Weather Updates
Monday, March 27, 2023

Irish Setter

Group: Gundogs (Group 3)
Club: Irish Setter Club Of Victoria Inc
Contact: Ms Rhonda Fisher
Phone: 9354 5419

Brief History

The exact origins of the breed are lost in time, but he is believed to have evolved from a variety of hunting dogs from Spain. As late as the last century he was still referred to by the Gaelic name Modder Rhu (red dog).

Originally, most Irish Setters were red and white, until, through selective breeding, the solid red we know today became the predominant strain by the late 1800’s. In 1885 the first Irish Red Setter Club was formed in Dublin and the first authoritative breed description was drawn up, complete with a scale of points for judging.

The Irish Setter has a long history in Australia. Although it is not known exactly when they first arrived, there are records dating from the 1880’s and the popularity of the breed increased throughout the latter half of the 20th Century.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime.

The average life span is 10 to 14 years.


The Irish Setter is fun loving, playful and demonstrably affectionate. He is mischievous and independent, intelligent and stubborn, but always happy to please. Irish Setters do not like to consider themselves dogs, but rather part of the family.

General Breed Description

Most handsome and refined in looks, the Irish Setter is tremendously active, with untiring readiness to hunt under any conditions. They have a soft expression and regal bearing and turn heads wherever they go. As well as working in the field, the Irish competes in such dog sports as Obedience, Rally, Scent Work and Conformation dog shows.

The coat of the Irish Setter is silky and of a rich chestnut colour. There may be some white on chest, throat, chin or toes, or small star on forehead or narrow blaze on nose or face.

Coat and Care Requirements

Regular bathing and brushing of the coat are required to keep it free of dirt, burrs, and mats. Hair should be trimmed around the feet and under the ears to prevent mud balls and mats. Brushing helps remove dead hair and stimulates production of natural oils, giving the coat that beautiful gloss.


The Irish Setter is a medium to large size dog.


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders it is recommended you enquire about the breed’s health and what health testing the breeder does. The Irish Setter is generally a healthy breed; however, health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Canine Leucocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA1 and PRA4), Bloat, Hip Dysplasia (HD) and Elbow Dysplasia.


Irish Setters are an active breed and require time and exercise, but they are most adaptable and will fit into any home. A daily walk or run is a must if you wish to have a happy well-adjusted Irish Setter. They need love and attention and a fenced yard is essential.

Bad habits can be avoided from the very beginning with proper supervision and ongoing training. The Irish Setter is very smart, so one must use care and patience in training this dog. It is advisable to enrol a six-month old puppy in a local obedience school to help with training and socialisation.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders