AKC MEET THE BREEDS®: Irish Red and White Setter

Despite its name, the Irish Red and White Setter is a distinct breed, not just a different colored version of the Irish Setter. Bred primarily for the field, they should be strong, powerful and athletic, with a keen and intelligent attitude. The coat’s base color is white with solid red patches.

A Look Back
Known in Ireland since the 17th century, the Red and White is thought to be the older of the two Irish Setters. However, due to the overwhelming popularity of its solid red cousin, and separate breeding of the two breeds, the Irish Red and White Setter was nearly extinct by the end of the 19th century. During the 1920s, efforts were made to revive the Irish Red and White Setter and by the 1940s, the breed began to reemerge in Ireland.

Right Breed for You?
Courageous, spirited and determined, the breed’s energy in the field carries over to the home, so Red and White Setters require regular exercise. Their kind and friendly attitudes make them great family dogs. They need minimal brushing or trimming – owners prize a natural appearance and the breed tends to carry less coat than the Irish Setter.

If you are considering purchasing an Irish Red and White Setter puppy, learn more here.

  • Sporting Group; AKC recognized in 2009.
  • Ranging in size from 22½ to 26 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Gundog.

© The American Kennel Club, Inc.

Irish Red and White Setter Breed Standard

Sporting Group

General Appearance
The Irish Red & White Setter is bred primarily for the field. The standard as set out hereunder must be interpreted chiefly from this point of view and all Judges at Bench Shows must be encouraged to judge the exhibits chiefly from the working standpoint.  The appearance is strong and powerful, well balanced and proportioned without lumber; athletic rather than racy with an aristocratic, keen and intelligent attitude.

Size, Proportion & Substance
Dogs are 24.5 - 26 inches tall; bitches are 22.5 - 24 inches tall. The length of the body from point of shoulders to base of tail is not shorter than the height at the top of the withers. Bone is moderate in proportion to size.

Expression - The gentle expression displays a kindly, friendly attitude. The eyes are dark hazel or dark brown; round, with slight prominence but without haw. The ears are set level with the eyes, well back, lying close to the head.  Skull - The skull is broad in proportion to the body and domed without showing an occipital protuberance, as in the Irish Setter.  Stop - The stop is distinct, but not exaggerated.
Muzzle - The muzzle is clean and square. The jaws are of equal or nearly equal length.  Bite - A scissors bite is ideal; a level bite is acceptable.

Neck, Topline & Body
Neck - The neck is moderately long, very muscular, but not too thick, slightly arched, free from all tendency to throatiness.  Topline - The topline of the dog, from the withers to the croup should be level, not sloping. The croup should be well rounded and sloping slightly downward to the tailset.  Body - The body is strong & muscular with a deep chest and well sprung ribs. The back is very muscular and powerful.   Tail - The tail is of moderate length, not reaching below the hock, strong at the root, tapering to fine point; no appearance of ropiness and carried level with or below the back.

Angulation - The shoulders are well laid back. Elbow - The elbows are free, turning neither in nor out.
Legs - The forelegs are straight and sinewy, well boned, with strong pasterns.  Feet - The feet are close-knit with plenty of feathering between toes.

The hindquarters are wide and powerful. Legs - The legs are of strong bone, well muscled and sinewy. The thighs, from hip to hock, are long and muscular. The stifle is well bent. The hock is well let down and turns neither in nor out, hocks are of moderate length and strong.  Feet - The feet are close-knit with plenty of feathering between toes.

Long silky fine hair called “Feathering” is present on the back of the fore and hind legs and on the outer ear flap, also a reasonable amount is on the flank extending onto the chest and throat forming a fringe.  All feathering is straight, flat and not overly profuse.  The tail is well feathered.  On the head, front of legs and other parts of the body the hair is short, flat and free from curl but a slight wave is permissible.

The base color is white with solid red patches (clear islands of red color); both colors show the maximum of life and bloom. Flecking but not roaning is permitted around the face and feet and up the foreleg as far as the elbow and up the hind leg as far as the hock. Roaning, flecking and mottling on any other part of the body is most objectionable and is to be heavily penalized.

When moving at the trot, the gait is long striding, very lively, graceful and efficient.  The head is held high, and the hindquarters drive smoothly and with great power. The forelegs reach well ahead and remain low.  Seen from front or rear, the forelegs and hind legs below the hock joint move perpendicularly to the ground with no crossing or weaving.

The trimming of an Irish Red and White Setter should be kept to a minimum, maintaining a neat natural appearance and not to be shaved with clippers. Light trimming with thinning shears is allowed. Under the ears, tail, pasterns and hocks may be trimmed for neatness. Feet may be cleared of hair including the bottom and around the edges leaving hair between the toes. No other trimming is allowed including the whiskers which shall remain intact.

They display a kindly, friendly attitude, behind which is discernible determination, courage and high spirit.

Any departure from the foregoing standard is considered a fault and the seriousness of the fault is in exact proportion to its degree.

Approved August 8, 2006
Effective June 27, 2007



Copy Right February 2011


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