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German Shepherd Irish Setter Mix: Pictures, Care Guide, Temperament & Traits

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper

Parent breeds of the German Shepherd Irish Setter Mix

German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes combine two of the hardest working and smartest dogs around. The result is a smart and fuzzy companion that can be a fit for nearly any situation. These mixes are not common, but for those lucky enough to come across one, they are in for a real treat. German Shepherd Irish Setter Mixes can be great for single people, active couples, or large families. Here is everything you need to know about the German Shepherd Irish Setter Mix.

Breed Overview

Height: 22–26 inches
Weight: 60–90 pounds
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Colors: Black, Red, Black & Tan, Red & Black, Sable, Grey
Suitable for: Active families looking for a loyal and intelligent working dog mix
Temperament: Intense, high energy, loyal and loving

As the name suggests, German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes are a combination of a purebred German Shepherd and a purebred Irish Setter. German Shepherds are some of the most popular dogs in the world, but Irish Setters are rarer and more niche. Irish Setters are intelligent hunting dogs that have been bred on the Emerald Isle for bird hunting for centuries. Together, these dogs combine to form a large, loving, and intelligent mixed breed that has a lot of intriguing traits and a strong personality.

German Shepherd Irish Setter Mix Characteristics



German Shepherd Irish Setter Puppies

German Shepherds are extremely common dogs, but Irish Setters are less common. That can make finding a German Shepherd Irish Setter mix difficult. This is not a common mixed breed, nor is it a popular one. There are few breeders that are purposefully pairing German Shepherds and Irish Setters. If you are interested in this breed, the best chance to find one is to get in touch with your local animal shelters and rescues. You can also attempt to breed your own by pairing your own German Shepherd or Setter with someone else’s, but, again, this is a tall order unless you have the right connections.

Parent breeds of the German Shepherd Irish Setter Mix
Image Credit: Left – Osetrik, Shutterstock | Right – Reddogs, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the German Shepherd Irish Setter Mix 🧠

German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes are incredibly intelligent working dogs. These facets of their personality are foundational. Their intelligence and working drive shape their behavior in almost every situation. These dogs are smart as a whip and can be trained to do a variety of jobs, including hunting, agility, obedience, and more. However, training them can be difficult because their energy and smarts can make them hard to handle and disobedient, especially when they are puppies or new to a family. However, underneath the energy and wily wit lies a very loyal, loving, and sweet dog. If you put in the work early, these dogs can be incredible companions, especially as they age.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes. As long as these dogs receive the proper training, socialization, and exercise, these dogs can be great family dogs. They are good with kids, loyal to their owners, and very loving. German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes can be stubborn and mischievous if they do not get enough mental stimulation, which can get them into trouble, especially if they are cooped up for long hours by themselves. As long as you have a busy house with plenty of time for activities and attention for your German Shepherd Irish Setter mix, they will be a great family dog.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?🐶 😽

Usually. Since Irish Setters are hunting dogs and gun dogs, they provide a strong predatory drive to the German Shepherd Irish Setter mix. This means that this dog could be aggressive or playful toward small animals. German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes will get along great with other dogs, and they can even get along with cats. They might not get along with small animals like rodents, birds, or reptiles. If you try to integrate this dog with small animals, be sure to keep them separate at first and see how your dog reacts before letting them interact.

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Things to Know When Owning a German Shepherd Irish Setter Mix

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes are large and active dogs. That means they will need a considerable amount of food to keep them happy and healthy. It is recommended to give your German Shepherd Irish Setter mix between 2 and 4 cups of food per day. This food should be spread out over multiple meals. They should eat at least twice per day, preferably three times per day. Puppies should eat food that is designed to help facilitate healthy growth. Older dogs should eat joint supplement food to help them with their potential pain and arthritis. Feeding a German Shepherd Irish Setter Mix can be expensive, especially over the life of your dog.

