Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

Hello fellow setter lovers I am hoping you can help me with some questions I have about the setter breed. I love red setters and me and my partner are hoping to own one however I am conscious of being a responsible dog owner and do not want to buy a dog based on a romantic view of what a breed is like and be naive to the reality of what they are like to own.

So if you could spare a minute or two share your experiences with your beloved setters I would really appreciate it.
I want to know it all from spay coat and neutering to the natures and nuances of the breed. Shedding and stinky breath I'd like to know it all. I want to make sure me and my partner are the right humans for this breed not the other way around before we bring a pooch into our lives.

Much love

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Hi Mia, All I can tell you is that I had the most wonderful journey with my boy. Got him on transfer as a five year old and only lost him recently. He was the dog of a lifetime and the best thing ever to happen to us. They are all different of course and have their own individuality. There can be issues with any dog from health to behaviour, but I don't think you would ever regret getting one. Once you look into those liquid brown eyes, your heart is lost forever to the breed! I cannot speak for other members, but I personally would never spay or neuter unless medically necessary. If you go for a puppy you might need a crate for times you are not there or cannot supervise (as any puppy can be destructive). Or you could get a rescue or transfer like I did, and then you do not have to worry about the puppy stage. Whatever you decide, just go with it and have a great journey together, like I did. Trust me, you will not give a damn about hair (not bad at all) or bad breath (sometimes) or anything else. They are part of your family and you will do anything for them. Having one will bring you the most wonderful days of your lives, but remember that when you lose one, it will bring you one of the very worst days of your life. Those are my thoughts on the subject anyway. My sincerest regards & best wishes. (P.S. from my experience I recommend it!)

Hi James
I am so sorry to hear you've recently lost your beloved boy thats got to be so hard for you so thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences with him. I think the fact you did a transfer is so admirable and I bet he had a wonderful life with you in your home. I'm definitely going to look into rehoming/transfer/rescue options.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and personal experience with me as I make this decision.
Warm regards and best wishes
Mia x

Hi Mia....we got our first Irish Setter after watching one float across a field...truly a thing of beauty. We knew nothing but soon learned.....we always had 12 week old male puppies and theyhouse trained easily, wee bit of chewing but if you use gentle training methods ( small rewards) they quickly learn. Our lads were sometimes smarter than we were! Wee bit of wildness around 18 months ( training classes help as does exercise and social walks). After thirty years of being owned by Irish Setters and losing our old Gentleman Irish my husband said no more dogs......year later he said I could find a small dog to rescue...I looked and looked and found some really cute dogs but none said we belong to you as my heart had been stolen back in 1973 by that first Irish puppy. Finally in a very odd way I found a female Irish Setter (in an area they are rare) looking for a home and the rescue group had over 700 applications for her....I hesitated as he said no more Irish and a week later wrote them a book about my Irish loves along with the application. They had been looking for someone with Irish Setter experience and so our Molly came home ( no pedigree known and no in house training). One accident in the house, crate only used for two months if we weren't home, quick study in learning and to this day Molly fills our home with joy and laughter with her antics. She was probably a wee bit over a year when she rescued us and already spayed as adoption groups require here. Some spay coat but we take her to a groomer 3-4 Times a year and I don't notice it unless I look for it. After always having male Irish pups this little lady took all of our hearts by storm and transition for all of us was easy ( I took a week off work to train her and get her used to living in a home...tv,microwave,ceiling fan and toilet flushing scared her at first but we quickly got her over those). The saddest part was a newspaper,broom or raised arm had her cowering in fear.....took about a month to have Molly fetching that newspaper eagerly everyday (she nags til she gets to go fetch it), and two months that a broom or raised arm she just ignored. ....that was when I knew for sure Molly fully trusted US. I 'd do it again in a heart beat as Molly's been one of those heart dogs for us. Hope this helps.

Sherry and Molly

Loving, gentle, fun and really, really destructive (because destruction is fun).

Hi Mia

Setters need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. We are lucky to live in the north of Ireland where we have access to forests, beaches, bogs, moorlands and mountains and our boys are let off leash every day to explore and use their senses, especially their noses to scent wild animals as well as meeting and playing with other off leash dogs.

So I would suggest you look at your own lifestyle and what walks are available in your area. If you work all day will you be leaving your setter on its own? How will you manage their need for exercise and stimulation? Mine are not good at being left on their own so we take them everywhere with us.

To be honest we have changed everything in our lives to accommodate our setters.They are our first dogs and the absolute love, the trust, the deep connection is something I would have never believed possible before I got them.

Mia I probably should have added I was lucky to be home with our Irish pups and Alan had retired the day Molly came home so while ours were sometimes left for longer periods it was never a daily occurrence. We raised our daughters with our Irish males and the one thing I can testify to is that our first Shilo who was before we had our daughters and our rescue Molly were much easier to train.....no kids to compete with for attention! All of ours have loved children but living in the same house I think they knew how to be sure they got attention (stealing a toy was a favorite ploy for a game of chase) I'm glad though we had our Irish Setters for our daughters to grow up with.


Hi Mia,

I would wholeheartedly agree with Finn, they need off leash running every day. Parks are no good, you need access to safe areas with lots of space. Saying that if I could sum up an Irish Setter in one sentence I would say you can train an Irish setter but you can't train the Irish out of them! Good luck.





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