Golden Retriever-Irish Setter Mix Traits & Facts

The Golden Retriever Irish Setter mix, also known as the Irish Golden, is a hybrid breed created from the Golden Retriever and the Irish Setter. Both parent breeds are known for their friendly nature and exceptional intelligence, making the mix a great family pet.

Their physical appearance often leans heavily on the dominant parent’s genes. Typically, they have the Golden Retriever’s robust build with the Irish Setter’s distinctive red coat.

As for temperament, the mix inherits its parents’ sociable and playful disposition. They require ample exercise and mental stimulation due to their high energy level.

They also need rigorous grooming because of their long, silky coat; brushing should be a daily routine to keep their hair tangle-free and shiny. Regular vet checks are essential to monitor and maintain their health.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

Quick Summary: Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters share many of the same adorable character traits. The Golden Retriever-Irish Setter Mix, also known as the Golden Irish, can therefore bring so much love and joy into your home. Both the Golden Retriever and Irish Setter are extremely intelligent dogs, so you can expect that a Golden Irish is highly trainable. You can feed your Golden Irish puppy three times a day up to six months, which can be reduced to two times a day up to adulthood. This breed of dog makes for a great pet and companion if you train them well and treat them as a member of the family.

The Golden Irish dogs are fun and energetic creatures. These dogs are active and always moving so be ready to keep up with them.

Both parent breeds were designed for hunting and this combination is no exception. They are intelligent and obedient. It’s the best way to get them tired.

These dogs are great family pets and get along well with all people, even strangers – so these dogs are not guard dogs. Although they rarely show aggression, these dogs are powerful and fast and can cause serious injury to others if they charge at top speed. Therefore, it’s important to learn how to calm and control your Golden Irish.

The Golden Irish, like its parents, can experience separation anxiety and depression if left alone for long periods. This is not the breed to choose if you travel often or work long hours.

Golden Retriever-Irish Setter Mix

Breed History and Background

The history of this breed is as murky as any other designer dog. It is best to examine the histories of both parent breeds to learn more about their origin.

Golden Retriever

The history of the Golden Retriever is well-known because its original breeder was meticulous in documenting it. Scotland’s Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, born in 1820, is the father of the Golden Retriever.

Marjoribanks grew up in the upper classes and was passionate about breeding dogs. Dog breeding was once considered a pastime for the wealthy and elite. Hunting fowl was another pastime enjoyed by the wealthy. Their gun dogs were unable to retrieve fowl from the water at that time. That was soon changed by the Golden Retriever.

In 1865, Marjoribanks was taking a walk with his son when he saw a dog named Nous on the street. The unusual color of Nous was gold, which was not common at the time as black dogs were more desirable. Unfortunately, most of the rest were euthanized.

Marjoribanks acquired Nous as a pet and bred him with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel three years later. Belle, his mate, and Nous produced a water-loving retriever that could hunt both on land and in water. The first litter, born in 1868, brought the first Golden Retrievers.

The name Golden Retriever was not given to the breed officially until it was registered with the UK Kennel Club in 1920. The Golden Retriever was first registered with the AKC in 1925.

Irish Setter

The Irish Setter is a native of Ireland, as its name implies. It was created to assist bird hunters by “setting”, or getting down to the ground, to alert hunters of the presence of birds. The hunter will shoot the bird, and the Irish Setter will retrieve it.

Bird-hunters in Ireland desired a dog that could travel across Ireland’s open terrain, but would also be attentive and respectful. To meet their needs, they first considered spaniels, English setters, and Gordon setters. The Irish Setter is a red-and-white-colored dog that was developed through generations of breeding.

Red-coated dogs were created by selective breeding. In 1878, the Irish Setter was one of the first breeds recognized by the AKC. Over the years, 11 different Irish Setters have won the Sporting Group at the Westminster Kennel Club show.

There are two types of Irish Setter now: show and field. When someone mentions an Irish Setter, show ones are the traditional picture. Their coat is beautiful and flowing. They retain their working abilities but have less fur and smaller stature.

Size and Appearance

Golden Irish dogs are large, weighing 55-80 pounds and standing 21-28 inches at the shoulder. Their long, bushy tails and proud chests are complemented by even longer hair on their bodies. They have black eyes and black noses.

Golden Irish dogs also sport floppy ears and a compact body for hunting. The Irish Setter’s gait is slightly shorter than the Setter’s.

Coat and Colors

Their long, silky coat needs regular grooming, as often as daily during shedding season. You will see more hair in your home if you skip your grooming.

Temperament and Mood

Irish Setters and Golden Retrievers share many of the same temperament traits. It’s therefore relatively easy to predict their behavior.

