This dog stands out in a crowd, not just for its beautiful red coat but also for its vivacity. The Irish Setter is an intelligent, friendly dog, and loves to be part of a family, albeit the right family. Because this dog is so energetic, it's not the best choice with small children. An owner needs to allocate time, energy and patience to this pet, and since these dogs mature slowly, the puppy-like mischievousness and playfulness can linger [source: Irish Setter Club of America]. Additionally, this dog needs plenty of exercise. An ignored Irish Setter will be skittish, hyperactive and sometimes destructive, as well as untidy since its coat needs regular grooming [source: Coile].
But, with the right owner, this dog is a wonderful companion. Training takes time, but this pet won't forget a lesson once it's learned. It's an outgoing, social dog, so it does well around people and other pets. The Irish Setter Club of America dubs this breed's temperament as "rollicking." But, this multi-talented dog can rollick in the fields by day and sit with the kids after dinner -- not bad for a day's work.
Though known as a family dog, the Irish Setter was originally bred to "set" game -- that is to crouch low near the bird so the hunter could throw a net over the dog and bird to capture the prey. This dog is loyal, tireless and enthusiastic -- a great combination on a hunt or with a family.