I just want a pet so what should I look for? A pet requires MORE than if you want a dog to simply show. You want a dog that you can live with and is easily trained, has a great personality and much more. Look for some "performance titles" in the parent's pedigree. (That would be a CD obedience title, a JH title - any of the titles AFTER the dogs registered name.) Those performance titles show the ancestors were able to learn and concentrate long enough to be trained and successfully pass the tests.

If a dog has all champions in the pedigree, won't it be a better dog? What you see is not always what you get when it comes to show dogs. Dogs are not given a written evaluation so any handler or dog that catches the judges eye can be the winner - even if it had two heads.

Next is the issue of health. Some pedigrees don't even include the OFA (hip clearance) numbers for ancestors. It is a sad fact that many breeders do NOT have even the minimum of Hips and Eyes certified free of genetic problems prior to mating their AKC Champion titled animals. Therefore, just because the parents are Champions does not mean the breeder is at all concerned about inherited health problems.

The last point is that when two beautiful animals mate, the result isn't guaranteed to be all beautiful pups. Consider the human families that you know; some very plain people carry the genetics that produce beautiful children. You might see some breeders advertising 50+ Champions bred.... how many pups were produced to get that number of champions? Were professional handlers used to finish titles? What you don't know, and what is not given as information is sometimes much more informative.

Your dogs aren't really line bred and I've been told that's the best way for people to breed, so why aren't yours line bred? I have to admit that this question was one I didn't expect. The COI (coefficient of inbreeding) is very low on our litters and they are not obviously line bred at this point for a good reason. We are in the process of establishing a line. While there is no complete out cross breeding in Irish Setters - go back far enough and they are all related, ours do appear to be the result of two out cross breedings in a row. Line breeding is in our future. The breeding plan has been in place for years and covers the next several generations. Since I am not one to breed Mother to Son or Brother to Sister - we are taking it slowly. Many people simply pick a kennel name for themselves and breed on lines that have already been established, far less headaches, research and study are usually put in to doing it that way... and the results are easier to predict. For the novice breeder, line breeding is a lot "safer" than what we are attempting.

How can I check to see if the parents of my puppy have really had their hips and eyes tested and cleared? Thanks to the internet, this is easy to do! Go to Put the registered name of the mom or dad in the search box and hit "search" (you don't need to put in the titles as part of the name at this time). If you don't know the registered name, put in the "kennel name" the breeder uses and hit search - all the dogs with that first word as part of their kennel name will be pulled up so you can scroll through them. If an animal is not listed, chances are that they either did not have their hips (OFA) or eyes (PRA) tested or if they were done, they did not pass. You can also ask the breeder for copies of the OFA and PRA certificates in the event that the animal was done but the website has not yet updated to show them as clear.

HOW TO READ THE OFA INFORMATION: When you go to the OFA website or get a copy of an OFA certificate, the OFA REGISTRY NUMBER will look like this example: IR-1234G26F-PI. Here is what the number means:

IR = Irish Setter 1234 = the OFA number G = Hips rated GOOD (Can also show as F = Fair or E = Excellent which are the other two passing grades) 26 = This animal had x-rays taken at 26 months of age F = Female (will be M for male) PI = Animal has permanent identification such as a microchip or tattoo. You might see PI at the end of the sequence which would indicate the animal is NOT permanently identified.

If the animal has hip problems it will either NOT have a number or it will say something like "unilateral hip dysplasia" in the OFA column .

The PRA column on the OFA site will have an entry with a number or a notation of how the animal is clear. If there is PRA, that will be noted (or the animal will not be registered at all on the site - owners do NOT have to make hip or any other evaluations public.)

The breeder tells me that the dog she wants to sell me has won some dog shows. How do I check? This can be checked online at You will have to open an account if you don't already have one with AKC (fear not, this doesn't cost you a cent!). Then put your cursor over the Shop AKC button at the top of the page and a drop down menu will show. Click on Free Online Services. Next click on Points Progression. Put in the dog's registered name or akc number and hit View Points/Summary of the Title Progression for this dog. Up will come a window showing you the number of points, number of major wins, number of judges who gave points to this animal. It will also show progress on any other title the dog may have started but has not yet finished. If the breeder is claiming the dog "won some dog shows", that animal should have a record of earning some points. Please note that getting some blue ribbons or winning the class at a dog show does NOT get the dog points as it might have been the only one competing in that class. (Some breeders are great for exaggerating the truth in hopes some uninformed person will be impressed enough to jump at the chance to purchase the animal and not check the facts.)

