(The American Kennel Clubs Standard and Description)

General Appearance

The Irish Setter is an active, aristocratic
bird dog, rich red in color, substantial yet
elegant in build. Standing over two feet
tall at the shoulder, the dog has a
straight, fine, glossy coat, longer on
ears, chest, tail and back of legs. Afield,
the Irish Setter is a swift-moving hunter;
at home, a sweet natured, trainable
At their best, the lines of the Irish Setter
so satisfy in overall balance that artists
have termed it the most beautiful of all dogs. The correct specimen
always exhibits balance, whether standing or in motion. Each part of the
dog flows and fits smoothly into its neighboring parts without calling
attention to itself.

Size, Proportion, Substance

There is no disqualification as to size. The make and fit of all parts and
their overall balance in the animal are rated more important. 27 inches at
the withers and a show weight of about 70 pounds is considered ideal for
the dog; the bitch 25 inches, 60 pounds. Variance beyond an inch up or
down is to be discouraged. Proportion --Measuring from the breastbone
to rear of thigh and from the top of the withers to the ground, the Irish
Setter is slightly longer than it is tall. Substance--All legs sturdy with
plenty of bone. Structure in the male reflects masculinity without
coarseness. Bitches appear feminine without being slight of bone.


Long and lean, its length at least double the width between the ears.
Beauty of head is emphasized by delicate chiseling along the muzzle,
around and below the eyes, and along the cheeks. Expression soft, yet
alert. Eyes somewhat almond shaped, of medium size, placed rather well
apart, neither deep set nor bulging. Color, dark to medium brown. Ears
set well back and low, not above level of eye. Leather thin, hanging in a
neat fold close to the head, and nearly long enough to reach the nose.
The skull is oval when viewed from above or front; very slightly domed
when viewed in profile. The brow is raised, showing a distinct stop midway
between the tip of the nose and the well-defined occiput (rear point of
skull). Thus the nearly level line from occiput to brow is set a little above,
and parallel to, the straight and equal line from eye to nose. Muzzle
moderately deep, jaws of nearly equal length, the underline of the jaws
being almost parallel with the top line of the muzzle. Nose black or
chocolate; nostrils wide. Upper lips fairly square but not pendulous. The
teeth meet in a scissors bite in which the upper incisors fit closely over
the lower, or they may meet evenly.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck moderately long, strong but not thick, and slightly arched; free from
throatiness and fitting smoothly into the shoulders. Topline of body from
withers to tail should be firm and incline slightly downward without sharp
drop at the croup. The tail is set on nearly level with the croup as a
natural extension of the topline, strong at root, tapering to a fine point,
nearly long enough to reach the hock. Carriage straight or curving slightly
upward, nearly level with the back. Body sufficiently long to permit a
straight and free stride. Chest deep, reaching approximately to the elbows
with moderate forechest, extending beyond the point where the shoulder
joins the upper arm. Chest is of moderate width so that it does not
interfere with forward motion and extends rearwards to well sprung ribs.
Loins firm, muscular and of moderate length.


Shoulder blades long, wide, sloping well back, fairly close together at the
withers. Upper arm and shoulder blades are approximately the same
length, and are joined at sufficient angle to bring the elbows rearward
along the brisket in line with the top of the withers. The elbows moving
freely, incline neither in nor out. Forelegs straight and sinewy. Strong,
nearly straight pastern. Feet rather small, very firm, toes arched and


Hindquarters should be wide and powerful with broad, well developed
thighs. Hind legs long and muscular from hip to hock; short and
perpendicular from hock to ground; well angulated at stifle and hock
joints, which, like the elbows, incline neither in nor out. Feet as in front.
Angulation of the forequarters and hindquarters should be balanced.


Short and fine on head and forelegs. On all other parts of moderate length
and flat. Feathering long and silky on ears; on back of forelegs and thighs
long and fine, with a pleasing fringe of hair on belly and brisket extending
onto the chest. Fringe on tail moderately long and tapering. All coat and
feathering as straight and free as possible from curl or wave. The Irish
Setter is trimmed for the show ring to emphasize the lean head and clean
neck. The top third of the ears and the throat nearly to the breastbone are
trimmed. Excess feathering is removed to show the natural outline of the
foot. All trimming is done to preserve the natural appearance of the dog.


Mahogany or rich chestnut red with no black. A small amount of white on
chest, throat or toes, or a narrow centered streak on skull is not to be


At the trot the gait is big, very lively, graceful and efficient. At an extended
trot the head reaches slightly forward, keeping the dog in balance. The
forelegs reach well ahead as if to pull in the ground without giving the
appearance of a hackney gait. The hindquarters drive smoothly and with
great power. Seen from front or rear, the forelegs, as well as the hind legs
below the hock joint, move perpendicularly to the ground, with some
tendency towards a single track as speed increases. Structural
characteristics which interfere with a straight, true stride are to be


The Irish Setter has a rollicking personality. Shyness, hostility or timidity
are uncharacteristic of the breed. An outgoing, stable temperament is the
essence of the Irish Setter.

Approved August 14, 1990
Effective September 30, 1990

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