Photo by Margus Palu

Irish Setter - Breed Profile:

Origin: Ireland
Colors: Mahogany or rich chestnut red
Size: Large
Type of Owner: Novice
Exercise: Vigorous
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Easy to train
Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
Dominance: Low
Noise: Not a barker

Physical characteristics

The Irish Setter is a large aristocratic dog with a graceful build, long lean head, and fine, glossy coat. The overall appearance of the breed is full of grace and agility as well as intelligence and excellent disposition. The body is slightly longer than tall. The chest is deep and fairly narrow. The head is long and chiseled, with a well-defined occiput and stop. The muzzle is moderately deep; the underline of the jaws is almost parallel to the top line of the muzzle. Viewed from the side, the muzzle is long and rectangular. The teeth should meet in a scissor or level bite. The nose is black or chocolate, with open nostrils. The medium size eyes are placed well-apart; they are brown in colour, neither sunk nor protruding. The triangular ears hang down; they should be long enough to reach the nose when pulled forward. The long tail is thick at the base and tapers to a fine point. It's carried straight or slightly curved upward. The gait is very lively, graceful and efficient.
Irish Setters weigh 55 to 75 pounds. The height is 24 to 28 inches. Females tend to be smaller.


Very loveable, energetic, and impulsive yet gentle, kind and even mannered. The Irish Setter is a very people-oriented dog that prefers to be with its family rather than alone. The are always interested in doing whatever the family is involved in. Highly intelligent, these dogs tend to be independent and may be wilful with meek owners. Proper human leadership is necessary to prevent behaviour problems. It's important to train the dog for good house manners and discipline. The Irish Setter needs a lot of physical and mental exercise; these dogs are literally ready to play all day long. Generally good with other animals, the Irish Setter will get along very well with other non-canine pets and is usually very fond of cats if properly socialized. Irish Setters are ideal family dogs that love spending time with children. This is not a guard or watch breed because it will often greet total strangers with a happy expression and a wagging tail. Great travelling, jogging, hiking and walking companion. This breed is better suited for country rather than city living.

Coat and grooming

The glossy coat is short and fine on the head and forelegs while medium length and flat on the other parts of the body. The breed has distinctive furnishing on the legs, tail and underbelly. The hair should be as straight as possible all over the body, free from curls and waves. Daily brushing is necessary to keep the beautiful coat in perfect condition. Irish Setters come in solid mahogany or rich chestnut red colour.


This breed is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, severe skin allergies, hypothyroidism and eye problems such as PRA. Also, prone to bloat. It's recommended to feed th dog 2 or 3 small meals a day instead of a big one. The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Other interesting facts

The Irish Setter became popular in the 18th century throughout Ireland and the British Isles. The breed was developed as a mix of Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Terrier, English Setter, Pointer, and Gordon Setter. In the United States, it was first called the Irish Red Setter. At some point in the past the Irish Setter was a red & white dog with shorter legs than today's breed.