 I got my puppy from a breeder that said she/he would send the AKC papers. The papers never came; what can I do? These pups were advertised as AKC in the newspaper. Rarely will a reputable breeder not have the registration papers when you pick up your puppy. Some breeders prefer that you fill in the papers at their home and then the breeder mails them to AKC. (This is to make sure the pup does get registered and that the registered name agreed upon is not altered later) If you signed the registration papers and the breeder was to send them into AKC you should have gotten the AKC number of both the sire and dam (mother and father) along with the AKC litter registration number for your puppy from the breeder when you got the pup. You can contact AKC and supply those numbers to inquire if your registration forms have been lost in the mail. HOWEVER, if you paid your money and left with no information on your pup - chances are you fell for the oldest slimy practice by dishonest breeders. You paid for a pup that could be AKC registered and now you have one that most likely will never get its registration form. If that is the case, your only choice would be to take the breeder of your puppy to court over the misrepresentation of the registration status of the pup when it was sold to you. 

Should I get a puppy with a co-ownership?   AKC doesn’t encourage co-ownerships. (click on the word co-ownerships to see AKC Procedures for Registration Matters, Chapter 3 = Contracts) I would not advise anyone to co-own a puppy with a complete stranger, even if they are the breeder of that pup.   Also beware of co-ownerships on bitches usually require you to breed the bitch and the co-owner may say you must breed to the stud dog of THEIR choice.  Some breeders demand you return the bitch to them so THEY can breed, whelp and raise a litter.  Now, this may sound OK but what SPECIFIC things are spelled out in the contract?    Who pays for what?  Do you, the owner, pay to transport your girl to the breeder, pay the stud fee and all the expenses for her and for the litter?  This  is one question you need answered in writing.  The other is what is covered by “stud dog of choice” – is this to include you having to import sperm from overseas, will you need to find an AKC approved vet for your girl to have an implant with FROZEN semen, what if the stud dog that they choose is across the country?  Now we get to the “breeder gets this for the first litter” restriction… what if you end up having to pay for several implants because none of them “take” or result in a litter?  What if the breeder decides not to allow that “first litter” until your bitch is 5 years old and you really do want to have a litter YOURSELF using your girl?  You need a time restriction on the breeders control of using your girl as well as the NUMBER of  times the breeder will get to use the girl even if no litter results.  ALL of this should be specific and detailed in the written contract.  Beware of these very vague and all encompassing statements that can be hiding an expensive and disappointing requirement you may never have considered.  With a bitch, if she is co-owned and one of the co-owners refuses to sign for a litter to be registered, that litter is not going to be AKC registered unless you engage in a legal battle.  So, if the co-ownership is going to last forever, or until your girl is too old for you to safely have a litter with her yourself – you are completely controlled by her breeder.  You are in reality just a “satellite breeder” for that person and THEIR breeding program.  I hope you got that bitch very inexpensively if this is the case because you could end up paying all the bills, doing all the work and supplying that person will pups they will be selling that cost them NOTHING to produce.  

Why do some breeders say that you have to put a deposit on a pup BUT the deposit is not refundable?  Requiring a deposit is fairly common.  This ensures that you are serious about taking a puppy and the breeder will hold that puppy until it is old enough to go home with you.  This means the breeder will many times tell other people who also want a puppy that there are none available since there is a deposit on each puppy already.   Knowing all the pups have homes makes it less stressful for the breeder.  However, if there is not a puppy available for you in the litter,  I think you should be given the option of getting your deposit back OR letting the breeder keep it so you can get a pup from the next litter that is bred.  If you ONLY want a puppy from a specific breeding (as in you really want one from the specific parents of a litter being offered at the time) and there is no puppy available – make sure you put it in writing that the deposit is ONLY for a puppy from that litter.  Having you settle for “the next available litter” at some unknown future date and from some unknown breeding that hasn’t even been planned isn’t fair, in my opinion.    SECOND SENERIO, there is a puppy and you sent your deposit but changed your mind and now don’t want a puppy… and you don’t tell the breeder you changed your mind until the pups are ready to go to new homes.  In that case, the breeder now has to find a good home for what was supposed to be YOUR puppy.  If a new home is found immediately, refunding your deposit would be an honest thing to do.  If it takes the breeder weeks to find a suitable home, perhaps keeping that deposit is FAIR to the breeder who now has expenses for a puppy he/she didn’t plan on having.  Your backing out of the agreement to purchase a puppy has resulted in additional stress and financial loss for the breeder.  (Remember a LOT of these breeders who have two or more litters every year are a BUSINESS.  The person who has pups less frequently might be more understanding and refund your deposit or a portion of it AFTER they find a new home for that puppy.)

