If you are a dog lover and you are looking for an elegant, beautiful, active, and playful breed, the Irish setter puppy is a tremendous option. This dog has a bearing that shows a unique elegance and makes it a dog loved by many families due to its great personality. In their origins, they were dogs dedicated to hunting, but little by little, it changed to be a companion dog. He is one of the founding breeds of the American Kennel Club (AKC) and many important and well-known people in the world had this dog as a pet. If you are interested in knowing more about this ancient breed with captivating beauty, read on.
The exact origin of the Irish setter is not really known but it has had a part in history throughout these centuries. It is believed that this breed comes from a set of crosses between the English setter, Gordon setter, Pointer, and Spaniel. The presence of this breed was more prominent from the 18th century when hunters wanted dogs that were dedicated to bird hunting, giving support to the hunters to get their prey more easily with a good smell and good physical activity, being recognized as a bird dog. Previously the ancestors of the Irish Red setter were the white setter with red spots, but the Irish were eager to have a gun dog that was completely red, so the Irish Earl of Enniskillen started a selectivity breeding program of only red setter dogs, but he began to increase the fame and fashion of having only Mahogany red Irish setter dogs with a smooth coat and a single pattern, leaving behind the whites and reds. Other people were known at the time who dedicated themselves to the breeding of red dogs as Jason Hazzard of Timaskea and Sir St. George Gore. In the beginning, this breed was to be a hunting dog but as the years went by they started to participate in dog show competitions because of their great beauty. In 1882 the Irish Red Setter Club was established by breed lovers to start promoting and defining breed standards until it was made official by highly recognized organizations.
In 1875 came the first Irish Setter imported into the United States, where it created a great impact and draw attention from the moment it arrived captivating many dog lovers. The first Irish setter that was registered in the American Kennel Club was in 1878 and was recognized once the club was officially founded in 1884 being part of the 9 founding breeds of the Club. Later in 1891, the Irish Setter Club of America was created in conjunction with the AKC to represent this breed in the United States.
Like many dog breeds, its population decreased after the First and Second World War, but it was able to recover thanks to the people who were dedicated to this breed. Also, this dog was recognized for participating in a fictitious role in the novel “Big Red” by Jim Kjelgaard and also for being a pet by important people like President Richard Nixon. Nowadays, this breed has reached all parts of the world and has captivated many people because of its great beauty, and although it is a dog that many people want to have, they should be very conscious of the responsibilities that come with having this beautiful dog as a pet.
Irish setters are famous for having a unique beauty that attracts a lot of attention and being loved by many people. It has a life expectancy between 12 and 15 years. It belongs to the group of sporting breeds in the AKC and as a gun dog in the United Kennel Club (UKC), it’s a large-sized dog where its size and weight vary according to sex, the male Irish setter measures about 27 inches and weighs about 70 pounds, while the female setter measures about 25 inches and weighs about 65 pounds. Its head is long and thin with a slender and elegant appearance, its eyes are almond-shaped, with good separation and are of brown color, its ears are backward, big and fallen to the sides, covered with a beautiful long coat, its muzzle is moderate with a clear nasofrontal (forehead) depression and its nose is black with a good sense of smell. It has a long neck and body with a noble style, keeping its head up in its walk, it is muscular and agile with the ability to do any type of activity, it is a little longer than tall with a wide and deep chest, its legs are elongated and well-formed with a firm step. Its tail is a bit elongated with an upward slope, with a wider base and reaching the thinner tip covered with bangs.
Irish Setter’s coat is the most attractive of this dog being unique and striking, it is smooth and silky to the touch, its length varies according to the part of its body, in its head and neck it is short, its ears, tail and front chest until the complete inferior part of its body is of medium-long length, in its upper body until the legs it is of medium length. The only color accepted in this breed is Mahogany or rich chestnut red in a solid color pattern all over his body, no other color is accepted except for some small white spots on his chest, neck, or toe but they should be minimal, black is not accepted.
Irish setter puppies are known to have a very active, playful, and even mischievous temperament when it comes to doing their thing. They are dogs that have a great personality and great qualities that make them perfect for families, they get along well with both adults and children, they usually enjoy good times with the little ones and more because they are very active and playful. The socialization and education from a puppy is something fundamental since it helps you to train the pet that can adapt to any type of environment without danger, to make any type of work and to learn to obey you, since they are very intelligent to tend to do what they want without having good training and can make a lot of disasters.
