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Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel Mix: Pictures, Care Guide, Temperament & Traits

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Parent Breeds of Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel

The Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix is an uncommon hybrid that combines the fun-loving, lovable Irish Setter with the loving and gentle Cocker Spaniel. Although the two breeds are quite different in a lot of ways, including their original purpose and especially their size, they share some similarities that are likely to come through in the cross.

Because this is an uncommon cross, there are no standards, and any mix of the two breeds could lean more heavily towards one breed or the other.

Breed Overview

Height: 16–25 inches
Weight: 30–70 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: Black, brown, liver, red
Suitable for: Active families looking for an energetic, lively, fun companion
Temperament: Loyal, affectionate, energetic, lively, fun

The Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix is a hybrid breed and is rarely seen. Both parent breeds are working dogs, which means that the resulting cross will be lively and energetic, and it will excel at canine sports and agility. When it isn’t running around and working, the Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix will love spending time with all the family, including children, and it is a friendly dog that usually gets along with friends, strangers, and with other dogs, too.

Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel Mix Breed Characteristics


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Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel Mix Puppies

Parent Breeds of Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel (puppy version)
Image Credit: (L) Rebius, Shutterstock | (R) Photobox.ks, Shutterstock

The Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix is not a common breed, which means you might find it difficult to find puppies if you are looking for one specifically. The size difference between the two breeds means that accidental breeding is unlikely, so you will have to speak to breeders to try and find this mix. If you do find a breeder, ask them about the cross, and ask questions about the parents.

Try to ensure that the parents have been tested for dysplasia and other common hereditary conditions. Arrange to visit the kennels and meet at least one of the parents. Typically, the mother should be available to meet. Ensure the puppy is alert and active, looks healthy, and doesn’t shy away too much when meeting you. Meeting the mother is also important because puppies take their early social cues from their mother, so she needs to be friendly and sociable.

You may encounter Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mixes in shelters or rescues. The rescue should at least have an idea of how well the dog gets on with other dogs and you will be able to determine whether it is a friendly pup, and not too scared or anxious around people.

The breed is a hybrid, which means it isn’t an expensive breed. But prices will vary from breeder to breeder and according to location and other factors.

The puppy will be active, and it will need plenty of stimulation as well as physical and mental exercise. Start training from a young age. This is an intelligent breed so things like house training and basic commands shouldn’t prove too difficult. And, while the breed is known for being sociable and getting along with most people and even other animals, it is still beneficial to start socializing when the dog is as young as possible.

Parent Breeds of The Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel Mix
Image Credit: (L) Kseniia Kolesnikova, Shutterstock | (R) Lenkadan, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel Mix

This is a friendly hybrid that will be loving, loyal, and affectionate with family. The sweet-natured dog should also be good with visitors and will enjoy meeting strangers, although socialization and experience also play a part.

Smaller than the Irish Setter parent, the hybrid can live in an apartment, but its high energy levels mean that you will need to offer regular walks. You will both benefit from finding other avenues for your dog to expend its energy reserves as this breed does enjoy having a task to do.

The Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix may not be the best choice of dog for those with limited mobility or who are looking for a dog that requires minimal exercise.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix is a family-oriented dog. Yes, they enjoy getting out and running around or playing. But they also enjoy following you around the house and settling down for love. It is generally respectful of young children, with the gentle Cocker Spaniel coming out of the mix.

And, if children are old enough to throw a ball or play with the dog, the two will likely form a very close bond. The breed will also get along with visitors and shouldn’t pose any problem if children have friends over to play.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

This hybrid breed is also a good choice for homes that already have pets as it will get along well with other dogs and will usually get along with cats. Dogs shouldn’t be left alone with smaller animals, like rabbits or guinea pigs, as the fast movement may trigger a response from the dog.

When introducing a new dog to a house with existing pets, it is important that you make gradual introductions and don’t rush things. Rushing the introductions can set everything back and make it more difficult for the animals to get along in the future.

If you’re introducing your Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix to a cat, make sure the cat has an escape route and somewhere safe that it can run to if things get too much. If you’re introducing them to an existing dog, you can start with outdoor introductions. Have both dogs on a leash and take them for a walk.

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Things to Know When Owning an Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel Mix

The Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix makes a great family dog, can live in an apartment if given enough outdoor exercise, and will get along with other pets. While it sounds like the perfect pet pooch, and it likely is the ideal choice for a lot of potential owners, there are many factors to take into account. They aren’t the best choice of dog for owners who want a laid-back dog that doesn’t require much exercise, for example.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The amount of food your dog will need to eat depends on their size, and this can vary in hybrid breeds. If your Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix is a bigger dog, like the Irish Setter, they will consume around three cups of dry kibble per day. If they are smaller like the Cocker Spaniel, they will consume around 2.5 cups per day. You may need to feed more or less than this depending on whether your dog is underweight or overweight, suffering from any illnesses, or if they are especially active or inactive.

