We usually associate Irish setters with a uniform mahogany color. Meanwhile, the red-white variety existed earlier. Although it is built a bit less nobly, it behaves more dignified than its red cousin.

By their stature and disposition, both Irish Setter races are very similar, although there are some differences between them. The red-and-white setter has preserved the older type of construction because it is bred mainly for work. It’s stronger and usually a bit lower. It has higher-set, wider and shorter ears and less abundant feather on the limbs and tail.

Irish red-and-white setter at a gallop
photo: Shutterstock

Setter gently treats all members of the domestic herd – not only people, but also pets (he gets along well with foreign dogs). Very patient with children, he is a great companion because he loves movement and fun. When he gets crazy, he’ll be happy to hug.


In relation to strangers, like all setters, he is very gentle, but he does not immediately show sympathy for every stranger. Thanks to this dose of distrust, he can also prove himself as a guard dog, although this is not his original calling.

His element is hunting – but that doesn’t stop him from living in the city if he has a large dose of movement and some mental activity.

Portrait of an Irish red and white setter
photo: Shutterstock

Training and education

When it comes to disposition, it’s just like a red-cousin full of joy of life and energy. However, he reacts less impulsively. Balanced, learns quickly and is easy to arrange – both as a hunting and companion dog.

Who is this race for?

Even a novice owner can handle the education of an Irish setter. It is important to give the dog a lot of movement and some mental activity and then he will be a great companion.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • requires a lot of movement and attachment
  • he needs careful socialization, because he is distrustful of strangers
  • has a strong hunting instinct and can chase animals


  • balanced
  • gentle to people and animals
  • good companion to children
  • easy to care for


Setters must remember to regularly check their ears – especially after bathing – because the low-broken turbinate impairs ventilation, exposing the setter to infections and inflammation of the outer ear. There is also hip dysplasia. In addition, they are very healthy and resistant dogs.

Portrait of two Irish setters
photo: Shutterstock


The Irish red and white setter has no particular nutritional requirements. It can be fed with ready-made food as well as home-made food.

Irish setter portrait
photo: Shutterstock


Care for the setter is not a problem, because his coat is not rich. It is enough to brush it regularly to keep the coat shine. It is worth systematically shortening the hair at the bottom of the paws and between the fingers, even if the dog is not exposed.


Already in the seventeenth century in Ireland you could meet red and red-white setters. A hundred years later, spotted dogs were much more popular than uniformly red. In all old paintings depicting „tarantulas” – ancestors of setters and spaniels – quadrupeds appear in patches.

Profile portrait of an Irish setter
photo: Shutterstock

At the beginning of the second half of the 19th century Irish setters were shown at exhibitions. At that time, there were about the same number of representatives of both varieties. Gradually, however, red beauties began to displace spotted cousins.

At the end of the 19th century, red and white setters became so rare that they were thought to have become extinct. Few survived, however, in remote areas of Ireland. Some Irish hunters preferred these dogs because they were easier to see in the brush during hunting – and kept breeding them.

Irish red and white setter on the run
photo: Shutterstock

In 1944, a club was established in Ireland, whose goal was to preserve the red-and-white setter primarily as a working dog. Unfortunately, the race was still on the verge of extinction.

At the beginning of the 1970s, the Irish Kennel Club commissioned the Irish redhead (mahogany) club to oversee the reconstruction of the breed. The breeding base turned out to be so narrow that you had to resort to crosses with red setters. Slowly, the breed began to grow and gain a group of lovers not only in the homeland. The British cynological association recognized her in 1987, and FCI – in 1989.

Irish red and white setter in the meadow
photo: Shutterstock

Currently, the breed has supporters in various countries of Europe and the United States. They first came to Poland in 1998, and several litters were born with us.


Irish red and white setter – group VII FCI, section 2, reference number 330

  • Country of origin: Ireland
  • Nature: dog friendly to strangers, although not effusive at once; excellent hunting dog – persistent and brave
  • Size: dogs 62-66 cm, bitches 57-61 cm
  • Weight: dogs 29-34 kg, bitches 25-29 kg
  • Robe: silky, half-long; forms a straight or slightly wavy feather on the ears, back of the extremities, neck, stomach and tail, on the other parts of the body quite short and close-fitting
  • Ointment: on a white background intensely red patches; admissible dropletiness (spotting) on ​​the head and limbs
  • Length of life: 12-16 years old
  • Vulnerability to training: large – intelligent dog and easy to position
  • Activity: needs a lot of daily movement and mental activities
  • Maintenance costs: PLN 150-200 per month
  • Resistance / susceptibility to diseases: very resistant
  • Possibility to buy a puppy: there are very few kennels in Poland, the puppy must be ordered in advance
  • Price of a dog with a pedigree: PLN 1,500

Interesting facts

The Irish red-and-white setter together with the mahogany cousin appeared on a postage stamp issued by the Irish post office at the beginning of the 20th century.


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