We have a 6-month-old Irish Setter who we enjoy a great deal and give lots of love and attention to. She does an ok job entertaining herself but we do feel sorry for her that she doesn't have anyone to play with when we are not around. We are therefore thinking about getting another Irish Setter to run our large rural lot with her. My question is what should we get a male or a female? I have intended on eventually breeding her but was not planning on keeping a second Setter. We would be able to keep them separate when she is in heat but I am wondering if an unaltered male might have a little too much sexual energy. My brother has two dogs and the male is constantly trying to breed with the female (who is fixed). I feel very bad for the female. His dogs, however, are completely out of control in most other areas as well (my brother isn’t big on training-somehow I think he manages to do the opposite of training and make them more wild then natural). I understand that the male would pursue her when she is in heat but outside of that would they get along? Also would it be helpful that she would be the older and bigger of the two starting out?
We have kept setters for many years, but always one at a time, until now. We are both at home at lot more now, but when Maeve was about a year old we started looking for another setter puppy to keep her company. She was fifteen months old when we got our puppy and I can honestly say it has been a huge success, more than we could have dreamed. We got another bitch from the same sire. I looked up articles, read books etc. etc. to find out how best to introduce the new puppy but as it turned out, we had driven for about seven hours home with her and it was late in the evening when we brought Bridget straight in to the kitchen, no neutral ground as the books recommended and it was a success right from the off. They play, romp, cuddle up and are best friends. We sleep them in separate rooms so they both have their own space, and we try to spend time doing things with them individually. I do show them both, but Maeve is a therapet and goes visiting at a retirement home, and Bridget goes to our local ring craft club with me once a week. Maybe we've just been lucky, but two in our case, is actually easier than one. I think I would agree that letting the older one have her first season before introducing the pup is perhaps a good idea. Maeve was quite maternal with the little one.
Good luck anyway whatever you decide. Enjoy your little girl as an "only" for a bit longer and give it lots of thought.