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Do Irish Setters Need a Lot of Attention? (Answered!)



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Irish Setters are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They are known for their beautiful red coat, friendly personality, and high energy level. There is a lot of debate over whether or not Irish Setters need a lot of attention.

Some people say that they are very independent dogs and don’t need as much love and affection as other breeds. Others claim that they are very loving animals and can become attached to their owners quickly. So, who is right?

Key Takeaway

  • Irish Setters are high-energy dogs that require a lot of attention, including ample exercise, mental stimulation, and companionship, which makes them best suited for active families or individuals who can dedicate significant time to their needs.
  • Irish Setters are indeed prone to anxiety, particularly separation anxiety, often manifesting in behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing furniture, or nervous behavior when left alone for extended periods.
  • While Irish Setters have a relatively low-maintenance coat that benefits from brushing sessions twice a week and occasional baths, their high energy levels and need for mental stimulation make them a moderate maintenance breed overall.

Do Irish Setters Need a Lot of Attention

Do Irish Setters Need a Lot of Attention

Irish Setters are indeed a breed that requires a significant amount of attention due to their high energy levels, intelligence, and social nature.

As a veterinarian, I’ve observed that Irish Setters are not the type of dogs that can be left alone for long periods of time. They thrive on interaction and engagement with their families.

This breed is known for its playful and energetic demeanor, often requiring several hours of exercise each day to stay happy and healthy. In addition to physical activity, Irish Setters also have a keen intellect that requires mental stimulation through training and interactive play.

From my personal experience, Irish Setters are happiest when they are included in all family activities.

They have an innate love for people, making them excellent companions, but this also means they crave constant company. Leaving them alone or without sufficient stimulation can lead to feelings of loneliness or anxiety, which can manifest in unwanted behaviors such as chewing or barking.

In conclusion, if you’re considering an Irish Setter as a pet, be prepared to provide them with plenty of attention, both in terms of physical exercise and mental engagement.

They are a wonderful breed full of personality and charm, but they do require an owner who can meet their needs for companionship and activity says WebMD.

Are Irish Setters Prone To Anxiety?

Do Irish Setters Need a Lot of Attention

Irish Setters, like many breeds that form strong attachments to their human families, can be prone to anxiety, particularly separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods of time.

From my experience as a veterinarian, I’ve seen firsthand how Irish Setters can display signs of anxiety.

This breed is known for its sociable and affectionate nature, which means they generally do not cope well with being left alone. In fact, they can become extremely distressed if they are separated from their owners for too long.

This distress can manifest in various ways such as excessive barking, destructive behavior, or even attempts to escape.

I recall one particular Irish Setter who was brought into my clinic because the owner was concerned about her dog’s behavior every time she left the house.

The dog would become very agitated and would often chew furniture or scratch at doors. After discussing the situation with the owner and ruling out any medical issues, it became clear that the dog was suffering from separation anxiety.

To help manage anxiety in Irish Setters, it’s important to provide them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

Regular exercise and interactive games can help keep them occupied and burn off excess energy. Additionally, gradual training to help them feel more comfortable when alone can also be beneficial says PetMD.

Are Irish Setters Low Maintenance?

Do Irish Setters Need a Lot of Attention

Irish Setters are not typically considered low maintenance due to their need for regular exercise, mental stimulation, and grooming.

Irish Setters are high-energy dogs that need a lot of exercise. They are happiest when they have a job to do, whether it is going for a run with their owner or playing fetch in the backyard.

In my years as a veterinarian, I’ve seen many Irish Setters come through my clinic and I can say from firsthand experience, they require a good deal of care.

First and foremost, this breed is known for its energy and intelligence. They need regular, vigorous exercise to keep them physically healthy and mentally stimulated. Without it, they can become bored or anxious, which can lead to destructive behavior.

In addition to their activity needs, Irish Setters also have a beautiful, but high-maintenance coat. Their long, silky fur requires regular brushing to prevent tangles and matting. Some owners also choose to have their Setter’s coat trimmed regularly to keep it manageable.

Another aspect to consider is their social nature. Irish Setters are incredibly friendly and love being around people. They crave attention and interaction, so they’re not the type of dog that can be left alone for long periods of time.

Are Irish Setters Good For First-time Owners?

Irish Setters can be a challenging choice for first-time dog owners due to their high energy levels, need for mental stimulation, and grooming needs.

In my years as a veterinarian, I have encountered many first-time dog owners who were drawn to the Irish Setter due to their striking appearance and friendly nature. However, owning an Irish Setter is not a decision to be taken lightly.

This breed is known for being energetic and intelligent, which means they require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. If not provided with enough activity, they can become bored and potentially destructive.

Their long, silky coat also requires regular grooming to keep them looking their best and free from mats. This can be time-consuming and may be overwhelming for someone who is not used to caring for a dog with such grooming needs.

Additionally, Irish Setters are very social dogs that thrive on companionship. They do not do well being left alone for extended periods and can develop separation anxiety. This level of commitment may be challenging for first-time dog owners who are not familiar with the demands of owning a dog.


Q: How much exercise do Irish Setters need?

A: Irish Setters are energetic dogs and require plenty of exercise. They need at least one hour of vigorous exercise daily, such as running, playing fetch, or going for long walks.

Q: Are Irish Setters good with children?

A: Yes, Irish Setters are generally good with children. They are friendly and patient dogs that often form strong bonds with their family members, including children.

Q: Do Irish Setters get along with other pets?

A: Irish Setters can get along well with other pets if socialized properly from a young age. However, their hunting instinct may lead them to chase small animals, so it’s important to supervise interactions with smaller pets.

Q: Do Irish Setters bark a lot?

A: Irish Setters are known to be vocal dogs, and they may bark to express their excitement, alertness, or boredom. Proper training and socialization can help manage their barking tendencies.

Q: Are Irish Setters easy to train?

A: Irish Setters are intelligent dogs but can be quite independent and stubborn at times. Patient and consistent training methods that include positive reinforcement techniques work best with this breed.

Q: Do Irish Setters shed a lot?

A: Yes, Irish Setters have a moderate to high shedding level. They have a thick, long, and silky coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best and minimize shedding.

Q: Can Irish Setters be left alone for long periods?

A: No, Irish Setters are not well-suited for being left alone for long periods of time. They thrive on human company and can become anxious or destructive if left alone for too long.

Q: How long do Irish Setters live?

A: On average, Irish Setters have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. With proper care, nutrition, and regular veterinarian check-ups, some Irish Setters can live even longer.

Q: Are Irish Setters prone to any health issues?

A: Yes, like many purebred dogs, Irish Setters are prone to certain health issues. Some common health concerns include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, cancer, and bloat. It’s important to work with a reputable breeder who screens their breeding lines for these health conditions.

Conclusion and final thoughts

Irish Setters do require a significant amount of attention and care due to their high energy levels and social nature.

However, with proper training, exercise, and mental stimulation, they can thrive in any loving and dedicated household.

It is important to research and understand the needs of a dog before bringing them into your home.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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