the world.

In the 18h century, there was already a well-defined type of red and white Irish Setter, which was used for bird hunting. At the end of the century, in the beginning of the 19th, they began to breed the entirely red setter.


One of them was the champion Palmerston. As a puppy, he did not meet the desired characteristics of a hunting dog, but did become popular in dog shows. His head was longer and had more delicate constitution.

Palmerston left many descendants and became the ideal breed standard.

The Irish Setter is a tall dog, large in size, elegant in features and slender. They have a beautiful red or chestnut coloured coat, their body is athletic and well proportioned, with a sleek elongated head. They may have fringes around their ears, tail and back of legs.


Males measure between 58 and 67 centimeters, females 55 to 62. There is no ideal wit bit they tend to weigh around 30 kilos. This is a cheerful, independed, sociable and curious dog.

They are also intelligent and kind but with a strong hunting instinct. They are able to socialize with people and dogs, ideal for families which are very active. If they are not given enough mental and physical stimulation, they can become destructive dogs.

Their coat needs to be brushed ideally once a day to keep it tangle free but this doesn't need to be as involved as it would be at a groomer. Bathing is only necessary when the dog is dirty, it doesn't need to be frequent.

The exercise needs of Irish Setters is particularly high, walking on a short lease is not suitable. They will need long walks and plenty of off leash excercise, although the latter only when sufficient trained, mental stimulation is essential to avoid behavioral issues.


Being intelligent, they learn quickly but their hunting instinct makes them easily distracted. Canine training with Irish Setter takes great patience, always using positive reinforcement.

Apart from socialization at a puppy stage, the Setter must learn basic obediance commands. They can later develop more complicated skills, a stable setter is an educated setter.

Unfortunately, selective breeding has led to this dog breed to have high frequency of inherited disease. To most common are hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. There are others including, cataracts, hypothyroidism and epilepsy. To detect and prevent the onset of these health problems, it's advisable to conduct regular veretinary visits every 6 to 12 months.

If they maintain good health with proper vaccinations and deworming schedules, they should be able to accompany us between 12 and 15 years of age.

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