Irish Setter - Breed and Grooming Tips

One of the most distinctive Sporting breeds, the mahogany red Irish Setter is an active, aristocratic bird dog. Originally bred to be red and white, the solid red color appeared in Ireland the 19th century and became a mark of quality and superior sporting ability. Over two feet tall at the shoulder, the Irish is known for his style, powerful movement and clown-like personality

A Look Back

The Irish Setter became popular in the 18th century throughout Ireland and the British Isles. Developed from a mix of Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Terrier, English Setter, Spaniel, Pointer, and a dash of Gordon Setter, the breed was originally used to "set" game, crouching low near the birds so that the hunters could walk up and throw a net over bird and dog. When firearms were introduced, the Irish adapted into a gun dog that pointed, flushed and hunted in an upright stance.

Right Breed for You?

A rollicking breed, the Irish Setter is high-energy and requires regular exercise. His outgoing and stable personality make him a favorite with families. Their long, glossy red coat, although beautiful, must be groomed regularly to prevent snarls or mats.

Source:  American Kennel Club -


General: The Irish Setter is known for his beautiful mahogany color; with fine flat hair with long fine feathering. Grooming is suggested for 4 – 6 week intervals to clean ears, clip nails, check anal glands and insure the coat and skin are in healthy condition.

Eyes: Eyes should be alert and bright. Use Optisoothe Eye Wash during the bath to flush any foreign objects. Check eyes after working out in the field each time.

Ears: Monthly ear cleaning with Ear Care is advised to be sure no ear problems that might need vet attention arise. Only clean as far as you can see, never further.

Bathing:  The Irish Setter requires 2 baths. If your dog is a working dog and spend a lot of time out in the field then we recommend Energee Plus Shampoo for that extra dirty dog. The second bath is targeted for the need of your dog , if your dog has allergies or sensitive skin we would suggest a Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo and follow it with a Tea Tree & Aloe Shampoo or Luxury Tar and Sulfa Itch Relief Shampoo. During the spring and fall shedding seasons we recommend Simple Shed Shampoo and Simple Shed Conditioner, the oat proteins help strengthen the hair shaft and help remove dead undercoat

Common Problems: 3 in 1 Healing Cream should also be kept on hand since setters are prone to scrapes and irritations for running outside, they are very active and need a lot of exercise. Since Setters love to run through brush outside, they are prone to pick up a lot of stickers; High Sheen Finishing Spray and Aloe Silk Hair Restore before going outside will help when removing them and keep the furnishings from breaking.

Coat Care: Aloe Hydrating Spray should be used during the dry winter months as well if you live in a dry climate. Simple Shed and Static Spray between grooming is a great help to keep the shedding under control.

Tools: During shedding season an Undercoat rake is the tool of choice to help remove unwanted dead hair and help prevent hot spots. A brush and a comb should be used between shedding cycles to keep the coat in good shape.

Show Dog Tips: Use Aloe Silk before drying the furnishings to add a silky feel to the ears and furnishings. High Sheen Finishing Spray before entering the ring to add a shine without leaving a residue. Silky Show Shampoo and Silky Show Conditioner is recommended.

Paws: Paw Balm should be used weekly to keep paw pads soft and pliable. This makes the pads less likely to dry and crack.

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