Ireland has many ambassadors. Dark-smoky beer, genuine hospitality and helpfulness, breathtaking nature, and the Irish Setter are undoubtedly part of it. The hunting and family dog also has many faces – aristocratic in appearance, spirited when hunting and playing, and he is also a good-natured philanthropist.
Ireland, Scotland, and England are home to the historic Setter dog breeds; here they were and are used for hunting. The dog stops immediately in front of the prey (the English verb “to set” translated as “place” or “lay down” is part of its name). This gives the hunter a free field of fire or can cover the prey with a net.
Moorhen and partridges, ducks, pheasants, and snipes are placed in the water, in swampy and confusing terrain with the support of the water-loving hunting helper. The Irish Setter’s chestnut coloring prevails over the original red and white of the ancestors and is also known as the Irish Red Setter.
The current form of the Irish Setter can be traced back to the 17th century and their main function remained hunting until the late 19th century. Today, the four-legged friend has found a permanent place as a family and companion dog. Also in Germany for over a hundred years – more than 800 births per year show the appreciation of the most popular setter breed.
Irish Setter Character & Temperament
The genes of the working gun dog continue to be of paramount importance when it comes to employing and training the Irish Setter. The hunting instinct is unbroken and wants to be channeled with constant influence. This begins in puppyhood and remains required throughout the dog’s socialization.
Above all, an Irish Setter wants to please his owner – he will give almost everything for that. This fact can be used well and deepened to the required degree of obedience through patient and constant guidance and regular obedience exercises. This means that even the Irish Setter’s deep-rooted, omnipresent passion for hunting does not pose a problem and the companion can be called up in any situation.
In addition to the leader to whom he will trustingly subordinate himself, the pack of people in whose midst he wants to live, movement is a third indispensable pillar for the hunting dog. A pleasantly quiet and reserved Irish Setter in the four walls has tasks, occupation, and exercise for many hours outdoors as compensation.
He accompanies his human when cycling, jogging, or horseback riding. The pack leader regularly organizes search games, takes the four-legged friend to dog sports, or plays flyball with him. The temperament of the red never seems to flag. Depending on the individual suitability of the Irish Setter, the rescue dog test and mantrailing can represent an outstanding training goal and later work field for owner and dog.
Today he lives mainly as a family member, more rarely as a hunting dog. The even-tempered and sometimes sensitive coat-bearer is friendly towards everyone – he is too well-disposed to be a guard dog. He calmly accepts childish exaggerations and withdraws from them when it becomes too much for him.
The aristocratic setter is listed by the FCI under the standard number 120. According to this, the height at the withers of males is between 58 and 67 centimeters. Their weight varies between 22 and 32 kilograms – bitches stay below that.
The most striking features of the Irish Setter are its elegant stature, the chestnut-brown or chestnut-red color of the coat, and the long fringes on the legs, chest, throat, and tail. The monochrome may be interrupted by white spots on the muzzle, chin, chest, and forehead as well as on the toes.
The Irishman has no undercoat, which makes grooming immensely easier. As a result, it hardly sheds hair and matting can be dealt with by daily brushing and combing. The brush is indicated on the short sections of fur, the much longer fringes require combing out with a comb. Even if the fur picks up dirt easily, it releases it just as easily after drying and then brushing it out.