Do not expect these puppies to be guard dogs. They are loyal to everyone, including strangers. They are great with children and make excellent nannies. They are good with other animals, but they have a strong prey drive. Be careful when socializing them with small animals.

The Golden Irish can be trained because both parents were designed as hunting dogs. They are eager to please you and will follow your orders. Training should start as soon as possible, but not later than eight weeks. Many people can learn basic commands quickly, such as sit, down, and stay.

Starting basic obedience immediately can help you build a relationship with your dog. It also teaches him to listen. Using positive reinforcement also helps him learn that you are a positive presence and often give him food or a toy.

Perhaps this breed’s most consistent trait is its energy level. Goldens and Irish Setters are both extremely high energy, and this mix is the same. To keep your Golden Irish happy, they must do at least one hour of vigorous exercise.

Mental exercise is also a great way to tire this dog more easily. Try puzzle toys or strict obedience training. They are also good at agility and frisbee competitions. This crossbreed is a great choice for many sports because of their training ability.

All in all, the mix makes a wonderful family friend and is happy and outgoing.

Exercise and Living Requirements

Expect at least one hour of intense physical exercise each day, not including mental training. Your Golden Irish need far more exercise than that.

These dogs are not suitable for apartments. They thrive in large, spacious houses with plenty of space to run around. This dog is not suitable for people who are going to be away for long periods of time. You should keep your dog with you at all times as they may suffer from separation anxiety and depression. Some exercises to consider for your Golden Irish include hiking, fetching, frisbee agility obedience training, swimming, or any other demanding activities. Remember that dogs’ skeletons still form until around two years old, so they shouldn’t be asked to do any high-impact exercise before that.

Mental workouts are essential for Golden Irish and can often be more demanding than physical exercise. Regular obedience training provides mental stimulation and keeps your dog alert and responsive. Consider Kongs or other puzzle toys if you want a way to occupy your dog while you tend to other activities.

Remember, a tired dog is a good one. Dogs that are not exercised enough can become destructive and mischievous. You must make sure that your dog gets enough exercise.

Training Tips

Both the Golden Retriever and Irish Setter are extremely intelligent dogs, so this breed is highly trainable. The Irish Setter, however, is an independent dog that can be trained to obey or not. It depends on what parent breed it takes.

It is important to begin training as soon as possible. Puppies are very impressionable and basic training strengthens their bond. You don’t have to wait for your puppy to learn.

Begin by learning the basics of commands like sit, stay, and down. Then, move on to more advanced commands like come, stand, go, down, come, leave, and so forth. Now would be a good time to start leash training slowly. Leash training should be started slowly.

Short, engaging training sessions using positive reinforcement are the best. Puppy attention spans are very short and they can easily become confused and frustrated if you push them beyond their limits. Once they have mastered the commands, let your pup play for a while.

Give your dog an abundance of toys, including puzzles. These toys help your dog to self-soothe when he’s too busy. His self-soothing might look like he’s digging up the yard or chewing on your shoes.

Health and Diseases

There are some conditions that you should be aware of when raising this breed. These dogs may be more susceptible to certain health problems than others.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is similar to hip dysplasia. It results from skeletal abnormalities. This happens when the elbow joint becomes malformed or worsens over time. It can cause pain and decreased range of motion in the elbow joint.

Elbow dysplasia can be caused by a variety of factors. Obesity can also make it worse. This painful condition can be prevented by avoiding excessive exercise or high-impact activities before the age of 2.

Radiographs, as well as other imaging techniques like CT scans and MRIs, can be used to diagnose elbow dysplasia. In severe cases, surgery is often required.

Hip Dysplasia

This skeletal condition is common in giant and large breed dogs. Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the ball and socket of the hip don’t properly form. This can lead to a dog with hip dysplasia, where the ball and socket are not properly formed. It can cause severe pain. Hip dysplasia is mainly congenital. If you are looking to purchase a Golden Irish breeder, make sure they are breeding healthy dogs and minimizing the risk for hereditary disorders. Obesity, which Goldens, Irish Setters, and Golden Irish mixes are more likely to have, can also lead to joint problems such as hip dysplasia. This can be controlled with proper exercise and limiting sweet treats. Hip dysplasia is indicated by difficulty walking and lameness. This is a very expensive disease that requires extensive surgery. Prevention is better than cure.


Some dog breeds, like humans, are susceptible to obesity. This is a common problem in both Irish Setters and Golden Retrievers. Track any treats or snacks your dog gets and subtract them from the mealtime. You can also limit snacking and offer low-fat and low-calorie treats to your dog.

