Historically, the term “setter” is referenced as a setting dog in “De Canibus Britannicus”, a literature that classifies dogs published by John Caius in 1570. However, it was deemed to be incorrect to assume that the dog described in the book pertains to the Irish Setter in particular, as we know it today.

However, records show that Irish huntsmen in the early 1800s were beginning to breed their own sleek, rangy “Red Setters”, cross-breeding flushing spaniels, pointers, bloodhounds and other setters. The resulting setters became effective gundogs that could track, point, and retrieve game birds. These dogs were said to be able to move swiftly and gracefully across the flat and wide countryside of the Emerald Isle, earning their right to be a special breed of their own.

Today, Irish Setters are widely known for their energy and efficiency in the bird fields, let alone their graceful gaits and attractive looks. In fact, many of these dogs have become huge winners in show rings all around the world, including the Westminster Kennel Club show.

With their lovable personality, they have also endeared pet owners. These dogs are playful and always willing to please, which makes them one of the best companions to have at home.

Breed Characteristics

As previously mentioned, Irish Setters are some of the most beautiful dog breeds in the world. In general, they have all the qualities that anyone could want from a pet dog or a sporting dog.

  • Siccaro Appearance
    Irish Setters typically have a silky, feathered coat that is coupled with red aristocratic hair, which makes them one of the head-turners in the canine world. Like other setter breeds, they are also slightly longer than they are tall, with a top line that tends to incline slowly downward from shoulder to tail. They have a long and well-defined head, with an equally chiselled occiput and stop, long muzzle, dark black or brown nose, and teeth meeting in a scissors or level bite. They have generally brown, wide-set eyes that are shaped like an almond and pendant ears that are long with long, silky hair.
  • Siccaro Temperament
    The Irish Setter temperament is generally described as care free, happy go lucky, frolicsome, clownish, but demonstrative, flighty, and impulsive. Though these dogs are generally lively, they can also be destructively handful especially during their adolescent stage. Nonetheless, owners can train them to be obedient and allow them to get enough exercise, which greatly help in instilling good manners.
  • Siccaro Social Behaviour
    Due to their sociable nature, Irish Setters love being with people and other pets, especially if they start doing it at a young age. In fact, these dogs seek company and will not grow healthy if left alone most of the time. They thrive on relationships with their owners, so they could easily experience boredom and separation anxiety if it does not receive enough attention. Though they bark at strangers and demonstrate protective behaviour at certain times (like other dogs do), they would not prefer being left at home and stand guard.
dogs playing

Health and Grooming

The Irish Setter is relatively a healthy dog breed. However, like all other breeds, it can also experience health issues. The most common conditions that have been noted in Irish Setters are cancer, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), hypothyroidism, entropion, hyperosteodystrophy, osteosarcoma, celiac disease, canine Leukocyte adhesion deficiency (CLAD), and gastric dilatation volvulus (bloating).


When it comes to selecting food for Irish Setters, owners should go for high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age and level of activity. While table food is all right, it is still best to learn which types of food are safe and harmful to dogs. Remember that food that is not suitable for their digestive system can cause bloating—a condition that can be life threatening. Causes of this condition in dogs are not yet fully understood, so owners need to educate themselves about its symptoms and remedies for the best of their furry friends. To avoid bloating in these dogs, owners should avoid giving them small, multiple meals and prohibit them from having vigorous exercise around mealtimes.


Coat Care

Caring for an Irish Setter’s silky coat is huge work. It requires regular combing, brushing, trimming, and clipping to keep it free of mats. The work even becomes bigger with show dogs having more profuse coats. They need more extensive grooming than their field counterparts.

Drying furry dogs up from a good bath, alone, can be a challenge. Nonetheless, you can always use good-quality towels and cloths to make things easier. Products, like the drying robes and coats from Siccaro, will not only lessen the hassle that comes with the task, but also look great on them. Aside from this, these products also provide water repellence and wind protection, which are important in keeping the dog warm and dry while outdoors.


Exercise Needs

As members of the sporting breeds, Irish Setters are very active. This means that they need plenty of exercise to thrive.

  • Siccaro Show Dogs
    For dogs that are solely bred for shows or for a family pet, fetching, daily walks, and occasional running would suffice to vent their stored energy and keep them lively and happy. Of course, they could also participate in some occasional canine sports, which they need to exercise their mind.
  • Siccaro Hunting Dogs
    On the other hand, Irish Setters that are bred for hunting are much more athletic. This means that they need more vigorous exercise, such as frisbee, paying ball, hunting practices, and other games where they can put their natural retrieving instincts to work.

Lack of exercise will get hunting dogs bored and make them rumbustious, which they usually express by chewing your valuables, so give the time to be active every day.



Of all the setter breeds, the Irish Setter could be the most trainable. In fact, this breed only needs a little training when it comes to hunting birds.

However, many a setter are easily distracted by sights, sounds, and scents that may excite them during training. So, you should know the techniques to hold their attention throughout each session.

Also, these dogs can be manipulative and stubborn, especially when it comes to household command training. It requires you to be patient, consistent, and calm if you decide to train them on your own.

By taking the right steps and training them at a young age, you can make these dogs develop good habits quickly. Just make sure to teach them proper manners, as bad habits can also be difficult to break in this breed.

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