The Club’s AGM has been postponed and a date will be organised later in the year.
the Kennel Club issued a press release :
“…The Kennel Club has taken the decision with regret to recommend strongly that Clubs and Societies cancel forthcoming events over the next three months …”

The Club was thrilled to see Izzy Sherlock and her canine and human family at the Club’s championship show this year. Izzy is a search and rescue dog in Wales and in 2017 an article was published about her and can be read here.

The Irish Red and White Setter is an ancient breed from Ireland, the forerunner of the Irish Red Setter. They are loyal, trainable (with patience) loveable clowns, and sometimes downright rebellious devils, but with firm and kind handling will become a much loved and admired take anywhere member of your family. No matter what you intend to do with your Irish Red and White Setter, show, obedience, agility, working or just a loyal and loving family pet, we hope there is something of interest on this site for all. Have a look at the breed standard (this tells you what you should expect your dog to be like).

Hopefully you will find everything you want or need to know in one of the pages, but if there is something not covered then get in touch with our Secretary, who oversees the website.

The Club

The Irish Red & White Setter Club of Great Britain exists to promote all aspects of the breed, bring enthusiasts together for a variety of activities and offer help and encouragement where needed.

The show ring features prominently, with one breed Championship and two breed Open Shows organised each year by the Club. However, a number of other events and social occasions are also promoted, to which all club members are welcomed.

Many members are anxious to maintain the very real working ability of the breed and ensure that it is passed down through future generations. Gundog working classes are therefore organised in different areas of the country to encourage everyone to take part; occasional assessment days are also held to measure progress of both dogs and handlers. Information on these will be on the Working page.

On a more serious note, members recognise that there are times when, for whatever reason, it becomes impossible for a dog to remain in its current home. The Rescue Sub Committee works to care for and where possible to re-home these dogs.

The Club also maintains a health database, which contains information on known hereditary conditions within the breed and details of where and when they have occurred. Specific information is obviously confidential but general advice is available to all members.

For more information about membership – click here

We look forward to meeting you in person at one of our events…

The Breed and Health

Since the introduction of Irish Red and White Setters into the UK in 1979 (after the revival of the breed from very few founders in Ireland) the Breed Health and Genetic Sub-Committee has closely monitored breed health from 1980.  A database is kept with the breeding and health details of every UK registered IRWS from 1980 and also some overseas IRWS.  The information is already in the public domain, but there is an important facility for individual owners or breeders to report health matters affecting their own dogs – these reports are strictly confidential and, should research into the condition be required, dogs are only referred to by case number, not by name.We depend on and are grateful for the support of owners in monitoring breed health.  By reporting any medical problems to be recorded in the database, the Club is able to have a general picture of breed health and, should any issue arise, be able to deal with it

The Breed Health & Genetic Sub Committee have put together the breed history – you can trace your line back to its beginnings.  Thanks to them for all their hard work.  There are two parts to it: one and two.


The Effective Population Size (EPS) – published by the KC, is the measure of how many KC registered dogs are contributing genetically to a breed’s population. It gives an evaluation of the size of a breed’s gene pool and its potential diversity.  Inbreeding diminishes a breed’s genepool and diversity, so the higher the EPS the better – below 100 is not good and is cause for concern.

The latest EPS for IRWS is recorded as 39.41 – an improvement on the former EPS of 28.
As the Revival of the breed in the 1970s was based on less than 10 individuals these figures are not surprising, but with careful selection of breeding partners, avoiding Popular Sires and using acceptable individuals from the overseas IRWS sub-groups our EPS, should rise steadily.”

What does an Asterisk mean after a dog’s name?

The Kennel Club Breed Records Supplement that records all dogs registered states that ‘Where asterisks are shown after the registered name, this identifies a dog of either impure or unverified origins.’
As an example, DAN OF DERBY *** indicates that Dan is a first generation crossbreed.

F1 IRWS***       The first generation of crossbreds has three asterisks
From a mating of a purebred Irish Setter and a purebred IRWS

F2 IRWS**        The second generation of crossbreds has two asterisks  
From mating an F1 IRWS*** to a purebred IRWS

F3 IRWS*          The third generation of crossbreds has one asterisk
From mating a correctly marked F2 IRWS** to a purebred IRWS
F3* animals will be correctly marked

F4 IRWS           The fourth generation from mating an F3 IRWS* to a pure bred IRWS is considered ‘pure’ and is accepted into the KC Breed Register with no asterisks


Our Rescue Scheme is here to help any Irish Red and White Setters in Great Britain who may be in need.

We are fortunate as a breed that the majority of our breeders continue to care for their puppies long after they have gone to new homes and will take dogs back if things don’t work out.  Rescue is then here to assist and hopefully find suitable new homes for them.

Dogs come into rescue for many reasons, some are strays, some are in need of a new home because of their owner’s change of circumstances or illness and, sadly, at times owing to a bereavement, none the fault of the dog involved.

Rescue dogs come from varied backgrounds.  Some have been the family pet and are used to living in with the family and others, maybe working dogs, who have probably been used to spending a lot of time in a kennel and will need extra care and patience to socialise them.

All will be traumatised in some way, it is a big upheaval in their lives and all will need homes that are prepared to give them all time, patience and most of all unconditional love.  

Have a read through the information about IRWS and if you’re still interested get in touch with our Rescue Secretary.


The Kennel Club’s dates and venues for Pointer and Setter Training are available here.

We have been invited to attend various Game Fairs this year and the dates are below, if anyone is interested in helping out, please get in touch with Fiona.

Royal Bath & West of England, BA4 6QN16th & 17th March
Thame Country Fair, 5th & 6th May
Burghley Game & Country Fair26th & 27th May
The Game Fair, AL9 5HX26th to 28th July
Cheshire Game & Country Fair24th – 26th August
Sandringham Game & Country Fair7th & 8th September
Midland Game Fair14th & 15th September
Wiltshire Game & Country Fair28th & 29th September

Members of the Club were very much in evidence at several Game Fairs last year, at Burghley Country Game Fair – we managed to get five dogs on the Saturday and six on the Sunday, including three generations of one ‘family’. There was a lot of interest shown in the dogs and they all behaved brilliantly. 

Member Paul Leckie:

“We took Hamish to Hatfield House game fair last year. Just walking around with him there was lots of interest from people. Many keen to know what breed he was and some people who had owned the breed in the past.

So even if there isn’t a formal stand we would encourage members to attend with their dogs.

Hamish had a great time as well…….”

Irish Red & White Setters were developed historically to find wild game birds for hunters.

It is not ‘work’ for the dogs – it is what they live for!

Have you ever wondered how people manage to train their setters to work?  And exactly what work do they do?  Is trialling the only way to go or are there other things you can do with your highly intelligent IRWS?  IT’S NOT HARD WORK – IT’S FUN!​

Training your dog to work isn’t hard, in fact it’s usually good fun.  Working with a group of like-minded people (and dogs) it doesn’t matter whether you are a complete beginner or have some experience of working in the field, you and your dog will benefit from attending one of the WSC working and training days this year.  There are some days currently being organised and dates and venues will be here as soon as they are finalised.  If you’d like to go along with your dog and see what you can both do get in touch with Working Secretary, Fiona Chapman.