Irish Setter: Tips, Care and Characteristics

Name Irish Setter, Red Setter
Origin Ireland
Life expectancy 12-14 years
Colors Red, brown
Hair Smooth
Size Grande
Height 60-70 cm
Weight 27-32 kg
Temperament Friendly and sociable
Needs Socialization and constant brushing
Perfect for Families with children

Provenance and history of the breed

The Irish Setter dog breed originated in the early 18th century in Ireland. The red Irish Setter is derived from the red and white Irish Setter, a lesser known type of Setter dog today. The red-haired Irish Setter was used as a hunting dog, although it is now used as a companion dog.

Types of Irish Setter


There are four types of Setter dogs: the Scottish (Gordon), the English and the Irish Setter. Although they all resemble each other, they are different breeds with their own characteristics.

In color, the Irish Setter can be red and white or red. The former has a white base color and red spots on the body, while the latter, as its name indicates, has a deep red or brown coat, without traces of black shades. It may have small white spots on the chest and legs.

Hair type

The Irish Red Setter has a very silky coat, short and fine on the head area, the tips of the ears and the front of the legs; on the rest of the body it is longer and can form bangs.


The ears of the Irish Setter are droopy and long; at the tips the hair is short, but the rest of the ears can become fringed because the hair grows quite long.

Irish Setter puppy

The Irish Setter puppy is very active and needs exercise to discharge its energy. At this age, dogs of this breed require training and socialization to avoid aggressive behavior in adulthood.

Character of the Irish Setter

The Irish Setter stands out for its character, not only for its striking appearance. Dogs of this breed are fun, playful, intelligent and love to get into mischief. They show a good attitude towards dog training, but if left alone, they will find a way to expend their energy by barking or digging holes in the floor.


The Irish Setter dog breed is prone to developing gluten-sensitive enteropathy, similar to celiac disease in humans. This is a chronic inflammatory disease of the small intestine caused by consuming gluten. In the case of this breed of dog, enteropathy can manifest when they are puppies.

On the other hand, these dogs may present various sight problems that are hereditary, as well as hip dysplasia.

Typical care

The Irish Setter, due to its hunting characteristics, is a very energetic dog that requires long walks and games, as it has very high exercise needs. They are independent dogs, but also require companionship and do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. They can easily coexist with other domestic animals as long as they are trained from a very young age.

They are not ideal for living in small apartments and urbanizations that do not have ample space for them to run freely.


They require daily brushing to keep the coat silky and knot free. They need constant coat checks to look for debris and spikes that may become entangled during their walks.


This breed of dog does not require constant bathing, only when the pet is dirty.


The ears should be thoroughly cleaned once a week. This is because the ears are droopy and are areas where bacteria can proliferate and cause infections.

What is the best diet for the Irish Setter?

Puppy stage

The Irish Setter puppy should be fed several times a day. From three to four meals when it is between two and six months of age; from six months to one year of age, it should be fed twice a day. The food should be rich in proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, calcium and vitamins.

Adult stage

The Irish Setter, because of its size, requires a different balance of nutrients than medium or small breeds. This includes vitamins and minerals. As an adult, the Irish Red Setter should follow a diet of between 1,500 and 1,700 calories per day; these calories should be spread over two or three meals, as some dogs may suffer from stomach distension; this and other stomach problems can be prevented if meals are reduced.

Senior stage

During the senior stage it is important to reduce the caloric intake of the pet, since they become less active and the metabolism slows down; consequently, it is possible for the dog to gain weight. The food should contain fewer calories, have a balance of other nutrients and have the ability to strengthen bones and joints.

Adoption of an Irish Setter

If after meeting the Irish Setter you think it would be your ideal companion and you would like to have one, you can resort to adoption. You can find Irish Setters for adoption in kennels or shelters in your city. Before deciding, remember to take into account that these dogs have great exercise needs and do not like loneliness; besides, they need to live in large spaces where they can fully develop.

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