Irish Red and White Setter

Lifestyle Needs

Irish Red and White Setter
Irish Red and White Setter

The Irish Red and White Setter is a medium sized Gundog type.  He is typically an athletic dog and very happy to join in with a range of energetic activities.  As a Gundog he may be unsuitable for some family homes, particularly in an urban environment.  He needs to live in a house with a  garden, and ideally have frequent access to the open countryside.  He needs lots of exercise.  He has a fine, medium length coat which will require regular grooming.

Genetic Diversity
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)

The breed average COI is 17.8%

The IRWS breed was virtually extinct 30 years ago and was recently revived from 7 founder members.

See 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Gene Pool Size
(Known as 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)

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia: breed 5 year mean score 7.7 (parents should be lower)
  • Eye disease: Hereditary cataract (HC) (annual testing)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

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

  • Canine Leucocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD)
  • Progressive retinal atrophy ( PRA rcd 1 )
  • vonWillebrands Disease (vWD)

Control schemes on CLAD and vWD have been set up by the KC and IRWS breed clubs to deny registration of dogs not proven clear of either disorder by test or parentage.

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes

Breed club website:

The IRWS Club of Great Britain take great care of the breed’s genetic health and welfare. A database is kept containing every IRWS registered in the UK since 1980.  All dogs have their 10 generation COI, all health test results and further information. Breeding stock must be CLAD and vWD free, be hip scored and have a current eye score before mating. Club members adhere to a strict code of ethics and maintain interest and contact with their puppies into old age.

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)

  • Epilepsy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Megaoesophagus

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.

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

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

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

Breed Health Information