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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Irish Red and White Setter Dog Breed: Pictures, Guide, Info, Care & More

Irish Red and White Setter Dog Breed: Pictures, Guide, Info, Care & More

Irish Red and White Setter Dog sitting_Natalia Fedosova_Shutterstock

The Irish Red and White Setter is an Irish gun dog breed that is considered distinct from the Irish Setter. It’s a suitable dog for first-time owners because, while it can take some time and effort to successfully train this breed, it will eventually become a loyal and obedient dog that listens to and responds well to commands. It is an energetic dog.

Breed Overview


22-26 inches


50-70 pounds


10-14 years


white, red, brown

Suitable for:

Families looking for a companion, including first-time owners


Loyal, affectionate, lively, playful, intelligent

It requires plenty of exercise to stay fit and healthy, but its energy levels and playfulness make it a good choice of dog for families with children. This beautiful breed is still used as a working dog but fits in well at home, especially if you can provide it with plenty of fun and games.

Grooming requirements are not too bad, although this gun dog will not only benefit from twice-weekly brushing but also from the occasional bath, especially if he has been charging around fields and swimming in rivers.

Irish Red and White Setter Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

divider-dog paw Irish Red and White Setter Puppies

The breed is well-respected for its prowess in the field and those that come from lines of experienced and accomplished pointers do cost more.

Although the Irish Red and White Setter is a recognized breed, there aren’t too many of them around. This means that you may have to be willing to travel in order to find breeders. Check with kennel clubs, join breed groups online, and look in your local vet and pet shop windows. If you see somebody walking an Irish Red and White Setter, you can ask them where they got them.

If you believe you have found a suitable breeder, arrange an appointment to go and see the kennels and the dogs. Ask that the mother dog be available to meet, and see if you can meet any siblings. Although there is no guarantee that the puppy of a friendly dog will also be amiable, a young dog gets most of its social queues and reactions from its mother. This meeting will also allow you the opportunity to meet the puppy itself and ensure that you are a good fit for one another. If you have children or other dogs, ask if it is appropriate to bring them to the meeting.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Irish Red and White Setter

The Irish Red and White Setter may have been bred as a gun dog but it has become just as popular as a family pet, albeit one with high energy requirements. The size and boundless energy mean that this dog is not suitable for life in an apartment, and even if you own a house with a yard, they will enjoy time out sniffing and locating other animals.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?👪

The Setter has a lot of features that make it a good choice of family pet. Specifically, it is lively and energetic, as well as playful. It makes a great playtime companion for children that are willing to throw a ball or run around in the yard. As with all dogs, you should supervise any time spent between young children and the dog, but it is known to be tolerant and quite patient. However, accidents do happen, especially when games get lively and rambunctious, so you need to be around to ensure that toddlers and small children don’t get bowled over or jumped on.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

As well as getting along with human family members, and reacting well to strangers, the Irish Red and White Setter is also known to be good with other animals, although it is best if they are introduced to cats and smaller animals when both are still young. Do not allow your setter time alone with smaller cage-dwellers. While the pointer is not bred to hunt and kill animals, they may still give chase especially if they are unaccustomed to darting animals.

Two Irish Red and White Setter Dog_Rosa Jay_Shutterstock
Image By: Rosa Jay, Shutterstock

divider-dog Things to Know When Owning an Irish Red and White Setter:

The Red and White Setter makes a good family pet and can be a great companion to other dogs. It is usually possible to integrate one with a family of cats, even, but they do have very high energy requirements. However, the breed may not be suitable to live as a pet in all families and circumstances. Read on to see whether one is the right fit for your home and whether you have the time and energy for a gun dog like this.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

As a medium to large dog that spends a lot of time running around and exercising, the Irish Red and White Setter will eat approximately three cups of food per day. This should be a high-quality food with plenty of protein and that contains all the essential vitamins and minerals required by the breed.

There is always a risk of overfeeding dogs, especially those that do not get enough exercise, so weigh your dog and determine the amount of food they need according to this weight, whether you want them to lose or gain weight, and the amount of exercise they get. If your vet tells you to feed more or less or to avoid certain food types, ensure that you follow these guidelines rather than general amounts.

Exercise 🐕

The most difficult aspect of owning any gun dog, including the Irish Setter, is the amount of exercise they need. Providing regular exercise not only helps maintain good physical condition while preventing weight gain or obesity, but it can also keep your dog’s brain active, too. It can prevent unwanted behaviors like chewing, digging, and destroying household items, and it can help to burn off unwanted energy so that your puppy settles down more readily.

