Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever: How Do They Compare?

It can be challenging to decide whether a Golden Retriever or the Irish Setter is the best fit for you. Both dog breeds are great for you and the family.

Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever 5 Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever: How Do They Compare?

What’s the difference between an Irish Setter and a Golden Retriever?

The Irish Setter and Golden Retriever have several similarities that make them great. Some significant differences between them include their energy levels and size. Irish setters are lankier and have more energy than Golden Retrievers, but Golden Retrievers are more popular.

We talked to breeders and dog parents to appreciate the differences between the two dog breeds and understand what informs diverse preferences. 

You will learn about the traits of the two dog breeds and what makes each preferable. Find a comparison of the features and see how each dog breeds fairs on each trait here.

What is the Overview of the Two Do Breeds?

Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever 1 Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever: How Do They Compare?

Golden Retrievers are very playful and energetic dogs. They have long, beautiful coats with fluffy tails and are generally short dogs under 2 feet tall. 

Initially, these dogs originated from Scotland and were meant to help with hunting as they retrieved shot birds.

They can still potentially work as hunting dogs even today, but they are often used as therapy dogs and individual service dogs. Retrievers are brilliant dogs with good temperaments. This is what makes them excellent family dogs.

The Irish Setter, on the other hand, is a magnificent and prominent dog with a red coat. The dog is energetic, highly spirited, and has a good temperament, making them a perfect companion. 

This dog serves highly active individuals better since they enjoy activities more.

In comparison, the setters are taller, with females standing at 25 inches and males at 27 inches. They were also originally bred as hunting dogs but have since evolved into family dogs that are great for families.

Finding out the differences and similarity of both dog breeds will help you to make an informed decision when choosing a fluffy companion to bring home. 

The different traits and characteristics will make you fall in love with a dog. 

Energy Level Comparison

Golden Retrievers are energetic dogs that need at least an hour a day of play and activity. You can incorporate various activities, including walks, games, and fetch and tug. The goal is to ensure they get the exercise they need.

Irish setters are excellent active dogs that love to hang around humans. They are also highly functional and need plenty of exercises every day. 

Involve them in sporting activities, go for long walks, or have them play to exercise them.

Comparatively, both dog breeds are highly active. However, the Irish Setter is more of a hunting dog today and requires a lot more exercise since they are more energetic than the Retriever.

How Do the Two Dog Breeds Interact with Family and Kids?

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This is important since the two dog breeds are meant to be around people. You want to choose a dog with the right temperament as this guarantees safety even around the younger kids.

Golden Retrievers are the perfect idea for family setups. They are patient and loving dogs that accommodate children quite well. 

All you need is to socialize them correctly, and they will be friendly and perfect around the kids and the entire family.

Irish setters, on the other hand, are also excellent family dogs. Their eagerness to please and spend as much time as possible with humans makes them extraordinary.

These dogs are fantastic around the children because of their friendliness, but one has to be careful since they are highly energetic and could accidentally knock the kids down.

Both the Golden Retriever and Irish setters are excellent dogs for families. However, when selecting the dog you want, consider their energy and size, especially when you are concerned about the kids.

Training Comparison

A dog’s trainability is a vital consideration. It is, therefore, essential to be careful when selecting your dog. The last thing you want is to have a stubborn and uncontrollable dog that is highly energetic.

Golden Retrievers are intelligent dogs that learn quickly, are eager to please, and adapt fast enough.

This makes them perfect for first-time dog owners since they are responsive during training. You can quickly train the Retriever in any way you like and socialize them to fit into your family’s dynamics.

The Setters are naturally people pleasers. These dogs are intelligent and will always want to be on the good side of their owners. 

As such, they are the perfect students and always ready to show their masters their obedience and ability to master new tricks.

On the aspect of training and teachability, both the Irish Setter and Golden Retrievers are excellent candidates. 

They are always willing to learn and ready to please their parents. This makes them very teachable and simplifies your training efforts.

The Temperament Test

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There is a good reason why Retrievers are loved and cherished by many owners. These dogs are goofy, loving, and highly loyal. These are wonderful traits that make them easily fit in any family setup.

On the other hand, Irish setters are loving and playful dogs with a kind spirit. They are often careful around children and make fantastic adventure buddies because of their high-spirited nature. 

