Irish Setter.jpg
Breed Group Group 11: Gun Dog Breeds
Sub-group 11-D: Setters
Origin Country Ireland
Weight Males: 70-75 pounds. Females: 50-65 pounds.
Height Males: 23-27 inches. Females: 21-25 inches.
Other Name(s) Irish Red and White Setter, Irish Red Setter
Breed Type Pure
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Irish Setter

Breed Group Group 11: Gun Dog Breeds
Sub-group 11-D: Setters
Origin Country Ireland
Weight Males: 70-75 pounds. Females: 50-65 pounds.
Height Males: 23-27 inches. Females: 21-25 inches.
Other Name(s) Irish Red and White Setter, Irish Red Setter
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

Thought to be a merge of the Irish Terrier, Water Spaniel, English Setter, Pointer, and Gordon Setter, the Irish Setter, also known as the Irish Red Setter, contains all the ingredients for a stunning breed, field or show line. Bred to hunt game birds, the Irish was trained for netting, a process where the dog seeks game, crouches before the quarry, and waits for the hunter to cast a net covering the prey and the dog. As the sporting gun was added to the field, the Irish’s purpose transformed into its modern expectation of pointing game by quartering—a technique in which the dog zigzags across a field in front of the hunter. Given the hunter’s command, the modern Irish will crouch to the ground in order for the hunter’s line of fire to directly target the prey. Some estimates mark the Irish’s appearance in early- to mid-1700s Ireland according to written records; although, at its first conception the Irish Setter resembled the Irish Red and White Setter with a mainly white coat bearing red areas. In the nineteenth century, selective breeding created the modern Irish’s striking solid red coat ranging in shades of chestnut red to mahogany.

Today, the Irish Setter can be found in two color varieties: the Irish Red Setter and the Irish Red and White Setter. Often considered two separate breeds, Continental Kennel Club considers them separate varieties of the same breed.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat mesaticephalic skull type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is somewhat broad, being approximately one-half the length of the topskull, and slightly arched or domed when viewed from the front. In profile it appears somewhat long, with well-developed and raised brows. Some specimens will have a well-developed occiput, while the occipital areas of others will remain prominent, yet smooth. The skull is flat and level between the brow and the occipital area, with good depth of topskull, giving a deep rectangular appearance to the cranium in profile. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval, almond, to somewhat round in shape, and hazel to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented with no evidence of haw or looseness. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, set level with the eyes or just below, and placed somewhat back on the skull. The ears are pendant, with the inner edge hanging close to the head.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad, ending abruptly in a square, rather than tapered. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, are strong, well developed, and almost perfectly equal in length, never appearing snipy or weak.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black or liver. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderately long length allows for proud head carriage and great range of motion for the field, it is strongly-muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed, but not overly prominent.
Body: Deep, solid, and of good substance to allow for endurance and stamina. The body is never heavy or cloddy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set somewhat low on the croup, thick at the base, and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually straight out and level with the topline, or lower, but never tucked. The tail is of a rather long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved.
Movement: Powerful, agile, lively, efficient, effortless, energetic, and enduring. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: With his silky red coat and sleek body, the Irish remains unrivaled in beauty. However, his high-spirited and loving nature distinguishes him from other breeds. Classified in the sporting (or gun dog) category, the highly energetic Irish requires ample opportunities to run, full-out. The fun-loving Irish often receives a reputation of being unintelligent; however, what is mistakenly considered “unintelligence” is actually the Irish’s stubbornness and independent thinking—an Irish may not respond to commands if he does not perceive the “fun” or “reward” that will result. Despite his stubborn, redheaded streak, the Irish can never be accused of lacking loyalty and affection. He is extremely devoted to his family, and even though he is not genetically predisposed to a guarding instinct, his alertness enables him to be watchful of his loved ones without exercising aggression. The Irish’s slow maturation process necessitates a patient, firm handler who appreciates the breed’s youthful exuberance. Well-sprung ribs encasing powerful lungs, a large heart, and lean legs allow unparalleled agility and swiftness on all terrain when compared to other setters. Despite his gentle nature, the Irish may be too active for younger children and could potentially be destructive if not provided enough physical and mental stimulation. However, with early training, proper care, and the right setting, the Irish can be an outstanding family addition. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 11: Gun Dog Breeds

