Here in the U.S., the AKC (American Kennel Club) ranked red heads the 68th most popular dog breed in 2006 based on new registrations, slipping from 67th place in 2005. This always amazed me given the fact that people will go out of their way to complement my red heads when we are out and about. I will have people stop in the middle of the street to ask about them. I am sure you all have the same type of experiences when your babies are nice enough to let them take you for a walk or a car ride.
Although I cannot confirm this, I have heard that Richard Nixon, one of our former Presidents, had an Irish Setter when he was in office in the early 1970s. Irish Setters shot up to 3rd place on the popularity list because of this. Due to demand, there was a rush to breed the dogs and you can imagine the rest of the story. Red heads got a bed reputation and their popularity declined here.
How about in your native land? Are Irish Setters popular?