Irish Setter (Pet Love)


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Irish Setters are exceptionally elegant dogs, which perform well in the show ring, but a focus on their looks has not done a lot for their temperaments. Some individuals can be very skittish and over-sensitive, which can make them difficult to train and walk, though they are an affectionate breed. Irish Setters at their best can be a handful to train. They benefit from a firm, but gentle approach, with short, daily training sessions from when they are pups.

Like English Setters and Gordon Setters, Irish Setters are active dogs that need a few miles walk every day, and, like English and Gordon Setters, Irish Setters are not entirely trustworthy off leash, since they like to follow scents, so they should only be let off well away from traffic. They like ball games, once you have taught them how to play ball, so you can train recall in your garden, using a ball as a lure to get them to come back to you. It's safer to ask them to sit, and only throw the ball when they are sitting, so they don't jump up in their excitement.

Like English and Gordon Setters, Irish Setters are generally good with both children and other dogs, though they are quite large, and can easily knock children over, so small children and Setters need supervision. Irish Setters also need to learn to greet people with all four paws on the ground, since they can easily knock over children or frail adults if they jump up. Irish Setters are higher-maintenance than Gordons, in that their longer coats need daily grooming, and collect more mud on those walks.

The breed can be quite barky, so Irish Setters can make good watchdogs, but they are generally either too friendly or skittish to be good guard dogs. Common health problems include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, allergies, and eye trouble. This book is a very good introductory guide to Irish Setters, which gives help with training, as well as covering the history of the breed, and the breed standard. There is also advice on choosing an Irish Setter, and on general care. The book is very well illustrated. It is more likely to interest new owners than people who already have experience of the breed.