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Golden Irish

Nicole Cosgrove

June 10, 2021
The Golden Irish is a hybrid or mixed breed, the result of a breeding between the Irish Setter and the Golden Retriever. He is also known as the Irish Golden, the Irish Retriever or the Golden Irish Setter. His talents are in hunting and agility and he is in the sporting group. He is expected to live between 10 to 15 years and is a large cross breed.
Here is the Golden Irish at a Glance
Average height 22 – 26 inches
Average weight 60 – 75 pounds
Coat type Straight, long, silky
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Moderate
Shedding Moderate
Brushing Daily
Touchiness Fairly sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Moderate
Barking Rare
Tolerance to Heat Good to very good
Tolerance to Cold Very good
Good Family Pet? Very good to excellent
Good with Children? Very good to excellent but should be socialized
Good with other Dogs? As above
Good with other Pets? As above
A roamer or Wanderer? Moderate
A Good Apartment Dweller? Not really
Good Pet for new Owner? Very good to excellent
Trainability Fairly easy
Exercise Needs Very Active
Tendency to get Fat Fairly high, food should be watched
Major Health Concerns OCD, Hypothyroidism, CAD, epilepsy, eye problems, HOD, bloat, heart problems, Von Willebrand’s Disease, cancercancer
Other Health Concerns Hip and elbow dysplasia, Panosteitis, allergies
Life Span 10 to 15 years
Average new Puppy Price $800 to $2200
Average Annual Medical Expense $485 – $600
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $920 – $1050

Where does the Golden Irish come from?

The Golden Irish is a cross breed, part of a recent trend to cross two purebreds and also known as a designer dog. The majority of these dogs do not have an origin story or even a definite purpose known. The best way to understand the Golden Irish therefore is to learn more about the breeds in the cross, the Irish Setter and the Golden Retriever. Always keep in mind that there are no guarantees with this kind of breeding, you may hope for the best of both dogs but may get something in between or even at the other extreme. There is also often quite a variety even in the same litter.

The Golden Retriever

Rather than being descended from circus Russian sheepdogs the Golden Retriever was actually bred in Scotland by a Lord Tweedmouth to be a better waterfowl retriever. Lord Tweedmouth loved to hunt waterfowl but was sure there could be a better and more people orientated dog to do it than the spaniels and setters most people used at the time. So in the mid to late 1800s he focused on breeding a dog that suited his hunting needs and would also be a great family companion. He liked the look of the yellow puppies in his breeding attempts and gave away all other colors which is how he came to be golden. The name Golden Retriever came a bit later though in 1920.

The Golden Retriever is still a great family dog and is very attentive to the people around him. He is calm and sweet, eager to please and smart making him a joy to train too. His attachment to his owner and family can mean he is not good being left alone for long periods. He also needs a good hour a day exercise as he can be boisterous at times. While they are loyal and trustworthy they also will happily overeat unless their food is controlled.

The Irish Setter

This dog comes from Ireland as the name rather gives away! He was bred sometime in the 1700s and is most probably the result of breeding together spaniels, English Setters, Gordon Setters and pointers. At the time of breeding they were often called Red Spaniels or Modder Rhu, which means red dog in Gaelic. They came to America in 1875 and soon became very popular especially in the show ring. Since originally he was a working dog some breeders called for a return to his origins and so you can see today two types, larger and heavier dogs in dog shows and working dogs who are sleeker and slimmer.

The Irish Setter is a playful, fun loving dog who loves to be where the action is happening, joining in with mischief or creating his own (stealing underwear from your drawers is certainly not beneath him!) In fact he matures more slowly than many dogs and will be puppy like for a period into early adulthood. He loves people, is very sociable but is still a good watchdog and will bark to alert you of a stranger in the home. He is also affectionate and his attachment can lead to severe separation anxiety when left alone.


