Description: Who does not know the elegant Irish setters, with their red coat and long hair which give them such a distinction ? But not many people know that this breed, which originated in Ireland, was, initially, red and white. Since 1850, nobody knows how the red variety gained popularity so that the red and white setter declined.
The Irish setter is a member of the Sporting group, bred initially for hunting gamebirds. That’s why it is a run-loving dog. Today, the breed is very popular both as a pet and as a working gundog. And let’s be serious, how many paintings of bird hunters have you seen without a red setter nearby ?
Group: Sporting: gundog.
Height: Dogs 24-28 inches (62-71 cm) Bitches 22-26 inches (56-66 cm)
Weight: Dogs 65-75 pounds (25-34 kg) Bitches 55-65 pounds (25-29 kg).
The Red and White is, though, a little smaller. But don’t worry if your dog does not have these perfect measures. There is no disqualification in shows as to size.
Temperament: As the standard says, “an outgoing, stable temperament is the essence of the Irish Setter”. They are affectionate, happy, intelligent, energetic and ready all the time to go for a run. Can you keep up with that?
Even if it is considered an impulsive breed, its lovely nature makes it good for a family with kids and other pets. The only family they wouldn’t fit into are the sedentary, inactive ones who don’t have a back yard, at least. Being very friendly, they don’t make good guard dogs. They’ll soon make friendship with the robber and they’ll be ready to go for a run with him ;-) Left alone, they tend to bark too much and to eat odd objects: clothes, light bulbs, hooks. So, if you want a happy funny dog nearby, keep it active all day long.
Health: As with the bigger breeds, the Irish setters are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia. They are prone to skin allergies as well and ear infections, like otitis.
After surgical interventions for otitis, the dog might become bad-tempered. It tends to eat all sort of things therefore it tends to bloat. This is why you should keep an eye on your dog’s regime and feed it preferably 2-3 meals a day instead of one.
Other ailments: cataract, epilepsy, hypotiroidism and immune diseases. And why so many different diseases ? Because in 1970’s the breed was very popular, so everybody wanted to have a pair of those noble looking but childish dogs. And have you seen how many puppies can they produce? Check below.
Maintenance/Grooming: As you could see, if you're a coach potato (sorry), this dog is not your…cup of coffee.
Besides the two hours of running outside, the dog needs daily brushing and combing. The breed is an average shedder. It does not need baths, but try to keep its coat free of mats and tangles. Full grooming interval: 4-6 weeks. Trim between the pads and behind the ears to prevent mats.
As the Irish setter is prone to ear infections, take great care of the regular cleaning of the ears. Because its ears are dropped, the air does not circulate well, offering thus to anaerob bacterias good conditions for thriving.
Training: Like most intelligent dogs, the Irish setters are a free spirited and stubborn breed, and tend to do the things their way.
When outdoors, it should be kept in leash, because it loves to run and it will be very difficult to catch it, as the dog thinks that you want to play!
Early obedience training is a must, otherwise you will have a hard time to make him come back from its escapades. It likes to sniff, but is not a tracking dog, because it can be easily distracted.
The Irish setter dog manages well in watery areas. After all, it was a dog breed for water retrieving.
It matures slowly. In fact, the Irish setter will always be a big pup. So, the training methods must be adapted to its childish nature: firm, but not harsh.
Breeding, puppies: Quite large litters, between 8 and 10. Some of them even reached 16 pups !
Varieties: Red Setter and Red-and-White. The color is mahogany or rich chestnut red.
• King Timahoe, pet of Richard Nixon
• Big Red, book/movie character Big Red
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