Exercise 🐕

German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes require a lot of exercise. These dogs need to take two long walks per day, ideally in the morning and the evening. These dogs will also benefit from a fenced yard or access to outdoor areas where they can roam, sniff, and explore. As working dogs, the German Shepherd Irish Setter mix will need consistent physical and mental stimulation to keep them out of trouble. Trips to the dog park, new toys, and outdoor time will be imperative to keeping your German Shepherd Irish Setter mix on their best behavior.

Training 🎾

German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes are highly trainable, but they can also be willful, stubborn, and mischievous. Training a German Shepherd Irish Setter mix can be difficult, but once you break through, these dogs can do a number of jobs and tasks. The intelligence and energy level of the German Shepherd Irish Setter mix can make them difficult to manage when they are puppies, and they can prove to be a handful for novice dog owners or trainers. However, with patience, consistency, and a plan, your German Shepherd Irish Setter mix has the potential to be one of the most highly trained dogs on the block.

Grooming ✂️

German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes will have a thick and wiry coat. These dogs will require regular brushing, but they should not require intensive or professional grooming. German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes will shed during the spring and the fall as their coat comes in and out with the seasons. If your dog spends a lot of time being active outside, you might occasionally need to remove mats or tangles that they pick up while out and about.

Health and Conditions ❤️

German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes have a number of potential health issues that owners need to be aware of. The most serious is gastric dilatation and volvulus, also known as GDV or bloat. Bloat can develop rapidly and is often fatal if not treated quickly. Bloat is possible in almost every deep-chested dog breed, and it is important to talk to your veterinarian about the signs and warnings for bloat.

Other serious health issues that are commonly found in German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes are hip and elbow dysplasia. Breeders can screen most of these problems out, but these dogs are at a higher risk of developing bone, joint, and muscle problems stemming from dysplasia, especially later in life.

German Shepherds and Irish Setters also have overlapping risks for eye problems, including cataracts and degenerative eye disease, as well as epilepsy. These problems are not as debilitating for dogs as they can be for humans, but they are still noteworthy.

Minor Conditions
  • Eye problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Skin conditions
Serious Conditions
  • Bloat
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy

Male vs Female

The biggest difference between male and female German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes is the size. The females are smaller than the males. Female German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes can be 10 to 20 pounds lighter than the males. They will also stand a couple of inches shorter than the males. Females can also be narrower and slenderer than the males.


3 Little-Known Facts About the German Shepherd Irish Setter Mix

1. A European Concoction

Both the Irish Setter and German Shepherd are from Western Europe. However, it is likely that the mixed breed originated in the United States. The Europeans perfected the idea of a standard dog breed, but Americans have been the ones to perfect the designer mixed breed dog. Both of the dogs in this mix are European stalwarts, making this mixed breed a combination of the Old World’s finest.

2. Old Working Dogs

Both the Irish Setter and German Shepherd have been around for centuries. The German Shepherd emerged from Germany in the 19th century, while the Irish Setter’s ancestors have been in Ireland since the Middle Ages. Both breeds are working dogs that have been helping people and working alongside humans for numerous generations. Together, these dogs have hundreds of years of experience as highly trained and domesticated working dogs.

3. Dripping With Intelligence

Both the German Shepherd and the Irish Setter are highly intelligent dogs. Both are working dogs with very demanding jobs. The Irish Setter is a gun dog that requires poise and smarts, and the German Shepherd is one of the most versatile working dogs in the world. The combination of the two creates a dog that is extremely smart. German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes are intelligent to the point of being hard to handle in some cases.

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Final Thoughts

German Shepherd Irish Setter Mixes are interesting dogs that can appeal to a wide audience. These dogs can be large, have red fur, and be fuzzier than German Shepherds. German Shepherd Irish Setter mixes can be trained in a variety of roles, or they can be excellent family dogs. These dogs are very smart and very active, which can be great for people who love the outdoors. These dogs have a striking look and a unique mixture that can also appeal to people who are looking for a dog that is unique and stands out. The appeal of the German Shepherd Irish Setter Mix is very broad due to the high number of excellent traits that they possess.

Featured Image Credit: Left – Anna Dudkova, Unsplash | Right – Mr_Incognito_, Pixabay

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