Irish Setter Breed Guide

Energetic | Loving | Child-Friendly. The Irish Setter is renowned for being one of the best dogs for families due to their kind and loving nature. Originally bred in Ireland for hunting, this pooch has high energy levels, perfect for active hooman families. Today we’re going to explore the origins of the Irish Setter, their grooming and activity needs, and why they might just be the perfect addition to your fur-fam.

Irish Setter Basics


Average Lifespan: 12-15 years

Average Weight: Male: 27-32kg Female: 24-29kg

Colours: Red/Chestnut

Origins: Ireland

Energy: High

History of the Irish Setter

As the name suggests, the Irish Setter was first bred in Ireland in the 1700s for hunting. With their keen sense of smell, these pooches would accompany their owners on a bird hunt and lie down onto their stomachs when they spotted their prey.

irish setter

Due to their striking mahogany red coat, they were easily spotted by their hooman companion, making them perfect to help hunters spot where the birds were nesting. This process was known as “bird setting”, and is where the Irish Setter gets its name.

Less used these days for hunting, the Irish Setter is still a very popular breed of dog within the UK and abroad due to their high intelligence and sweet-hearted nature.

How much do Irish Setter's cost?

Irish Setter's can cost anywhere between £500 to £2000 for a healthy pooch from a safe home. 

Don't forget to check out rehoming charities for floof's in need of a loving home!

What do Irish Setters Look Like?

Irish Setters are characterised by their striking mahogany/chestnut coloured double coat. They are average shedders who require weekly grooming to keep their coat in tip-top shape. Their long flowing fiery hair is known as a “feathered coat” with beautiful whispers of hair adorning their ears, legs and tummies.

Like their distant spaniel relatives, Irish Setters have the classic floppy spaniel ears. Theories for why these dogs were bred this way range from helping to pull scent particles closer to their nose for hunting, to keeping twigs and leaves from the low vegetation they hunt in out of their ears. It’s also thought that the long ears help to drown out unnecessary noises so that these clever pooches can focus deeper on the hunt.

Irish setters are medium to large dogs with a muscular build. They love to play and have high energy levels. With this and the fact that these pooches often have a higher metabolism than similar-sized dogs, it’s important to feed them a high quality, natural dog food to best support their health and longevity.

How Much Exercise Does an Irish Setter Need?

Irish Setters have loads of energy. With a keen sense of smell and an innate love for running, it’s important to keep these pooches stimulated. At least one hour of exercise per day is essential to keep your Irish Setter grinning.

This makes this breed the perfect addition to active families. From accompanying you on a jog, hike, beach walk or even running alongside you on a bike or skateboard, these doggos love it all. They also love ball fetching as this tends to satisfy their innate hunting desire, ideal for those days when you’re not feeling up to a long walk.

Are Irish Setters Easily Trained?

Irish setters are highly intelligent and obedient dogs. They are also very energetic and playful so will respond best to consistent and firm training. It’s important to enrol your pup into puppy school early to get the most out of their training.

Irish setters generally respond best to reward-based training so be sure to pick up some delicious treats to peak your best friend’s concentration. Our Chicken and Duck Softies are the ultimutt guilt-free dog training treat. They’re baked to a perfect soft bite and loaded with natural goodness to support a glossy coat, healthy skin and muscles, and a happy tummy.

Are Irish Setters Good With Children?

Irish Setters are great family dogs. Affectionate and tolerant, these pooches love being around children of all ages and make great playmates. Irish Setters are known for being extremely devoted to their families and don't like being alone, so be prepared for a lot of doggy cuddles.

In some cases, this devotion can lead to separation anxiety when their hooman families aren’t at home. If you think your Irish Setter may be showing signs of separation anxiety such as howling, barking, excessive chewing or escaping, check out our guide on how to calm a stressed dog or give our Calming Dog Treats a try. 

Do Irish Setters Need Much Grooming?

Irish Setters are average shedders so ideally need to be groomed scrum on a weekly basis to maintain their glossy flame-like coat. They have a double-layered coat meaning that they will shed more heavily as the seasons change so be prepared for a bit more clean-up in Autumn and Spring.

Due to their feathered coat, they have longer hair on their ears, legs and tummies which is prone to knotting or matting so make sure you brush out these fringes often with a metal pin brush.

Feeding an Irish Setter

As Irish Setters have a higher metabolism than similar-sized dogs it's important to feed them a high-quality and nutritious dog food. They have high energy levels and increased exercise demands so can be hungrier and eat more than less active dogs.

At Scrumbles we only use natural high-quality ingredients in all of our Dry Dog Food and Wet Dog Food to best support an active pooch’s happiness and health.

Gut health is at the forefront of our mission so we add prebiotics like Slippery Elm to our Wet Dog Food and Treats, and powerful probiotics to all of our Dry Dog Food to give your pooch a happy tum and pretty poops.

Final Thought

Overall this breed is best suited to an active owner or family who can keep up with their energy and stimulation demands. We think they’re definitely worth the effort, with a gentle, loving nature, they’ll pay you back with doggy cuddles and years of devotion.

While you’re here, check out our other breed guides to find the pooch best fit for you:

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