Dog Breed

Irish Setter

Primary image of Irish Setter dog breed
Full Name
Irish Setter
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Life Span
10 - 11 years years
35 - 70 pounds

Affectionate, Energetic, Lively, Independent, Playful, Companionable

Bred For
Bird setting, retrieving
Family Considerations
Child Friendly

Is the Irish Setter good with children? Nearly all dogs enjoy playing with small children, but some can play too rough, or be a bit careless. In some cases dogs can get jealous of small children, or try and "herd" them due to their natural instincts.

Stranger Friendly

Is the Irish Setter friendly with strangers? Getting a dog that is friendly with people really depends on what your lifestyle is. Dogs who are more cautious with strangers oftentimes make good guard dogs, which can be a great fit for some owners. If you are social, live in the city, or frequently have guests over, you may want to consider getting a stranger friendly dog.

Dog Friendly

Is the Irish Setter friendly with other dogs? Of course this is particularly important if you already have another dog at home. However, it's an important factor to consider as well if you plan on frequently going to the dog park. Otherwise, even a dog who is not automatically friendly with other dogs can be an excellent fit, as they can still be affectionate with their human family.

Likes to Cuddle

Does the Irish Setter like to cuddle? All dogs want love, but they have different boundaries when it comes to physical affection. If you plan on frequently having a dog on your lap or pushed up against you, then you should consider whether this breed enjoys that.


Does the Irish Setter like to play? All puppies are playful, but as adults certain dogs are more playful. If you have children, or otherwise want to keep your dog active with plenty of play, there are plenty of options of breeds who will be happy to play all day.

Service Dog Ability

Does the Irish Setter make a good service dog? When looking to train a service dog it's important to consider how they were historically bred, and if their personality makes a good fit. A service dog must be smart, patient, and obsessed with pleasing their owner. Working dogs are a good fits since service dog 'work' gives them a feeling of accomplishment from doing a job.

Overall Ease of Breed
Ease for Novice

Is the Irish Setter good for first time owners? Dogs that are good for first time owners are ones who are easy to train, and are eager to please their owner. Very large dogs, or dogs with very high energy may also not be the best for first time owners since it adds a layer of complexity.

Training Potential

How well can the Irish Setter be trained? This rating is about the training potential of the Irish Setter. Dogs with high training potential oftentimes are good service dogs, police dogs, and dog show competition dogs. This does not necessarily mean they are the easiest to train, since many will be very intelligent and demanding.

Amount of Shedding

Does the Irish Setter shed a lot?

Ease of Grooming

Is the Irish Setter easy to groom?

Exercise Need

Does the Irish Setter need a lot of exercise?


How smart is the Irish Setter?

Amount of Barking

How much does the Irish Setter bark? Does the Irish Setter bark too much? It depends on your lifestyle, and where you live. Dogs use barking to communicate, keep guard, and alert. A strong bark can be a good characteristic for guard dogs, or flock guardian dogs who need to be vocal.In apartment living you should consider getting a dog who is less vocal.

Guard Dog Ability

Is the Irish Setter a good guard dog?

Tolerates Being Alone

Is the Irish Setter good at staying alone? Is the Irish Setter independent?

Home and Environment Considerations
Good for Apartment Living

Is the Irish Setter a good apartment dog? Can the Irish Setter live in an apartment without becoming frustrated or destructive? Typically people immediately consider the size of the dog, but energy level and historical habitat are also factors.


How big is the Irish Setter?

Tolerates Heat

How much does the Irish Setter tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Irish Setter?

Tolerates Cold

How much does the Irish Setter tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Irish Setter?

Potential to Run Away

Does the Irish Setter try to run away? Some dogs have natural wanderlust and are escape artists... they will do everything to get out and explore.

Physical Characteristics
General Health

Is the Irish Setter a healthy dog? The general health of a Irish Setter should be measured not just by how many years they live, but how often they have health issues during their lives. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.

Energy Level

How energetic is the Irish Setter? Is the Irish Setter too energetic for your lifestyle?

Amount of Drooling

How much does the Irish Setter drool?

Prey Drive

Does the Irish Setter have a large prey drive? Does the Irish Setter like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals? Prey drive can be bothersome at the park, but really an issue at home if you have small animals, since this comes as a natural instinct for dogs with high prey drive, to chase cats, birds, etc.


Is the Irish Setter atheltic? Is the Irish Setter fast and strong?

The Irish Setter is a purebred dog that belongs to the Setter sub group, which falls under the larger Sporting dog breed group.
Sporting group: Sporting dogs are the natural athletes of the dog world. They have high energy, and always look to be stimulated with some activity or challenge. These dogs thrive in the outdoors- particularly the woods and the water. Sporting dogs include the best swimming dogs, retrieving dogs, and other field activities. They have traditionally been bred to assist hunters find and retrieve birds and other smaller hunting game. Sporting dogs are not known as guard dogs, but because of their alertness and loyalty to their family, with proper training they can be good home protectors as well. Over the years they have become extremely well-rounded, so with plenty of exercise can make excellent home companions. They are willing to please their owners, so if you put the time into training and exercise you will be rewarded with an amazing dog.
Setter sub-group: Setters are incredibly friendly dogs that are also elegant and charming. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, but all have a unique "setter" look, mostly characterized by their large and fluffy ears. They have a soft expression, which goes perfect with their personality: happy and playful. But don't be fooled- they are bred as a hunting dog, so they are athletic and love being outdoors. They are eager to please, so can be a good dog for a first time owner. As long as you can give them love and exercise, there is a tremendous chance that your setter will be an excellent dog that rewards you a million times over.

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