Irish Red & White Setter

Last updated March 1994

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Strong and powerful, without lumber; athletic rather than racy.


Biddable, highly intelligent, good worker.


Happy, good natured and affectionate.

Head and skull

Head broad in proportion to body, with good stop. Skull domed without occipital protuberance as in Irish Setters, fairly square, clean muzzle.


Hazel or dark brown, round, slight prominence, and without haw.


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


Jaws strong with a perfect regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


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


Shoulders well laid back. Elbows free, turning neither in nor out. Strong, oval bone, well muscled, sinewy, pasterns slightly sloping.


Strong and muscular, deep chest and well-sprung ribs. Back and quarters very muscular and powerful. Bone strong, well built up with muscle and sinew.


Wide and powerful. Legs from hip to hock long and muscular from hock to heel short and strong. Stifle well bent, hocks well let down turning neither in nor out.


Close knit, well feathered between toes.


Strong at root, tapering to fine point, with no appearance of ropiness; not reaching below hock. Well feathered, carried level with back or below in lively manner.


Long, free striding, effortless with drive.


Finely textured with good feathering. Slight wave permissible but never curly.


Clearly particoloured, i.e. base colour pearl white, solid red patches. Mottling or flecking but no roaning permitted around face and feet and up foreleg to elbow and up hindleg to hock.


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 and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.