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Irish Red and White Setter

Gun Dog Group

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


The Irish Setter probably came to its own at the end of the 17th Century. It is not well known outside of Ireland that there are two breeds of Irish Setters, but it is fairly certain that the Red and White Setter is the older of the two, and that the solid red color evolved through judicious selective breeding. When Irish Setters came to the show benches just past the middle of the 19th Century, there was a good deal of confusion about their proper color. By the end of the 19th Century, the Red Setter had virtually eclipsed the Red and White, which became so rare that they were thought to be extinct.

During the 1920’s, efforts were made to revive the breed. By 1944, the breed had re-established itself well enough to have a club of its own, and today it can be seen in healthy numbers at Irish shows and field trials. The present club, the Irish Red & White Setter Field & Show Society, was formed in 1981 and through its endeavours and direction the breed is now well established nationally and internationally.

The Irish Red & White Setter competes successfully in UKC Pointing Dog Field Trials.

The Irish Red & White Setter was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1995.

General Appearance

Strong well balanced and proportioned without lumber; athletic rather than racy. It is a large, red and white parti-colored dog, with the coat on the front of the neck left natural. The Irish Red & White Setter is bred primarily for the field and must be judged chiefly from the working standpoint.


Aristocratic, keen and intelligent. Displays a kindly, friendly attitude, behind which should be discernible determination, courage and high spirit. The Red and White Setter is very friendly, dependable and an easily trained gun dog.


Broad in proportion to the body.


Domed without showing occipital protuberance, as in the Irish Red Setter. Good Stop.


Clean and square. Jaws of equal or nearly equal length.


Regular teeth. Scissors bite ideal; even bite acceptable.


Dark hazel or dark brown; oval, with slight prominence and without haw.


Black or dark brown.


Set level with the eyes, and well back, lying close to the head.


Moderately long, very muscular, but not too thick, slightly arched, free from all tendency to throatiness.


Shoulders well laid back. Elbows are free, turning neither in nor out.


Straight and sinewy, well boned. Strong pasterns.


Strong and muscular. The back is strong and well muscled. The chest is deep with well sprung ribs.


Wide and strong; hind legs from hip to hock long and muscular. Stifles well bent. Hocks well let down, turning neither in nor out. Hock to foot strong and of moderate length.


Close-knit, with plenty of feathering between the toes.


Moderate length, not reaching below the hock, strong at root. Tapering to fine point; no appearance of ropiness, and carried level with or below the back.


Long silky fine hair called "Feathering" on the back of the fore and hind legs and on the outer ear flap; also a reasonable amount on the flank extending on to the chest and throat forming a fringe. All feathering straight, flat and free from curl, but slight wave is permissible. The tail should be well feathered. On all other parts of the body the hair should be short, flat and free from curl.

The bottom of the feet, including the edges, may be cleared of hair. The pasterns and rear pasterns may be thinned for neatness. Light trimming, for cleanliness, is allowed under the base of the tail. No other trimming is allowed, including the whiskers, which are to remain untrimmed. Any alterations to the coat on the top of the ears and the front of the neck are not permissible.

Serious Fault: Any other trimming than mentioned above, including the whiskers, which are to remain untrimmed. Any alterations to the coat on the top of the ears and the front of the neck.


Base color white, with solid red patches (clear islands of red color). Both colors should show the maximum of life and bloom; flecking but not roaning 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.

Serious Fault: Flecking but not roaning is permitted around the face and feet and up the forelegs as far as the elbow and up the hind leg as far as the hock.


Desirable height at the withers for males is 24.5 to 26 inches. For females it is 22.5 to 24 inches.
Serious Fault: Any male or female not conforming to the height standard.


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


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Eliminating Faults

(An Eliminating Fault is a Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a conformation event.)
Visible and excessive roaning, flecking and mottling on any other part of the body.


Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism.

UKC Breed Standards: Irish Red and White Setter

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Official UKC Breed Standard

Revised January 1, 2011

©Copyright 1994, United Kennel Club