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Irish setters are a type of dog split into either reds, irish or gordon setters. All are classic Irish setters but they are coloured differently, Irish are grey, Red errr red, and Gordon a black and gold mix. They are defined by their carriage, huge floppy ears and superb glossy coats. They are a type of gun dog and have been a favourite for dog owners for decades, they are still popular but of course need plenty of room to raom in.
We have a red setter called Woody, he's about 7 years old and we are his third owner at least. We inhereted Woody from a friend who had a small house and didn't have the room for a large sized dog. Red setter juveniles are large dogs even when they are aged 9-10 months, already weighing around 25 kilos and when spread out fully can be up to 5 foot long. Woody when we got him was house trained so I can't discuss that aspect but wasn't used to being taken for walks, he was perfectly well behaved so we didn't have any behaviour problem.
Red setters as a species are probably the most noble looking of all the dogs, they have a high carriage and a clear disposition. They have the classic setter face, but have huge black eyes and long floppy ears on either side. They have the appearance of being the king in any situation and exude confidence. Red setters are I think without too many doubts, a magnet for dog lovers of all types. Certainly if I'd known how popular setters are with the ladies I'd have had one a long time ago, girls seem to love coming over and saying hello when I'm walking Woody (thats a tip for all you single guys out there).
They are the most photogenic of all dogs and genuinely seem to love showing off and preening. Woody particularly loves windy weather were the wind can ruffle his luxuriant fur.
Setters are big dogs, they do require plenty of exercise and this comes with two issues firstly they will run all day if let off there leads and will eat anything and everything. This led over time to cause Woody to slowly put on weight, yes he gets exercised twice a day but treats did sneak in. This came to a head a year ago when he started to tip the scales at 30 kilo's. His ideal weight should be 25 so in effect he was almost 2 stone overweight, over the last year we are delighted to get him down to 26 kilo's and aim to lose that last kilo over the next year. We now have a rejuvenated dog, I know he's almost back to his best when he gave a king charles spanial a fifty yard start and caught him within 10 secs.
Setters also come with the problem if you want to call it that off their hair, they have the most beautiful fronds which dangle down from their chest and stomach. These can get very dirty and combed/washed regularly. I'd guess Woody gets a wash every month and a hair cut every 6 months. Dog grooming usually costs about £25 a time, I used to think this was a lot until I found out how much getting a hair cut costs my wife.
Setters in general are non too fussy eaters, we feed woody one tooth brush chew in the morning to keep his teeth in good condition, a scoop of general dog meal and half a tin of dog food or a tin of tuna in oil.
Setters like all dogs need their general yearly check and that costs about £30, and insurance usually comes in at about £10 a month. Dog insurance is essential, anyone who owns a pet without insurance is mad because vet fees can be eye watering.
Life without Woody would be unthinkable, yes he gets under your feet when you don't need him, yes he slobbers water everywhere and has a habit of chewing things occassionally. However, he's loving, affectionate and the best house alarm I can think off. There's no chance of a burglar having a go at our hosue with a dog which barks like Woody at people he doesn't know but if he knows you then the chance of not being sat on is very remote.
Setters don't cost a huge amount to feed and own per month and give far more than they ever cost, we were worried about Woody when our new baby arrived last year and we need not have worried. Woody has very much acccepted the baby, and now he's walking is very patient with this annoying little creature who thinks its hilarious to clamber over and try and stroke him.
If your wondering about getting a setter you need three things, time to take him for a walk day and night, plenty of garden to allow him to wander and be prepared to pick up an amazing amount of poo from the garden. If you can accept these things then Setters are the best dog anyone could want and I can't recommend them highly enough.
n.b. I once went to the Red Setter dog show at Birmingham and i've never seen so many dogs with there noses in their air, looking down on their owners and flouncing about. The category of the most vain dog in the world is always won by a setter!!!!!
I have recently lost my Irish Setter bitch 'Jinty' at the advanced age of fifteen years and eight months, she had had health issues from time to time these included skin infections no doubt from her love of jumping in any water or bog she could find - torn cruciate ligament from hanging herself from a wall by one back leg and Cushings disease which she had for over eight years and was successfully controlled by medication once diagnosed.
I got Jinty 'cos I am not into going to the Gym etc. you can always find an excuse not to go!, - but when you have an Irish Setter no matter what the weather, or your mood you take the dog out, and on the darkest wettest day with rain dripping off your nose you will find yourself SMILING - it's an IRISH SETTER thing!.
