History and Origin: developed in Ireland in the 1700’s with crosses of old Spanish pointers and early Scottish setter breeds. Irish Setters arrived in the USA in the 1800’s. The early Irish Setter had white colouring with red patches. Later in 1874 the Llewellyn setter was bred from the then strain of English setter and native Irish Setters, and the traditional red colour was set. Their name in Gaelic is ‘Madra Rua’ which means ‘red dog’.
General Appearance: a tall, aristocratic dog with smooth lines and definite elegance but still with a sturdy appearance of strength. He is swift of foot with a strongly made body, while maintaining a proud carriage and bold demeanor. He has a rollicking personality. Artist’s renditions claim the Irish Setter to be the most beautiful of all dogs.
Size: males 27 inches and 70 lbs females 25 inches and 60 lbs…over or under one inch difference from these measurements is discouraged.
Coat and Colour: rich red to deep mahogany, body coat short and glossy. Referred to as the furnishings, is longer fine hair on ears, backs of legs, tail, under belly and chest. Feet are fringed with short hair. A small white spot on chest or feet or even as a small blaze on head is acceptable. The furnishings should be brushed daily in order to prevent matting especially if the dog gets wet in rain or snow or is exercised in open terrain.
Feeding: They do well on any good quality kibble with adequate protein and fat for an active dog. A performance food is suggested for the very energetic Irish Setter. Should be fed twice daily with limiting of exercise close to mealtimes. Usually good eaters, rarely finicky.
Training and Activity: the breed is adaptable to various forms of training and learns easily with a patient approach. Loyal pet. They love to run and require a fenced yard for exercise or must be walked vigorously daily. They are a suitable dog for active owners and can run, jog or bike with an ambitious owner. They adjust well with other dogs and cats and are good with children. While very active, they do not usually attempt to leap fences. However a stray squirrel or rabbit may have them excited and barking excessively.
Performance Abilities: Irish Setters can excel in obedience, field trials, agility courses hunting trials, and dock diving. As a hunting dog they are highly prized by huntsmen. They are a terrific gundog used to hunt upland game birds. The word ‘Setter’ is derived from their ability to find the bird in the field with their keen sense of smell and then ‘set’ down on their belly, indicating to the hunter that there is a bird hidden in the grasses. As a show dog they are virtually unequalled with high proud head carriage and flowing red coat.