A Comprehensive Guide to Irish Setter Issues

Do you want to know the issues of your beloved Irish Setter? Irish setters are entertaining and lovely, but caring for such a friend requires careful consideration of their issues. Irish Setters are a well-liked dog breed distinguished by their eye-catching red coats and boisterous, gregarious personality. These dogs may be fantastic companions but also have many possible behavioral and health problems.

There are several Irish Setter concerns that owners should be mindful of if they want to provide their furry companions the best care possible, ranging from hereditary predispositions to certain diseases to difficulties with training and socializing. We’ll look at some of the most frequent difficulties Irish Setter owners have in this article and provide advice on how to handle and avoid these issues.

History of Irish Setters

The breed was developed in Ireland, as suggested by its name, and the first descriptions of hunting dogs with setter-like traits date from the late 1500s. These extremely early stories, meanwhile, are most likely referring to Spaniels instead of the actual ancestors of the contemporary Irish Setter. While it is unknown, it is thought they were first created by the Irish Water Spaniel in the 18th century, probably with assistance from the Irish Terrier & Gordon Setter.

Irish Setters rarely wore a consistent shade of red; according to early accounts, they were mostly white with red spots. The solid red version first appeared in the middle of the nineteenth century, although red, white, and lemon variations persisted until much later.

Irish Setters were used for hunting a wide range of wildfowl in the United States starting in the 1800s, including teal, partridge, & quail. Yet, the breed’s appealing characteristics helped it become very popular in the show ring, & breeding efforts in the early 20th century concentrated mostly on beauty rather than hunting prowess. Consequently, the Irish Setter gained weight and grew in size, which prompted American hunting purists to create a distinct working line.

Outbreeding with red and white English Setters must strengthen the breed’s hunting instincts. The Field Dog Stud Book keeps genealogical information for this line, which is now more popularly known as the Red Setter.

Irish Setter Characteristics

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The medium to large-sized Irish Setter is a dog renowned for its lovely, silky hair and outgoing nature. The Irish Setter has the following characteristics, to name a few.


Irish Setters are athletic dogs with distinctive appearances. The distinctive coat has considerable feathering beneath the chest and tail and feathering behind the legs, which may be somewhat wavy. While the Kennel Club regulations allow a tiny white stripe on the head, chest, neck, or paws, they are often red or chestnut. A setter’s face should be friendly and alert, and while at rest, the lips are often slightly open in a grin. The long, evenly split skull has a relatively prominent halt between the crown and snout.

Lips that are neither tight nor sagging should cover the teeth tidily. The wedge-shaped, medium-sized ears drop down close to the corners of the lips. The breed often has almond-shaped, dark hazel, and brown eyes. The back and neck of a well-balanced Irish Setter ought to be long & muscular without appearing “bulky” or heavy. Being athletic, the chest will be extremely deep and somewhat wide, and it should be big enough to fit huge lungs.

Again, the limbs should be well-muscled and slender, with a wide, powerful rump. Setters’ feet often have noticeable hair growth in between the toes and are fairly tiny. The tail should be held as levelly as possible since it has to feather that taper-tapers in length toward the tip. The breed’s easy trotting personifies beauty and grace while in motion.


The breed is renowned for its playfulness, vigor, and mischievous nature. If given the slightest opportunity, they will unavoidably commit crimes. Yet, they make great companion animals since they are obedient and cheerful. They do have a propensity for giddiness and may be destructive if not given enough exercise. If they are not properly socialized as puppies, setters might be wary of outsiders and make ideal guard dogs since they quickly alert their owners without becoming violent.

Irish Setters are friendly canines who develop a strong sense of family loyalty. The breed is kind and patient with youngsters, making it a great fit for family life. Nonetheless, given their devotion to their owners, many Setters experience extremely acute separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods. If the owner wishes to be able to leave the house alone regularly, a safe garden is a need. While they should be socialized with cats as well as other smaller animals as early as possible, they are often quite reliable with other pets.


Irish Setters are known for having tremendous activity and excitement, even as adults. They may be frantic as pups! To control their virtually limitless energy, exercise is essential at every level. Training exercises should be arranged immediately after a jog or walk since participants are less prone to be preoccupied.

Owners should anticipate being able to attain excellent levels of training & obedience since this breed is clever. Yet just like any other dog, the greatest outcomes will come from early, persistent training that rewards good behavior while mostly disregarding the poor.

Irish Setter Behavioral Issues

While Irish Setters are renowned for having extroverted, pleasant dispositions, however, like any breed, they may exhibit behavioral problems if their demands are unmet and they are not given the right training and socialization. The following are some typical behavioral problems that Irish Setters may encounter:

👉Separation Anxiety

When Irish Setters are left alone for extended periods, they may develop separation anxiety or engage in destructive behavior.

