Irish Setter Links
Information on Irish Setter Rescue can be found at the Irish Setter Club of America's web page of Irish Setter Rescue
Irish Setter History
The Irish Setter, recognizable from media such as Big Red, first came into popular notice in the 18th century. In less than a century following his arrival as a breed, the Irish was firmly established not only in his native Ireland but throughout the British Isles. Most authorities agree that the breed arose from mixtures of Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Terrier, English Setter, Spaniel, Pointer, and a dash of Gordon Setter. Originally, the Irish Setter was included in the family of Setters that included mostly red and white setters, although today in America the solid red is typical and the only acceptable variety to date in the show ring. The solid-red Setter first appeared in Ireland in the 19th century, and in 1812, the Earl of Enniskillen declared he would have nothing else in his kennel. Solid red became synonymous with dogs of "high mark," and the breed was revered for its remarkable sporting abilities.
As a gun dog, the Irish works equally well on a number of birds, and after importation to America in the 19th century, he soared in popularity there as he had in the British Isles. Despite a veritable monopoly on the field trial circuit by the Llewellin (English) Setter and Pointer, the Irish proved himself in America and demonstrated great ability. However, combined with the Irish's token good looks, the field handicap imposed by the aforementioned breeds has led to the breeding of two increasingly different types of Irish Setter, field and bench. Efforts are being made to reunite the Irish Setter's field ability and beauty, and dual champions are becoming more and more common. He is a popular breed across the globe, and he is probably the most recognizable of the Setters and even among the Sporting breeds.