Do Irish Setters need a lot of exercise?

how much exercise does an irish setter need

The Irish Setter is an elegant dog from Ireland. His chestnut brown semi-long coat and elegant appearance is for many a decisive factor why the choice falls on this breed. But before you get an Irish Setter, you should be aware of how much exercise an Irish Setter needs. Because of its original use, it is not little.

An Irish Setter has a strong urge to move and needs at least 2 hours of exercise and activity per day, regardless of the weather. Long walks in nature are ideal to satisfy the strong urge to move. He was originally bred in Ireland as a hunting dog and was therefore out in nature with the hunter all day.

How much exercise does an Irish Setter need?

The Irish Setter needs at least 2 hours of exercise per day. Daily, long walks in nature should be the basis for exercising your Irish Setter.

If you take him for a 30 minute walk in the morning before feeding him, you have a good foundation for the day.

It is important to know that rain does not affect the Irish Setter much. So you have to be prepared to go for a long walk with your setter even in uncomfortable weather.

Ireland, his country of origin is not known for being particularly sunny and dry. So the Irish Setter is used to “bad” weather.

Make sure that it is best to walk your dog before feeding or take at least a 1.5 to 2 hour break after feeding.
The Irish Setter is one of the larger dog breeds that are also more prone to gastric torsion.

If you want to prevent gastric torsion, make sure they don’t run wild after eating. After all, that’s the main reason.

Why does an Irish Setter need a lot of exercise?

If you want to know why an Irish Setter needs a lot of exercise you have to look at its original use.

Many dog breeds were used for work in the past. So was the Irish Setter. He used to spend hours with the hunter in nature, tracking down game and later retrieving it.

This is what he was originally bred for and it is in his genes.

So if you get a dog like the Irish Setter you have to know in advance that he needs a lot of exercise.

How much exercise does an Irish Setter puppy need?

Also with the Irish Setter it is important that you start slowly as a puppy. As a general rule, about 5 minutes per month of life of controlled exercise or activity at a time is enough to tire a dog out.

Everything is new and needs to be processed.

So a 3 month old Irish Setter is tired and exhausted after about 15 minutes of walking, sniffing, new smells and sounds, and maybe meeting other dogs.

However, with active dog breeds like the Irish Setter, learning to rest and calm down as a puppy is just as important.

They want to run and be active. But it is important that they know that there are phases when nothing happens. In which they just lie in their dog bed or stand next to you and wait.

If you train your Irish Setter puppy exclusively physically from day one because he is a hunting dog, you are only raising a high-performance athlete.

exercise an irish Setter

How often does an Irish Setter need to be walked?

You should walk your Irish Setter at least 2 times a day. How you end up distributing that is not critical.

In my opinion, it is ideal to make the first round always early in the morning. After that there is food and the dog can first relax in his bed or on the couch.

Because no matter how much exercise an Irish Setter needs, even the most active dog spends most of its time sleeping or snoozing.

Depending on your personal daily routine, you can then take your Irish Setter for another walk at noon and/or in the evening. As a rule, however, it should be one longer walk of about 60 minutes or more.

How to keep an Irish Setter busy?

Physical activity is only one part to keep an Irish Setter busy or exercised. In addition to daily walks in nature, it is important to challenge and tire the Irish Setter mentally.

The Irish Setter is versatile and there is sure to be something fun for you and your dog to do together:


Walks are always the basis to keep an Irish Setter busy. It is important that you give your dog time to sniff. Sniffing for dogs is like reading the newspaper or nowadays like social media.

There is so much to discover. New smells, sounds, other dogs and people. A dog takes all this in and has to process it.

If you walk the same route every day with your Irish Setter – even if it’s 60 minutes, it will get boring.

Vary your walks, don’t run the same route every day and maybe incorporate a longer Hike once a week or every 2 weeks.


If you are an active runner, the Irish Setter is a perfect companion for you. In addition to daily walks, it is also important for the irish Setter to exercise more intensely every once in a while.


If you don’t like to run but you like to ride a bike, you can take your irish Setter with you to get some exercise.

Nose work

Every dog loves to sniff and track scents. Especially breeds like the Irish Setter, which were originally bred for hunting, love nose work.

You can easily incorporate this into your walk by, for example, throwing treats into leaves or a meadow and letting your Irish Setter search for them.

If you want it to be more professional, you can also do specific dummy training or mantrailing with your Irish Setter.

Both are ideal for satisfying your Irish Setter’s natural instincts and keeping him mentally stimulated. Targeted sniffing is an incredible challenge for dogs and will help you keep your dog satisfied and happy.


If you enjoy agility, you can do it with your Irish Setter. Agility is a great way to keep an Irish Setter physically and mentally active at the same time.

Obedience Training

Obedience training is also a dog sport for which the Irish Setter is well suited.

Consequences of too little exercise

If you don’t keep your Irish Setter busy physically as well as mentally, it can lead to misbehavior.

It can lead to your Irish Setter not listening and doing what he wants. It can also lead to increased irritability and destructiveness.

Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight because your Irish Setter has had a day or two of little exercise and activity.

So it is important that your Irish Setter always has enough exercise and mental activity in the long run. If you don’t have time for a day, he will forgive you.

If you do not keep an Irish Setter busy enough for a longer period of time you have to expect misbehavior.

Conclusion: How much exercise does an Irish Setter need?

The Irish Setter needs at least 2 hours, better a little more, of exercise and activity per day. Extended walks in nature as well as nose work are perfect to keep an Irish Setter exercised and busy. But also for jogging, cycling or dog sports like agility, mantrailing or obedience the Irish Setter is suitable and to inspire. (Contributing image)


I am Marco and I have the pleasure of living with 3 large Mastiff-type dog breeds. I would like to share my dog-related experiences on this blog

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