Red Irish Setter Dog: Characteristics and Photos

Irish Red Setter: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The Irish Red Setter, also known simply as a setter...

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The Irish Red Setter, also known simply as the Irish Setter, is considered one of the most beautiful and glamorous dogs on the planet, due to its slender build and beautiful reddish fur. Although the Irish Red Setter was originally a hunting dog, its undeniable beauty has made it a dog that frequents dog shows more than hunting grounds.

In this PlanetAnimal race card you will discover all the information you need if you are considering adopting one of these dogs, you will learn that it is an independent dog, sociable, curious and very active or who are perfect for living with children, because on top of all that, he is a really adorable dog.


  • Europe
  • Ireland

FCI Nomenclature

  • Group VII

Physical Characteristics

  • Proportional


  • Large


  • 55-70

Adult Weight

  • 25-45

Life expectancy

  • 12-14

Recommended physical activity

  • High


  • Society
  • Smart
  • Active
  • Affectionate
  • Docile

Ideal for

  • Children
  • Apartment
  • Walking
  • The hunt

Recommended climate

  • Temperate

Hair type

  • Long
  • End

Origin of the Irish Red Setter

The Irish Red Setter descended from the Irish Red and White Setter, which is now a lesser-known breed. In fact, the Irish Red Setter has grown so much in popularity that it has replaced its predecessor and nowadays when we talk about the Irish Setter we usually mean the Irish Red Setter.

In the eighteenth century there was already a well-defined type of Irish red and white setter that was used for bird hunting, but this was not until the end of the century and the beginning of the nineteenth century they started breeding all-red setters.

At that time, these dogs were exclusively used for hunting and it was common to kill puppies born with undesirable characteristics for such activity. Around 1862, a puppy that did not possess the desired characteristics was born in a red setter hatchery. He had a more elongated head and a more delicate build than the others in the litter, which is why the breeder decided to drown him as usual. Fortunately for the pup, another amateur breeder of these dogs was enchanted by the pup and decided to keep him, thus saving his life. This pup was named Champion Palmerston and became a sensation at many dog shows.

This anecdote completely changed the history of the breed, because Champion Palmerston left many descendants and became the type desired by breeders. This is why all Irish Red Setters today have a common ancestor from the little puppy that narrowly escaped death by drowning.This is also the reason why today's Irish Red Setters are more show dogs and companion animals than hunters, even though they retain the strong instincts of hunting dogs.

Later, as early as the twentieth century, some fans of this breed tried to recover the original red setter and obtained a variety a little smaller, compact and shorter than the current Irish red setter, but she was never very popular among hunters. Today, this dog is practically absent from hunting grounds and is more of an excellent companion animal than a merciless hunter. Despite its beauty and good character, this breed is not one of the most popular in the world, perhaps due to its great need for exercise.

Physical Characteristics of the Irish Red Setter

According to the FCI breed standard, the height at the withers of males should be between 58 and 67 centimeters, while that of females should be between 55 and 62 centimeters.The ideal weight is not given in this standard, but Irish Red Setters weigh around 30 kg.

The Irish Red Setter is a tall, elegant, slender dog with beautiful, silky, glowing chestnut hair that is very striking. Her body is athletic and well-proportioned, with a narrow, deep chest and a muscular, slightly arched back.

Its head is elongated and slender, with an oval skull and a well-defined naso-frontal depression. Its nose can be black or mahogany. The muzzle is of moderate depth and the bite closes with scissors. The eyes are not very large and can be dark hazel or dark brown. Its ears are of low insertion fall forming a pronounced fold. Its tail is of medium length and is of weak insertion. The Setter wears it at the level of the upper line of the back or lower.

Silky fur is one of the Irish Setter's most striking features.At the level of the head, the front part of the legs and the tips of the ears, its coat is shorter and finer. As for other parts of the body, the coat is longer and falls in a kind of fringe at the ears, on the chest, the belly, on the back of the legs and on the tail. The color accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard is raised brown (from slightly reddish brown to mahogany). Small white spots are accepted on the chest, paws, fingers and even the face, but no black spots are allowed on this dog's fur.

Irish red setter character

In general, Irish Red Setters are cheerful, independent, very sociable and curious. They are as intelligent as they are friendly, but with strong hunting instincts.

These dogs are easy to socialize, both with adults, children, other dogs and even with other pets, as their innate aggression is low.Therefore, they are excellent pets for families with children or who already have other pets. However, it is important to take the process of socializing the dog seriously from an early age in order to avoid the appearance of fearful behavior or aggressive behavior generated by fear of the unknown.

When properly educated, Irish Red Setters do not show serious behavioral problems. However, we must take into account that they are very active dogs who need a lot of daily exercise. If they don't get their daily dose of exercise, they will become frustrated and easily develop destructive dog habits.

Due to their friendly and sociable nature, setters make excellent pets for those who have enough time and space to provide them with love and daily physical exercise.They tend to be gentle and good with children, so they are generally good pets for families with children. Of course, due to their high activity level, they are not good pets for sedentary people and are best suited for busy families who enjoy outdoor activities.

Irish Red Setter Care

The Irish Red Setter's coat should be brushed once a day to keep it silky and tangle free. Bathing is only necessary when the dog is dirty and should not be too frequent a habit.

The exercise needs of Irish setters are very high. With these dogs, a short walk on a leash is not enough. Irish setters need long walks and the ability to run freely in a fenced area. This is ideal if they can play with other dogs or explore the terrain.

Of course, they also need companionship and attention. Although Irish Red Setters are independent dogs and need to run around outside, they also need to be with their own. Also, it is good to socialize it with other people and other dogs on walks. Due to their physical characteristics and active nature, Irish Red Setters do not adapt well to apartment or small house living, or to densely populated urban areas with few open areas. They live much better in a house with a big garden where they can run around (which in no way takes away the fact that you have to walk them to socialize them) or in rural areas where they can have more freedom.

Education of the Irish Red Setter

Being intelligent, Irish Red Setters learn many things easily, but their hunting instincts easily distract them.Therefore, to train it well, we will need to equip ourselves with patience and we will need to use positive reinforcement. Of course, training them to be show dogs is easier because they take advantage of a dog's instincts.

Irish Red Setter He alth

Unfortunately for the setter and its owners, this is one of the many breeds of dogs for which artificial selection has increased the frequency of hereditary diseases. The most common hereditary diseases of this breed are: progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia and gastric torsion. To a lesser extent, but also with some frequency, there are: epilepsy, panosteitis, progressive osteodystrophy and haemophilia A.

Pictures of Irish Red Setter

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