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

Assuming that you’re reading this article within the United States, chances are, you’re already pretty familiar with what an Irish Setter looks like.

After all…

The Irish Setter Dog is one of the most popular dog breeds of all time. What with his happy expression and easily recognizable red coat, these guys are hard to miss any time they are around.

Combine this with…

That the fact that as a general rule of thumb, that this breed is typically extremely friendly, polite, intelligent, and playful what’s not to love.


Even former Presidents have chosen to make the Irish Setter their own while living in the White House.  If fact, it wasn’t just one President, it was three!

  • President Ronald Reagan had an Irish Setter by the name of Peggy.
  • President Harry Truman had one too, called Mike.
  • And even the controversial President Richard Nixon kept an Irish Red Setter at the White House, called Tim.

And even though…

The Irish Setter may be famous, if you decide to adopt one, what you’re going to find is that they are not a “celebrity dog”.  He is a dog for the average Joe or Jane. People like us. He is not one of those dogs that require a lot of grooming.

In fact…

He is very much an independent minded dog who knows how to take care of his own business. He is easy to train, never shy or aggressive and always gentle and kind to people. There is something about the Irish Setter Breed that is distinctly noble.

 But is the Irish Setter Breed the one for you?

That’s the real question and one that we hope to help you answer here in our brief article all about the Irish Setter.  You see, while the Irish Setter is a great dog, like all dogs, he is going to have certain characteristics that may or may not fit into your current lifestyle.

Which means that…

He may or may not be the right dog for you.  And the last thing that we would like to have happen is for you to adopt an Irish Setter only to learn a few weeks later that it’s just not going to work out for you.

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

Irish Setter Dog Fast Facts

Original Purpose:  Bird setting and retrieving

Country of Origin: Ireland

Height: 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 35 to 70 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 11 years

Dog Breed Classification: Sporting


Setter Dogs have been around in Ireland since the early 18th century. And while there has been a lot of debate over the exact origin of these dogs, it is generally believed to have been developed from different types of setters, spaniels and pointers.


These dogs were bred by Irish hunters for their enhanced sense of smell. They were very good at detecting the prey from a distance which made them extremely valuable in hunting expeditions.

The early setter dogs…

Were of the Red and White variety. It was only in the 19th century that the Irish Red Setter rose to prominence. These dogs performed exceptionally well in show rings and their popularity took off from there.

Ironically though…

The dog that really “jump started” the Irish Setter popularity in Ireland almost never had a chance.  You see, back around the early 1860’s a runt of the litter by the name of Palmerston was nearly put to death because he was too small for the “hunt” and his owner ordered him to be drowned!


A “non-hunting” Irish Setter enthusiast intervened and spared Palmerston and ultimately introduced him into several local dog shows where he proved to be a huge success!  Which led to him being used to foster may litters of his own which changed the modern Irish Setter dog breed as we know it.

In fact…

Virtually every modern day Irish Setter today can be traced back to Palmerston which is pretty incredible seeing how he almost didn’t make it!

The Irish Setter was…

First brought to the United States in the late 19th century, were they were originally deployed as gun dogs and sports dogs. They soon became a hit because of their great looks, athleticism and friendliness.

Which is probably why…

The Irish Setter was quickly recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878, one of the first dog breeds to be registered by the AKC. An Irish Setter Club was formed shortly after.

And while…

There was a huge demand for Irish Setter Puppies in the 1960s through to the 1980s. The popularity of this breed has taken a slight hit since then – as a result he is no longer among the top 5 dog breeds in America. But everyone knows how an Irish Setter looks like – he is instantly recognizable.

Physical Appearance of the Irish Setter Dog Breed.

Irish setters are tall, good looking dogs. They can be quite bulky and grow up to 25 to 27 inches in height. They weigh up to 70 pounds. These dogs have a very elegant look about them. They have long legs, long neck, a moderate muzzle, floppy ears and a firm forehead.

And let’s face it…

Their coat is quite special.  It is usually light red to deep mahogany in color. The coat is of medium length and covered by long, wavy hair. The chest, tail and back of the legs of these dogs are covered by hair as well.

The Irish Setter is certainly…

A very glamorous looking dog, but he is easy to train and look after. As long as he gets his daily walk, he will be happy. Just make sure to brush his coat twice or thrice a week.

Personality of the Irish Setter Dog Breed

The Irish Red is known for his charming personality. He has a very relaxed outlook towards life and never gets too stressed. He is playful and enthusiastic, energetic and tireless, but never shy or aggressive.

All that while also…

Remaining calm and composed in the company of strangers and coupled with the ability to make friends with just about anyone. This is why these guys are a great dog to introduce to friends. He wags his tail at everyone and has such a happy, joyful personality.

He is also…

Friendly that random people on the street will want to stop you when you take him out for a walk so that they can pat him on his head.

How good is he with kids?

The Irish Setter loves children and enjoys playing with them. He makes for a perfect playmate for older children. However, he may not be right for toddlers, he tends to get too excited at times and could accidentally knock a little toddler over (just like many other dogs his size).

That said however…

He is really a very sweet dog that loves his human family and wants to be loved in return. He can get very attached to his family. He gets along with cats very well, so you don’t have to worry about that!

Common Health Problems of the Irish Setter Dog Breed

Unfortunately, due to extensive breeding throughout the 1960 to 1980’s the Irish Setter is one of those dog breeds that is prone to a variety of medical conditions that you should be aware of.  Now this isn’t something that is unique to this breed, it just means that you will want to be particularly careful when choosing your Irish Setter dog breeder and be sure to visually inspect the parents of the Irish Setter puppy you decide to adopt (or simply choose to adopt an Irish Setter rescue dog).

Conditions you will want to ask about should include:

And while…

Many of these conditions may not be life threatening, they can certainly become quite expensive to deal with 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 right 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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