Bred in Ireland for bird setting, the Irish Setter is a sporting breed with a top-notch athletic resume. Since Setters were used in clubs to work with various hunters, sociability became a hallmark of the breed.
Other than a bit of barking, few Setters make avid watchdogs. They’re typically social not only with people but with other dogs too. Although eager to play any game imaginable with older children, they may be a bit boisterous for tiny children.
With great athleticism and endurance, the Setter needs a high intensity exercise routine, and preferably a big yard for rollicking play. Setters can keep up with serious joggers and run circles around just about any sportsman. Excelling in field trials, Setters may also enjoy tracking, and occasionally (but don’t count on it!) obedience work, if the owners can convince them they’re having fun.
Training should be gentle but firm and started at an early age. The breed makes an affectionate family pet, but is a bit too fond of people to be counted among the better watchdogs. Because of its sporting dog heritage, the Irish Setter is never happier than when running in the field. This high-octane dog needs an active family that will provide daily exercise and playtime.