The solid red Irish Setter first appeared in Ireland in the 19th century. The
earliest ancestors of the modern Irish Setter were not the familiar solid
red, though - they were red and white. The Irish Setter first became
popular in the 18th century.
This Setter's coat requires weekly attention to avoid mats. Like most bird dogs,
The Irish Setter likes lots of exercise and requires long walks. This dog is not
an early developer and frequently requires more training than some other breeds.
The Irish Setter is an active, aristocratic bird dog, rich red in color,
substantial yet elegant in build. Standing over two feet tall at the shoulder,
the dog has a straight, fine, glossy coat, longer on ears, chest, tail and back
of legs. Afield, the Irish Setter is a swift-moving hunter; at home, a sweet
natured, trainable companion.
At their best, the lines of the Irish Setter so satisfy in overall balance
that artists have termed it the most beautiful of all dogs. The correct
specimen always exhibits balance, whether standing or in motion. Each part
of the dog flows and fits smoothly into its neighboring parts without calling
attention to itself.
Size, Proportion, Substance
There is no disqualification as to size. The make and fit of all parts
and their overall balance in the animal are rated more important. 27 inches at
the withers and a show weight of about 70 pounds is considered ideal for
the dog; the bitch 25 inches, 60 pounds. Variance beyond an inch up or down
is to be discouraged.
Proportion - Measuring from the breastbone to rear of thigh
and from the top of the withers to the ground, the Irish Setter is slightly
longer than it is tall.
Substance - All legs sturdy with plenty of bone. Structure in
the male reflects masculinity without coarseness. Bitches appear feminine without
being slight of bone.
Long and lean, its length at least double the width between the ears.
Beauty of head is emphasized by delicate chiseling along the muzzle, around
and below the eyes, and along the cheeks. Expression soft, yet alert. Eyes
somewhat almond shaped, of medium size, placed rather well apart, neither
deep set nor bulging. Color, dark to medium brown. Ears set well back and
low, not above level of eye. Leather thin, hanging in a neat fold close to
the head, and nearly long enough to reach the nose. The skull is oval when
viewed from above or front; very slightly domed when viewed in profile.
The brow is raised, showing a distinct stop midway between the tip of the
nose and the well-defined occiput (rear point of skull). Thus the nearly
level line from occiput to brow is set a little above, and parallel to,
the straight and equal line from eye to nose. Muzzle moderately deep, jaws
of nearly equal length, the underline of the jaws being almost parallel
with the top line of the muzzle. Nose black or chocolate; nostrils wide.
Upper lips fairly square but not pendulous. The teeth meet in a scissors
bite in which the upper incisors fit closely over the lower, or they may
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck moderately long, strong but not thick, and slightly arched; free
from throatiness and fitting smoothly into the shoulders. Topline of body
from withers to tail should be firm and incline slightly downward without
sharp drop at the croup. The tail is set on nearly level with the croup
as a natural extension of the topline, strong at root, tapering to a fine
point, nearly long enough to reach the hock. Carriage straight or curving
slightly upward, nearly level with the back. Body sufficiently long to
permit a straight and free stride. Chest deep, reaching approximately to
the elbows with moderate forechest, extending beyond the point where the
shoulder joins the upper arm. Chest is of moderate width so that it does
not interfere with forward motion and extends rearwards to well sprung
ribs. Loins firm, muscular and of moderate length.
Shoulder blades long, wide, sloping well back, fairly close together
at the withers. Upper arm and shoulder blades are approximately the same
length, and are joined at sufficient angle to bring the elbows rearward
along the brisket in line with the top of the withers. The elbows moving
freely, incline neither in nor out. Forelegs straight and sinewy. Strong,
nearly straight pastern. Feet rather small, very firm, toes arched and
Hindquarters should be wide and powerful with broad, well developed
thighs. Hind legs long and muscular from hip to hock; short and perpendicular
from hock to ground; well angulated at stifle and hock joints, which,
like the elbows, incline neither in nor out. Feet as in front. Angulation
of the forequarters and hindquarters should be balanced.
Short and fine on head and forelegs. On all other parts of moderate
length and flat. Feathering long and silky on ears; on back of forelegs
and thighs long and fine, with a pleasing fringe of hair on belly and
brisket extending onto the chest. Fringe on tail moderately long and tapering.
All coat and feathering as straight and free as possible from curl or
wave. The Irish Setter is trimmed for the show ring to emphasize the
lean head and clean neck. The top third of the ears and the throat nearly
to the breastbone are trimmed. Excess feathering is removed to show the
natural outline of the foot. All trimming is done to preserve the natural
appearance of the dog.
Mahogany or rich chestnut red with no black. A small amount of white
on chest, throat or toes, or a narrow centered streak on skull is not
to be penalized.
At the trot the gait is big, very lively, graceful and efficient. At
an extended trot the head reaches slightly forward, keeping the dog in
balance. The forelegs reach well ahead as if to pull in the ground without
giving the appearance of a hackney gait. The hindquarters drive smoothly
and with great power. Seen from front or rear, the forelegs, as well as
the hind legs below the hock joint, move perpendicularly to the ground,
with some tendency towards a single track as speed increases. Structural
characteristics which interfere with a straight, true stride are to be penalized.
The Irish Setter has a rollicking personality. Shyness, hostility or
timidity are uncharacteristic of the breed. An outgoing, stable temperament
is the essence of the Irish Setter.
This standard was approved August 14, 1990, effective September 30, 1990.
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