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Irish Red and White Setter Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

If there were ever a dog that looks like it should be the essential character in an oil painting over a fireplace, it’s got to be the Irish Red and White Setter! The weird thing is that if you look at the original “Dogs Playing Poker” painting, the dog second from the left seems to resemble an intensely red and White.

That said, however…

In our minds, the painting would have to be an “action portrait” because these guys are one of the most playful and energetic dog breeds out there. He is robust and sturdy, blessed with enormous stamina.

“He can run, run and run…”

For miles, if needed. He follows you everywhere. Take him out when you go cycling, running, or walking. Take him with you on a hike. The little guy loves going on an adventure. He is an outdoorsy type and loves traveling. He’s also a perfect family dog, and while he may have been originally bred to be a hunting dog, these days, the Red and White Setter is nothing more than a family dog or companion dog. He is ideally suited for this because he is loyal to his family and highly attached to his owner.


Is he going to be right for you? That’s the real question and the one that we’ll try and help you answer in this blog all about the Irish Red and White Setter because not all dogs suit everyone. The last thing we would want you to do is adopt a dog that isn’t suited to your lifestyle simply because he’s as handsome as the Irish Red and White.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Irish Red & White Setter Dog Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Ireland

Original Purpose:  Bird setting and retrieving

Height: 22 to 26 inches tall

Weight: 50 to 75 pounds

Lifespan: 10 to 15 years

Dog Group Classification: AKC Sporting

Origin of the Red and White Setter

Now, it should come as no surprise that the Irish Red and White Setter is believed to have originated in Ireland, but “when” the first came into existence is still a bit of a mystery. However, paintings and writings from the late 17th century make mention of these guys, so we can say that they’ve been around for at least 300 years or so.

Back then…

These dogs were the favorites of hunters as they were fast, had tremendous stamina, and could be easily identified in the thick forests because of their dark red and white colors. But unfortunately, during World War I, these guys, like many other domesticated animals, were almost extinct. Fortunately, after the war had concluded, folks realized that they were about to lose these guys forever, and they were brought back to life thanks to the efforts of two cousins, Rev. Noble Huston and Dr. Elliott.

Their efforts…

First, they replenished Ireland’s numbers, and then they took matters one step further and began to export the Irish Red and White to many countries, such as England, the United States, and Spain, ensuring the breed’s safety for generations to come. Their work was. Continued by a couple, Maureen and Will Cuddy. They formed the Irish Red and White Setter Society in 1944, which continues today.


This breed was finally recognized as different from its cousin, the Irish Setter, but not for long. It wasn’t until 2009 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) finally got around to “officially” recognizing the breed, which, in our opinion, seems a bit slow, but who are we to comment on it?

The United Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club also recognize the Irish Red and White Setter. Today, more than 500 of these dogs are in the United States – not a significant number, but not bad for a breed that had almost become extinct in the first half of the 20th century.

Physical Characteristics

The Irish Red and White Setter is a powerfully built dog, slightly stocky but not bulky. It is medium-sized, very athletic, and has tremendous stamina. He can rise to 22 to 26 inches and weighs between 50 to 70 pounds. These guys also have a very silky, medium-length coat of the color white with patches of deep red. Fortunately, these guys don’t shed much; therefore, they don’t typically require as much grooming as other dog breeds.

Comparisons Breeds

The Irish Red and White Setter is not as popular as his close cousin, the Irish Setter. He is just as friendly and affectionate as the Irish Setter and has the same independent streak.

You can compare him to other dog breeds such as the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Flat-Coated Retriever, Bull Terrier, Lagotto Romagnolo, Curly-Coated Retriever, Springer Spaniel, English Setter, Cocker Spaniel, Entlebucher Mountain, Portuguese Podengo, Fox Terrier, Water Spaniel, Chinese Shar-Pei, German Shorthaired Retriever, Basset Griffon Vendeen, Welsh Corgi, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Irish Setter Dog, Dogue De Bordeaux, Cesky Fousek, and the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Personality and Temperament

By temperament and personality, the Irish Red and White Setter is a tireless and enthusiastic dog that likes long walks and hikes. He loves chasing things and people, which is a lovely sight to watch when on the run. He’s also an amiable dog with a calm and composed disposition. And you can bet that if your Irish Red and White Setter gets angry or aggressive, it’s probably because you’re at fault because it’s next to impossible to get these guys upset.

For this reason…

These guys make for good playmates for older children, but not for toddlers as he tends to become too excitable at times, and given the fact that Irish Red and White Setters do love to chase, at times, this may be too much for tiny children. The good news is that these guys generally do pretty well with other dogs and cats, provided they have grown up with them.

Which reminds us…

If you adopt an Irish Red and White Setter, enroll them in obedience and socialization training immediately so that you won’t need to “break” any bad habits later. But before you do decide to adopt an Irish Red and White Setter, remember that these dogs do love spending time outdoors, so if you can’t see yourself going on long walks or hikes or spending a few hours each week at the dog park, do yourself a favor and look for a different kind of dog because this probably isn’t the right “kind” of dog for you.

Potential Health Concerns

The Irish Red and White Setter is a very healthy breed, but even he suffers from specific health issues, health issues such as:

And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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