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A descendant of the Setting Spaniels of Rome, The Irish Setter developed during the 18th century. Originally setters in this region were predominantly red and white colored. A preference for a more solid colored animal and, presumably, one with a beautiful red coat helped spawn the beginnings of the modern Irish Setter. In fact, Madra rua, the Gaelic term for the breed, actually means red dog.
Although this handsome breed can be used as an all around hunting dog, it is especially adept at hunting game birds. With its super speed and superior sense of smell, the Irish Setter is skilled at tracking, hunting, retrieving and pointing. In recent years, many breeders have placed emphasis on the physical appearance of this dog. However, the Irish Setter is an affectionate and high spirited dog that loves to hunt.
With a long tail reaching almost to the hocks and long body, this dog has an elegant appeal. His coat is short on the front side of his legs and head and slightly longer on the body. The belly and brisket, backs of his legs and ears will have feathering that adds a beautiful dimension to this breed. His coat color will vary between a red chestnut and mahogany with a distinct absence of black hair.
Photo Courtesy of Mythodical Irish Setters, taken by Jean Webb.