The Irish Setter is an active, aristocratic bird
dog, rich red in color, substantial yet elegant in build.
Standing over two feet tall at the shoulder, the dog has a
straight, fine, glossy coat, longer on ears, chest, tail and
back of legs. Afield he is a swift-moving hunter; at home, a
sweet natured, trainable companion.
At their best, the
lines of the Irish Setter so satisfy in overall balance that
artists have termed it the most beautiful of all dogs. The
correct specimen always exhibits balance, whether standing or
in motion. Each part of the dog flows and fits smoothly into
its neighboring parts without calling attention to itself.
There is no disqualification as to size. The
make and fit of all parts and their overall balance in the
animal are rated more important. 27 inches at the withers and
a show weight of about 70 pounds is considered ideal for the
dog; the bitch 25 inches, 60 pounds. Variance beyond an inch
up or down is to be discouraged.
Proportion - Measuring from the breast bone to
rear of thigh and from the top of the withers to the ground,
the Irish Setter is slightly longer than it is tall.
Substance - All legs sturdy with plenty of bone.
Structure in the male reflects masculinity without coarseness.
Bitches appear feminine without being slight of bone.
Long and lean, its length at least double the
width between the ears. Beauty of head is emphasized by
delicate chiseling along the muzzle, around and below the eyes
and along the cheeks.
Soft, yet alert. Eyes somewhat almond shaped, of
medium size, placed rather well apart, neither deep set nor
bulging. Color dark to medium brown. Ears set well back and
low, not above level of eye. Leather thin, hanging in a neat
fold close to the head, and nearly long enough to reach the
The skull is oval when viewed from above or
front; very slightly domed when viewed in profile. The brow is
raised, showing a distinct stop midway between the tip of the
nose and the well-defined occiput (rear point of skull). Thus
the nearly level line from occiput to brow is set a little
above, and parallel to, the straight and equal line from eye
Moderately deep, jaws of nearly equal length,
the underline of the jaw being almost parallel with the top
line of the muzzle. Nose black or chocolate; nostrils wide.
Upper lips fairly square but not pendulous. The teeth meet in
a scissors bite in which the upper incisors fit closely over
the lower, or they may meet evenly.
Neck moderately long, strong but not thick, and
slightly arched; free from throatiness and fitting smoothly
into the shoulders.
Topline of body from withers to tail should be
firm and incline slightly downward without sharp drop at the
croup. The tail is set on nearly level with the croup as a
natural extension of the topline, strong at root, tapering to
a fine point, nearly long enough to reach the hock. Carriage
straight or curving slightly upward, nearly level with the
back. Body sufficiently long to permit a straight and free
stride. Chest deep, reaching approximately to the elbows with
moderate forechest, extending beyond the point where the
shoulder joins the upper arm. Chest is of moderate width so
that it does not interfere with forward motion and extends
rearwards to well sprung ribs. Loins firm, muscular and of
Forequarters - Shoulder blades long, wide,
sloping well back, fairly close together at the withers. Upper
arm and shoulder blades are approximately the same length, and
are joined at sufficient angle to bring the elbows rearward
along the brisket in line with the top of the withers. The
elbows moving freely, incline neither in nor out. Forelegs
straight and sinewy, strong, nearly straight pasterns. Feet
rather small, very firm, toes arched and close.
Hindquarters - Hindquarters should be wide and
powerful with broad, well developed thighs. Hind legs should
be long and muscular from hip to hock; short and perpendicular
from hock to ground; well angulated at stifle and hock joints,
which like the elbows, incline neither in nor out. Feet as in
front. Angulation of the forequarters and hindquarters should
Short and fine on head and forelegs. On all
other parts of moderate length and flat. Feathering long and
silky on ears; on back of forelegs and thighs long and fine,
with a pleasing fringe of hair on belly and brisket extending
onto the chest. Fringe on tail moderately long and tapering.
All coat and feathering as straight and free as possible from
curl or wave. The Irish Setter is trimmed for the show ring to
emphasize the lean head and clean neck. The top third of the
ears and the throat nearly to the breastbone are trimmed.
Excess feathering is removed to show the natural outline of
the foot. All trimming is done to preserve the natural
appearance of the dog.
Mahogany or rich chestnut red with no black. A
small amount of white on chest, throat or toes, or a narrow
centered streak on skull not to be penalized.
At the trot the gait is big, very lively,
graceful and efficient. At an extended trot the head reaches
slightly forward, keeping the dog in balance. The forelegs
reach well ahead as if to pull in the ground without giving
the appearance of a hackney gait. The hindquarters drive
smoothly and with great power. Seen from the front or rear,
the forelegs, as well as the hind legs below the hock joint,
move perpendicularly to the ground, with some tendency towards
a single track as speed increases. Structural characteristics
which interfere with a straight true stride are to be
The Irish Setter has a rollicking personality.
Shyness, hostility or timidity are uncharacteristic of the
breed. An outgoing, stable temperament is the essence of the