Proportions: Off-square to somewhat rectangular in proportion with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump being just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is between 5:4 and 10:9. The body is well put together, with sturdy substance and medium bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type. Bred as a working field dog, this consideration must be made when evaluating any potential breeding stock.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat mesaticephalic skull type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is somewhat broad, being approximately one-half the length of the topskull, and slightly arched or domed when viewed from the front. In profile it appears somewhat long, with well-developed and raised brows. Some specimens will have a well-developed occiput, while the occipital areas of others will remain prominent, yet smooth. The skull is flat and level between the brow and the occipital area, with good depth of topskull, giving a deep rectangular appearance to the cranium in profile. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: Gentle, soft, friendly, alert, watchful, and intelligent.
Stop: The stop is well-defined and distinct, yet never sharp or exaggerated.
Skull: The ideal skull-to-muzzle ratio is 1:1, with the topskull being equal to the muzzle.
The ideal skull-to-muzzle axis is parallel.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad, ending abruptly in a square, rather than tapered. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, are strong, well developed, and almost perfectly equal in length, never appearing snipy or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are rather clean and fit well over the teeth and jaws. The upper lip aids in giving the muzzle a deep and square appearance, yet should never extend beyond the line of the lower jaw, or appear loose or pendulous.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black or liver. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: Slightly chiseled to smoothly muscled. Never coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval, almond, to somewhat round in shape, and hazel to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented with no evidence of haw or looseness. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, set level with the eyes or just below, and placed somewhat back on the skull. The ears are pendant, with the inner edge hanging close to the head.

Body and Tail

General Description: Deep, solid, and of good substance to allow for endurance and stamina. The body is never heavy or cloddy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderately long length allows for proud head carriage and great range of motion for the field, it is strongly-muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Topline: May be slightly sloped or level from slightly prominent withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat and level or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never swayed or roached.
Croup: Gently sloped.
Underline: Slight tuck-up present. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Tail: Set somewhat low on the croup, thick at the base, and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually straight out and level with the topline, or lower, but never tucked. The tail is of a rather long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, of moderate bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of moderate bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: Short and fine on face, head, front of legs and lower hindlimbs. Throughout dorsal neck and body, the coat is somewhat longer, of medium length. Somewhat longer feathering and fringing on ear leathers, chest, underline, back of forelegs and upper hind legs, and tail. Coat should never be abundant or long, or in any fashion that would hinder a dog in the field. Dogs should never shaved, clipped, or excessively trimmed.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Irish Setter breed: the standard color varieties of red, and red and white, as well as nonstandard color variety.
Red coat color variety: Any solid shade of red, chestnut, or mahogany. Small amounts of white hairs are allowed on the chest, throat, chin, muzzle, skull, or toes.
Red and white coat color variety: Any solid shade of red, chestnut, or mahogany, all with varying degrees of clear white markings. Clear white base color with varying degrees of well-defined patches of red, chestnut, or mahogany. Both with or without flecking (not roan) on face and fore and hind legs.
Nonstandard coat color variety: Red with traces of black (sables or agoutis), liver or chocolate, any standard or nonstandard color with roaning or belton markings throughout the body, or roan or belton markings throughout the body with patches of standard or nonstandard colors.

Movement

Powerful, agile, lively, efficient, effortless, energetic, and enduring. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

With his silky red coat and sleek body, the Irish remains unrivaled in beauty. However, his high-spirited and loving nature distinguishes him from other breeds. Classified in the sporting (or gun dog) category, the highly energetic Irish requires ample opportunities to run, full-out. The fun-loving Irish often receives a reputation of being unintelligent; however, what is mistakenly considered “unintelligence” is actually the Irish’s stubbornness and independent thinking—an Irish may not respond to commands if he does not perceive the “fun” or “reward” that will result. Despite his stubborn, redheaded streak, the Irish can never be accused of lacking loyalty and affection. He is extremely devoted to his family, and even though he is not genetically predisposed to a guarding instinct, his alertness enables him to be watchful of his loved ones without exercising aggression. The Irish’s slow maturation process necessitates a patient, firm handler who appreciates the breed’s youthful exuberance. Well-sprung ribs encasing powerful lungs, a large heart, and lean legs allow unparalleled agility and swiftness on all terrain when compared to other setters. Despite his gentle nature, the Irish may be too active for younger children and could potentially be destructive if not provided enough physical and mental stimulation. However, with early training, proper care, and the right setting, the Irish can be an outstanding family addition. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.