Breed Organization Irish Setter Club of America Website:
http://www.irishsetterclub.org Native Country Ireland Other Names Irish Red Setter, Red Setter, Red Spaniel, Madra Rua Life Expectancy Approximately 12-15 Years Litter Size Average 6-8 Puppies Breed Group AKC Sporting
Breed Appearance The Irish Setter is an active, aristocratic
bird dog, rich red in color, substantial yet elegant in build.
Standing over 24 inches tall at the shoulder, the dog has a
straight, fine, glossy coat, longer on ears, chest, tail and back of
legs. At work he is a swift-moving hunter; at home, a sweet natured,
Breed Description Head: Long, cleanly cut, without
heaviness. Oval skull. Pronounced occipital peak. Pronounced stop.
Muzzle fairly angular. Flews not pendulous. Nose mahogany, brown, or
black. Head slightly broader in the red and white variety. Ears: Set on low, medium-sized, thin, hanging with a fold flat
against the head. Set on at eye level in the red and white variety. Eyes: Not too big, dark (hazel or brown). Body: Well-proportioned. Neck very muscular, not too thick,
without dewlap. Chest narrow when viewed from the front, as deep as
possible. Rounded ribs. Muscular, slightly arched loin. Tail: Set on fairly low, medium in length, thick at the base,
tapering to a thin point. Carried level with the topline or lower.
Beautiful feathering. Hair: Short on the head and fronts of the legs. Elsewhere, hair
is medium in length, flat, neither wavy nor curly. Feathering long
and silky at the tops of the ears, long and fine on the backs of the
legs. Beautiful feathering on the abdomen. Coat: Mahogany setter: golden mahogany, never smoky. White
markings on the chest, throat, or toes, small flashings on the
forehead, or a narrow flare on the nosebridge or head are tolerated. Size: Red and white: dog: 62 to 66 cm (24.5-26 in); bitch: 57
to 61 cm (22.5-24 in). Red: dog: 57 to 70 cm (22.5-27.5 in); bitch:
54 to 67 cm (21-26.5 in). Weight: 20 to 25 kg (44-55 lb).
History The Irish Setter was brought to the United
States in the early 19th century. It commanded great respect in the
field and was one of the most commonly used dogs among the
professional meat hunter fraternity. In 1874, the American Field put
together the Field Dog Stud Book and registry of dogs in the United
States was born. The FDSB is the oldest pure-bred registry in the
United States. At that time, dogs could be registered even when bred
from sires and dams of different breeds. At about this time, the
Llewellin Setter was bred using blood lines from the Lavarack
breeding of English Setter and, among other breeds, bloodlines from
native Irish Setters. Around the same time, the red Irish Setter
became a favorite in the dog show ring.
The Irish Setter
of the late 19th century was not just a red dog. The AKC registered
Irish Setters in a myriad of colors. The Setter that was completely
red, however, was preferred in the show ring and that is the
direction that the breed took. Between 1874 and 1948, the breed
produced 760 conformation show champions, but only five field
In the 1940s, Field and Stream magazine put
into writing what was already a well-known fact. The Irish Setter
was disappearing from the field and an outcross would be necessary
to resurrect the breed as a working dog. Sports Afield chimed in
with a similar call for an outcross. Ned LaGrande of Pennsylvania
spent a small fortune purchasing examples of the last of the working
Irish Setters in America and importing dogs from overseas. With the
blessing of the Field Dog Stud Book, he began an outcross to red and
white field champion English Setters. The National Red Setter Field
Trial Club was created to test the dogs and to encourage breeding
toward a dog that would successfully compete with the white setters.
Thus the modern Red Setter was born and the controversy begun.
Prior to 1975, a relationship existed between the AKC and the Field
Dog Stud book in which registration with one body qualified a dog
for registration with the other. In 1975 the Irish Setter Club of
America petitioned the AKC to deny reciprocal registration, and the
AKC granted the request. It is claimed, by critics of the move, that
the pressure was placed on the AKC by bench show enthusiasts who
were unappreciative of the outcrossing efforts of the National Red
Setter Field Trial Club, as well as some AKC field trialers
following a series of losses to FDSB red setters. Working Irish
Setter kennels today field champion dogs that claim lines from both
the FDSB dogs and AKC dogs.
Behavior The Irish Setter is bursting with energy,
spirited, and independent. He has a highly developed sense of smell
and works rapidly, but his search range is smaller than that of the
English Pointer. He is flexible and points firmly. He specializes in
woodcock and partridge. Very affectionate, Irish Setters make
wonderful pets. They need firm but gentle training.
Health Skin problems, epilepsy, hip dysplasia and
bloat. Bloat is a health issue to most dogs, being the second
largest killer of dogs other than cancer, but Irish Setters can be
particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests. Other
health concerns include eye problems, hypothyroidism, and
Advice To live in the city, he needs lots of exercise
for his physical and emotional well-being. He requires daily
brushing and regular attention to the ears.