If you love the outdoors, then the Setter is better for you.

Both dog breeds make perfect companions for different needs. They both display excellent temperaments and attitudes, making them ideal for most people and families.

Coat and Shedding Comparison

The Golden Retriever coat is soft and flowy, with colors ranging from cream-gold to red. Being a double coat with a dense undercoat and flowy top coat, the coat takes about one and a half years to two years to develop fully.

It would be best if you were prepared to groom the Retriever frequently and prepare for the constant shedding, especially in Spring.

Irish Setter, on the other hand, a double coat that is soft and silky. They are easily identifiable because of the bold mahogany, chestnut, and red shades. Grooming is also necessary because their long coats can easily get tangled or have twigs and knots stuck.

Regular brushing is needed to keep their coats looking vibrant and shinier. The beautiful coat comes at a price.

While the two breeds are known for shedding, the Retrievers tend to have more shedding than the setters.

They both have soft coats, which make it enjoyable to pet them. However, it would be best if you were prepared for constant brushing to maintain their sleek appearances.

Grooming Requirements – Which Breed Needs More? 

The Golden Retriever requires brushing every 1 to 3 days without fail. The nature of their coats warrants such regular brushing lest the skin accumulates dead fur and matures. Besides brushing, bathe them, clean their ears, and trim their nails regularly.

The Irish Setter can be brushed a few times a week, but the frequency should be higher if you take them outdoors for hunting. 

This prevents matting and accumulation of objects in their coats. Include bathing, teeth cleaning, and nail clipping; your Setter will be in their best shape.

Size Comparisons

Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever 4 Irish Setter vs Golden Retriever: How Do They Compare?

The two dog breeds are not very different despite the slight size variations. For the Golden Retrievers, the size specifications based on the dog’s gender are as follows:

  • Males: 23-24 inches tall, 65-75 pounds
  • Females: 21.5-22.5 inches tall, 55-65 pounds

For the Irish Setters, the specifications are as follows:

  • Males: 27 inches tall, 70 pounds
  • Females: 25 inches tall, 60 pounds

These average sizes show that the two dog breeds are not very different from each other. Their average weights are similar.

The only difference is that the Irish setters are slightly leaner and have a more extended body profile.

If the size concerns you, you can be sure that either dog will work. They are almost similar and will take up the same space in your home.

Life Expectancy Comparison – Which Dog Lives Longer?

On average, Golden Retrievers can live from 10 to 12 years. However, this life expectancy depends on several factors, including the care given, sickness, and overall health status. 

When all aspects are held constant, though, most Retrievers can live up to 12 years and beyond for a few exceptions.

Irish setters, on the other hand, tend to live longer. On average, they can live from 12 to 15 years when all factors are constant.

If you are the kind of pet parent who prefers to have a pet for the longest time possible, then a setter would be a better fit.

However, when dogs are properly cared for, regardless of their breed, they will live longer and healthier lives. Make sure to feed them right, groom them and go for vet visits as frequently as needed.

Comparing Health Challenges

The two dog breeds have specific health challenges that each of them faces. Some ailments may be shared, while others could be unique to a particular species. 

Understanding what you might be dealing with is essential as it helps you prepare.

Golden Retrievers struggle with the following health challenges:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Subaortic stenosis (SAS)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Eye disorders
  • Seizures
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Lymphoma
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Skin problems

Experts also list potential challenges and ailments that Irish setters can struggle with. These include:

  • Panosteitis
  • Megaesophagus
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Canine hip dysplasia
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy
  • Gastric Torsion
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

Since each dog breeds struggles with specific ailments unique to that breed, it is best to have a vet on speed dial. 

Do not ignore any symptoms that you have no idea about. It is always advisable to respond immediately whenever your dog shows signs of illness.

Monitor your dog’s health at each stage of their life. Besides that, consider tips and tricks that improve their well-being and adjust diets when needed. 

Most importantly, work with professional vets to ensure your dog is in their best shape.

Key Takeaways

  • Both the Golden Retriever and Irish setters are excellent family and companion dogs.
  • Each dog has unique needs and challenges that new parents need to be aware of.
  • The two dog breeds are easy to train, have a good temperament, and are friendly.
  • The Irish Setter may be slightly larger than the Golden Retriever, 
  • Their weights are similar.

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