👉Excessive Barking

Irish Setters are noted for their vocalizations; if they need to be properly taught, they may bark incessantly.


While Irish Setters are often amiable, but they may become violent if they feel threatened or haven’t been properly socialized.

👉Destructive Behavior

Irish Setters are energetic dogs who need a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation. If they don’t have enough ways to release their energy, they could gnaw or dig anything up.


Due to their sensitivity, Irish Setters are often frightened in strange or unexpected circumstances. Socialization in the right ways can stop this.

Giving your Irish Setter plenty of mental stimulation, exercise, and socializing is important to avoid or treat these problems. If the problems continue, you may also consider obedience training and seeking advice from a qualified canine behaviorist.

Irish Setter Health Issues

irish setter issues

We know you want to take excellent care of your dog since you love her so much. Because of this, we have outlined the health issues you and your Setter will need to discuss. We can design a preventative health plan to keep an eye out for and avert certainly expected dangers by being aware of the health issues unique to Irish Setters.

Several illnesses and medical disorders are inherited, meaning your cat’s breed influences them. Veterinarians and canine genetic specialists concur that the disorders we’ve outlined here affect and occur at a significant incidence in this breed. This does not imply that your dog will have these issues; it only indicates that it is more vulnerable than other dogs.

To give you a sense of what could develop in the future, we’ll outline the most typical problems seen in Irish Setters. We certainly can’t cover every circumstance here, so contact us if you have any unusual symptoms or signs.


One important health concern for Irish Setters might be obesity. It is a dangerous condition that might exacerbate joint issues, back discomfort, metabolic and digestive diseases, and heart disease. Your companion is gazing at you with these beautiful eyes, it might be tempting to offer her food, but you can “love her to death” with leftover human food and dog treats. Cuddle her instead, clean her hair or teeth, play with them, or maybe stroll with her. Both you and she will feel better!

🐕Dental Disease

When a dog is two years old, dental disease forms the most prevalent chronic condition in pets. And regrettably, your CBR is more prone than other breeds to have dental issues. It starts with the buildup of teeth tartar and progresses to gum & tooth root infections. Your friend will likely lose her teeth and risk harming her kidneys, heart, liver, and joints if we don’t treat or prevent dental disease. Your CBR’s lifespan can be shortened by three years! We’ll provide your dog with frequent dental cleanings and advise you on maintaining your pet’s healthy teeth at home.


Irish Setters are prone to bacterial and viral illnesses, including parvo, rabies, and distemper, which all dogs may get. We will advise immunization depending on the illnesses we find in our region, her age, and other considerations since many of these infections are avoidable with the vaccine.


Within and outside, your Red Setter’s body may get infested with various worms and insects. The skin & ears might get infested by everything from ear mites to fleas and ticks. She may get hookworms, heartworms, and roundworms, by consuming polluted water and urinating on infected surfaces and hookworms or being bitten by an infected mosquito, among other methods. All of these parasites should be taken seriously since some of them may spread to you or a member of your family.

We must regularly test for these parasites since they may harm your dog buddy and possibly cause death. In order to maintain her health, we may also suggest preventative medicine.


Gastric dilation & vasculitis, often described as bloat and GDV, typically manifests in setter dogs with deep, thin chests. Your Setter is thus more vulnerable than other breeds. When a dog bloats, its stomach bends and expands with gas. The flow of blood to the spleen and even the stomach is stopped by twisting. The sickness often leads to death within Thirty minutes if left untreated.

Your dog can be agitated, heave, or retch and have little to no vomit pouring out, or he might have an enlarged tummy or lie in a praying position. The stomach may be prevented from twisting with preventive operations in which it is nailed or sutured into place. Take your pet right away to an emergency clinic if you notice any signs!


Spaying your Setter is one of the nicest things that can do for her (neutered for males). This entails surgically removing the testicles from men, the ovaries, and often the uterus from females. By having your pet spayed or neutered, you may reduce the risk of some malignancies as well as the probability of your pet getting pregnant or siring unwanted pups. When your pet is asleep during this procedure, we can spot and treat various ailments your dog is prone to get.

For instance, now would be an excellent time to schedule your pet’s hip X-rays or even a puppy tooth extraction. Both you and your buddy will find this simple and handy. Prior to surgery, routine blood testing enables us to detect and address frequent issues that raise the risk of anesthesia or operation. Don’t worry; when the time comes, we’ll talk about the precise issues we’ll be searching for.


Those with allergies to pollen, mildew, or dust sneeze and have itchy eyes. Allergies in dogs cause their skin to scratch rather than a sneeze. Atopy is the name we give to this skin allergy, which is common in Setters. The feet, belly, skin, & ears tend to be the areas most afflicted.

