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Irish Setter

Irish Setter Breed


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Dog Size

Energy Level

Dog Energy Level


Dog Trainability

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Paws 'N' Pups Ranking


Physical Characteristics:
Height: 22-26”
Weight: 53-71 lbs.
Energy Level: High
The American Kennel Club recognizes the Irish Setter in only one color:

  • Mahogany

Health & Longevity

Average Life Span: 12-15 years
Irish Setters, while generally a healthy breed, are prone to a few serious and minor health complications that may affect their quality of life. There are a few genetic health issues that these pups are apt to develop at some point in their lifetime. But there are also health problems that could affect any dog of any breed, such as heart disease, heartworms, the parvo virus, and some types of cancer, such as bone, bladder, and brain.

Two of the most prominent health complications an Irish Setter faces are:

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This spontaneous condition affects both eyes, and occurs when the retinas begin to degenerate. This causes gradual vision loss, and complete blindness over time. Symptoms may include cloudy lenses and obvious disorientation. While incurable, this condition is often handled via retraining with verbal cues to better cope with progressive vision loss.

Hip Dysplasia

This birth defect occurs when the hip bone and socket are deformed, causing cartilage deterioration, long-term nerve damage, and random dislocation. The symptoms are subtle, but it might start with an awkward gait or a limp that worsens over time. If left untreated, this condition results in a permanent limp, painful dislocation, and severe arthritis. Surgery is required to correct this defect.

Other health conditions that could affect the Irish Setter includes hypothyroidism, epilepsy, juvenile cataracts, and arthritis. The average lifespan for a healthy Irish Setter ranges between 12 to 15 years. It is important to keep Irish Setters healthy, especially in their older age, since these pups often appear visibly droopy and sick if there is something wrong.

Temperament & Train-ability

Irish Setters are perhaps the best purebreds for families, especially ones with children. These pups are lively, boisterous, and friendly. They have lots of energy and zest for life, so all they want to do is bounce, romp, and play with their loved ones. The breed overall is even-tempered and naturally curious, but they may have a touch of intolerance towards chaos, too much rowdiness, and lots of noise. Teach your kids how to handle, pet, and play with your Irish Setter before you trust the two of them together. While these pups are playful and loveable, they still deserve gentleness and respect.

The Irish Setter is a rambunctious, excitable, bouncy pup that loves to play. So, a fenced-in backyard or a dog park would be ideal settings for your pup. Make sure the fence is high and deep though, as these purebreds are known for their awesome digging and jumping skills. On lazier or rainy days, invest in a few indoors dog toys for inside playtime. And walk your Irish Setter at least three times per day for 10-15 minutes each time.

Irish Setters are obedient and submissive by nature. Their eagerness to please makes them an easier purebred to train. Use fun, attention-grabbing methods to teach your pup how to comply with important commands, like sit, stop, wait, and come. Keep treats on hand to reward her obedience.


Sensitive to extreme temperatures in either direction, the Irish Setter needs a warm climate to feel comfortable. These pups are known for their lengthy, wispy, beautiful coats. Moderate shedders, the Irish Setter needs a twice weekly brush and comb to remove excess hairs, especially in the summertime. She should also be bathed every 6-8 weeks, have her nails clipped every 2-3 weeks, and have her teeth brushed daily. Be sure to clean her ears once a week with a cotton ball and warm water, too.

If you feel uncomfortable performing any part of your Irish Setter’s grooming regimen, take her to a professional groomer for a full treatment. This includes a bath, brush, trim, and any other services you request from your groomer.


Irish Setters are boisterous pups, but for the most part, these purebreds are calm, happy eaters. Never, ever give your dog an automatic feeder, since these devices promote obesity and related health issues. Implement a meal schedule instead—one that allows your pup to eat twice a day with 1 cup of dry, high-quality kibble per meal.

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Irish Setters are more difficult to find these days, but there was a time when these pups were abundant in popularity. Now, there are fewer breeders, but several Irish Setters have been abandoned as the high demand for these purebreds dwindled. Check your local animal shelter before you opt to buy from a breeder. You would be giving an abandoned, lonely Irish Setter a new chance at a happy, loving home. One where he can be retrained to be the perfect companion for your family.

If you happen to find an Irish Setter at the local animal shelter, adoption fees could run anywhere from $75 to $250. Add-ons, such as vaccination updates and spay or neuter services, tack on around $200 to $300, which ramps your overall adoption fee upwards of $400 to $550. But it is all worth it when you see the friendly, thankful expression of your new companion.

If you happen to find a trustworthy Irish Setter breeder, your costs could range from $300 to $660. Or, if you are seeking an Irish Setter with a particular bloodline, you could spend upwards of $875. You should also factor in long-term costs, such as regular vet check-ups, wholesome kibble, chew toys, and a fund for medical emergencies.

Paws ‘N’ Pups Ranking

Paws ‘N’ Pups ranks every breed out of 4 with 1 being easiest to integrate into your life and 4 being the toughest – The lower the ranking the better.

Ranking takes into account a few basic factors including cost, skill level needed, high vs low maintenance and how critical regular training is to success. Irish Setters are a firm 1 on the integration scale. These purebreds are great with families and other pets, which is a mega-bonus for pet owners with lots of loved ones. Their playful nature and high-burn energy also makes them a must-have breed for fitness-minded folks. Whatever type of pet owner you are, the Irish Setter embodies all of the great things that come with having a canine companion.


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