You will have to provide at least an hour of exercise each day, and while the breed does enjoy walking and hiking, you should look for ways in which you can offer more intense exercise. Setters do well at dog agility, once they get the hang of the basic rules, and they do well at flyball and other forms of canine sport that require a lot of physical energy.

Training 🎾

Agility and other sports are also a good way to socialize your new dog and introduce it to situations and people that it has yet to fully experience. Attend puppy classes to get the hang of basic training, go to the dog park to meet other dogs and people, and sign up for a canine sports class or a working dog class to ensure that all of your dog’s needs are fully met.

Described as slow to pick up commands, the Irish Red and White Setter will take time to learn new commands. Training sessions are best kept short and fun, or your pup will lose concentration and start to look for something more entertaining to fill its time.

Irish Red and White Setter Dog running_Glenkar_Shutterstock
Image By: Glenkar, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

The coat of the Irish Red and White Setter is medium length and the breed would best be described as having moderate grooming requirements. Brush two or three times a week to remove knots and to ensure a healthy coat. Check in the ears for signs of build-up or infection, and be prepared to bathe your puppy every few months because this is one breed that will enjoy spending time launching into puddles and jumping into rivers and other bodies of water.

You will need to maintain your dog’s dental health, too. You can buy treats that help combat some plaque and tartar buildup, but there is no better defense than regular brushing. Start when your dog is a puppy and brush at least three times a week to ensure the best possible condition.

Nails need trimming usually every two months, although this is an active breed and if it gets a lot of exercise on concrete or another abrasive surface, trimming might only be required every three months. If you struggle to trim the nails, ask your vet or a professional groomer to assist you.

Health and Conditions 🏥

As a purebred dog, the Irish Red and White Setter is prone to some genetic health problems. When buying a puppy, ask for a health history of the dog’s lineage, look at health screening that has been completed, and avoid any breeder that says the breed is completely free of common illnesses. Look for signs of the following common conditions and seek veterinary consultation if any symptoms do show.

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Serious Conditions
  • Canine Leukocyte Adhesion
  • Hip Dysplasia

Male vs Female

Male setters tend to grow taller and a little heavier than females and some anecdotal evidence suggests that males are more loving but more rambunctious. In general, though, it is the character of the individual dog that determines how lively or characterful it will turn out.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Irish Red and White Setter

1. They Nearly Went Extinct

The Irish Red and White Setter was once considered the same breed as the Irish Setter. The pure-red breed was considered much more popular, however, and, as such, they were bred more readily and more often. This led to the white and red variation becoming quite rare and it was on the brink of extinction before intentional breeding saved it. Today, the two breeds are considered separate, and the Irish Red and White Setter’s numbers have increased quite significantly.

2. They Were Bred to Hunt

The breed is a gun dog and was bred to hunt. Specifically, it is considered a pointer, which means that it would locate birds and game before pointing their location out to the hunter. One of the reasons for this breed’s popularity in the field is that it is known to hunt for you, rather than hunting for itself. This means that it more readily gives up the location or its quarry, rather than keeping it for itself.

3. Irish Red and White Setters Are Very Energetic

As a gun dog and a field dog, the Setter has huge stores of energy and it isn’t afraid to use it. It enjoys running and swimming, often in preference to walking, and if you can find a way to meet these high-intensity energy requirements, your dog and your relationship with your dog will benefit. Setters can make great competitors in agility and other canine sports, although it can take a while to teach them the rules and what you require of them. Irish Red and White Setters are usually described as being slow to learn but they do become highly skilled gun dogs once they do master the basics.

divider-dog paw Final Thoughts

The Irish Red and White Setter is a beautiful gun dog that was bred to flush birds out and to identify their location for hunters. It is still used as a field dog today, and the character’s loving nature, loyalty, and playfulness mean that it has also become a popular companion pet.

Although it does require a little care with regular grooming and other assistance, the two greatest challenges with this dog come from the fact that it can be slow to train and its massive energy levels that need to be sated if you want to enjoy a peaceful life with a happy and healthy companion dog.

The breed is not suited to life in an apartment and because of its bounding nature, it can cause accidental injury to very young children, but it will enjoy time playing with older children and will cherish any opportunity to get outside and exercise with you.

Featured Image Credit: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock

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