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How Much Do Irish Setters Shed? Breed Coat Characteristics & Facts

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

irish setter

Irish Setters are large, energetic dogs that love to goof around. They have sweet dispositions and happen to be great with kids, making them excellent family companions. They were popular bird-hunting partners in Ireland throughout the 19th century. But do Irish Setters shed excessively? Do they shed year-round?

The short answer to these questions is that Irish Setters do shed moderately to heavily, and they are seasonal shedders. Grooming requirements vary depending on the time of year.

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Understanding the Irish Setter’s Coat

The rich, red coat of the Irish Setter is typically medium in length and thickness. However, their coat is short and thin on their heads and forelegs. Their ears, chest, tail, and back legs have long feathered hair that gives them a luxurious look. Their hair is fine and free flowing, so it can get knotted and matted if not properly cared for and maintained.

These dogs develop thick undercoats for the winter months to help keep them naturally warm, and that contributes to their shedding. The bottom line is that these dogs shed less during certain seasons of the year and more during others, but they do shed all year long.

irish setter dog outdoors
Image by: No-longer-here, Pixabay

In What Seasons Do Irish Setters Shed?

Irish Setters shed all year, but they do so more during the spring and fall. In winter and summer, shedding is moderate and can be managed with regular brushing. During the spring and fall seasons, shedding is in full force to make room for new hair growth. We recommend brushing your Irish Setter outdoors so the hair released during the process does not end up in your house, which will create more work for you later.

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What Causes Irish Setters to Shed?

Irish Setters shed regularly for the simple fact that they need to get rid of the old stuff to make room for the new stuff. The new hair that grows in is healthier and more protective than the old, worn hair that sheds.

There are a few reasons or “triggers” that an Irish Setter might shed more than is necessary at any given time.

These include:
  • Improper Nutrition — A lack of protein, fat, omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, or even quality carbohydrates can create shedding issues.
  • Illness — Many types of illnesses can result in a dull coat that sheds more than it should. The problem can be something as simple and temporary as a cold or as serious and chronic as kidney disease.
  • Parasites — Certain parasites, including fleas, can cause skin problems and extra shedding. Skin fungal infections and hot spots caused by parasites can also cause excessive shedding.
  • Stress — This emotion can cause a human’s hair to fall out, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that stress can cause a dog to shed more often than they normally would. Major household changes, extended work hours, and a lack of needed exercise can all cause stress and excessive shedding.
  • Lack of BrushingBrushing helps get rid of loose hair and those that are getting ready to shed. Therefore, your dog will be left with less hair to shed day by day.

If each of these factors is being properly managed, your Irish Setter should not shed more than necessary, which will help keep management easier. Your veterinarian can help you address any other problems to ensure that your pup is in optimal health and not shedding more hair than they should be.

irish setter dog in the garden
Image by: Mr_Incognito, Pixabay

Tips to Help Manage an Irish Setter’s Shedding

There are a few different things that you can do to help manage your Irish Setter’s shedding through the year so it does not become too burdensome or overwhelming to deal with.

For one thing, brushing is a necessity. It’s best to brush your Irish Setter daily year-round to keep their shedding to a minimum. Brushing outside will help ensure that hair and dander don’t spread throughout your home.

Other things that you can do include:
  • Consider Regular Trims — You can have the long hair on your Irish Setter’s coat trimmed to a shorter length so shedding does not leave behind as much hair and dander.
  • Get Help From a GroomerTaking your Irish Setter to the groomer once or twice a month can help cut down on shedding because they will take care of all the loose hairs and ensure that your pup is set up for easy brushing between professional grooming visits.
  • Focus on Vacuuming and Sweeping — You cannot completely avoid the shedding of an Irish Setter, so you should be prepared to manage it by vacuuming and sweeping throughout your home regularly. Sweep and vacuum every other day, if not more often, for optimal results.

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A Quick Recap

Irish Setters do shed excessively, especially during the spring and fall seasons. Since they shed all year long, regular brushing and maintenance of the coat is necessary to keep shedding to a minimum and ensure that your dog does not end up dealing with problems like knots and mats. The more proactive you are about the shedding, the less work you will need to do overall.


Featured Image Credit: Victor Sounds, Flickr

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