All About the Irish Setter

  • 20/11/2010

The Irish Setter is a beautiful and flashy sporting breed with a medium-long, silky red coat. The breed was developed in Ireland during the 1700's. Several other breeds were used in the creation of the Irish Setter including the Old Spanish Pointer, setting spaniels, and early Scottish setters. Originally, this type of dog had large white patches of fur in their coat; however, the modern examples display a rich mahogany colored coat. In Gaelic, the Irish Setter's name is Madra rua which translates to "red dog." The breed was developed for the hunting and pointing of upland gamebirds.

The breed was brought to the United States in the early 1800's. During this time period, the Irish Setter was not just a red dog but instead commonly had other colors in the coat such as white. However, only the completely red dog won in the show ring, leading to domination of breeding stock of that color. This trend produced 760 conformation champions but only 5 field champions between the years of 1874 and 1948. This created a trend of the Irish Setter diminishing in the field. To counteract this, certain English Setters were used as an outcross for the breed, beginning a modern controversy between the Red Setter and Irish Setter breeders.

The Irish Setter is an extremely swift breed and the fastest of all the setters. Additionally, they have an excellent sense of smell and are quite skilled at covering many different types of terrain. Male specimens of type of dog weigh about 60 to 70 pounds while females weigh about 53 to 64 pounds. Field dogs differ slightly from the conformation counterparts and only weigh about 45 to 50 pounds. Other colors, such as the inclusion of white patches or a fawn hue, are also acceptable for dogs who hunt in field trials.

The Irish Setter is a friendly and playful canine. They enjoy human company and also actively seek out other dogs for playing. They are a good breed around children, and although not naturally aggressive, they will bark if strangers approach their family's area. They have very high energy levels and need time to run everyday, often until they reach old age.

This type of dog is healthy but as with all purebred dogs, they are susceptible to certain genetic conditions. Hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and bloat are all possible conditions that potential owners should familiarize themselves with before purchasing a dog of this breed.

If you are interested in getting an Irish Setter, this new pet adoption website can provide more useful information.

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