The Golden Irish is a great family dog, he loves to be with people, meeting visitors, playing and being at the center of activity in the home. He is great with children and is very loyal to those he gives his affection to. He is smart and easy to train too. He has a lot of energy and likes to be active, social and lively. The Golden Irish tends to have quite a big personality but remains for the most part even tempered and trustworthy. He can sometimes lean towards his Irish Setter side and be a bit mischievous so be prepared for some laughs and some groans!

What does a Golden Irish look like

He is a large dog, weighing 60 to 70 pounds and measuring 22 to 26 inches tall. He has a coat that is commonly dark gold to red with feathering, shorter hair on the back and then his withers and chest has it longer. It is smooth, straight, long and silky and can also come in other colors such as chestnut, tan, cream and white. He has flappy ears and a compact body with a gait that is less lanky than that of the Irish Setter.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Golden Irish need to be?

He enjoys being active and should get at least one long walk a day if not two along with some play time and some mental stimulation. He is not great for apartment living as he needs more room, and a yard is something he needs. He would enjoy trips to the dog park, walking, running or jogging with you, playing fetch, Frisbee, and other fun doggy games. If he does not get enough physical and mental stimulation he can become destructive with his behavior. Since he is prone to obesity a combination of watching his food and giving him enough exercise is important to control his weight.

Does he train quickly?

All dogs should receive early socialization and training to ensure they are well rounded and the best they can be. The Golden Irish are intelligent and capable of learning. When they lean more towards the Golden Retriever they will be inclined to listen and obey commands and be easy to train and even require less repetitions. But if he leans more towards the Irish Setter you may have a little more difficulty as he may be more independent. You need to use positive training methods, rewards like treats will certainly motivate him since he loves his food. Be firm, he needs you to clearly establish yourself as pack leader in a consistent and decisive manner without being harsh.

Living with a Golden Irish

How much grooming is needed?

He does not shed as much as the Golden Retriever but does shed some so will need regular brushing, meaning once a day. This will also help prevent tangling especially where his fur gets long. Use a solid hair brush. Bathing with a dog shampoo should be done when he needs it. You should also once a week check his ears for infection and clean them. You can use either a solution for cleaning his ears as suggested by your vet, or just a damp cloth or cotton ball. Do not insert anything into the ear. Teeth should be brushed three times a week at least, and nails should be clipped if they get too long.

What is he like with children and other animals?

Early socialization and training are key to ensuring your dog gets on well with children, other pets and other dogs and can handle various situations. The Golden Irish is good with children, other animals and dogs though you should still make sure you teach the children not to pull his tail, his ears or tease him, especially when he is eating. He will be playful and affectionate towards them in return.

General information

He is good in most climates though he tends to do slightly better in colder weather than hot. He is a good watchdog and will bark to alert you something is wrong. Otherwise his barking is rare. He will need to eat 2 1/2 to 3 cups of good quality dry dog food each day, split into at least two meals. It is a good idea to measure out his food to prevent him gaining weight.

Health Concerns

To avoid health issues with him you should buy from a trustworthy breeder who can offer health clearances. It also helps to see the parental health clearances too. As with any dog there is always the possibility that he could be prone to a condition his parents are. In this case, apart from obesity, those would include OCD, Hypothyroidism, CAD, epilepsy, eye problems, HOD, bloat, heart problems, Von Willebrand’s Disease, cancer, Hip and elbow dysplasia, Panosteitis and allergies.

Costs involved in owning a Golden Irish

Puppies will be between $800 and $2200, their current trendiness, where you buy from, what you receive with them, where you are are all factors that can change the price. Initial costs of $450 – $500 for neutering, blood tests, micro chipping, a crate, collar and leash. Each year medical costs for pet insurance and medical check ups, shots and so on will fall between $485 – $600. Each year non-medical costs for food, treats, toys, training, long hair grooming and a license will fall between $920 – $1050.


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The Golden Irish as an attractive, athletic and friendly dog. He is best suited for an owner or family who enjoy being active and have room for him, including a yard for him to play in. He will be a great addition to any home.

Featured Image Credit: Pxhere

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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