This dog is not suitable for single people, and even less for living in apartments, due to their origin of being hunting dogs they have the need to be very active and run a lot, and also they like to keep close to people most of their time, it requires attention or just not feeling alone, and by spending many hours alone they can suffer from separation anxiety developing destructive attitudes, stress and depression, at the same time affecting the things in your home, it is a dog that needs a lot of space so it is suitable for houses with gardens or yards that are protected so it doesn’t escape, and more with the fact that it gets along well with strangers. They are not dogs that serve to have them as guard dogs but they will let you know by barking that strangers or visitors have arrived, equally due to their family bond if there is a dangerous moment, they can protect you.
You have to be aware that since he is a very active dog, he needs at least two outings a day to take long walks of approximately 30 minutes or about 45 minutes so that he can drain his energy and get the exercise he needs. It is important to know that because of his bird hunting instinct, the socialization of smaller animals like cats must be at a very early age to have a better coexistence and he can get used to it from a puppy. Even though they are an adult dog, the Irish setters usually keep a puppy heart almost all their life, keeping attitudes and actions as if they were still young, so you must take into consideration that they will be dogs with a high level of activity all their life.
If you want to have an Irish setter dog you must commit yourself to do everything necessary to take the continuous care that this breed needs. Due to its long, smooth coat and its moderate hair shedding it is recommended that you brush it every day mainly to help remove dead hair and at the same time avoid knots, you also help it to keep a shiny and silky coat by stimulating the natural oils of its skin. You can bathe him every couple of months or when you consider it necessary if he has to be very dirty, use only special and natural shampoos and conditioner for dogs to keep their coat healthy and make sure it doesn’t contain chemicals that could affect their health. Because their coat tends to grow a lot, I recommend that experts handle their haircuts, to give them the best possible treatment or care, and also avoid any accident that could damage it during the cut.
You also have to check and maintain good oral hygiene, cleaning a few times a week with toothpaste and toothbrush for dogs because they are prone to have dental disease. If they don’t give them good care since they a puppy, they can start with tartar build-up on the teeth, and progresses to having an infection of the gums and roots of the teeth while growing. Therefore, it is important to know that putting the risk that they can lose the tooth completely and suffer tooth abnormalities. At the same time damaging their kidneys, liver, heart, and joints, so much so that it can reduce their lifetime. Irish setter dogs are also prone to ear infections because their ears are big and droopy, so they don’t have a good air vent, also so you should always keep clean or check their eyes. Also, make sure that the Irish setter nails should be trimmed at least once a month using a dog nail clipper.
As I mentioned before, it is an energetic dog that needs at least a daily exercise routine to stay active, and also to find out how to drain its energies, so if you are a person who constantly exercises or jogs daily, you can take your pet with you and take advantage of both the moment, This will stimulate both his body and his mind, because if you start to neglect your dog he can develop negative tendencies that generate stress and at the same time he can develop overweight, don’t let him be a couch potato, also get him used from puppy to use his leash so you don’t have any problems when you go out. You can also make different types of games that stimulate him mentally using his sense of smell, that he looks for objects, make him run behind something that he likes, or you can prepare your dog to participate in canine sports that include activities such as tracking, agility, obedience, and rally.
The feeding of the Irish Setter breed is mainly based on providing high-quality food, which complies with ingredients that are beneficial to their health, moreover, provide good nutrition for their growth, also in this way you can avoid future diseases. Wherever you go to get dog food you should make sure to check all the ingredients it has, and if they are the right ones for its condition. You should always allow them access to water that is clean and fresh.
Depending on the age of this dog breed you have to focus on what nutritional aspects are right for their development. These are divided into 3 stages:
- Puppies: once your new pet is ready to be weaned, you can choose a high-quality puppy food and make sure it contains vitamins, iron, calcium, and protein. This will allow your puppy to grow in good health and without any bone or muscle problems. Pups improve with a routine, so establish and set guidelines for a moderate schedule for eating, so you can maintain it while continuing to grow, encouraging better breeding.
- Adult: as they are large dogs they also need large doses of food. I recommend that you ask your vet what is the best amount you can give them, as it can vary according to their weight. They must contain a high degree of protein and you can choose their feeds depending on their lifestyle, whether they are dogs that exercise constantly, or are normal life dogs or even feeds that help them lose weight if they are overweight.
- Senior: after the age of 7 you should start focusing on what type of nutrition is most suitable for your dog. Unlike other ages, the amount of protein can be reduced in case they are in delicate health, your vet will recommend which diet is most beneficial for them.
You can also choose to feed them with Human foods that are safe for your pet, you can ask your veterinarian what type of food is best or not to feed them. You can give your dog treats and more when you are training him, since this way he will feel rewarded but you must still control the amount you give him since they contain high levels of calories and can cause obesity.
