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Irish Setter

Irish Setter Dog Breed Information

Size 22-26 inches (55-67 cm)
Weight 53-70 lbs (24-32 kg)
Origin Ireland
Color Brown, red
Lifespan 12-14 years
Suitable as Family dog, companion dog
Personality Happy, relaxed, full of energy, sporty, excitable

Irish Setter Photo: DragoNika/Shutterstock

Breed Characteristics

Fun-loving, playful, happy, mischievous and full of love - that's typical Irish setter! At the same time this dog has a very elegant and graceful nature, is very peaceful and good-natured. But not to everyone. If a stranger is at the door, it will bark to let you know. Thus they are excellent watchdogs, too. It gets along well with other dogs and cats, too. (Pet) birds trigger their hunting instinct, so please be aware of that.

The Irish Setter is such a loving dog that it will be heartbroken when it is left alone. It would rather spend all day with its owner and start to destroy things, because it is highly frustrated.


Exercise Needs

They need lots of exercise and jobs that stimulate their intelligence. Otherwise, they can get bored and frustrated. A quick dog walk does not work with the Irish Setter. Going outside with him for an hour is kind of a nice start, but not enough. You have to devote two to three hours to it.

And there's more to come: An Irish setter does not just want to go for a long walk. It wants to run! Thus it feels most comfortable when its family is very athletic, e.g. going jogging or cycling every day. A large fenced garden is also important (but does not compensate for walking the dog).

Top Activities

Hiking, Biking, Agility

Irish Setter Photo: Orientgold/Shutterstock

Pros and Cons


  • Gets along well with other dogs
  • A perfect match for sporty people


  • Not a beginner dog
  • Has lots of energy
  • Needs a lot of exercise
  • Needs a lot of grooming
  • Sheds a lot
  • Strong prey drive
  • Not suitable for living in small apartments

Irish Setter Photo: PAKULA PIOTR/Shutterstock



Sometimes the Irish Setter is a bit stubborn, but apart from that, it is easy to train and willing to obey its owners' commands. Irish Setters are talented in dog sports such as obedience, tracking and agility. They are also awesome therapy dogs.


When someone says "Irish Setter", you immediately have a reddish brown dog with a beautiful, silky, lush and feathery in mind. Its coat comes in a variety of shades ranging from chestnut brown to hazel brown. Hardly anyone knows that these dogs can also have a red and white coat.

History and Origin

The Irish Setter developed in the 18th century in Ireland and is probably a mix between English Setter, Spaniel, English Pointer and Gordon Setter. It was bred especially for hunting wild birds.

Where Does the Name Come From?

"Setter" refers to their former "job" as bird dogs. When a hunting dog spots a bird it would "set", i.e. it stops, without making a sound. Then it raises one of its forelegs and bends it. That is when the hunter knows that his dog has discovered something.

Health and Care

The Irish Setter sheds a lot. In order to keep its coat shiny it should be brushed carefully every other day. That helps avoid matting, too. Luckily, it rarely needs to be bathed.

Fun Facts

When they are adults, Irish setters still have their puppy-like character.

Comparable Breeds

Irish Setter Photo: DragoNika/Shutterstock


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