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Irish Setter

Country/Date of Origin: Ireland/1800s

The original setter was used to point game and then drop or "set" while nets were thrown over the birds. With the advent of firearms about four hundred years ago, the job of the field dog changed. The original setters were bred with heavier Spanish pointers and a whole new and quite handsome type of dog was created. The English Setter and Irish Setter share a common ancestor. The original Irish Setters were red and white, a color not allowed in US show rings although it is still found in Europe. A star in the show ring due to its burnished copper coat, it is overshadowed in the field by the English Setter. The Irish Setter was one of the foundation breeds represented in the American Kennel Club.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Red Setter

AKC Group: Sporting

Breed Club:

Rescue Club:

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Body Type:

  • A medium sized gun dog built along racier lines than the English or
  • Gordon Setter
  • Height: 25-27 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 60-70 pounds
  • Hanging ears are well feathered and are not altered
  • Long tail is low set and held well below the topline of back. It is not altered


  • This is a dog with an Irish sense of humor. A clown
  • Energetic and excitable
  • Not as intelligent as the other setters and often difficult to train
  • Has a reputation for being flighty and featherbrained
  • Excellent with children
  • Nonaggressive towards people and other dogs


  • Moderately long coat without wave or curl. Hair on head, forelegs and ear tips is fine and short
  • The hair on ears, backs of forelegs and toes is long and silky feathering
  • The only acceptable color is red from mahogany to chestnut
  • Moderate grooming required

Health Concerns:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Heart disease
  • As with other red coated dogs, the Irish Setter has a tendency to have thyroid problems and allergic skin diseases
  • Epilepsy
  • Bloat
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • The name setter comes from the breed's habit of setting or crouching when game is spotted
  • There is a red and white variety of Irish Setter, which is recognized in Europe but not the United States
  • Irish Setters are rovers - roaming all over the countryside if given the chance
  • If confined to an apartment or not given enough exercise will become hyperactive and/or destructive

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