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Irish Red and White Setter

The Irish Red and White Setter can be the most devoted and affectionate of dogs. They are fun-loving, friendly, and also high-spirited.

Overall Status

Height 22.5 to 26 inches
Temperament Courageous, Spirited, Determined
Weight 35 to 60 pounds
Life Expectancy 11 to 15 years
Coat Color Red, White
Barking Level Medium

Quick Factors

Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips Exercise Tips Feeding Tips Health Tips Trainability

The Irish Red and White has a silky coat that sheds dirt easily. It also sheds hair, but only moderately. The coat should look natural and, except for the undersides of the feet, does not need any shaving or trimming.

Brush and comb the coat a couple of times a week and being careful to gently remove any tangles or mats in the feathering. Regular brushing will keep the coat clean, but you’ll want to bathe the dog occasionally if the white hair starts looking dingy. TheIRWSAhas a section with grooming tips on its web page.

The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

You’ll need to be aware of a few genetic issues that are common with the Irish Red and White Setter. Before bringing a puppy home, check the dog’s lineage for a history of hip dysplasia or cataracts.

You should always get full disclosure from breeders about the medical history of the parental line and have your puppy checked by a vet for any problems before agreeing to the sale.

There is no one particular diet that is best for your Irish Red and White Setter. You should always feed your dog the best quality food you can, one with quality ingredients and fewer byproducts. Complete dog foods will have all the vitamins and minerals needed for both puppies and adults.

Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

Irish Red and White Setters have health conditions that can be a concern, especially if you don’t screen the breeder carefully. They includehip dysplasia, eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidism, and an immune disorder called Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD). A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

The breed’s high spirits can make them a challenge to train. A key is to keep training sessions short, interesting, and upbeat, and as long as you start at an early age.

You will need to challenge the Red and White Setter throughout the training process so that it doesn’t become bored. Since young dogs are full of boundless energy and easily distracted, you may have your work cut out for you. It may be helpful if you isolate your Irish Red and White Setter from other dogs and potential distractions while training them.

Red and White Setters will not respond well to negative training or loud or raised voices. In fact, it may become timid or will avoid people is this training method is employed.

This breed quickly learns when it comes to what you want, but on the flip side, it will also learn what it can get away with. Even if this is your first dog, most people won’t have much trouble working with the Irish Red and White Setter, as long as you use a consistent, firm and loving training style.


The Irish Setter probably came to its own at the end of the 17th Century. It is not well known outside of Ireland that there are two breeds of Irish Setters, but it is fairly certain that the Red and White Setter is the older of the two, and that the solid red color evolved through judicious selective breeding.

When Irish Setters came to the show benches just past the middle of the 19th Century, there was a good deal of confusion about their proper color. By the end of the 19th Century, the Red Setter had virtually eclipsed the Red and White, which became so rare that they were thought to be extinct.

During the 1920s, efforts were made to revive the breed. By 1944, the breed had re-established itself well enough to have a club of its own, and today it can be seen in healthy numbers at Irish shows and field trials.

The present club, the Irish Red & White Setter Field & Show Society, was formed in 1981 and through its endeavors and direction, the breed is now well established nationally and internationally. The Irish Red and White Setter were first recognized by the AKC in 2009.

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