by Doris Donnerman
(last updated April 3, 2009)
The Irish Setter has become known and loved just for his beauty alone. Many have the misconception that the dog is a thing of beauty only, forgetting that he has sterling field qualities. There are some breeders who know that this is not true and through their own breeding programs are proving that the Irish Setter can take his rightful place alongside those of the English Setter and the Pointers.
Out of all the hunting dogs the Irish Setter is considered to be one of the most beautiful. He has not always been the solid red coated animal of today. Most of the original Irish Setters were red and white, with the red predominating; even now it is not uncommon to see a bit of white on either the breast or the toes.
In the earlier days he was considered to be a general-purpose dog, making him a favorite. His rough and rugged ways helped him do a good job for the gunner. A good job at pointing quail, grouse or woodcock, or even retrieving ducks from icy waters.
Some people view the Irish Setter as being headstrong and hard to handle; this is not true. The average Irish Setter is just as easy to train as that of his English cousins. There are some that develop more slowly, so time and patience are required to fully train them. This is one dog that does not respond well to being forced or abused. He responds more positively to kindness with apparent gratefulness once he realizes what it is expected of him. The Irish Setter's nature is to be a very affectionate dog with a great desire to please. He makes a great companion and wants to be treated as a member of the family.
There really is no particular age at which to start the education of the Irish Setter in the field. It is generally accepted, though, that a year or year and a half is early enough. This allows for the youngster to develop naturally. He should never be punished for something if he doesn't know why and never punished severely. He is very sensitive and needs careful handling. If treated harshly he will not understand why and thus breaking his spirit and diminishing his desire to hunt.
The height for a male Irish Setter is usually about twenty-seven inches from the shoulders. Average weight for the Irish setter is approximately seventy pounds. The female averages twenty-five inches, sixty pounds.
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