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)
  • Low tail carriage and broad tail base can be associated with Anal furunculosis

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia: breed mean score 12.3 (parents need to be lower)
  • Eye disease:  Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (annual testing)

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

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy PRA (rcd-1)
    • Progressive Retinal AtrophyPRA (rcd-4)
    • Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD)
    • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
    • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL0)
    • Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy (GCL)

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test. Good breeders will have followed the recommendations of the appropriate breed clubs, Kennel Club and/or other qualified experts.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening 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
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Acral lick dermatitis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Megaoesophagus
  • Cancer: osteosarcoma; melanoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Entropion
  • Gluten sensitivity enteropathy
  • Metaphyseal osteopathy
  • Haemophilia A
  • Vascular ring anomaly (PRAA)
  • Patent ductus arteriosis

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

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