Irish Setter

A Bow-Wow Beauty, Inside and Out

Irish Setter

The fourth most popular dog breed in the U.S., there is much speculation about the origins of the Irish setter. Its ancestry can be traced to a dog known as the setting spaniel, and crosses were made with pointers, English setters, Gordon setters and other spaniels. American Irish setters can link their heritage to a British dog of the 1870s that had an unusually long and narrow head, and the dark red coloring the breed is known for today.

This breed has an outgoing, fun-loving personality. Shyness and hostility are not characteristic of this breed. In the field, the breed is known for swift hunting; at home, it is a sweet-natured, trainable companion, according to AKC. A setter is also known for its high energy and happy-go-lucky nature.

The high energy of this sporting breed means that they require a lot of exercise and interaction with human counterparts.

Irish Setter

The Irish setter is substantial yet elegant in build. This breed measures in at more than 2 feet tall with an ideal weight of around 70 pounds. The dog has a straight, fine, glossy coat that is longer on the ears, chest, tail and back of the legs. The eyes of the setter, somewhat almond-shaped and medium to dark brown, are enough to make owners melt. At its best, the Irish setter has been called the most beautiful of all dog breeds.

The high energy of this sporting breed means that they require a lot of exercise and interaction with human counterparts. The breed is an intelligent but stubborn one and can be easily distracted and quick to bore, so proper training is a must. Training should start early, and trainers should keep in mind that most Irish setters aren’t mentally mature until age 2.

Grooming is another important factor in the decision to bring an Irish setter into your home. The dog will need brushing once a day at minimum, if you’d like to keep his coat tangle-free and healthy.

The breed is generally good with children, though because kids and setters can tend to play rough at times, their interaction should be supervised at first. Don’t count on a setter to be a guard dog. These dogs are more likely to want to play with any would-be intruder than confront him.

Though the Irish setter is not as in demand as they were at the height of their popularity in the 1970s, it is still a sought-after breed because of its exuberant personality and beautiful appearance. These dogs can make excellent companions with the proper training. In addition, they are known to have a long lifespan, often living to age 13 or 14. So you know when you welcome a setter into your life, you will have a friend for a long time to come.