Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

English Setter vs. Irish Setter: The Differences (With Pictures)

Adam Mann

By Adam Mann

English vs Irish Setter - Featured Image

The English Setter and the Irish Setter are two similar dog breeds in many ways, but even from their appearance and personalities, there are a few distinct differences between the two. But how are these two dogs similar and different from one another?

The best way to answer these questions is to learn a bit more about both breeds, which is exactly what we’ve done for you here! So, keep reading and learn a bit more about what makes both these dogs so unique!

hepper-dog-paw-divider 3

Visual Differences

English Setter vs Irish Setter - Visual Differences
Image Credit: Left – Dorottya Mathe, Shutterstock | Right – Reddogs, Shutterstock

At a Glance

English Setter
  • Average height (adult): 23–27 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 45–80 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Often
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Loving, eager to please, and task-oriented
Irish Setter
  • Average height (adult): 25–27 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 60–70 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Exercise: 2+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: High energy, loving, eager to please, and task-oriented


English Setter Overview

english setter puppy dog
Image Credit: Stupina Kseniia, Shutterstock

The English Setter is a beautiful, energetic dog breed that’s also extremely intelligent. They have long, silky coats, but it’s not quite as long or as curly as the Irish Setter. We’ve highlighted a few basic traits and characteristics of the English Setter below.


The English Setter is a loving dog that wants all the attention it can get. They love it when their owners cuddle up with them as much as possible, and you’ll often find that they’re following you around looking for even more of your time and attention. They generally get along great with kids and other pets, but without proper socialization, their jealousy can turn problematic.


While some larger dogs require a lot of activity for you to meet their energy needs, that’s really not the case with the English Setter. They have moderate energy levels, but if you can get them out and about for about 1 hour per day, you should be able to get their excess energy out.

Pair these trips outside with one or two daily walks and aim for both walks to last at least a mile. As they get older, you can shorten these walks a bit, but the more you can get them out, the happier they’ll be.

Llewellin English Setter in the field
Image Credit: Ginger Livingston Sanders, Shutterstock


The English Setter is eager to please their owners and an intelligent dog, and because of this, all you really need to do to train them is set aside 15 to 20 minutes each day. Consistency is critical though, so ensure you prioritize this time to get the best results.

Suitable For:

While the English Setter isn’t always great with kids and other pets, they usually are. This is especially true if you socialize them early on. Just make introductions before you bring them home to be sure.

Their size can vary quite a bit, too, so before you bring one home, ensure you have enough space for them no matter how large they get. They also need plenty of time outside, especially if they’re on the larger side.

hepper-dog-paw-divider 4

Irish Setter Overview

irish setter puppy dog lying on the grass
Image Credit: Rebius, Shutterstock

The Irish Setter is similar to the English Setter in many ways, but from its size to its personality, there are a few key characteristics where they differ.


With an extremely loving and eager-to-please personality, the Irish Setter is an ideal family dog. They tend to get along with everyone and everything, especially if you take the time to socialize them early on.

They get along with smaller kids, and they’re big enough that smaller kids can’t easily hurt them. Since they want to spend their time with everyone, it’s tough to find a sweeter and more loving breed.


While the Irish Setter is a good family dog in several ways, one area where you need to proceed with a bit of caution is their exercise levels. The Irish Setter is a high-energy breed that needs adequate exercise each day, preferably at least 2 hours where they can run around and play in an open area.

Not only that but taking them for about two walks a day is crucial, and the longer you’re willing to walk them, the better!

irish setter dog in the forest
Image Credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock


The Irish Setter is pretty easy to train compared to many other dog breeds out there, but they still need consistency to train them. Aim for at least one training session each day, and each training session should last between 15 and 20 minutes.

Suitable For:

With a loving personality and the fact that they get along great with kids and other pets, the Irish Setter is an ideal family dog. However, because of their higher energy levels, it’s best only to get an Irish Setter if you have plenty of space for them to run around or if you plan to give them time at a dog park each day. But if you have the space for them, they could be a good choice.

hepper-dog-paw-divider 3

Which Breed Is Right for You?

There’s no right or wrong choice between the Irish Setter and the English Setter, but there might be a right or wrong choice for you. Both breeds tend to get along great with everyone in your family, but the Irish Setter definitely needs a bit more time outside and space to roam.

If you have this extra space, you just need to pick the breed you like the most and give them the time and attention they need. They’re both fantastic breeds, so take the time to learn about each one, then pick your favorite!

Featured Image Credit: Left – Sokolovskayag, Shutterstock | Right – Mr_Incognito_, Pixabay

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database