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Irish Setter Facts and Irish Setter Information

Updated on May 2, 2011

Irish Setters or Red Setters are a breed of dog that was first bred in Ireland for their hunting abilities as a Gundog. It wasn't until 1862 though that an Irish setter by the name of Palmerston changed the outlook of the whole breed. Originally when Palmerston was first born, he was told to be drowned due to having more of a slender head and leaner built body compared to the rest of the red haired hunting dogs at the time, but luckily Palmerston was saved from forcibly drowning. Palmerston actually was made into a championship show dog that became well known at the time for his elegance and beauty that set him apart from the rest of the gun dogs. Now, every current day Irish setter has blood lines that can be traced back to the famous Palmerston.




The obvious signature feature of this breed is their double layered red coat. Red setters have moderately long hair that's silky and shiny. Irish setters coat colors range from a richly deep mahogany to brighter more amber-like colored reds.

Body and Built

This Gundog is a medium/large dog breed with a very lean and tone build to their frames. These red setters' have bodies that are slightly longer in ratio to their leg height. The tails of irish setters are long with feathered red hair hanging from them. Irish setters have very deep chests that slope up to their small waists.


Red Setters have slim heads with droopy top lips that carry a similar appearance to that of a hound. The eyes of irish setters usually consist of colors ranging from dark mud browns, auburn browns, and golden bronze eyes. These canine companion dogs also have regular sized ears that lay loosely pressed to their heads and have long hairs waving down off of them.

If you like Irish Setters, then I you'll probably find the following blog interesting as well.

Temperament and Personality

The irish setter makes a great Gundog breed for those who are wanting either a loyal canine companion dog for themselves or even to have as a buddy to keep their dog(s) company. For families with small children, irish setters are always a good option as the family friendly dog. Irish setters radiate liveliness and are full of energy with their friendly attitudes. The only downfall when it comes to this dog breed's personality is that they're so friendly that they are not suitable as guard dogs. Other than that, there are few faults to the irish setters personality traits.

Exercise and Training

Since Red setters were raised to be gun dogs out on the vast fields of the Irish countryside, they need plenty of exercise. Irish setters should have at least one hour a day for them to break out a sweat, whether they are jogging or playing Frisbee out in a back yard or park they need time to exercise. It is vital for this breeds health and happiness that they get the necessary amounts of physical fitness they need, because when red setters do not have adequate amounts of working out they often become overly antsy and anxious.

When it comes to training irish setters pretty much fall under a moderate level of difficulty. If you're wanting to train a good gun dog, then irish setters are quick to learn tasks involving hunting, but besides their hunting capabilities, these canine companion dogs have rather a medium rate intelligence. One command that is highly recommended teach your irish setter baby is for him/her not to jump. Irish setters can just become so happy to greet visitors and/or family members when they first arrive to the door that when not properly trained, irish setters are often prone to jumping up on people.

Life Span and Health Conditions

Irish setters are often healthy dogs, but just like many dog breeds they do have risks of certain potential health conditions. Some of the health conditions that irish setters more commonly develop include canine hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and sometimes they can even have epilepsy (although this condition is somewhat less common the other health risks listed).

Despite any of their negative health factors, most all of the irish setters live long, happy, and healthy lives. Irish setters on average have an expected life span that ranges roughly from 12 to 15 years of age.

Irish Setters

It's no wonder why so many dog owners out there become incredibly attached to this ever so lovealbe Irish breed. With their beauty and friendly faces, these dogs really are simply irresistible. Not only do irish setters have an immensely exuberant and stunning appearance but they have an equal personality to match thier beauty.


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    • profile image

      cinna 318 

      5 years ago

      We currently have a 2 1/2 yr neutered male irish setter. He is a delightful family member. He is however exhibiting some over protective traits. When walking people are forever wanting to pet him. Even though I caution them not to. His ears drop, tail is low barely wagging i'm afraid he will bite. Then while visiting with a friend and neighbor standing in her yard, her 4yr old walked up quietly, but in view and the next thing I knew was Casey had the kids arm in HIS mouth. WTF. There were no bite marks, no skin broken n o teeth pinching marks either. Why would he do this??

    • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Miss Lil' Atlanta 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hey Peggy W,

      Thanks, that's nice of you for checking my blog out.

      And you're so right, Irish Setters do take some time to settle and become mature dogs, since they’re sometimes prone to being a bit energetic and playful like puppies even as they get older. They're still amazing dogs though and I think that their youthful personalities (although with a few cons), bring many pros to the Irish Setter breed’s personality and temperaments.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You just commented on my hub about our Kelly so I just had to read what you had written. Irish Setters are beautiful and friendly and active dogs as you wrote. Takes them a while to settle down and become mature. We had so much fun with our boy! Still brings smiles to our faces when we think about him.

    • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Miss Lil' Atlanta 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks Katie.

      Oh wow, I've always wanted to own some Irish setters, but I never have. Maybe I'm so drawn to this breed because I'm mostly Irish and am a natural redhead lol.

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      8 years ago from Westerville

      Beautiful dogs, I have two currently, but will def keep this in mind as mine are both elderly and life without a best friend just doesn't seem right! Well done! :) katie

    • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Miss Lil' Atlanta 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks Jennifer,

      and I agree with you on making a new title as well to be honest, but I haven't currently decided on what I'm going to change the title to just yet. I'm definitely considering on coming up with a new name for this blog though as soon as I can find the time to do so.

    • Jennifer Theories profile image

      Jennifer Theories 

      8 years ago from Canada

      I'd change the title but otherwise this is a great article with wonderful information based on Irish Setters. Pictures are very nice too.


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