Most of the time, symptoms appear between the ages of just one and three and can worsen annually. Typical symptoms are licking the paws, stroking the face, and recurrent ear infections. The excellent news is that this illness has many potential treatments.

🐕Neurological Problems

Irish Setters are susceptible to several neurologic conditions. Neurological symptoms include seizures, tremors, imbalance, weakness, or excessive sleeping. Please seek emergency veterinarian treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms or think you may have one of the issues listed below.

An Irish Setter may have a neurological issue genetically related to a shaky, drunken walk. The bones in the neck narrow, pinching the spinal cord & related nerves, causing the disorder known as wobbler illness and wobbler syndrome. The dog cannot sense his feet if the nerves do not properly transmit messages to the brain. The earliest symptoms are often unsteady hind legs, tripping, and even falling. Treatment treatments include prescription drugs, neck braces, therapeutic exercise regimens, and surgery.

Degenerative Myelopathy is indeed a neurologic disorder that affects the hind legs and results in weakness and impaired nerve function. It is comparable to ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease in humans. Setters are more commonly affected than other breeds. If the dog has this condition, he will progressively lose strength and mobility in his hind legs and finally experience incontinence and hindquarter paralysis.

While there is no cure, rehabilitation, acupuncture, exercise, and nutritional supplements may be beneficial. You may get a genetic test in order to determine if your dog is susceptible to this heritable condition.

🐕Eye Problems

Few things have a more significant effect on your dog’s quality of life than the health of his eyes. Regrettably, Irish Setters are prone to inheriting or developing a variety of eye disorders, some of which may result in blindness if not promptly treated, and most of which are very painful! We’ll look at his eyes every time we examine him to check for any potential problems.

In elderly Setters, cataracts are often the cause of blindness. As we check him, we’ll keep an eye out for his eye lenses becoming more opaque so that they seem foggy rather than clear. Many canines cope well with losing their eyesight and continue to function normally. There may also be a surgical procedure to remove cataracts & restore vision.

As the eyelid folds inward, a phenomenon known as entropion, the eyelashes brush against the cornea. This is a very painful and infuriating illness that might eventually cause blindness. Every dog breed is susceptible, but your Setter is particularly susceptible to this heritable illness. If done early, surgical repair is often effective.

With the hereditary condition known as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), the eyes are genetically predisposed to losing sight. Regrettably, Irish Setters are more susceptible to this illness than other breeds of dogs. While PRA isn’t painful, it cannot be cured. Early signs like night blindness and dilated pupils often appear in dogs with faulty genes between the ages of three and five. There is a genetic test for this issue.

🐕Bleeding Disorders

Several hereditary bleeding problems may affect dogs. They might be minor or quite severe in intensity. When a significant injury or surgery is done on a pet, substantial bleeding may happen even though the animal first seems okay. Several very uncommon blood illnesses are more common in Irish Setters than in other breeds.

When the immune system malfunctions and begins targeting the pets with red blood cells or platelets, hemolytic anemia & thrombocytopenia take place. If your dog’s immune system eliminates red blood cells, he will rapidly become anemic, feeble, and sluggish. His gums won’t have the usual brilliant pink hue; they’ll seem pale or yellow. His blood won’t clot correctly if the immune system eliminates platelets, which can result in bruising or unusual bleeding.

Before doing any procedures, we’ll run diagnostic tests to look for blood clotting issues. We’ll recommend steroids as well as other immune-suppressive medications to lessen or halt the immune system’s cell-destructive activity. A platelet or red blood cell transfusion may be required in an emergency.


The most common cause of mortality in elderly dogs is cancer. Your Red Setter is more likely to get cancer in his later years since he will probably live longer compared to other breeds. Many cancers may be treated by surgery to remove them, and others can be handled with chemotherapy. An early diagnosis is crucial! When we evaluate your pet, we’ll do routine diagnostic tests and search for lumps and bumps.

🐕Thyroid Issues

Setters are more vulnerable to hypothyroidism, a common ailment in which the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Dry skin, as well as hair loss, coats, a predisposition to other skin conditions, fearfulness, anger, weight gain, and other behavioral changes are examples of symptoms. A blood test will be done every year to check for the illness. Replacement hormones are often administered as pills as a straightforward way of treatment.

🐕Elbow and Hip Dysplasia

The elbow and the hip are susceptible to dysplasia, a hereditary condition leading to arthritic joint development. Your Setter may have stiffness in his elbows or hips, particularly as he ages. He could, for instance, begin to show signs of limb lameness or struggle to rise up after lying down. The sooner we start treating arthritis, the more we can do to reduce discomfort & suffering.

We’ll X-ray your dog’s bones to spot problems as soon as possible. With serious and life-threatening conditions, the operation is sometimes a wise choice. Remember that overweight canines may experience unnecessary pain and suffer from arthritis years before animals of normal weight!

