Irish Red and White Setter

The Irish Red and White Setter is a bird hunter that is high-spirited and highly athletic. Stockier and shorter than their cousin, the Irish Setter, these dogs make a great medium-sized companion.

Their sweet disposition, and admirable determination and courage make them a true all-around breed. You can expect a fun-loving family dog that also knows how to work hard. Read on to learn more about the Irish Red and White Setter.

Description of the Irish Red and White Setter

The Irish Red and White Setter (“IRW Setter”) is a natural hunter, but you will be hard pressed to find a more loving, friendly, and energetic dog. Perfectly suited for families and sportsmen alike, this breed loves to move and is always up for a good snuggle.

Bred as bird hunters, these dogs are natural athletes and their well-proportioned and muscled body shows that. Their square jaw is perfect for retrieving prey and balls alike.

The name “setter” comes from this dog’s ability to crawl through the grass after their prey and freeze into a “setting” position to tell their owner that the prey is ready to be caught.

In conjunction to all the amiable qualities of this dog, they are also a beautiful breed that makes a great addition to any family. Their long silky coat is soft to the touch, and they are defined by their red and white colored fur.

Life Expectancy and Size

These hardy dogs live an average of 11 – 15 years, and are generally healthy, but can have health problems that may impact their lifespan. Working with a reputable breeder can prepare you for potential genetic problems, but know that health issues can arise at any point in your IRW Setter’s life.

With males standing 24.5 – 26 inches tall and weighing 42 – 60 inches and females standing 22.5 – 24 inches and weighing 35 – 50, these dogs are robust enough to take almost anything in stride but are not too big for older children or small homes.

Protective Ability

While very aware of their surroundings and keen watch dogs, the friendly nature of the Irish Red and White Setter makes them better for welcoming strangers in than protecting against them. If anything, expect your IRW Setter to lick a stranger to death! These loving dogs are very trusting and friendly and you will love your setter for these great qualities.


Starting early is a great way to make training your Irish Red and White Setter easier and more enjoyable. These friendly dogs need consistent and positive training to succeed. Using treats is a great way to teach your dog.

The IRW Setter  also benefits from shorter training sessions. Keep things fun and interesting, as your dog will be quick and eager to learn if you make it enjoyable for them by getting creative.

Dog sports are also a great way to reap many benefits at once. They will learn, become more socialized, burn lots of energy, and bond with you. Now that’s a bargain!

Irish Red and White Setters have a tendency to wander after prey, so early training will teach them to listen to your commands and keep them out of trouble. A big fenced yard is a great way to allow your furry friend to burn off some energy without getting too far away.

Energy Level

This is a truly active breed! You will be hard-pressed to find a more energetic and loving breed than the Irish Red and White Setter. It’s almost impossible to give your mature IRW Setter too much exercise, but be careful with puppies.

Young dogs need exercise but it is important to protect the formation of their joints, so avoid jogging or biking with your dog until they are at least 18 months old. Playtime in the backyard is a good way to allow puppies to exercise without putting too much stress on their bones, as they will stop when they are tired.

While lots of activity is a daily requirement for the IRW Setter, lots of love and snuggling is important for this affectionate dog. Human time is the most valuable time for these dogs and they do not do well if left alone.

What Living with a Irish Red and White Setter is Like

Don’t expect to be able to get away with being sedentary with this breed. These dogs love playing with the kids, going for long walks, hunting, snuggling, and just about anything fun that you throw at them. Highly adaptable, the Irish Red and White Setter is enthusiastic about everything.

IRW Setters love to play with you, so expect daily walks, runs, games of fetch, or just chasing each other around in the background. This dog isn’t so picky as to how he moves, just that he gets to move, and he gets to do it with you! Make sure you are ready to commit at least an hour every day to your dog’s exercise.

While generally healthy, this breed is not without its potential health problems, so be prepared to take on a financial and/or time commitment in the event that they become ill.

Care of the Irish Red and White Setter

This is a truly adaptable breed. They are easy going and can be happy anywhere as long as they have enough exercise and interaction with their family.

Environmental Needs

These dogs have a beautiful thick coat that is perfect for winter climates. Able to stay outdoors all day in the field during more temperate to cool weather, the IRW Setter is a true outdoor dog that can be happy in most climates. But consider limiting time outside in truly harsh winter weather. They can also do well in heat, but because they have lots of fur, extreme heat is not the best for this breed.

Exercise Needs

This breed could move all day everyday. The love running around and daily exercise is a must for their health and happiness. Daily walks or runs, supplemented by playtime in the yard, are a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated and moving.

Irish Red and White Setters are bred to hunt, so keeping them on leash or fenced, unless they are trained to hunt, will keep them out of harm’s way.

Shedding and Grooming

Despite its luscious coat, the Irish Red and White Setter only needs weekly brushing to keep his coat shiny and healthy. Take special care to remove knotted fur around his ears, collar, and where his harness may rub. Monthly baths are usually enough to keep this dog clean. They may need more if they are out hunting and become muddy, or if they get into a mess. This breed sheds some, but not too heavily.

With their long floppy ears, it is important to check weekly for wax buildup or foreign objects. Trim your dog’s toenails every few weeks to keep them from having discomfort when walking.

Ideal Home Environment

These dogs can do well in almost any home, but apartments are not a good choice for this breed without special dedication to exercise every day. The Irish Red and White Setter needs lots of space to move around, both inside and out, so having a fenced yard is best.

Because of their sweet temperament, these dogs are popular with families. They are great with kids, but because of all their energy, make sure to keep an eye on them, as they may be too rambunctious for little kids. It is important to acknowledge that this breed has potential health issues that can be costly or shorten your dog’s life.

Health Concerns

The Irish Red and White Setter can be prone to orthopedic problems, like hip dysplasia, as well as eye problems like cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy. They can also have immune disorders and hypothyroidism.

Because of the small gene pool of the IRW Setter, it is especially important to work with a responsible breeder who does gene testing so you can be prepared for potential genetic health problems.

Behavior Problems

This breed needs to have lots of daily exercise. If not given ample time and space to move the Irish Red and White Setter can become destructive.

It is also important to make sure they are trained, kept fenced in, or on leash, as these dogs love to hunt after prey. Starting rewards based training early is key to teaching them what is okay and what is not.