Breed Spotlight: Irish Setter
The Irish Setter is a high-spirited gundog known for grace, swiftness, and a flashy red coat. They are famously good family dogs: sweet-tempered companions for the folks, and rollicking playmates and tennis-ball fetchers for the children. The Irish Setter has been described by its partisans as the most beautiful of dog breeds. Standing more than two feet at the shoulder, with a substantial yet elegant build, the Irish is famed for a brilliant coat of mahogany or chestnut.
Long, sinewy legs and powerful rear drive help to place the Irish among the swiftest of all sporting dogs. The Irish Setter's lovable personality has endeared the breed to sportsmen and pet owners for more than 200 years. Irish are outgoing dogs who enjoy making friends. These rambunctious redheads are big kids at heart, but they are eager to please and will respond to patient, positive training. They are said to be bold and rugged hunting partners, with a devil-may-care approach to their work.
The Irish Setter's stunning rich-red coat requires moderate grooming to look its best. Irish should be brushed at least twice a week with a pin brush or a soft bristle brush; a long-toothed metal dog comb can also be used to help work out any tangles or mats that may be starting to form. The nails should be trimmed once a month. An occasional bath with a gentle shampoo meant for dogs will help to keep the coat and skin clean and healthy. Grooming sessions are a good time to check the dog all over for any new lumps or skin problems and to check that the eyes and ears are healthy and trouble-free.
The Irish Setter should be fed high-quality dog food appropriate for the dog's age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. The breed can experience bloat, a sudden and life-threatening swelling of the abdomen, and owners should educate themselves about its symptoms and what to do should bloat occur. The causes of bloat aren't fully understood, but experts agree that multiple, small meals and preventing vigorous exercise around mealtimes may help reduce the risk of bloating.
Like most Sporting breeds, Irish Setters need plenty of daily exercise. This can come in the form of long daily walks and play sessions with their owners. Irish Setters love to be with their people. The breed also exercises mind and body by participating in canine sports such as obedience, tracking, agility, rally, and other activities that can be enjoyed by both dog and owner.