Irish Setter Family Album and Health Issues

At Dancin Setters Kennel, the primary objective is, always, to further the Irish Setter breed. I maintain a high standard for my breeding program. First, and foremost, all breeding is calculated to enhance the health, temperament, beauty and conformation to the Irish Setter standard…as well as brains.

My philosophy is based on significant statistical research on the subject. I work closely with friends in the Theriogeneological Department at Cornell University, and a geneticist friend of mine, to evaluate all pedigrees. Inbreeding coefficients are calculated and evaluated for every possible litter I consider. If the coefficients are too high, on paper, then I avoid the match. I feel it is important to stay within 5% of the parents and grandparents.

Breeders certainly can’t predict every possible combination of DNA that might occur…but I feel that we do have the obligation to do our homework to minimize inbreeding and the defects that inbreeding can elicit and, as a result of our efforts, enhance the breed and its genetic pool so that we can enjoy our beloved Irish Setters for generations to come.

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.

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.

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, their lengths 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 nose.

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 to nose.

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, Topline, Body
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 fore chest, 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.

Firm, muscular and of moderate length.

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 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 be balanced.


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 penalized.

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 Irish Setter.

Irish Setter Health Issues

Recommended Injection Schedule The Vaccination Debate

Fear not...Well-bred, well trained Irish Setters are active, loving, intelligent and generally healthy animals. With an average life expectancy of 13 to 15 years, Irish Setters, in general, should not be considered to be a sickly breed. Because it says, below, that the breed is prone to an ailment does not mean you are likely see it in your dog. It is just a "word to the wise" to keep a look out for it. Talk to your veterinarian, as there are tests for a number of these ailments. And, here at Dancinsetters Kennel, the breeding and training program is continually aimed at minimizing, or eliminating, the specific genetic or behavioral health issues that are traditionally associated with Irish Setters:

This breed is susceptible to bloat and other digestive problems. It may be wise to feed 2 or 3 small meals a day instead of one big one. Another option is to go to a more natural diet of whole foods, as opposed to store-bought "chows". This is such an important health issue that you should CLICK HERE for a separate page of information, research findings and links on bloat.

The Irish Setter is prone to epilepsy and skin allergies. They may also suffer from eye problems and elbow & hip dysplasia (malformed, flattened, socket of joint). Also prone to PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy, equiv. to Retinitus Pigmentosa in humans), auto-immune disease and hypothyroidism. The ears should be watched for ear inflammation. Catching an inflammation early is better than having to perform an ear operation for otitis. Bitches of any breed can be afflicted with Pyometra, which can be confused with a bladder infection but is much more serious. See, also, Von Willebrand's Disease - VWW - which is a bleeding disease that is caused by a different genetic mutation from that which causes hemophilia. This disease occurs in humans also, but is genetic and can't be "caught" from a pet.

Other bone related ailments that may affect the Irish Setter include Hypertrophic Osteo-Dystrophy or HO and Panosteitis. The latter condition, though it is painful for the dog, is generally self-limiting, but HOD can be fatal.

Other Health and Dog Information and Links

Dancin Setters Family Album

Pinkie& Kayla in pool

Kayla and Pups 10 days old

Kayla in pool on floaty

Family portrait Kayla
second litter in Syacuse

Maurice and Samatha

Maurice being French

Maurice leaving grandma's
house to new Politio family

Maurice first birthday

Winter looking out the window

Susan Tosto best friend and
partner in crime at the dog shows

This is Fuzzy Guzzy aka “GUSS” our mascot owned by Susan Tosto what a boy. Great Springer spaniel.

Yogi and Tessy taking Best of Breed and Best opposite at the same time.

Hefner winning a group one our of Kathy Suebe’s Ch. Dancin Aint She Sweet aka Sweet Pea

Winter and pal cat Murphy

Yogi and Georgianne at 6 months owned by Richie Redeilli & Georgianne Carney

Yogi at 6 week old now he is BIS Ch. Dancin Good Vibration owned by Richie Redelli and Georgianne Carney

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