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Spotlight on the Irish Setter

March 1, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! As celebrations and trappings of Irish food and culture pop up, this is a great time to talk about one of our canine pals. The Irish Setter is a sweet, smart, and lovable pup with a lot of charms. An Ashburn, VA vet discusses these cute pups below.


The Irish setter was originally bred as a bird dog. However, Fido’s enthusiasm and skill soon caught the attention of Ireland’s dog lovers, and the breed quickly became one of Ireland’s favorites. Originally called red spaniels, Irish Setters likely started out as a cross between English Setters, spaniels, pointers, and Gordon Setters. Although the first Irish Setters were red and white, solid red soon became the norm. This may be because the Irish Earl of Enniskillen, an early fan of the breed, wanted only solid red pups. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878.


Irish Setters are athletic, energetic, fun-loving, and extremely enthusiastic about, well, pretty much everything. These friendly, affectionate pups are full of tail wags and puppy shenanigans! Irish Setters do need quite a bit of activity: at least an hour a day is the recommendation. Although they are indoor dogs, they are much happier having room to run and play. They make great additions to active families that like spending time outdoors. Irish Setters are very sociable, and get extremely attached to their humans. They can become anxious—or even destructive—if they are left alone too long. These pretty dogs can be quite mischievous, so proper training is a must. It’s also worth noting that Irish Setters mature slowly: it isn’t uncommon to find five- or six-year-old Setters with puppy mentalities.


Irish Setters can still be found hunting, but their intelligence and lovable character have helped them move into other doggy careers as well. Today, many work as therapy dogs, as their sweet nature makes them a huge comfort to those in hospitals, hospices, or assisted living facilities.


That pretty red fur needs quite a bit of upkeep. Irish Setters require daily grooming. They do shed quite a bit, so you may want to brush Fido outdoors during peak shedding times.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, your Ashburn, VA vet clinic, for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs. We are always happy to help!