Irish Setter

Lifestyle Needs

Irish Setter

The Irish Setter is a large and very glamorous dog.  He is generally speedy, active and would prefer to live in a house with a garden.  He would best suit somewhere with easy access to the open countryside where he can run free and explore.  His fine, glossy coat needs regular grooming. Average lifespan 11 years.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 15.4% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

  • Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) (Bloat/torsion) (stomach fills with air and twists, causing intense pain and requiring urgent vet treatment)
  • Low tail carriage and broad tail base can be associated with Anal furunculosis

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia:  (abnormality of the hip joints causing pain and disability) breed mean score 12.3 (parents need to be lower)
  • Eye disease:  Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (annual testing) (gradual loss of vision)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : EBVs for Hip Dysplasia are available for this breed

DNA Tests Available

    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy PRA (rcd-1)
    • Progressive Retinal AtrophyPRA (rcd-4)
    • Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD) (a fatal immunodeficiency – dogs die early in life from multiple infections)
    • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
    • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL0)
    • Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy (GCL)

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

Bitches under 2 years not to produce litter.

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Atopy (hypersensitivity to pollens and other protein particles – causes intense itching)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Acral lick dermatitis (lick granuloma)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactivity of thyroid gland)
  • Cancer: osteosarcoma (bone cancer); trichoepithelioma; pancreatic; lymphoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Uveodermatological syndrome (auto immune disease) (tissues are progressively destroyed leading to blindness and death)
  • Entropion (inward turning of eyelids)
  • Gluten sensitivity enteropathy (intestinal condition)
  • Haemophilia
  • Immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (red blood cell destruction of the immune system)
  • Persistent right aortic arch (aortic arch abnomality producing an encircling ring around the trachea and oesophagus (causes pneumonia and failure to thrive)
  • Tricuspid valve dysplasia (causes regurgitant blood flow)

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds