Four Different Setter Dog Breeds

Red Irish setter dog smiling

Consider a setter breed if you're looking for an energetic canine companion, a skilled hunting dog, or a devoted family pet. The Irish setter, Gordon setter, setter, and Irish red and white setter are four exceptional dogs who excel both on the field and at home. Each of these setters has a natural knack for hunting as well as a family-oriented personality that makes them popular companions. Each breed, however, has its own distinct characteristics.

Here are four setter dog breeds that might suit your lifestyle.

Setter Breed Characteristics

Setter dogs got their name and reputation as hunting dogs because of their natural desire to squat, or "set," when they discover their prey. A setter will usually assume a low posture, with its body almost touching the ground and its gaze fixated on the game. This stance used to allow hunters to cast a net over the game without being hindered by the dog's body. With the introduction of weapons in hunting, it is no longer essential, but it is still a distinguishing feature of setter breeds.


Setter breeds are known for not getting along with small animals in the home. Although adequate training and socialization from an early age can help setters cohabit with other pets, their prey drive may urge them to hunt cats and small dogs.

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    Irish setter in a field

    A wonderful example of a setter dog breed is the Irish setter. The red setter (as the breed is often known) was created in Ireland as a steady and proficient birding dog and is easily recognizable by its rich mahogany coat with flowing locks and feathering.

    These canines have an intrinsic aptitude to find game birds and alert a hunting companion to their location. Many Irish setters show a strong desire to please their owners from an early age, and they learn to work in the field rapidly. As long as they receive constant training and exercise, Irish setters are regarded to be good family dogs and peaceful housemates.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 24 to 27 inches

    Weight: 35 to 70 pounds

    Feathers on the breast, belly, legs, tail, and ears; neck and tail outstretch to indicate in the direction of prey.

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    The Gordon setter is unmistakably the biggest of the setter breeds. The Gordon stands out because to its robust bone structure and unique black-and-tan coat. This dog may be traced back to Alexander the Fourth, Duke of Gordon, who produced a hunting dog capable of crossing the rugged Scottish landscape. The dog's huge height helped it in bad weather, and the breed was also bred for endurance rather than speed.

    The black and tan setter was the first breed approved by the United Kennel Club in 1872. The name was changed to Gordon Setter in 1924. The breed has a pleasant personality, but it also has a strong protective instinct. To foster a kind and obedient temperament, early socialization and training are essential.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 23 to 27 inches

    Weight: 45 to 80 pounds

    Medium to big build; lustrous coat with feathering on the ears, chest, legs, and tail; coat is often black with tan markings; coat is shiny and straight or wavy.

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    The English setter is smaller in height than the Gordon and Irish setters, yet it stands out for its freckled coat and friendly disposition. It has a white base coat with either orange or black markings (known as "belton"), or it can be tricolor. Aside from its good appearance and disposition, this breed was bred to excel at setting and retrieving game birds.

    Though its precise history is uncertain, the English setter is said to have originated from a cross of pointer and spaniel breeds. English setters today have a great desire to form deep bonds with their family and dislike being left alone for lengthy periods of time. They also require a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation to remain happy and healthy.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 25 to 27 inches

    Weight: 65 to 80 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Athletic build; long ears; feathering on the legs; long, flat, silky, and a little wavy coat in various colors

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    Irish Red and White Setter

    The Irish red and white setter (also known as the IRWS) was the first Irish-bred setter on the scene, however the all-red Irish setter has more fame among the setter breeds. The vivid coloration of the red and white setter, which is said to have originated in Ireland in the 17th century, stood out against the terrain and helped hunters to readily follow their dogs in pursuit of game birds.

    The solid red setter was evolved over time by selective breeding of the IRWS, eventually resulting to the separation of the IRWS and Irish setter breed standards. The IRWS is slightly smaller than the Irish setter, other from their coat colors. However, they are equally as tough and athletic as their setter counterparts.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 22 to 26 inches

    Weight: 35 to 60 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Sturdy, athletic build; white coat with distinct red patches; feathering along the ears, legs, body, and tail

  • What is a setter dog?

    Setters are a number of breeds of sporting dogs. There are four types.

  • What size are most setter dogs?

    Mature English setters weigh from 56 to 65 pounds.

  • Are setters good family dogs?

    Yes! They're laid back—perfect for kids—gentle, friendly, and smart.

  • Do setters shed?

    Setters are moderate shedders.