Obesity can also lead to more severe joint and heart conditions. These are both preexisting problems for mixed breed dogs. Regular exercise and a balanced, appropriately-portioned diet are critical.


Unfortunately, cancer is very common in dogs. 50% of dogs older than ten can develop cancer. You should be aware of irregular bumps, bleeding abnormally, swelling, and enlarged lymph nodes.

An increase in the lifespan of dogs is likely to lead to an increase in cancer rates. Dogs didn’t use to live 10+ years. Dogs are now able to live longer thanks to vaccinations and better care. Unfortunately, cancer can develop in old age.


Bloat, which is a dangerous condition in dogs, occurs when the dog’s stomach expands. The stomach’s expansion can cause pressure on other organs, resulting in restricted blood flow to the heart, difficulty in breathing, and tearing of the stomach wall.

In some cases, a dog can go into shock if his stomach rotates and blocks blood flow to the heart. Bloat symptoms include a swollen stomach, anxiety, restlessness, pacing, and drooling. Bloat can quickly develop in dogs, so seek veterinary attention immediately. Bloat can be fatal if it is not treated.

Although the causes are not known, certain activities may increase the risk. These include eating from a raised plate, eating one large meal per day, overeating, drinking excessively, and doing strenuous exercise after eating. If your Golden Irish is a fast eater, invest in a slow feeder to ensure that your dog has enough food.

Nutrition and Feeding Guide

Feed your Golden Irish three times per day for up to six months,, after which it can be reduced to two times per day.

The amount of food you give your dog will depend on their age, gender, and level of activity. This is an outline that was based on the Golden Retriever

  • Two Months Old: 1 1/2 cups a day
  • Three Months Old: 2 cups a day
  • Four Months Old: 2 1/2 cups a day
  • Five To Six Months Old: 3 cups a day
  • Six To Seven Months Old (male pups only): 3 1/2 to 4 cups a day (females should stay on 3 cups/day)

When it comes to choosing food, ensure that protein is the first ingredient. Also, note that studies have shown a grain-free diet can increase the prevalence of certain diseases, especially Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). Just because humans advocate for grain-free diets, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best for dogs as well.

Here’s a list of dog food options for adult Golden Irish.

  • The Farmer’s Dog fresh, human-grade recipes
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish
  • Purina One Smart Blend Dry Dog Food
  • Pedigree Complete Nutrition Adult Dry
  • Royal Canin
  • Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Grooming Tips

The Golden Irish have a thick, dense coat. This crossbreed sheds often and requires weekly or even daily grooming.

Baths can be given as needed. If your dog is dirty-smelling or looks dirty, it’s time for him to get clean. This is a water dog, so it’s important to introduce bath time slowly and properly.

Regular nail trimming and teeth brushing are crucial. While both can be handled by a groomer, the teeth need to be cleaned at least once per week. Introduce your dog slowly to the toothpaste and toothbrush, letting him first sniff it. You can reward your dog for successful brushing with praise and treats.

Given that Golden Irish have floppy ears, you must check and clean them regularly to prevent ear infections.

Rescues and Shelters

This cross can occur accidentally and put a dog in a pound, where he may die. You do not know the background or pedigree of an adopted dog so be cautious.

Adopting a dog from the pound is noble, but you often don’t know much about the dog you are bringing home. Because shelter dogs are often overwhelmed by dogs, they can have a variety of behavioral and health problems.

Rescue organizations often foster dogs and get to know the dogs in order to place them. Providing a list of your preferences to a rescue can help them match you up with the right Golden Irish. You should consider the personality, activities, preferences, age, and gender of the dog that you are looking to adopt.

Since Golden Retriever-Irish Setter Mixes are relatively novel, finding a rescue dedicated solely to this mix will not be a walk in the park. You will likely have better luck looking for rescue organizations dedicated to parent breeds as they often accept mixes.

Breeders and Puppy Costs

Given the popularity of this crossbreed, it’s possible to find breeders. This is not true for all designer dogs.

Be sure to verify the reputation of any breeder you choose. Breeds that are not registered with the AKC make it more difficult to choose a breeder as they may not be able to vet you.

Inspect the facilities of the breeder and make sure that they can show you proof that the breeding dogs have no congenital disabilities. Also, ensure that their bill of sale and other documentation are fair and complete.


The energetic and sociable Golden Irish can be a constant source of love and energy. They are easy to train even for novice dog owners. They are very active and do not like living in apartments. They need a home with a yard. These dogs are friendly and can be trusted by all people. They enjoy spending time with their families and will go with you wherever you go. They are great with children and other dogs. This dog is a great family pet if you are willing to exercise your Golden Irish and take care of him daily.

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