Irish Red and White Setter

Irish Red and White Setter

The Irish Red and White Setter is a playful, energetic, fun-loving, affectionate and intelligent breed. Sounds great, right? Well, while it’s true that this adorable dog breed has endless positive traits, potential owners should be aware that she has endless amounts of energy. If this energy isn’t burnt, you might have destructive pooch on your hands! Originally bred as a hunting dog, this rare dog breed is a great match for active couples or families who have lots of time to dedicate to exercising and adventuring.

Key facts about the Irish Red and White Setter

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Hunter

Size :

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Origins and history

The Irish Red and White Setter was bred in Ireland (if the name didn’t give it away!) to hunt birds and small game. She was, of course, originally red and white. However, when breeders decided they preferred the dog with a solid red coat, the original Red and White Setter almost faced extinction. Thankfully, in the early 1940s, a group of dedicated breeders helped the breed make a comeback - though the breed is still extremely rare to this day.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 7 - Pointing Dogs


Section 2 : British and Irish Pointers and Setters

Physical characteristics of the Irish Red and White Setter

  • Irish Red and White Setter
    Irish Red and White Setter

    Adult size

    Female : Between 22 and 24 in

    Male : Between 24 and 27 in


    Female : Between 40 and 51 lb

    Male : Between 44 and 55 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    The Irish Red and White Setter is a medium-sized, athletic dog with an elegant appearance. The body and limbs are lean yet powerful and muscular, while the neck is relatively long and, again, muscular. The broad head and face features a squarish muzzle, clear stop, round eyes and eye-level ears. Overall, she is an attractive looking, agile, and athletic breed.

    Good to know

    The Irish Red and White Setter is classed as a vulnerable breed and has almost faced extinction several times.


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      This breed is affectionate and friendly to pretty much everybody it meets! To her owner, in particular, she will display an endless show of love and loyalty.

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      The Irish Red and White is a super playful breed who’s always happy to join in with family games, sports and activities.

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      While this breed can be calm and content in the home providing her exercise needs are met, she’s a naturally high-energy and active dog who will quickly become hyperactive if under-exercised or bored.

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      This pup is definitely smart, which means she’ll learn new tricks and commands with ease. She has a determined and courageous character, which emerges when she is at work.

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      While the Irish Red and White Setter makes a fantastic companion dog, it’s important to remember that she was bred to hunt. Therefore, this breed has a natural prey drive for small animals and wildlife.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      She may be suspicious of people who don’t strike her as friendly.

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      Despite the Irish Red and White Setter’s loving and warm temperament, she has an obvious independent streak in her personality, making obedience training all the more important.

      Behaviour of the Irish Red and White Setter

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        Tolerates solitude

        This breed will tolerate a few hours left alone, but is a naturally sociable pup, and might struggle with longer periods of alone time. If you’re planning on leaving a dog of this breed alone a lot of the time, it might be worth getting another dog for company.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        The Irish Red and White is an intelligent dog, meaning she is fairly easy to train. This breed won’t react well to harsh corrections or negative training methods - she loves to please, so plenty of positive reinforcement works well.

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        May bark occasionally, but not without reason.

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        Tendency to run away

        This breed might smell something and track or chase without warning, so running away can sometimes be an issue. However, a strong recall can definitely help here, as this breed is very obedient once trained.

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        The Irish Red and White Setter can become very destructive if under-exercised or left alone for too long (which will ultimately depend on the individual dog and how accustomed she is to being alone).

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        Dogs of this breed can be greedy, so it’s best not to free feed them and avoid keeping food out on the side - it’ll be gone in the blink of an eye!

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        Guard dog

        The Irish Red and White isn’t naturally a guard dog, but her attachment to her master can lead her to be protective.

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        First dog

        Providing a first-time dog owner can meet the Irish Red and White Setter’s high exercise needs and takes training seriously to minimize its independent streak, this breed could make a lovely first canine companion.

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          Irish Red and White Setter in a flat

          The Irish Red and White Setter has loads of energy to burn and, ideally, should live in a house with a large, secure garden to roam. 

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          Bred as a working, hunting breed, the Irish Red and White has incredible stamina and seemingly endless energy. She requires an owner who lives a highly active lifestyle and is happy to take the dog out for at least 1-2 hours of vigorous exercise every day.

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          This breed is on the larger side of medium breeds and may not fit in a small car. However, in a larger car, she should be fairly easy to transport and will be happy getting out and about - this pooch loves an adventure!


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            Irish Red and White Setter and cats

            She can get along with (and live alongside) cats if raised with them from a young age.

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            Irish Red and White Setter and dogs

            As a sociable dog, the Irish Red and White loves the company of other canines.

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            Irish Red and White Setter and children

            This is a super playful and friendly breed, making her the perfect choice for families with children who respect animals.

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            Irish Red and White Setter and the elderly

            The Irish Red is likely to be too active for an elderly owner but may suit someone particularly active or who has a large garden available.



            It’s extremely difficult to come across this rare breed. We do not have enough data to set an average price, but she is likely to be expensive. Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £80 to £110 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


            The Irish Red and White Setter’s lovely, soft coat needs brushing every day, or you’ll be finding way too much hair all over the home. Bathe the Irish Red only when necessary, as excessive bathing may irritate her skin.


            The Irish Red qnd White sheds moderately throughout the year but excessively twice a year.

            Nutrition of the Irish Red and White Setter

            Feed this energetic pooch a high-quality, complete dog food which is formulated especially for active breeds.

            Health of the Irish Red and White Setter

            Life expectancy

            A generally healthy breed with an average life expectancy of 12 years - though, like most breeds, it is prone to a few genetically disposed disorders.

            Strong / robust

            This is a healthy rustic breed with impressive power, strength and endurance. However, her great energy can cause some problems in her joints, so she shouldn’t be worked intensively in her first year. 

            Withstand heat

            She will tolerate warm temperatures, but is likely to overheat in blazing sunshine. Provide cold water and shade at all times, as well as limiting exercise if necessary.

            Withstand cold

            Thanks to its beautiful, thick coat, the Irish Red and White Setter tolerates cold weather well, but should be provided warmth on winter nights.

            Tendency to put on weight

            The Irish Red has energy to burn, so isn’t likely to put on weight if her needs are met.

            Common illnesses

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