The Irish Red Setter is an energetic and high-spirited breed, affectionate, but intelligent and independent. They do not have guarding instincts, and therefore get along well with other animals. They are good with children. This Setter can be difficult to train because of that independent temperament, and requires firm handling. Their temperament can vary - some can be high-strung, others are reserved. They are adaptable to any climate, very fast, with an excellent sense of smell, and therefore make excellent hunters. However, they must be trained to be hunters from an early age.
The Irish Setter has a variety of genetic health problems. They are prone to epilepsy and severe skin allergies, as well as eye problems and elbow and hip dysplasia. In addition, they are prone to Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), auto-immune disease, and hypothyroidism. Ear inflamation (otitis) is also a problem. This breed tends to bloat. Experts suggest that owners feed them 2 to 3 small meals a day instead of one large one.
The Irish Setter, as well as the English Setter, are both ancestors of the Spanish pointer. It was originally a parti-colored breed - predominantly white with red splashes, and with shorter legs than today's breed. However, this color fell out of favor, and selective breeding resulted in a pure, solid-color red setter. The Irish Setter is a fine all‑around hunting dog, and can be used as both a pointer and retriever. They are very fast and with an excellent nose. Some strains are bred purely for beauty, as show dogs, rather than for hunting instincts, however.
The Irish Setter should be brushed daily in order to keep it free from burrs and tangles. Be sure to remove excess hair from the inner ear. Bathe and dry shampoo only when necessary. This breed is an average shedder.
This breeds coat can be brushed more than once a day but avoid frequent bathing as it will remove the natural oils from their coat.
The Irish Setter is not suited for apartment life at all, and really is not suited for life in cities at all. They need a lot of activity and a lot of exercise. A house with a large yard is the bare minimum that they will need to be happy.
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