Irish Setter: Pedigree Standards

Irish Setter ShowingYou may be considering showing your Irish Setter or just to know what the pedigree standards are to help you decide about breeding.  Here are a few tips, though this list is not exhaustive and your club’s website should be checked for complete information.

Irish Setters are known for their moderately long, silky red or chestnut coat which needs frequent maintenance.  The undercoat is thick in winter and the top coat is finer and the should feather around the tail, ears, chest, legs and body.

For pedigree standards, this should be free from curl or wave and excess feathering removed to preserve the natural appearance.  There should be a fringe of hair on the belly and on the tail which tapers to the end.  The coat should not have any black in it but small patches of white on the chest, throat or on the toes is acceptable.

The Breed Standard states that males should be 23-26.5inches while females should be 21.5 to 24.5inches.  Males weigh typically 60-70lb and females 53-64lbs.

The American Kennel Club state they do not disqualify the Irish Setter due to size and instead judge on proportion.  Their standards state that the ‘breastbone to rear of thigh and top of the withers to the ground, the Irish Setter is slightly longer than is tall.[1]’  Their preference is also for dogs that are sturdy and have plenty of bone.

By the AKC standards, the eyes should be almond shaped, medium sized and dark to medium brown, soft yet alert.  Ears are set well back and not above the eye level, they hang neat to the head and nearly reach the nose.  The dog’s nose should be black or chocolate with wide nostrils while the muzzle is moderately deep with teeth which meet in a ‘scissors bite’ where the upper incisors fit closely over the lower.

Down a strong and slightly arched neck, the topline of the ideal Irish Setter should be firm and inclined slightly down.  The tail should be strong beside the body and tapering out to a fine point and the body should be long enough for a straight and free stride.  The dog should have straight and sinewy forelegs with small feet and firm, arched toes.  To the hindquarters, there should be well developed thighs with long hind legs.

When running the Irish Setter should be graceful but efficient with the head slightly forward for balance.  Any signs of interference with a straight, true stride are marked against for the AKC.

Shyness and timidity or the extreme to hostility are not typical of this type of dogs and the ideal temperament is outgoing but stable.

The UK Kennel Club state similar standards seeking a dog which is balanced and proportionate who is ready to hunt and range under any circumstances.  Temperament should be affectionate and demonstrate this.

The dog’s coat is to have no trace of black but white on chest, throat or feet is acceptable along with a small star or narrow streak on forehead.


[1] http://www.akc.org/breeds/irish_setter/breed_standard.cfm