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Irish Setter Mobile

Irish Setter

This large, muscular, elegant gundog's outstanding attribute is the rich, chestnut to mahogany coloured coat. Irish Setters come with a silky, flat coat with feathering at the legs, ears and on the tail. Balanced and elegant, the breed strides out with their head held high.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Quiet dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Life Span: 12-15 years
Weight: 30.5kg for males and 26kg for females
Height: Adult males measure 65cm and females measure 61cm
Colours: Chestnut and mahogany
Size: Large
Kennel Club group: Gundog


Family-friendly:  5/5
Exercise needs:  5/5
Easy to train:  4/5
Tolerates being alone:  2/5
Likes other pets:  5/5
Energy level:  5/5
Grooming needs:  3/5
Shedding:  4/5


The well-bred, well-socialised and well-trained Irish Setter is extraordinarily sweet and makes an affectionate, loyal family pet. Early exposure to cats and careful supervision is essential if they are to share a home with them - and they may not be safe with strange cats or any small furry animals.

Being terribly friendly, this is not a good guard dog, though he will announce the presence of a visitor. The Irish Setter remains playful throughout his life - one of his more endearing traits. They are often thought of as being a bit ditzy and brainless - or even highly strung - but this is generally because people buy them for their glamour and underestimate how much exercise and input this working dog needs to stay healthy and happy.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Ireland

The setter group are dogs who hunt game birds silently and largely by scent, then when they locate them, ‘set’ (crouch or lie down) rather than flush or chase.

The Irish Setter is the oldest of the setter group, preceding both the Gordon and English Setters. It is believed the breed developed from old spaniels and indeed the breed was originally called the Red Spaniel. While the breed was developed as a setter for netting birds, it later became a more general gundog and could be trained as a pointer as well. Their eye-catching colour led them effortlessly into the show ring where the breed was further glamourised by adding influences from breeds such as the Borzoi. Despite that, they remained an efficient and energetic hunting dog - a perfect mix of beauty and brains.

Health and Common Concerns

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Irish Setters

Training Irish Setters

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • The Irish Setter is also often called the Red Setter (or Madra rua – which means red dog in Gaelic) because of his stunning coat. It is said that the same gene that makes the Irish Setter red is the same one that is found in Irish and Scottish people to give so many of them ginger hair and freckles!
  • Two Irish Setters have found their way into the White House – one called Mike owned by Harry Truman, and the other called King Timahoe owned by Richard Nixon. Despite having such a royal name, King Timahoe disgraced himself by shredding a carpet in the Oval Office!
Dog with red collar looking out the window
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