Irish Setters are spunky redheads with a carefree personality and enthusiasm for life. This regal breed is one of the most beautiful dog breeds in the world, and they know it too! Their cleverness will make you laugh, and their energy just might wear you out, but in the end, Irish Setters will win your heart over and over again with their charm and grace.
Meet The Irish Setter Dog
Weight: 35 to 70 pounds
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Height: 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder
Life Expectancy: 10 to 11 years
Fur type: Long and silky coat, not hypoallergenic.
Irish Setters have a very distinct and spunky personality. He loves to be the center of attention, and his stubborn side comes out from time to time to make sure that he gets his way. He’s alert and intelligent and can be protective if the situation calls for it, but for the most part, will refrain from aggressiveness. An Irish Setter is very fun to live with because he is always bursting with puppy-like energy, even in his adult years. He can be trained of course, as long as the trainer has plenty of patience for his stubborn nature and a sense of humor for his airheaded moments. He is also known to be a bit mischievous as well, so make sure to keep things out of reach to avoid any trouble. Irish setters are a beautiful and energetic breed, a great family dog!
Irish Setters have loads of energy! This dog needs at least an hour of vigorous physical activity daily. A stroll around the block won’t quite do the trick! Take him jogging, hiking, to a dog park, anywhere he has plenty of room to get his wiggles out. A large yard to run in at home and an active family to take him on adventures is ideal.
Good With Children
Irish Setters are good with active older children and can be great playmates. They have a bit too much energy for younger children and toddlers, however, and can too easily knock them down on accident.
No matter the age of the dog or kids, always make sure to teach your children how to appropriately play with a dog and supervise their playtime to be sure no one gets bitten, or their tail pulled. Make sure children understand to not approach a dog when he’s eating or sleeping.
Good With Other Dogs
This breed is generally good with other dogs, and the chances of getting along are much higher if he gets practice socializing with new furry friends at a young age. Taking your puppy to dog parks, to meet the neighborhood dogs, or planning play-dates with other dogs are all great ways to encourage good social skills in your Irish Setter.
Irish Setters are moderate shedders, as can be expected from their long fur coats. Especially during the shedding season, you can expect to have a bit of hair in the house or around the yard, although proper grooming can keep the shedding down a bit.
Again, because Irish Setters have a beautiful long coat they will need to be groomed regularly. A good brush at least every other day will keep his coat tangle-free and shiny. They generally only need to be bathed a couple times a year unless he rolls in something stinky.
Because he has hanging ears he can be at risk for ear infections, so make sure to check his ears weekly and use a cotton ball to wipe them out with a cleanser recommended by your veterinarian.
The rest is basic care such as making sure his teeth are brushed and nails clipped.
The barking level is moderate, but it can become excessive if he is left alone for too long. Keeping him busy and active will help him use his energy in other ways.
Trainability/Tips For Training
Irish setters are very smart but can be stubborn and airheaded at times, so training him takes patience and a sense of humor. Don’t be discouraged if he resists commands, it may just be that what you’re asking doesn’t look like fun. Give yourself enough time to firmly, consistently, and lovingly persuade him, and he will respond in time. Make sure to reward him with plenty of praise, play, or treats. Though the learning may be slow, Irish Setters rarely forget something once they learn it. Start training him early, even as early as 8 weeks old, and do your very best to keep it interesting for the best results.
How To Feed My Irish Setter
One extremely important part of caring for your Irish Setter is making sure that he gets a good diet. All that puppy energy requires just the right kind of fuel!
The most common type of dog food is your everyday kibble, but actually, raw dog foods are the best way to go! Because the food hasn’t been cooked with high temperatures they still maintain the nutrients that your dog needs to live a healthy lifestyle. Raw dog foods will help improve your furry friend’s digestion, teeth and gum health, immune system, vitality, and overall behavior.
One other thing to keep in mind when shopping for dog foods is what ingredients to avoid. Make sure your choice of dog food doesn’t contain corn or wheat gluten, food dyes, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), or rendered fats. Also make sure that the first ingredient is a specific meat such as chicken, lamb, beef, etc. If the ingredients simply list “meat” or some sort of meat meal then you know that food is not for your dog.
Feeding Your Puppy
You Irish Setter puppy, as with most puppy dogs, will need to eat a lot of food in order to grow healthily. Up until he’s 6 months old or so he can be eating 2 to 4 times as much as an adult dog. But make sure he’s not eating too much either. Make sure that he has a waist and that you can feel his ribs, but not see them.
It is a good idea to buy food specifically for puppies, to be sure that it has all the extra nutrients that he needs to grow healthy and strong. But any food labeled for all life stages is good as well. Remember, raw is best!
Puppies may be in the habit of eating 3 to 4 times a day, but if it fits your schedule better for him to eat even twice a day you can simply divide his food into two portions. Especially after he’s six months old it is best to reduce the number of meals to two times a day.
Feeding Your Adult
In general, because Irish setters are large and energetic they will need a bit more food than other dogs in order to sustain themselves. However, depending on your Irish Setter’s exact age and activity level, he may require a different amount of calories and proteins. The most important thing to remember is that you feed your Irish Setter based on how hungry he looks, rather than how hungry he acts, so he doesn’t get in the habit of begging just to get an extra treat. Just as you would with a puppy, make sure he’s fed enough that you can’t see his ribs, but not too much that you can’t feel them.
It’s a good idea to measure out the food you give him to make sure that he’s getting just what he needs. The higher the dog food quality, the less you’ll need to shake into his bowl. It is also best to regulate feeding time to twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time and risking weight gain.
Health Concerns For Irish Setters
Irish Setters are generally healthy, but just like any dog, they can develop certain health conditions. It is important to be aware of the following if you are considering this breed, even though your Irish Setter may not get any of these diseases.
Hip Dysplasia occurs when the thighbone doesn’t fit into the hip joint correctly. Some dogs may show signs of pain on one or both rear legs, but others may not make it noticeable. It is a heritable condition, but certain factors such as rapid weight gain or injuries from jumping or falling can trigger it.
Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) is a condition in which the cartilage in the joints grows improperly. Generally occurs in the elbows and sometimes the shoulders. Overfeeding with high-protein foods may trigger this disease.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces an extremely low level of that hormone. Some signs of this disease include obesity, drooping eyelids, low energy, and mental dullness. You can treat this disease with daily medication, with which a dog can live a full and happy life.
Epilepsy is a disorder that causes seizures from mild to severe. This condition can be hereditary or triggered by certain diseases, exposure to poisons, or head injuries. There are medications for epilepsy as well, and with daily medication and management, a dog can live a healthy and full life.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative eye disorder that can eventually cause blindness. Even before the dog shows signs of blindness PRA can be detected. A blind dog can use other senses to compensate for blindness and can live a full and happy life.
Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) is one disease which can cause lameness. Triggers may include too much protein and calcium in the diet and can be detected in puppies of 2 to 7 months. This condition is treated with antibiotics, pain relievers, and steroids.
Frequently Asked Questions About Irish Setters
Q. Are Irish setters good family dogs?
A. Yes! Irish Setters are especially great for active families who can take their dog on all kinds of adventures because Irish Setters have enough energy for a lifetime. An Irish Setter may not be a good fit for younger children and toddlers because Irish Setters can be a bit rambunctious at times and accidentally knock over a child.
Q. How much are Irish setter puppies?
A. The cost of an Irish Setter Puppy depends on where the breeder is located, whether the puppy is male or female, whether the puppy is suited for the show ring or home, etc. It’s a good idea to budget between $1,000 upwards to $5,000.
Q. What is a white Irish setter?
A. Early Irish setters came in red or red and white, but later on breeders began to focus only on red Irish Setters. Red and White setters are now considered a different breed from their red Irish Setter cousins and have similar characteristics. Their most defining feature is their silky white coat with deep red patches.
Q. What is a black Irish setter?
A. The most commonly known Irish Setters are red or red and white, but there are traces in the history of a rare black Irish Setter.
Q. Where should I buy an Irish setter?
A. The best place to buy a healthy dog of any kind is from a responsible breeder. Try to steer clear of puppy mills or pet stores. It is also important that your breeder responsibly tests his breeding dogs for genetic diseases, to ensure you purchase a healthy puppy.
Q. Is the Irish setter hypoallergenic?
A. Unfortunately, no. Irish Setters have a beautiful coat of hair, and with great hair comes great responsibility! So if you’re looking for a dog to fit your allergies, an Irish Setter is probably not the dog for you.
The Irish Setter’s spirited and energetic, yet stubborn and mischievous personality may not be for everyone, but if his charm can win you over once, he will win you over every day of your life. As with any dog, it is best to not only research on whether the Irish Setter is right for you, but whether you and your lifestyle are right for an Irish Setter. If you love to be active, have plenty of patience, and a good sense of humor, then you and your Irish Setter may just get along quite perfectly.