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Irish Red and White Setter

Irish Red and White Setter
Photo with thanks to Silvia Lindner-Rae,

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Origin / History The Irish Red and White Setter is a breed of gun dog belonging to the setter family, bred to hunt pigeons, quail, and other small game. Its origins are unclear, but the general belief is that it came about in the late 18th century. The earliest record of the breed dates back to 1795, although it’s possible that they have been around much longer.

The breed was mostly used as a working dog in its native Ireland, but was almost driven to extinction by its younger cousin, the Irish Setter or Red Setter. Noble Huston, an Irish clergyman, took steps to revive the Red and White in the early 20th century. Working with breeder Maureen Cuddy, Huston gathered a number of surviving Red and Whites and began rebuilding the breed population. By 1978 the Red and White was popular again, and the Irish Kennel Club declared it a separate breed in the championship class.

Appearance The Irish Setter has a strong, powerful body, but does not have the lumbering gait of similarly sized breeds. Its coat is long, silky and feathered in places. Its head is big in proportion to its body, with dark round eyes and feathered ears that lie close to the head. The tail is well-feathered and may be carried horizontally or over the back.

Colours As its name implies, the Irish Red and White Setter comes in a red and white patterned coat. The base color is white, with clearly defined red patches. The spots should be of a solid color, although flecked or mottled colors are allowed on the face and limbs.

Temperament The Red and White is highly energetic, friendly and high-spirited. They are particularly good with children and other pets, but may be aggressive towards other dogs. They also tend to be sensitive; a Red and White can become genuine depressed when owners raise their voices. They may also be a bit shy around strangers, but they’re very affectionate with people they know.

Height and Weight Males stand between 24 to 26 inches at the withers and females from 22 1/1 to 24 inches. For both sexes, the ideal weight is 50 to 70 pounds.

Common Health Problems Eye problems are the most common complaint for this breed. Posterior polar cataract (PPC), a mild form of cataract, is known to run in the breed. PPC seldom results in blindness, but may become serious if left untreated. Owners should have the dogs checked within the first few months to identify other risks; a health certificate should be issued upon purchase to make sure the dog is clear of the disease.

Living Conditions These dogs are built for the outdoors. Although they can get used to apartment life, Red and Whites will be happiest in a house with a large yard where they can romp and play to their hearts’ content. Yards should be fenced, however, as their hunting instincts will easily lead them astray. This breed is fairly hardy and can withstand hot and cold climates.

Exercise Requirements Red and Whites need a lot of exercise to stay in good spirits. Idle dogs are more likely to develop behavioral problems, sometimes even becoming destructive. Daily walks or runs are encouraged, as well as plenty of play time in safe open areas.

Training Requirements These dogs quickly pick up habits on their own—including bad ones. Training should start early to make sure they don’t develop aggressive or destructive behavior. They should also be housebroken and socialized, especially if there are non-canine pets in the house. Calm but consistent training is recommended; these dogs are easily distracted and may forget instructions it you’re not assertive enough.

Life Expectancy A healthy Red and White Setter can live between 11 and 15 years.

Grooming These dogs are fairly low-maintenance. The coat only needs a daily brushing to prevent tangles, except during shedding season when loose hairs can become matted. Baths can be given as needed; a mild dry shampoo usually works best.

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Irish Red and White Setter Pictures
Irish Red and White Setter
Irish Red and White Setter

Irish Red and White Setter
Irish Red and White Setter
Photos with thanks to Silvia Lindner-Rae,




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