A Peek Into Life with an Irish Setter

Oct 15, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Contributors, Pets, Sheryl Wall

by Sheryl Wall

Irish Setters are one of the most beautiful dogs that I know of, but it is more than just their beauty that makes them such amazing dogs. They are full of energy and are extremely affectionate. Being a family dog is also part of their characteristic. However, they are not the breed for everyone, for these dogs do demand a lot of attention and training. Without enough daily exercise, they can wreak havoc to the household. However, if you have the time to invest Irish Setters are incredible dogs.

Maiyah with Sheryl's daughter Kiana

Just to give you an idea of what life is like with an Irish Setter I will give you a peek into the life of mine, Maiyah Jia. Maiyah starts her day with some Agility training and a game of fetch. Without her daily exercise, she is like a bomb of energy that will go off at any moment. She is a stickler for routine and stresses if she doesn’t get her exercise and meals when she is used to them. Maiyah loves her family very much and just adores our three-year-old daughter. She gets along with all our dogs and cats and she will let them boss her around even though they are all much smaller then her. Maiyah is an extrovert and loves to be around people, she doesn’t enjoy being alone, ever.

Maiyah is extremely intelligent even though many people think of Irish Setters as being dumb. I think the problem they really have is lack of focus. It took two years to train her for Agility competition because of this lack of focus and tendency to run around the course rather then pay any attention. Irish Setters mature very slowly and even though she is already three years old, Maiyah is still like a puppy in many ways. However, now that she has attained so much training Maiyah rocks as an Agility dog and loves it as much as I do. She is also learning dance, rally and obedience though her favorite activities are the ones that include a lot of moving.

Maiyah loves children and gets along with all children put in her path, and they all love her back. She is training for Therapy work and I think would do great working with kids. But before she can be a Therapy dog, she has to pass the puppy stage, which may be still at least a year.

Irish Setters are known to be clowns and Maiyah definitely fits this characteristic. When I need cheering up I know a game of tug a war with Maiyah will always make me happy and often end in laughs. She often gets so excited she runs into walls, she can be so crazy at times. Maiyah also is my big teddy bear and loves to cuddle. She enjoys hugs and sitting on my lap.

Maiyah and her canine housemates

Irish Setters require a lot of exercise and it is often recommended to exercise them around two hours a day. They make great house dogs as long as they also have the time to run. They tend to be a very sensitive breed and needs gentle handling and training. However, they can also be stubborn and easily distracted so when training you need to have patience and a good understanding of the breed. Socializing and spending time with their owner are two very important aspects to having a happy dog. Irish Setters will excel better at active sports rather then obedience because they can get bored and start making up their own routines very quickly.

Maiyah as a puppy

Before choosing to own an Irish Setter make certain you research the breed to understand all aspects of their needs and health concerns. You need to be sure to find the right breeder and have the space for your puppy to run around and play. I hope you enjoyed getting an inside peek into what life is like with an Irish Setter. It takes a lot of time and patience but for me I wouldn’t change anything. Maiyah makes life fun and full of surprises and I love every minute of it.

Sheryl Wall is an ongoing contributor to our
Pet Perspective section, providing pet care advice from years of personal experience.


  1. Nice article and great pictures. Max was my Irish and first dog as an adult. Thankfully he was very forgiving of all my faults as a trainer. He kept me entertained and laughing for twelve years. Not everybody appreciates an Irish but that’s ok. It just leaves more for the rest of us.

  2. my “big lug” is going on 12, & every now & then, a puppy side will pop out of him. IS, ya just gotta luv them 😉

  3. Thank you, yeah once you have an Irish Setter you fall in love with them. They are awesome dogs

  4. You know the Irish Setter well. Once you have shared your life with an Irish Setter they will always be in your heart. I enjoyed your photos. Keep writing about the Irish Setters! Love the breed.

  5. There is nothing more joy-filled than an Irish Setter. I have had 17 rescuses over the years and there is not another breed as sweet and loving as the IS. Keeping them active and occupied is a little price to pay for the bundle of love they are. Nice article.

  6. Everything you said about these wonderful dogs is to a tee! They are definitely not for everyone, but if you’re lucky enough to be loved by an Irish, you’re very lucky indeed. I have been lucky with four of these beautiful animals–all rescues who came to me with some real training issues due to their first homes not knowing the breed and making many mistakes with their early training. It’s been a challenge and a journey, but wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Great article!

  7. Thank you, Yes, Irish Setters are amazing dogs. That is really cool that you rescued Setters I am so glad that you were able to and to be able to help them have a new home. Maiyah is my first Irish Setter


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