The setter breeds are usually delicate of the stomachs and more because they have a long and deep chest can suffer from Gastric dilatation-volvulus or usually called Bloat, this happens because your pet eats fast and in large quantities, drinks too much water, and exercises before and after, as a consequence it causes the stomach to fill with air or gas causing it to squirm, the dog is unable to burp or vomit to release those pressures in the stomach, therefore, preventing the normal backflow of blood to the heart, so the blood pressure drops and ends up going into shock. If you find your dog is salivating excessively, trying to vomit but unable to, and you see his abdomen distended, you should take him to a vet immediately, otherwise, he could die. That’s why it’s important that you keep an eye on their diet and that you divide their food into small portions during the day to rest before and after eating.
Like many dog breeds, the Irish Setter is equally prone to developing genetic diseases or conditions that affect its health, but this does not mean that it will have all these diseases. One of the main ones that are better known in large dog breeds like the Rottweiler, Golden retriever, and others tend to suffer from hip dysplasia being one of the most common, it is an Inherited disease that makes the hip bone doesn’t fit with the femur, causing wear and joint pain. Then, if you see your dog limping, you should go to the vet as soon as you can as with any other changes in his behavior. Another condition that is very similar to this situation is elbow dysplasia, but limping by the front legs, that with early diagnosis it can be treatable and even prevented.
This dog breed is prone to suffer reactive seizures is an inherited disease that they usually suffer, if your pet starts suffering from seizures usually appear starting from the sixth month and three years of age. This can happen when the brain responds to a metabolic problem like low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin. If you see your dog having seizures, avoid that he hurts himself and also don’t try to control his mouth or grab his tongue since it could be a danger for you, and it won’t be of much help for him either, from the first moment you see this happen you should take him immediately to the vet to make all the pertinent tests to get the cause if it is treated early, he can be given medicines for a lifetime to control it, and you should take him to constant blood checks to avoid any negative effect.
The Irish red could also suffer from progressive retinal atrophy, an eye disease, and one of the main symptoms that can develop is night blindness, and over the years your dog will become visually handicapped, so be sure to have your pet checked by your vet every few times between the early years to ensure this inherited disease is ruled out, and to make sure your Irish setter pup don’t inherit it. Also, other diseases that can occur to this dog breed are hypothyroidism, which appears when there is a problem with the thyroid hormone, you can notice the symptoms when it begins to present obesity, is tired for no reason, loses a lot of hair, and may present infertility.
Another disease that has been present in this breed and sometimes is very difficult to detect so you should tell your vet that the Irish setter can be affected by Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD), is a condition that can affect puppies between 4 and 8 months of age in which it begins to limp due to excess protein and calcium, also may have other signs such as fever, swollen joints, loss of hunger, lethargy and walking less. It can be treated if found in time, occasionally it can be fatal.
The best way to prevent all these diseases from developing is with a constant checkup from puppies, also at the time you get to observe any abnormal symptom, you should take it immediately to check with the doctor. You should always be up to date with his vaccination schedule and do his continuous deworming.
As this breed is prone to many diseases, many pet owners decide to buy Pet health insurance, which helps them with future expenses and avoids large payments on possible surgeries. You can investigate which insurance is the most useful for you and covers all your needs.
If you consider that this is the right breed for you and you want to get an Irish Setter puppy, you can do it through a reputable breeder within the AKC marketplace, since it is the only exclusive site that has registered 100% of litters, and the breeders who have really cared and dedicated to raising puppies following the rules and regulations established by the AKC. In this way, you can be sure that your puppy is in good health through all the certificates and tests performed, that he was raised in good conditions, that he had all his check-ups, vaccinations, and deworming done by a veterinarian, also you can be sure that his parents are not exploited just to have puppies, but that their breeding time is respected and they are under all the care they deserve. Avoid having them through puppy mills or pet stores that do not give you a true picture of the health of your puppy and by the way, this makes pet exploitation keep growing.
Also if you want you can go to shelters or Irish Setter rescue groups to adopt them and give them a second chance to be with a family, as there are many that are abandoned because the people who get them are not aware of the responsibilities that come with carrying this pet, so before making a decision about having this breed inform yourself!
If you are looking for a dog that likes to be in the family, that is affectionate, active and stands out with its beauty or simply you want to have a dog to be dedicated to dog competitions and give him a lot of love, the Irish setter is your perfect puppy to have, it is going to be the best decision to bring a new member to your family, in which both of you will form great memories together. Don’t forget that this dog needs attention and care so if you choose to have it you must assume all the responsibility.
If you have any questions or if you think I’ve missed anything please let me know in the comment section down below.