Irish Setters


Irish Setters, as you can most likely guess, come from Ireland. They were bred for bird hunting, and their original coloring was not the deep red we see today. The first Irish Setters were mostly white with red patches.

Irish Red & White

Over time, the dogs were bred to be only red. There is now a separate breed called the Irish Red and White Setter. Irish Setters, with their stunning red color, quickly gained popularity.


These dogs have a deep chest with a large heart and lungs. They are bred to run tirelessly while hunting! They have long, sturdy legs and a sensitive nose to sniff out birds.

There are actually two varieties of Irish Setters- field and show. The show ring setters are bred primarily for looks. They are larger, heavier, and have longer hair.

irish setter show

The field setters are bred more for their original purpose. They are smaller and leaner, making them faster and more agile in the field. The hunting instinct is often stronger in the field setters.


Irish Setters are very lively and affectionate dogs. They are exceptionally friendly and get along well with new people and dogs. Because Irish Setters have very little guarding instinct, they are not likely to show aggression. They greet each new person enthusiastically, and they are happiest when they have a companion upon which to lavish affection.

Because of their strong hunting instincts, they don’t always mix well with small household pets like cats, rabbits, or any kind of bird. If they are raised with small house hold pets, the arrangement can work with the exception of birds. Irish Setters are bred to hunt birds and should never be left unsupervised with access to a pet bird.

They have a lot of boisterous energy and need quite of bit of intense exercise. Even well into their old age, setters can retain their puppy-like energy and joviality.

These playful dogs do best if they have a job to do, whether it is bird hunting, agility, regular hiking, or any other active sport.


Because of their intense energy needs, these dogs can be more difficult to train in comparison to some. They are intelligent but will need a lot of training and action to keep them occupied. Once an Irish Setter gets bored with training, they will find another activity to occupy themselves. It’s best to keep training sessions short, active, and fun. Because setters have a stubborn streak, they will respond best to consistency and positive reinforcement.


This beautiful red coat should have weekly brushing to keep the feathering free of tangles. Show ring setters with the longer hair may also need occasional trimming around the ears and feet. They are moderate shedders.


Over all, Irish Setters make wonderful family dogs, but they need a lot of daily exercise and early training. Because of their high energy and size, they can sometimes be too rough with small children. They are extremely affectionate and love to be petted.