The Irish Red and White Setter is a breed of dog, more specifically a setter. As with all the setters and the Pointer, it is classified as a gundog in the UK and is included in the sporting group in America and Canada. It is virtually identical in use and temperament to the related Irish Setter and its other setter cousins, the Gordon and English setters, but is more often found as a working gun dog.
The original purpose of the breed was to hunt gamebirds. In the UK, their quarry can be partridge or grouse, pheasant, ptarmigan, blackgame, snipe or woodcock as all these birds try to avoid predators by hiding rather than flying away. Overseas bird dogs are used to hunt quail, willow grouse, sand grouse, guinea fowl, sagehen, francolin.
Despite the breed's early origins, it almost became extinct until dedicated breeders managed to revive interest and restore the Irish Red and White setter to a viable position. It is still in a vulnerable position but has gained recognition from all major kennel clubs.
The Irish Red and White setter should have an aristocratic, well proportioned, balanced appearance yet still be strong and powerful without lumber or coarseness. It does not have the racy appearance of its solid coloured cousin, as the Red and White setter is heavier in body, has a broader head and the peak at the back of his skull is less peaked. They are athletic, keen and intelligent.
The head and body coat is short and flat with long silky fringes – usually these fringes are called 'feathering'. The feathering forms a fringe on the outside of the ears, neck, chest, down the back of the front legs, under the belly and on the back legs. The tail is also feathered with long coat. The body coat and feathering should be straight and flat but not profuse and never curly.
There are subtle differences between each of the setter breeds. However, one of the main distinguishing features between the setter breeds is colour. As the breed name implies Irish Red and White setters must be red and white and it is an important feature of the breed. It is actually a white dog with red patches.
The base colour is a pearly white and there should be solid patches of deep-red. The red colour can be likened to a freshly opened chestnut and should not be light red or gingerish. The face, feet, front and lower hind legs are allowed some mottling or flecking but it must not extend to other areas of the body coat.
Irish Red and White setters should be combed and well brushed each week to keep the coat well groomed. Any wispy hair on feet should be trimmed away regularly and bushy hair behind ears should be thinned. They should only need bathed when necessary as they are easy to keep clean due to the single coat not being too thick. Irish Red and White setters do not require as much trimming for presentation in conformation shows as the other setters as they have lighter coats.
No specific height or weight is given in the Kennel Club breed standard but males can be up to 27 inches (69 cm) and weigh around 70 lb (32 kg). The American KC is more specific and cites females range in height from 22.5 to 24 inches (57.2 to 61 cm) and males from 24 to 26 inches (61 to 66 cm) with a weight around 50 to 70 lb (23 to 32 kg). The height is taken from where the dog's neck joins the back (the withers) measured down to the ground.
Source of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Red_and_White_Setter
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