Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World
In the north of Scotland where I live, we get a lot of snow in winter, and my IRWS thoroughly enjoy it.
I have also exported six IRWS to Norway where they fit in very well as hardy dogs who cope very well with snow and low temperatures in winter. One of mine owned by Anders Bakmark lives right up in the furthest north part of Norway, far up in the Arctic Working setters are very popular in Norway and Sweden .
Dog with long coats and a lot of feathering do have a problem with heavy balls of snow forming, and if you dont remove them quickly when they come in, the dogs will chew away the ice balls together with the feathers!
When the snow is very deep (more than about 30 inches) and forming drifts, I am careful about letting the dogs out in case they get buried in drifts, and also dont like to let puppies under about fifteen months run too much in deep snow as I dont think it does their joints a lot of good, the young ones tend to be confined to the dog run when the snow is really deep anyway
About ten years ago two of my IRWS disappeared on Christmas Eve just as a blizzard was starting, I couldnt get out to follow them, and by the next day I thought I would never see them again. But they turned up at a farm several miles away after two days, having survived out in blizzards for nearly 48 hours, looking tired but none the worse for it. Another reason why I now keep most of my dogs confined to the dog run when the snow is bad
Setters are hardier than one might think!
And yes, there are a few people who use setters as sled dogs and for skiing with dogs. Kristina Edh in Sweden has photos of her Gordons and an IRWS pulling her along on her Facebook page