Irish setter, breed of large sporting dog developed in Ireland in the 18th cent. It stands about 26 in. (66.0 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs between 50 and 70 lb (22.7–31.8 kg). Its moderately long, silky coat is flat or slightly wavy and forms fringes of longer hair, or feathers, on the ears, chest, belly, back of legs, and tail. The American variety is a solid chestnut red or mahogany color, while its Irish counterpart is often parti-colored—red and white. Although originally bred as a field hunter and still used in that capacity today, the striking appearance of the Irish setter has led many breeders to strive for bench-competition excellence rather than field ability. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.