🐕Bone Pain

Eosinophilic panosteitis, often known as pano or eo-pan, is a painful infection of the bones in the legs that may affect growing Setters. It often begins between six and twelve months old and alternates between the legs. During the examination, we’ll search for this condition; if your friend complains of discomfort when the affected region is squeezed and palpated, we’ll order X-rays to help us identify the issue.

Usually, panosteitis does not result in lasting harm, although it does need pain treatment. Rehabilitation activities could be necessary if the dog has the ailment and has created an atypical gait to offset the painful leg.

🐕Laryngeal Paralysis

This condition, which affects older Setters and causes the vocal cords to paralyze and dangle down into the trachea, is possible. While exercising or during hot, humid conditions, be aware of loud breathing. In extreme circumstances, a pet may pass out and have respiratory problems. Modifications made at home and potentially medication can be used to treat mild instances. If you see any symptoms, bring him in immediately; you don’t want this to develop into a surgical emergency.


The esophagus is the tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach. The esophagus may stretch to a “mega” size if it isn’t contracting to transport food. In this case, food doesn’t enter the stomach but remains in the esophagus. Your Setter may vomit tube-shaped chunks of undigested food if he is impacted. Special feeding positions, dietary changes, and sometimes medicines may be required to treat this issue.

Sadly, dogs with megaesophagus often inhale food fragments, which may lead to life-threatening pneumonia. Please let us know if you observe strange eating habits or post-meal vomiting. A simple and painless X-ray may help us discover if he has this problem.

🐕Blood Disease

An extremely uncommon and lethal hereditary immunodeficiency disorder is canine leukocyte adhesion deficiency. Puppies with two recessive CLAD genes often pass away from several serious illnesses that are treatable early in life. Only Irish Setters have been tested for CLAD so far. Unaffected canines may still be CLAD carriers since the CLAD genes are recessive. Before breeding, it may be screened for using a DNA test.

How to Take Care of an Irish Setter at Home

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Common sense applies to many of the things you are able to do to keep your dog healthy and happy, just as it does for humans. You should monitor her nutrition, ensure she gets enough exercise, wash her teeth and coat often, and contact us or a veterinary emergency facility if anything looks off.

Regular Maintenance, Nutrition, and Exercise

Including her normal care in your plan to extend your Red Setter’s lifespan, maintain her health, and make her happy. The significance of a healthy diet and exercise regimen cannot be overstated.

Like you would a young child, keep an eye on your pet. Close doors, clean up your mess, and section off rooms as required. Thanks to this, she will stay safe and away from things she shouldn’t ingest. At least once a week, brush their coat as necessary.

➣Irish Setters typically have healthy teeth; you can maintain them by cleaning them twice a week at the very least!

➣Even as a puppy, clean her ears every week. We’ll show you how, so don’t worry!

➣She is an energetic, intelligent dog, so keep her body and mind engaged to prevent boredom. Then the sinister behavior begins.

➣She may have a strong prey drive. Therefore, walking her on a leash is important, and a solid fence is a must.

➣She is a very athletic dog who does well in dog sports, including flyball, agility, and field trials.

➣Don’t offer your dog human food, and maintain consistency in her diet.

➣Give her nutritious food according to her age.

➣Regular exercise is important for your dog, but start slowly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Irish Setters suitable as family pets?

Absolutely. All ages of family members are welcome to play with Irish Setters. They are loving and gentle and often like participating in anything their owners wish to accomplish. But bear in mind that they may be animated, so active families that wish to involve them in playtime are most suited for them.

Are Irish Setters intelligent canines?

Yes! This breed is fast to pick things up and is clever. Nevertheless, the puppies were raised to be autonomous thinkers as a part of the sports species. Hence, to maintain her attention throughout your positive behavior training, make it brief, engaging, and enjoyable.

Do Irish Setters often bark?

No, Irish Setters don’t typically bark a lot. They warn when something occurs, but this breed is unlikely to have issues with excessive barking.

Are Irish Setters capable of violence?

Expecting your Irish Setter to be a security dog is unrealistic, given how friendly they are. They are friendly to everyone and not at all hostile. Irish setters are compatible with most humans and animals because they are wise and vigilant. Most significantly, they cherish their relationship with the family.

Final Thoughts

Over the years, Irish Setters have had various challenges, including health concerns and waning appeal as pets. Although some of these problems are breed-specific, others represent more general problems that dogs and owners today are dealing with. We may contribute to improving the future of our canine companions by supporting organizations devoted to their welfare and standing up for laws that protect their protection and well-being. The responsibility for guaranteeing that Irish Setters and other dogs get the respect, love, and care they need ultimately falls on all of us. Do you want to know which setter is best? Click Here!