The Red and White Setter is one dog that is fairly easy to identify as a result of its very recognizable and dramatic red and white coat in addition to its athletic build. The coat is long and straight and generally white with red patches on the face and the body. Some of these dogs have mottling of the red. There are some that are roan though this is not generally acceptable in show quality Red and White Setters.
The Red and White Setter is a dog that is sturdy and quick without appearing bulky or too lean. They are made for running and appear to do so with little effort. You will notice that these dogs are always intently aware of their surroundings, particularly when their owners or “family” is around. These dogs are always ready for an adventure or a walk and are very curious by nature taking great joy in merely exploring the world outside.
The Red and White Setter has a coat that is of medium length and recognizable because of its white base and the vivid contrast of the red stripes. Their coats may be wavy but should never be curly. Their stunning red and white coats are where this particular breed got their name.
Some people are surprised to discover that the Red and White Setter is the foundation for the popular modern breed we know and love as the Irish Setter. These beauties were originally bred for the purpose of hunting birds in Ireland. In America the Irish Setter came about as enthusiasts worked to breed out the white in their coats leaving a dog that was completely red. The Red and White Setter faced extinction until the early 1940’s when a group of admirers began to rebuild and renew interest throughout Ireland. While these dogs are making a bit of a comeback in recent years they are still not quite as common as their descendent, the red Irish Setter.
The Red and White Setter is a hunting dog and these dogs are generally fairly even-tempered and friendly. These gentle dogs make outstanding family pets, particularly for active families that spend a great deal of time outdoors and enjoy bird hunting, as this is their breed trait. That being said, these are not the type of dogs that are ideal as watchdogs. They are simply too friendly and eager to please people in general to be viewed as protectors of family or property though some have been trained to at least bark when strangers approach.
These are working dogs and enjoy the thrill of the hunt. They are also excellent trackers, which makes games of hide and seek a great deal of fun for them and a way to work in a little exercise when hunting isn’t on the menu. These dogs are very easy to train, which makes them popular choices for those seeking show competition animals as well as field competition animals. These dogs are very social and greatly prefer to be surrounded by people. However, if you have a job that takes you away during the day they are satisfied to be surrounded by other dogs for companionship. They do need a fair amount of exercise, which means that they are not ideal candidates for spending large blocks of time in kennels or confined spaces.
There are few genetic issues that plague the Red and White Setter as a breed. Things you may want to check for in the lineage of one of these puppies before making it a part of your family is whether or not there is a history of hip dysplasia (which is possible though not probably with this particular breed of dog) or cataracts. It is always a good idea to seek full disclosure from breeders about the medical history of the parental line and have the puppy checked by a vet for any problems.
The beautiful coats of the Red and White Setter are definitely not carefree coats. These dogs do shed and will leave evidence of their existence pretty much everywhere. While they shed fairly consistently throughout there is a period of time, twice a year, in which they shed quite heavily. It is also believed that females of the breed have a tendency to shed more heavily when in heat.
Daily grooming with a stiff brush in the direction of hair growth is highly recommended with these coats and will work to diminish some of the shedding problems that may abound if not properly groomed. The hairs on the belly and legs are notorious collectors of debris and need to have some degree of special attention when grooming in order to avoid problems and the need for trimming. These dogs enjoy a nice bath but be sure not to use shampoos or soaps that we designed for humans as they can irritate the skin.
Younger Red and White Setters need to spend a good deal of time running around and playing in the great outdoors in order to avoid behavior issues that result from too much pent up energy. Older dogs that have matured and calmed, to some degree, still need a fair amount of exercise but not the endless hours of running that the younger setters require. If you want a happy and calm dog and love the breed then you will need to plan to invest a good deal of time to walking and running your Red and White Setter. Proper exercise in the great outdoors allows these dogs to be calmer inside the house. Games of fetch, hide and seek, and hunting trips are great ways for you to exercise your Red and White Setter.
Training is necessary and generally easy with these dogs provided you begin the process at an early age. The biggest challenge for most owners is keeping the Red and White Setter challenged throughout the training process so that it doesn’t become bored. Keep in mind that young Red and White Setters are often full of boundless energy and easily distracted. With this in mind it is a good idea to isolate them from other dogs and potential distractions as much as possible while training them. They are also eager to please so positive reinforcement training is ideal.