Irish Setters are loyal and devoted dogs, making them good companions in hunting and other occupations. Their personality and nature are sweet and loveable, and they get along easily with others. These qualities are admirable and make them suitable for many things, like being a family dog. But are Irish Setters good herding dogs?
Table of Contents
- Were Irish Setters bred for herding?
- What exactly is an Irish Setter bred to do?
- What skills are required to be a successful herding dog?
- Can I teach my Irish Setter to be a herding dog?
- Closing Points
Were Irish Setters bred for herding?
Irish Setters were not bred for herding but can make great herding dogs. Irish Setters can be good at herding due to their breeding and abilities as gun dogs, but they may never perform at their best in this area. Historically Irish Setters have been breeding for and used as hunting companions.
The breed is often used as a gun dog or companion for hunting waterfowl. They have diverse abilities and skills that make them very successful at what they do. That doesn’t mean they are limited to use in hunting; today, they may be used in many diverse occupations, including herding dogs.
Their diverse abilities and skills make them easily adaptable dogs, but Irish Setters will probably never be considered herding dogs. Herding dogs have other skills, qualities, and abilities based on their background.
One thing that makes Irish Setters good at many diverse occupations is their need for exercise and wanting to work at something. Irish Setters are hardworking, strong, graceful, agile, and intelligent and have many qualities that would suit them well in other occupations outside of hunting.
Irish Setters are also known for having good speed and stamina, which is required during the hunt. They can keep going and going and going, which is required while hunting, and their abilities are an asset to their hunting companion and the hunting pack.
Due to their athletic nature, some might consider them good herding dogs. In part, this may be true as they are physically diverse dogs with all the qualities of an All-Star athlete. They also have a high level of intelligence and the ability to channel that intelligence into a particular task.
This intelligence and ability to channel it can make some believe they can be herding dogs, but this is not usually the case. Some dogs of various breeds are diverse and capable of many occupations and wearing many collars, but that doesn’t mean they are exceptionally great at those things.
Breeding dictates what a dog’s occupation of energy should be used for throughout their lives. They might be good at many things, like us humans, but their specialty and where they are best is what they are bred to do.
When it comes to breeding, the American Kennel Club puts Irish Setters in the Sporting Group, while the Herding Group is an entirely different group of dogs. Each will be athletic, intelligent, strong, and eager to work.
What exactly is an Irish Setter bred to do?
According to American Kennel Club standards, an Irish Setter is bred to be a hunting dog in the Sporting Dog Class. They are graceful and athletic, making them perfect gun dogs and companions to hunters. They are also great at fetching things like newspapers or anything else they are taught to get.
Their high energy and endearing nature make them remarkable companions, as they have good-natured personalities. They make great hunting companions due to their rebellious and out-of-the-ordinary approach to pursuing game during the hunt. Their physical build, coloring, strength, and stamina make them excellent hunting and sporting partner.
What skills are required to be a successful herding dog?
The skills required to be a successful herding dog include agility, alertness, and speed. They must be extremely loyal and athletic to be successful at their actions and herd other animals.
Herding dogs need to have a high level of intelligence and the ability to use it on the spot in real life. This is helpful when an animal decides to be stubborn and not follow along, going their own way.
Herding dogs must also be focused on their task, adaptable and quick learners that respond to their environment. They also need endless energy and strength to keep the herd moving and together.
They are hard-working dog breeds that adapt easily, think, and make decisions at the moment and can keep going for long hours.
The Irish Setter and Herding Dog Breeds share many of these qualities but with different purposes and strengths in one area or another.
It all comes down to what they were bred to do. Herding dogs were bred together to herd animals, kids, or anything else they could herd. The Irish Setter was bred to be a companion and helper to their hunting partner. They use their skills to locate, track and retrieve the hunting game for their hunting partner.
Can I teach my Irish Setter to be a herding dog?
It may be possible to train an Irish Setter to be a herding dog, but it’s not what they were bred to do. They can learn the skills necessary to be successful at what they do, but at certain times instincts will override other abilities.
For instance, you might train an Irish Setter to herd something, and they can do it, but they aren’t the best at it. They might grow bored or be distracted by something they want to track and retrieve, and off they go on the hunt.
Instincts will always override other skills. That is why it’s always best to focus a dog’s energy on what they were bred to do and will be successful at in life.
An Irish Setter can learn many things and be great at many things, but who they are as a dog will always shine through. Most often best to let them be the dog and breed they are without trying to change them.
Irish Setters are not herding dogs but share many qualities with those hardworking dogs.
It is possible that they can be taught such skills, but they will likely never perform at their peak best for various reasons. For this reason, they should be embraced as amazing gun dogs and companions!