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Gun Dogs: Are Irish Setters Good Dogs for Family Pets

By    |   Monday, 16 Nov 2015 10:09 PM

When it comes to the performance of Irish setters as gun dogs, there are varying opinions about the breed. Some believe that Irish setters have become too scatterbrained to be effective sporting dogs, Gun Dog magazine noted. Others contend that even with just basic training, the breed will be an effective hunting companion. While their reputation as gun dogs may be subjective, it helps to know how the breed does as a family pet.

Irish setters originated from Ireland in the 1700s, and the breed is generally believed to have been developed from a mix of English setter, Gordon setter, spaniel and pointer bloodlines. The American Kennel Club (AKC) formally recognized the breed in 1870, and the very first Irish setter registered with the AKC is a dog named Admiral.

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The AKC does not have a category for gun dogs, but they classify the Irish setter breed in the sporting group along with retrievers, pointers, and spaniels. According to the AKC, the breed should have a rich red coat, stand at least 2 feet tall, possess an elegant bearing, be sweet natured, trainable, and should retain some of the hunting instinct for which it was originally bred.

By nature, Irish setters are highly energetic, active, playful, very friendly, affectionate, and intelligent. While they are an easily trainable breed, their energy often makes it impossible to train them for long periods. Trainers and owners should have a firm and authoritative personality as they do not respond well to people whom they perceive as being as passive or weak, according to the Dog Breed Info Center. As with most dog breeds, training should start at an early age to prevent Irish setters from developing behavioral issues.

Since Irish setters are highly energetic, they are best suited for active and outgoing families who plan on letting the dog join in on family activities. They require at least an hour of exercise per day where they can expend some of their pent-up energy, according to DogTime. An apartment setting may not be ideal for the breed unless its owner can see to it that it gets its daily exercise. When they feel neglected, Irish setters tend to become destructive and may develop separation anxiety issues.

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When on the lookout for an Irish setter as a family pet, it will be a good idea to seek out reputable breeders. Ask breeders whether their Irish setter pedigree is better suited as pets, gun dogs or both. If the opportunity is available, arrange to meet the Irish setter puppy's parents, especially the mother, to get an idea as to what the puppy will be like once it reaches adulthood. Keep in mind that, as with other dogs, raising Irish setters requires dedication and commitment to ensure that the dog grows up to be a wonderful and highly energetic companion.

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When it comes to the performance of Irish setters as gun dogs, there are varying opinions about the breed.
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Monday, 16 Nov 2015 10:09 PM
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