Is An Irish Setter A Hunting Dog?

While Irish Setters are known for being stubborn at times and having a mindset all their own, they are easily trained when performed by a skilled trainer. Irish Setters love being close to and sharing a strong bond with their human companions, giving them the contentment and happiness they need to accomplish their work. They also have tremendous stamina, which lends them well to hunting with their long hard work and movement days.

Is An Irish Setter A Hunting Dog 1 Is An Irish Setter A Hunting Dog?

Was The Irish Setter Bred To Hunt?

Yes, an Irish Setter is a hunting dog. According to the American Kennel Club guidelines, they are considered a sporting dog breed that makes for a good hunting companion.

Irish Setters have a well-rounded personality and abilities that lend themselves well to many occupations alongside humans, with the gun dog being one such occupation.

While today they also make great companion animals in families, especially those families with children, they are versatile. They are excellent gun dogs for hunting birds with their human companion.

Irish Setters can be fierce hunting companions due to their physical and mental abilities. They excel at this task, capable of tremendous focus and fast but graceful movements.   The Irish Setter is highly intelligent and purposeful, making them hard-working and successful at their job.

Another amazing trait of the Irish Setter is their boundless energy which blends perfectly with a long day of hunting alongside their human companion and pack members.   This dog breed needs lots of physical and mental activity as well as outdoor time to exercise and expel energy.

These dogs are a very smart dog breed. They learn quickly under the right conditions and with a skilled, knowledgeable handler. When training an Irish Setter, they need diversity and versatility in the training.

This style of training is used to keep their interest and engage them so they don’t get bored or decide to go off and seek out their own agenda. They can be quite stubborn and have a mindset of their own which, under the proper handling, can aid a hunter at their task. They are excellent in the field.

What makes the Irish Setter a good hunting dog?

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The Irish Setter’s versatility and intelligence make it a good hunting dog. Irish Setters are highly intelligent dogs that adapt well to many situations and have independent thinking when accomplishing their task during a hunt.

Their physical and mental capabilities lend them to many occupations and diverse hunting situations. Depending on the hunter and what they will be hunting, Irish Setters can adapt to diverse terrain and situations with which they are in.

This ability makes them versatile hunting dogs suitable as a companion for almost any hunter. While they have an independent mindset and can be stubborn if they get something in their head, they aim to please during training.

During training, if they share a strong bond with the handler or hunter, they will be easy to train as they thrive when they share a close connection with their human companion. They will do well because they aim to please their companion.

Now it should be noted we are speaking of the field-bred Irish Setters show quality Irish Setters can vary in their temperament, personality, and traits. Many hunters considered these show dogs inferior to their field companions not long ago.

Like any other dog breed, all Irish Setters are not created equal. Often show quality sets the standard for a dog breed, but field-bred dogs of any breed often differ from the show quality in physical, emotional, and mental traits.

Field Irish Setters have the versatility to track, hunt, point, and retrieve their game. While many dogs can claim to be good guard dogs or companion dogs, the Irish Setter makes for a great companion animal and hunting dog.

They have a wonderful smell, allowing them to easily track, hunt, point, and retrieve unseen games. Irish Setters also move with tremendous speed, which makes them quick to complete all the tasks required of a pack-hunting dog.

The main reason they are so good at this is their versatility, adaptability, and skill in the field.

Which is better for hunting, a field or show quality, Irish Setter?

The Irish Setter that’s better for hunting is the field-quality dog. Field-quality Irish Setters are harder, stronger, and have more of the skills and traits necessary for hunting.

While their show-quality counterparts might have the right look and appearance and fit well into the guidelines set forth by the American Kennel Club, they lack other qualities.

As the name implies, show quality dogs are for in the show ring. They are the best example of the breed regarding physical, emotional, and mental traits. That doesn’t mean they perform well. Field-quality Irish Setters are a bit rougher around the edges. 

They may not fit exactly into the guidelines for physique, they might be heavier, lighter, or taller, but they have other attributes. What they lack in being show quality, they gain in strength, versatility, and adaptability to real-life situations.

Therefore, field-quality Irish Setters are better for hunting. This will be true for any dog breed, and field quality will always be better at the set task or occupation, while show quality will shine in the show ring.

Can I train my Irish Setter puppy for hunting?

You can train your Irish Setter puppy for hunting if you have experience in doing that previously. Training a dog for hunting must be done a certain way for success. Otherwise, you risk training them incorrectly or delaying the training.

If you have never done this, professional training can be a good option to get the job done correctly in minimal time. Still, many skilled hunters have trained their dogs to be hunting companions.

If that is the case, and you’ve done this before, it is perfectly acceptable to do the same with our new puppy.

Closing Points

Irish Setters are great hunting dogs. They have the right mix of intelligence, skill, and adaptability to be successful at this task.

While many hunting dogs are in the Sporting Dog Class with the American Kennel Club, none are as adorable and stunning as these dogs!