The Irish Setter has been termed by artists to be the most beautiful of all dogs. With its flowing, silky red coat, long ears, soft expression and regal bearing, this dog turns heads wherever it goes.
Along with its appearance, the Irish Setter's personality is fun loving, playful and affectionate. The standard calls for a "rollicking" temperament, and anyone who has had the pleasure of raising an Irish Setter puppy can tell you exactly what that means. It is mischievous and independent, intelligent and stubborn, anxious to please and yet determined to have its way if it decides to-go hunting or steal a treasure from closet or drawer. Hunting instinct is strong and the breed enjoys a fine reputation as a reliable companion in the field.
The Irish Setter is a slow maturing dog, both mentally and physically. It stays a puppy for a long time, and retains some of its merry Irish character forever. Some believe that the setter is difficult to train, but this is not so. The Irish Setter is very smart, sometimes smarter than its owner, so one must use care and patience in training this dog. Once learned, a lesson is never forgotten, so it behooves the owner to train a puppy with love and firmness, never harshness or cruelty.
The breed is naturally clean and fastidious and will housetrain quickly, if given the opportunity to go out at regular intervals when it is young. It loves to be with its people and will adapt to riding in a car, preferably in a crate where it can stretch out comfortably and be secure. This breed is not aggressive but it will energetically announce the arrival of all comers, and if put to the test has been known to protect its owners from harm.
One of the primary requisites for owning an Irish Setter is the time and the facilities to exercise it often. This is a high-energy-level breed, needing an area to run and play big enough for it to stretch its legs. This is the single most important factor in raising a happy and healthy dog. Exercise, however, does not mean opening the door and allowing the dog to run free. Irish Setters will follow their noses and cannot be guaranteed to remain within one's property until they are well along in years. Sometimes this happy state never occurs. Either an ample fenced yard or the means to walk or run the dog daily are a must if you wish to have a happy and adjusted Irish Setter.