Since I make grooming coats (slinkies) for long haired dogs, I see a large number of Irish Setters and they seem like really sweet dogs. I thought it would be interesting to find out more about them so they are being featured today on Showdog Saturday.
Here's what I found out.
Irish Setters are descended from a mix of Irish Terrier, Irish Water Spaniel, English Setter, English Pointer and Gordon Setter. This breed more or less came about in the 19th century. They used to be red and white but the red was favored so that color was encouraged.
They were bred to be hunting dogs that both pointed and retrieved, especially fowl. They are also good at other types of hunting, as well as agility, and obedience because of their athleticism and grace.
These guys are VERY active dogs and need at least an hour a day of vigorous exercise. They are friendly, intelligent, enthusiastic and mischievous so they will get in trouble if they aren't kept busy. They are also family oriented and tend to suffer separation anxiety if left alone very long for very often and don't do well if they are kept outside.
Irish Setters are sensitive to tone of voice. They need firm, fair discipline and won't respect someone who isn't calm and in the lead. Clear rules and plenty of mental and physical stimulation will help these guys succeed. They are a bit slow to mature so remain puppy-like for several years, making them fun playmates. They are great family dogs but care is needed around the little guys because of their boisterous nature.