Wet food amounts vary according to the food. Weigh your dog and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging. Again, though, you may need to adjust the amount according to various factors. Always ensure your dog has access to fresh drinking water, and that this access is offered 24 hours a day.

Always follow your vet’s advice regarding feeding levels and whether your dog has any special dietary requirements. Otherwise, choose a food that is appropriate for your dog’s activity levels and life stage. Puppy and senior foods have different levels of protein and essential vitamins and minerals, and they can help ensure a healthy, happy dog.

Exercise 🐕

Both parent breeds are working dogs, which means the Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix is lively and energetic. It does have quite high exercise needs and you should provide at least 90 minutes of exercise a day. This can include regular walks, although your pup will prefer to get off the leash and run around. Although generally responsive, make sure you have mastered recall and that you only let your dog off the leash where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

The breed can excel at agility and a variety of other canine sports. These are a great way to burn off energy and provide both entertainment and stimulation for your dog. It can also build a bond between the two of you.

Training 🎾

All dogs benefit from positive training. Initially, this means house training and teaching basic commands, but it can progress to more complicated training.

These dogs are considered quite easy to train and this is especially true if you start when the dog is young. Younger dogs can pick up new commands more quickly than adult dogs. The loving and affectionate nature of the breed means that it will want to please you, which goes a long way in training.

Socialization is another important aspect of canine development and something that you should start as soon as possible. Introduce your dog to different people and different situations so that it won’t be unnecessarily apprehensive or anxious when faced with situations in the future.

Start with puppy classes, visit dog parks, and walk different routes to ensure exposure to as many different situations as possible.

Grooming ✂️

The Irish Setter has a long, flowing coat that takes a lot of care and maintenance to keep it looking good and to prevent it from getting knotted and becoming uncomfortable. The Cocker Spaniel’s coat takes a little less maintenance, but you should plan to brush your dog every day.

When you can hear your dog’s claws clicking on the floor, this is a good sign that it is time to trim them. You can trim your dog’s nails yourself, or you can have them done at a groomer.

Although it does depend on how much exercise your dog gets and whether it exercises on abrasive surfaces, expect to trim every 2–3 months. Take care not to trim too far down the nail if you do it yourself.

Decay and dental problems are some of the most common ailments in adult dogs and, unfortunately, your dog can’t brush its own teeth. Feeding a dry kibble can help remove some plaque, and dental treats also help, but these are no substitute for regular tooth brushing. Brush three times a week, or even daily, to help prevent decay.


Health and Conditions 🏥

Both parent breeds are susceptible to some hereditary illnesses and conditions. There is no guarantee that these will be passed on to the hybrid, and there are some that claim hybrid vigor helps protect mixes from getting such conditions. However, it is a good idea to check for signs of known conditions.

The long ears and long coats of the parent breeds mean that these are especially susceptible to causing issues.

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies
Serious Conditions
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal Atrophy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy


Male vs Female

Male dogs tend to be heavier and taller than females and they usually have thicker necks and larger heads. This can be difficult to tell with hybrid breeds, however, because there is no set size range. Some experts claim that males are more likely to be aggressive, although aggression is rare in this hybrid breed.

Males can be more prone to wanderlust, too, but a loving home, good diet, and regular exercise, as well as early socialization and training, can help control any of these potential problems.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel Mix

1. The First Cancer Detecting Dog Was a Cocker Spaniel

Dogs and humans have a very strong bond. Dogs have been used for many purposes from hunting to therapy dogs. Some dogs can even be used to detect illness in their owners and one of the first groups of dogs shown to be able to detect cancer in patients was a Cocker Spaniel named Tangle. Tangle had a 56% accuracy rating in detecting cancer.

2. There Are Two Types of Cocker Spaniel

There are two different Cocker Spaniel breeds: the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel. American Cocker Spaniels have rounded heads while English Cocker Spaniels have longer noses. Both are recognized by the AKC and either breed could be a parent breed in the Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel Mix.

3. Irish Setters Mature Slowly

Irish Setters are slow-maturing dogs, which means that they have a puppy-like attitude for longer than other breeds. They also take longer to reach their full size. While this does mean that Irish Setter owners can have their hands full for longer, it also means that the breed will continue to learn and develop for longer.

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Final Thoughts

The Irish Setter Cocker Spaniel mix is a hybrid of the Irish Setter and Cocker Spaniel breeds. Because it is a hybrid, it isn’t recognized by kennel clubs, and it isn’t a commonly found mix. However, owners that do find one of these dogs can expect to enjoy a family-oriented dog that is full of energy, quick to learn, and enjoys spending time outdoors.

They are likely to have a long coat that will take daily brushing, but will be loving and loyal and will usually get along with all family members.

Featured Image Credit: (L) TMArt, Shutterstock | (R) Kristina Chizhmar, Shutterstock

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