What is this other CKC, UKC and NKC registration I keep seeing for dogs in the newspaper? I've seen advertisements that just say "registered" and should also warn you to find out where those pups are registered. CKC is a valid registry if the breeder of your pup lives in Canada. (Canadian Kennel Club). CKC registered pups in America are associated with a registry that was started with the only purpose of confusing the public. At one time these "fake" registration business folks tried using American Kanine Club and the initials AKC to fool you. Thank goodness the REAL AKC (American Kennel Club) took action and these people are no longer permitted to use that particular set of "initials" to fool the general public!

Here in the USA if an Irish Setter is not registered with AKC, most likely the reason is that the breeder is no longer permitted to register dogs with AKC for some infraction of the rules for breeding or keeping their dogs in a satisfactory manner. AKC has gotten to be rather expensive for registration but I would not accept that as a reason for someone not registering the pups. Many Irish Setters are "dual" or even "triple registered". If the dog is AKC registered you at least know the breeder hasn't been in trouble with AKC and switched registration companies just to continue breeding and selling animals they can claim are "registered".

Do Irish Setters Bite? Any dog that has teeth can bite. Irish Setters are just less likely to bite than most other breeds. If you don't properly train your Irish Setter and you are not an Alpha to him/her, your pup is just as likely to rule your home and put YOU in your place with growls and teeth as any other spoiled and untrained canine.

Is The Irish Setter a Good Dog For Children? Very small children may have a problem with this breed. The Irish Setter is likely to knock a small child down or beat the youngster to a pulp with it's happy, wagging tail. Young Irish Setter pups teethe on anything available, including fingers and tiny hands. Children that are permitted to wrestle and play games like tug-of-war with the puppy will encourage it to become more wild and aggressive/alpha. This could lead to behavior problems as the puppy gets older and stronger. This is a high energy breed, and needs lots of exercise, which can be provided by older children running and playing with the dog. However, someone is going to have to teach this puppy/dog what is and will not be acceptable behavior.

Why do you keep saying I need to take my dog to obedience classes? Do you want a dog that sits when you tell to do so? Would you like a dog that you can walk on a leash without being dragged down the road or having your arm pulled out of the socket? Teaching your puppy basic manners (no hitting please!) takes time and effort and is much more likely to get done if you are in a group situation. Obedience classes are also a chance for your puppy to get some socialization skills around other dogs and humans. The quality of instruction at obedience classes is not standard, so check several possibilities and find the class and instructor that fits your personality and that of your pup. This breed needs a "job" and training the pup will keep it busy.

Aren't Irish Setters DUMB? I think this rumor was started by someone too lazy to train their dog - or perhaps too stupid to figure out the dog was out smarting them! A well bred Irish Setter is almost too smart (that is the number one complaint we get about our pups from their new owners). If you don't convince the Irish Setter that what you want it to do is FUN, they are smart enough to go do something more interesting. If you try to train your dog using harsh corrections and a stern voice, chances are the dog will do the classic "passive agressive" response of either ignoring you or turning into an unmovable limp load. Some of these characters just do something so funny you forget that you wanted them to do what you first were attempting. Yes, I have met a few "not too bright" Irish Setters but even the most inbred and dim witted Irish Setter will TRY really hard to learn if you are patient. How well the dog performs depends on how well it understands what the human wants.

What do you think about us getting a Rescue Irish Setter? Personally, I think it is a great idea for many people who are interested in getting their first pet. It's also great if you don't want to deal with the hassle involved in raising a young puppy. Most Irish Setters that end up in rescue situations have been evaluated, nursed back to health and have been in foster homes. The foster care takers are always willing to tell you all the quirks, health problems if any, etc., prior to your agreeing to adopt. There might just be the perfect dog for your family waiting for a "forever home" so check it out!



Breed Information

So you want a puppy?

Frequently asked questions

Before you show your dog.

How Conformation Shows Work

Obedience Trials

Our Past Irish Setters





Our Present Irish Setters

Philly (co-owned)




Our Present Irish Setters




Litters born here since 1996

Philly's pups

Punky's pups


Site Awards

Our Free Irish Setter Graphics Site