From my experience of owning an Irish Setter I would say you really have to love the breed to want to own one, these dog's have attitude!, some people are of the opinion that they are stupid, this is far from the truth, they love life and take an avid interest in everything around them and have an effervescent disposition.
I guess Irish Setters can be rather slow to mature as the first couple of years with Jinty was rather like living with 'Tigger' she developed selective hearing! - especially if there was something to investigate, words of command ceased to exist - one of her best trick's was 'I'm not looking at you so I can't hear!'.
If you like meeting people an Irish Setter is the dog for you people cross the road to pet them, I'm not sure if it's because of the colour or the way they trot happily along but most people will reach out and touch them as they pass by.
Jinty always enjoyed exercise in her younger days it was never less than eight miles a day and that was on her lead!, in her later years, well, we 'pottered' - she had more miles on her than a second hand car!.
Plenty of exercise is the key to owning a well adjusted dog, whatever the breed.
I am of the opinion that the personality and 'joir de vivre' of the Irish Setter completely out weigh any negative points of the breed.
If you want biddable dog buy a Labrador, if you want a guard dog buy a German shepherd but if you want a fun loving, life enriching companion get an Irish Setter and given time, patience and love your dog will have the owner they deserve!!.
And me - well am already looking for my next IRISH SETTER!!.
I can't think of any other way to describe this breed of dog, other than truly the best friend you coiuld ever wish for. Dogs don't care what you look like, how slim you are, what colour hair you have, even what mood you're in... they'll always be your most loyal 'fan'! From first thing in the morniung to last thing at night, they comfort you, reassure you, even make you laugh. Admittedly this is the same for dogs alike, but there's something different about red setters, they have an extra quality, don't ask me what cause i'd not be able to tell you! But they have that something extra... i've owned my setter Teddy for four years, although my family have never been without one. I can honestly say in all of that time they have proved to be the most loyal, trustworthy companion a person could ask for. O.k, so they can't talk back, they can't answer your problems, but they certainly try their best. Be it by a wag of the tail, a kiss on the hand, even just by planting their firm well built body right next to you. No matter what, you know that they are there to help you.
Teddy has the biggest smile in the world, you just kniw when you walk through the door he'll not want to know where you've been, he's just happy you're back... He plants his panda paws on the ground and with all of his energy bounds up, his tail wagging uncontrolably, he's not angry that you left him behind at all. You couldn't ask for a better greeting on your return home! In the wind their sleek coats flutter in the breeze, their coats are immaculate - i've found that a huge advantage of this breed of dog is that they are relatively claen by nature - although you can never stop them having a good roll from time-to-time!!
They are also highly economical dogs to keep, in contrast to their size they do not need a huge amount of exercise, from past experience i've found three walks per day covering realtively short distances satisfies them. Overall they just simply want your attention, if you give them love they'll give it you back ten times over!
What I must say that I find extremely amazing about dogs in general is that no matter hoe they are treated in life they willl always give you their trust, I can say this after my parents rescued a setter some years ago, she actually came from a puppy farm... In honesty I can say that I had expected her to be a nervous wreck, and she was for some time but after about two weeks she'd sit at our feet while we stroked her head. This was a dog that didn't even know how to hold a toy, she was scared of any slight noise and had bever seen a car. In the end she proved to be one of the most trusting loving friends in the world - it just shows the true nature of man's best friend!
I would certainly recommend this breed of dog to any person seeking a fun loving companion. I can prominse you'll never find a better friend.
When purchasing your Irish Setter, make certain that you know his back ground, go to the breeder and see the parents if you can. They are beautiful dogs, but you have to be prepared for a lot of hard work in training them! We have owned three in our time, all beautiful dogs but so different. Our first "Brandy" was quite a lazy dog. We both worked, so he was left for four hours at a time, well, he wrecked the house! Ate the wall paper destroyed the furniture and the curtains. I gave up work in the end it was cheaper to stay at home, then he behaved! Clancy our second dog was loopy, we had him at dog training lessons at 12 weeks, he was a hand full. But once he got to 2 years old he calmed down. He did no damage at all in the home! Our present setter Oliver, he is too good to be true! But I am certain that this is due to the fact that we have learned how to train them. They need two hours of your time every day. You need to let them have free running in a field, and tire them out, or get them a companion who will play with him. They need grooming each week, they love water, but they are so loving. A great family dog.Please remember that the cute little puppy will grow into a great big red dog who never grows up!!