The Irish Setter
The Irish Setter is considered one of the most balanced dogs. Is a Setter right for you?
The Irish Setter was bred and developed in 18th Century Ireland as a field hunter. Today, he is an elegant, medium sized dog that makes an excellent family dog, as well as hunting partner.
A "setter" includes one of three sporting dogs originally bred to point birds out to field hunters. THE ENGLISH SETTER has been bred since 1825, and is a rugged, full bodied dog. English Setters are characteristically white or black and white in color. THE GORDON is a black and tan dog, derived from 17th Century Scotland. Named for the Duke of Gordon, this medium size breed is noted for its loyalty and methodical thought patterns in the field. THE IRISH SETTER hailed from Ireland and is thought to be a mixture of the English Setter, Gordon Setter, spaniel, and pointer. Brought to the United States toward the end of the 19th century, the Irish Setter proved its worth as a successful bird hunter. Irish setters were originally red and white in color, and served as a popular hunting dog in Ireland, England and America. The word "setter" comes from the way this breed has been trained to approach prey. Long before guns, hunters used nets to catch birds and taught their animals to creep up on birds.
Rich red in color, the noble, aristocratic appearance of the Irish Setter cannot be mistaken. Standing over two feet tall at the shoulder, this setter has a straight, fine, glossy coat that is longer on the ears and chest. Color ranges from mahogany to rich chestnut red and often, a small amount of white can be found on the chest, throat, toes or skull.
Setters range in size from 25-27 inches in height and typically weight between 60-70 pounds. Females are normally slightly smaller than their male counterparts, and have a feminine, delicate appearance.
Irish setters move with a big, lively gait that is both graceful and efficient. Powerful hindquarters drive this dog with little effort.
The Irish setter is an outgoing, stable dog considered to be one of the most balanced dogs on the show circuit today. Elegant and athletic, the setter has a lot of energy and requires daily space and exercise. Labeled as "happy go lucky," this is a fun, energetic dog that is responsive to handling and attention. Lovable and impulsive, setters are an excellent choice for families. An excellent sense of smell and quick speed also make this dog a great hunter in any field setting.
Irish setters are happiest living in the country. More attuned to country life (or at the least, a large yard), the setter has high activity requirements.
Setters tend to suffer from bloat, and small meal feedings are encouraged. Prone to epilepsy and skin allergies, the setter can at times be sensitive. Eye trouble, elbow and hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism also run in this line.
The average life expectancy of the Irish setter is 11-15 years.