Meet the Breed: The Irish Red and White Setter

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Overview:

  • Height: 22"- 26”
  • Weight: 50-75 pounds
  • Historical function: Bird dog, companion
  • Modern function: Hunting, companion
  • AKC classification: Sporting

Physical Characteristics:

Although similar in appearance, the Red and White Irish Setter is a distinct breed and not just a separate color of the Irish Setter, though the Irish Setter was most likely developed out of the Red and White Setter strain. More athletic than racy, the Red and White is less flashy and showy than their red cousins. The single coat has a white base with patches of chestnut. Some speckling is acceptable on the head and hind legs. The coat has light feathering on the ears, neck, chest, legs, and tail.

History of the Breed:

The Red and White Irish Setter was documented as early as the 17th Century in Ireland. It was used for hunting birds. Originally, most of the Irish Setters were red and white, and the all-red versions were rare. The red-coated Irish Setter became more popular and diverged into their own breed and the less-showy Red and White Irish Setter was in danger of becoming extinct by the end of the 19th Century. A few fanciers implemented a breeding program starting in the 1920s to save the breed. The breed is still considered rare with only about 500 residing in North America.

Temperament:

The Red and White Irish Setter is mischievous and independent, intelligent and stubborn, anxious to please and yet wanting to have its way. Hunting instinct is strong and the breed enjoys a fine reputation as a reliable companion in the field. Irish Red and White Setters are energetic, affectionate, loving, high-spirited and full of energy. They have no guarding instincts, get along with other pets and are good with children. His outgoing and stable personality make him a favorite with families. Sensitive to tone of voice, this dog needs a calm, confident human pack leader for best results.

  • Best suited for: Families willing to exercise this active dog daily. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers a larger yard to play in that is securely fenced. Excels at agility.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Requires regular brushing and rare bathing to keep the coat tangle free. An average shedder.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk or jog. May become destructive if mental and physical exercise needs are not met.
  • Life expectancy: 11-15 years.
  • Health concerns: Generally healthy, though this breed may be prone to an autoimmune disease (CLAD) that prevents them from fighting infection, and von Willebrands Disease which causes the blood not to clot with injuries, and eye problems.

Breed Club Links: Irish Red and White Setter Association of America

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Check out our Grriggles Squawk Flock toys that these bird dogs will love!

Have any stories about an Irish Red and White Setter? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Ordinary Guy.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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