Irish Red and White Setter Breed Guide

Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs

Middle Age: 5 years

Geriatric Age: 10 years

Life Span: 10 to 15 years

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Irish Red and White Setter Background & History

Originally from Ireland back in the 1700’s, The Irish Red and White Setter served as an excellent hunter due to their impressive tracking skills for finding birds and other small game. Although similar to their close Setter cousins, these dogs were actually the foundation for the other setter varieties, and are recognized today as completely different breeds.

In 1880, the Irish Red and White Setter almost became extinct when breeders tried to only breed the Red Setter variety. Then in 1940, a group of supporters worked to reintroduce and grow the Irish Red and White Setter breed. It took until 2009 that these dogs were finally registered on the AKC list of recognized dog breeds in the United States. While they are not the most popular dog by any means, the Irish Red and White Setter is still loved by many for their loving and energetic qualities.  

Irish Red and White Setter Personality

Lively, affectionate, and intelligent are the main characteristics of the Irish Red and White Setter. Their playfulness pairs perfectly with a household full of kids, but they can also do well in any other active home.

The Irish Red and White Setter thrives from human companionship. All they really want is to be surrounded by their loved ones. When everyone is home together, you can expect your Irish Red and White Setter to be right in the middle of all the action whether it’s in the backyard or right on the living room sofa.

Irish Red and White Setter Training

Although they can be slow to learn, the Irish Red and White Setter is still trainable with a little extra patience and attention. The best thing you can do is start the training process at a young age and keep the lessons entertaining. The last thing you want is for your Irish Red and White Setter to become bored and lose interest. Using positive reinforcement is also a great way to support your training efforts.

Just like with any breed, early socialization is a must in order for them to become a well-rounded pup later on in life. Make sure to introduce them to new places, people, experiences, and sounds so they become familiar with everyday occurrences.

Irish Red and White Setter Exercise Needs

The Irish Red and White Setter is a large and athletic breed that needs lots of mental and physical stimulation to be at its best. They love to run around or play in the backyard and will seek any opportunity to get outdoors. This breed is also quite adventurous and will participate in any activity as long as it’s new and exciting.

Many owners of Irish Red and White Setters will also participate in agility training or lure coursing. These activities not only push your dog both mentally and physically, but it’s also a great way to bond with one another.

Irish Red and White Setter Lifespan

The Irish Red and White Setter has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years.

Irish Red and White Setter Breed Popularity

Even though the Irish Red and White Setter may not be a popular breed, they are still loved by owners for their athletic and endearing personalities. Today, the AKC has ranked the Irish Red and White Setter as the 142nd most popular breed in the United States.

Irish Red and White Setter Feeding Requirements

The recommended amount of food you should be feeding your Irish Red and White Setter is between 2 to 3 cups a day, split into two equal meals. Keep in mind that this varies for each pet, and will depend on his weight, age, size, metabolism, and activity level.

When choosing your dog’s food, make sure you provide him with something that is all-natural and nutritious. Try and avoid products that list preservatives, fillers, or byproducts as the main ingredients in the food.

Irish Red and White Setter Grooming

Irish Red and White Setters are known for having a beautiful and majestic coat. Luckily for their owners, their coat is fairly easy to maintain and doesn’t require a precise grooming regimen. Weekly brushing is highly recommended in order to keep it clean from debris and free of tangles. You should also trim your pups nails on a regular basis so they do not become overgrown or crack.

Lastly, brush your Irish Red and White Setter’s teeth weekly to prevent tartar and bacteria from building up. This last step is crucial considering dental disease affects a majority of dogs at some point in their life.

Are Irish Red and White Setters Good With Kids?

Because of their affectionate and energetic behavior, the Irish Red and White Setter can be a great companion for kids. However, since they can be a little too spunky and overbearing at times, young toddlers and small children are not advised to be in the same household. The child should be old enough to know how to care and treat this breed properly in order for them to have a positive and safe relationship.

Irish Red and White Setter Health Problems

Just like with any other dog breed, Irish Red and White Setters are prone to several health complications. These may include:

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Progressive Retinal Atrophy in dogs is a degenerative eye disorder causes the rod and cone of the eye to deteriorate, leading to blindness. Although blindness is never a good thing, dogs can actually adapt very well when they lose their sight, and may not be a major issue for them.  

Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism occurs when the body is unable to produce a sufficient level of thyroid hormones. This can cause a fluctuation in weight, lethargy, and a change in a dog’s coat. Luckily for owners. Hypothyroidism can be treated by taking a synthetic hormone pill.

Hip dysplasia: One of the most common health conditions is hip dysplasia in dogs. This degenerative abnormality occurs when the hip socket and thighbone do not properly fit how they should, causing pain, lameness, and even arthritis. In severe cases, corrective surgery may be necessary.

Cataracts: Just like in humans, cataracts can also affect dogs. Canine cataracts is a condition that occurs when the lens becomes cloudy and opaque, causing vision to worsen and eventually lose sight altogether. In severe cases, the lens of the eye may be switched with a synthetic one through corrective surgery.

Other Resources

National Breed Website: Irish Red and White Setter Association of America, Inc.

Rescue: Irish Red and White Setter Association of America, Inc Rescue.

Health Issues Associated with this Breed: