One of the Most Beautiful of all Dogs, This Obedient, Devoted, Friendly Pet Is Perfect for Children
With its striking, silky, chestnut-red coat, the Irish Setter is considered to be one of the most beautiful of all dogs. Many also believe it is one of the most wonderful of family pets because of its very friendly, relaxed and devoted personality. One of the few breeds that gets along with everyone in the household, including all your other pets, your children and your visitors, it is hard to find fault with this dog, except that it won’t be the best guard dog because of its very friendly disposition. However, this is often overlooked because of its astonishing beauty!
Irish Setter History
Often simply called the "setter" or "setting dog," a reference was made to a setting dog in the 1570's De Canibus Britannicus, by Caius. This was probably not the modern Irish Setter, but a spaniel breed instead called a setting spaniel, which is now extinct. However, even though the setting spaniel did not resemble the modern Irish Setter, it did have the Irish Setter's work ethic.
The Irish Setter itself gained importance when the Irish began to breed their own setters. While the 18th century experienced popularity of general "setters" of the spaniel type, the first records of Irish Setter breeding were kept by the French Park de Freyne family, begun in 1793. Irish gentry like Lord Dillon, the Marquis of Waterford, and Lord Clancarty also bred setter lines.
About 1845, it was noted that setters bred in Ireland were almost always red or chestnut, sometimes with white and lemon coloring, or white patches. Most coveted were the solid red and chestnut dogs. In 1886, the first breed standard was established by the Irish Setter club in Dublin. This is the breed we largely know today, with only minor changes.
In the late 19th century, the Irish Setter was brought to the United States. It was commonly used in the field, and greatly respected for its abilities as a hunting companion. In the late 19th century, though, that Irish Setter was not just red. Orange and white color combinations were common for the coat, too. Even then, a completely red setter was preferred for show, although other colors were most certainly acceptable. Currently, the only color acceptable in the show ring is solid red. Classified as a member of the “Sporting Group” by the AKC, the Irish Setter remains popular around the world, and is probably the most recognized of the setter breeds today.
Irish Setter Appearance
Perhaps no dog is as recognized by appearance as is the Irish Setter. Although confusing if the coat is not purely red, Irish Setter puppies are hard to miss. Show dogs can weigh about 70 pounds, while the “working” or “field” Red Setter will generally be about 45 pounds. Active, compact and lanky in body, the legs, feet, underbelly and tail feature feathering. The head is also long and lean, with long ears that also are feathered. Show dogs stand between 24 to 28 inches at the shoulder, although field dogs can be smaller, with shorter feathering as well.
In addition to the rich red color of its coat, your pet also has another arresting characteristic – that of its eyes’ heart-melting expression. As true windows to its soul, the Irish Setter’s gaze will usually be fixed on you. Just as the song goes, “When Irish eyes are smiling, sure they steal your heart away.”
Another aspect of this dog’s striking appearance is its carriage – which is extraordinarily regal. An absolute aristocrat, this breed lives up to its reputation in every way – through personality, bearing, and proud, attentive, exquisite presence.
Irish Setter Temperament
No spoiled purebred this, the Irish Setter is a loving, loyal, extremely devoted companion. Bred originally to be a hunting dog, this working dog loves to follow your lead with plenty of outside physical activity. Playful, affectionate, and a temperament that one can only call "rollicking" especially when younger, your pet lives up to its Irish heritage and will be "merrymaking" throughout life. This is a breed that is slow to mature, so you will have a puppy on your hands for a very long time. Even older Irish Setter dogs will retain some sense of fun and just seem to have a good time no matter where they are.
Despite this boisterous personality that's full of fun and exuberance, the Irish Setter is also very obedient. This devoted dog strives to meet your approval in every way. Be careful, though, because if you don't take a firm but gentle hand and make sure that you are "smarter" than your pet, it will have no qualms about outsmarting you!
Your Irish Setter should always be trained with affection and kindness – with a firm hand, yes, but with love and gentleness – never cruelty, brutality, or strict punishment. This exquisite, fun-loving companion would be greatly hurt by harsh discipline, which would almost certainly strike a fatal blow to its mind, spirit and trust. Instead, set firm but loving boundaries and your pet will always try very hard to fulfill your wishes.
One thing to note is that your pet will need a lot of exercise, although it is naturally very clean and will be very easy to house train.
Irish Setter Proper Environment
Irish Setters have abundant energy, so you'll need to live in an environment where you can provide plenty of activity. Because Irish Setter puppies in general are so obedient, you can live in an apartment as long as you make sure your dog gets enough exercise. The ideal situation should include plenty of outdoor activity together, like jogging or walking. Your pet will also be happiest with a large fenced yard to run in without restriction. Irish Setters are adorable pets, wonderful with children and the excitement of a bustling, large family. However all this dog needs to be happy is one devoted human companion. If you can spend most of your time with your Irish Setter, your dog will be the joy of your life!
Irish Setter Health
Irish Setters are quite robust, and will live to be about 11 years old on average. Like many large dogs, they can develop cancers like osteosarcoma, and can be prone to conditions like hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy which can cause blindness, epilepsy, bloat, von Willebrand's disease (similar to hemophilia in humans), canine leukocyte adhesion deficiency, and patent ductus ateriosus, a heart condition. Genetic tests have been developed to determine the presence of canine leukocyte adhesion deficiency and patent ductus ateriosus. Conscientious veterinary care throughout life can address many of the other problems in time to arrest their progression.
Irish Setter Grooming
Your beautiful pet fortunately is very easy to take care of. Brush and comb your pet's soft, silky fur, and keep it free from tangles. Bathe only if necessary. Shedding is of average frequency.