AKC Dog Breeds:  Irish Red and White Setters

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Sporting Group
Height: 22-26 inches   Weight: 50-75 pounds  Color: white with solid red patches

The Irish Red and White Setters were bred primarily for hunting. Now, Irish Red and White Setters still hunt, but they are also bred to perform in show circles and to act as family pets or companions and as watchdogs. Despite its name, the Irish Red and White Setter is a distinct breed, not just a different colored version of the Irish Setter. They should be strong, powerful and athletic, with a keen and intelligent attitude. The coat’s base color is white with solid red patches. Known in Ireland since the 17th century, the Red and White is thought to be the older of the two Irish Setters. However, due to the overwhelming popularity of its solid red cousin, and separate breeding of the two breeds, the Irish Red and White Setter was nearly extinct by the end of the 19th century. During the 1920s, efforts were made to revive the Irish Red and White Setter and by the 1940s, the breed began to reemerge in Ireland. The Irish Red and White Setter was recognized by the AKC in 2009

General Appearance

The Irish Red and White Setter is strong and powerful, without lumber – athletic rather than racy. The head is broad in proportion to body, with good stop. Skull domed without occipital protuberance as in Irish Red Setters, fairly square, clean muzzle. The eyes are hazel or dark brown, round, slight prominence and without haw. The ears are set level with the eyes and well back, lying close to head. The jaw is strong with a perfect regular scissor bite, with upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. The neck is moderately long, very muscular, but not too thick, slightly arched free from throatiness. The shoulders are well laid back. Elbows free, turning neither in nor out. Strong, oval bone well muscled, sinewy, pasterns slightly sloping. The body is strong and muscular, deep chest and well sprung ribs. Back and quarters very muscular and powerful. bone strong, well built up with muscle and sinew. The hindquarters are wide and powerful. Legs from hip to hock long and muscular from hock to heel short and strong. Stifle well bent, hocks well let down turning neither in nor out.

Irish Red and White Setters are energetic, intelligent, affectionate, high-spirited, and full of energy. They have no guarding instincts, get along with other animals, and are good with children. Irish Red and White Setters are responsive yet sensitive. They display a kindly, friendly attitude, behind which is discernible determination, courage and high spirit. Some may be difficult to train and are quick to pick up bad habits, thus, these dogs must be trained at an early age. They are, however, good with children and get along well with other household pets. Irish Red and White Setters are quick dogs and have a heightened sense of smell. This hardy canine can withstand any terrain and any kind of climate.


Irish Red and White Setters are known for their long, straight, flat, silky hair particularly at the back of both sets of legs, the outer ear flap and on its flank. The hair on all other parts of the body should be short and flat and free from curls. Regular baths and brushing will help maintain and enhance its vibrant and silky coat. This average shedding breed is relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

As Irish Red and White Setters tend to overeat and grow big, it is advised that this dog be fed 2 or 3 small meals a day instead of giving them one big meal. Aside from obesity, the Irish Red and White Setter is also prone to epilepsy, skin allergies, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and elbow and/or hip dysplasia. In addition to these, if left unattended, the ears may be susceptible to otitis thus making the normally docile dog irritable.

Activity Level

Courageous, spirited and determined, the breed’s energy in the field carries over to the home, so Red and White Setters require regular exercise. Without proper daily exercise this breed can be giddy and high strung. All setters need a daily long, brisk walk or they will become restless and difficult to manage. Do not allow the dog to walk in front of the person holding the lead. Red and White Setters must be made to heel beside or behind the human, as in the dog's mind, the leader goes first and that leader must be the human. In addition, they will also enjoy running free in the safety of a fenced yard.


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