The Breed History
The Irish Red and White Setter was the predecessor of the solid red Irish Setter, and was established in the 17th century from other Setter, Pointer, and Spaniel breeds. By the end of the 19th century, the popularity of the solid red Irish Setter eclipsed the Irish Red and White, and they fell to near extinction. In 1920, Rev. Noble Huston collected breed members, and a breed association was formed in 1944. Mrs. Maureen Cuddy's efforts at establishing pedigrees allowed the breed to be admitted to the Irish Kennel Club in 1978. The breed is active in Field Trials and Shows. It attained full AKC recognition in 2009.
Breeding for Function
The Irish Red and White Setter is bred primarily for the field. The standard as set out hereunder must be interpreted chiefly from this point of view and all Judges at Bench Shows must be encouraged to judge the exhibits chiefly from the working standpoint. The appearance is strong and powerful, well balanced and proportioned without lumber; athletic rather than racy with an aristocratic, keen and intelligent attitude.
Height at Withers: Dogs 24.5-26 inches (62-66 cm). Bitches 22.5-24 inches (57-61 cm). Field dogs tend to be smaller than show dogs.
Weight: 50-75 pounds (22.5 kg-34 kg).
Coat: The base color is white with solid red patches (clear islands of red color). Flecking but not roaning is permitted around the face and feet and up the foreleg as far as the elbow and up the hind leg as far as the hock. Feathering is present on the back of the fore and hind legs, on the outer ear flap, on the flank extending onto the chest and throat forming a fringe, and on the tail.
Longevity: 11-15 years.
Points of Conformation: The length of the body from point of shoulders to base of tail is not shorter than the height at the top of the withers. Bone is moderate in proportion to size. The eyes are round, and dark hazel or dark brown. The skull is broad in proportion to the body and domed without showing an occipital protuberance. The stop is distinct, but not exaggerated. The neck is moderately long, very muscular, but not too thick. There is a level topline. The body is strong and muscular with a deep chest and well sprung ribs. The feet are close-knit with plenty of feathering between toes. The gait is long striding, very lively, graceful and efficient. The forelegs and hind legs move perpendicularly to the ground with no crossing or weaving.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
The Irish Red and White Setter is a very friendly, dependable and easily trained gundog. The breed displays a kindly, friendly attitude, behind which should be discernible determination, courage and high spirit. His good and kind nature makes him a most acceptable companion and friend in the home and the field. The Irish Red and White Setter has a high activity requirement and needs a lot of exercise.
Normal Physiologic Variations
Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD): An autosomal recessive, fatal immunodeficiency disease found in Irish Red and White setters. Affected dogs present with severe recurrent infections, neutrophilia and low body weight. The mutation is the same as in Irish Setters, showing a common ancestral origin. One study in the US showed a 13% carrier frequency in the breed, and a study in the UK showed a 7.9% carrier frequency.
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 4.5% affected.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. Too few Irish Red and White Setters have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA, RCD-1): Autosomal recessive, early onset rod, cone dysplasia form of PRA with an onset of 25 days of age, and progressing to blindness by one year old. The mutation is the same as in Irish Setters, showing a common ancestral origin. A genetic test is available. The frequency of carriers in the breed has not been established.
von Willebrand's Disease Type 1 (vWD): Autosomal recessive genetic disorder causing a mild bleeding syndrome. A direct genetic test is available from the Animal Health Trust. Reported at a low frequency in the breed.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Too few Irish Red and White Setters have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 12.5% positive for thyroid autoantibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Distichiasis: Abnormally placed eyelashes that irritate the cornea and conjunctiva. Can cause secondary corneal ulceration. Identified in 7.79% of Irish Red and White Setters CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Persistent Pupillary Membranes: Strands of fetal remnant connecting; iris to iris, cornea, lens, or involving sheets of tissue. The later three forms can impair vision, and dogs affected with these forms should not be bred. Identified in 3.90% of Irish Red and White Setters CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat, GDV): Life-threatening twisting of the stomach within the abdomen. Requires immediate veterinary attention. Irish Red and White Setters are at increased risk versus other breeds. Dogs with the deepest thorax relative to width have the greatest risk for GDV.
Cataracts: Anterior and posterior cortical cataracts predominate in the breed. Identified in 2.60% of Irish Red and White Setters CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Chronic Superficial Keratitis (CSK)/Pannus: Corneal disease that can cause vision problems due to pigmentation. Treatment with topical ocular lubricants and anti-inflammatory medication. Identified in 2.60% of Irish Red and White Setters CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Retinal Dysplasia: Focal retinal dysplasia and retinal folds are recognized in the breed. Identified in 2.60% of Irish Red and White Setters CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Iris Cysts: Fluid filled sacs arising from the posterior surface of the iris, to which they may remain attached or break free and float into the anterior chamber. Usually occur in mature dogs. Can occasionally block the iridocorneal angle causing glaucoma. Identified in 1.30% of Irish Red and White Setters CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Isolated Case Studies
Tests of Genotype: Direct test for Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency is available from Optigen and the Animal Health Trust. Direct test for Rcd-1 PRA is available from Optigen, and the Animal Health Trust. Direct test for vWD is available from the Animal Health Trust.
Tests of Phenotype: CHIC certification: Required testing includes hip radiographs, CERF eye examination, thyroid profile including autoantibodies, and genetic tests for Rcd-1 PRA and Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency. (See CHIC Website: www. caninehealthinfo.org) Recommend elbow radiographs, patella evaluation, and cardiac examination.
- Breed name synonyms: Red and White Irish Setter, Parti-Colored Setter.
- Registries: AKC, UKC, KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain), ANKC (Australian National Kennel Club), NKC (National Kennel Club), FCI.
- AKC rank: Became an AKC recognized breed Jan. 2009. Entire studbook registered.
- Internet resources: Irish Red and White Setter Association: www.irishredwhitesetterassociation.com
Irish Red and White Setter Club of Great Britain: www.irishredandwhitesetterclub.com
Irish Red and White Setter Club of Canada: www.irishredandwhitesetterclub.ca
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