Irish Setter Breed Information

Irish Setters are a member of the ‘Gundog’ breed group. Dogs in the Gundog group were originally trained to find live game and retrieve game that had been shot and wounded. The group is divided into four categories: Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters.

Irish Setters are very friendly, affectionate dogs that get on well with both children and other pets, making them a fantastic choice as a new family member. As with all breeds, early socialisation is important to ensure they grow up into confident, sociable dogs. To keep the coat of the Irish Setter glossy and in top condition, they’ll need grooming 2 or 3 times per week.

Breed-related health problems:

Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Irish Setters are prone to include:

  • Hip dysplasia – hip joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – often known as ‘bloat’, this is a condition where the stomach twists, trapping the contents and gases. This is an emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention. It’s often seen in large, deep-chested breeds.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – gradual deterioration of the retina of the eye. Symptoms can start with night blindness and progress to total blindness.
  • Atopy – hypersensitivity to certain allergens, causing itching and skin trauma.
  • Hypothyroidism – a condition in which there’s a decrease in thyroid hormone production.
  • Osteosarcoma – malignant bone cancer.
  • Epilepsy – a brain disorder which can lead to seizures.
  • Entropion – inward turning eyelids.

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.

You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

Exercise requirements:

Irish Setters have high energy levels and require plenty of exercise – ideally over 2 hours per day. They can give the impression of doing their own thing despite what’s being asked of them, which means you may have to put more effort into training. To learn more about reward-based training for your dog, visit our dog behaviour page where you can pick up plenty of tips to help you and your canine companion better understand each other.

Estimated lifetime cost:

The likely lifetime costs for an Irish Setter are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:

The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.

Insure your Irish Setter with PDSA:

1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Irish Setters that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:

  • 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
  • 4 levels of cover to suit you
  • Monthly payment at no extra cost

*Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.

By insuring your Irish Setters with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.

Energy levels
 
Overall grooming needs
 
Compatibility with other pets
 
Easy to train
 
How much exercise
 
Suitability for children/families
 
Tendency to bark
 
Average lifespan 12-14 years
Size Large
Coat length Medium
Possible health problems Hip dysplasia, Gastric torsion, Progressive retinal atrophy
Average price £500-£800
Estimated cost over lifetime £27,100-£30,800
Average weight Males 28-32kg Females 26-30
Breed group Gundog
Minimum garden size Large

Not sure if the Irish Setter is the right pet for you?