Cocker Setter: Irish Setter and Cocker Spaniel Mix A Complete Guide

Designer mixed breeds don’t have to mix polar opposite breeds together; they certainly aren’t just for show or cuddling at the house.

The Cocker Setter is the result of breeding two hunting dog breeds, the Irish Setter and the Cocker Spaniel, for an easygoing and friendly dog.

The Cocker Setter’s intelligence lends itself to hunting small game such as waterfowl just like with the parent breeds.

Continue reading to learn more about the traits of this adorably fluffy hunting dog as well as some of the history behind the two breeds that made the Cocker Setter possible.

The Irish Setter, Cocker Setter, and Cocker Spaniel Comparison Table

Irish SetterCocker SetterCocker Spaniel
Height25-27 inches15-22 inches13.5-15.5 inches
Weight60-70 pounds30-60 pounds20-30 pounds
Life Expectancy12-15 years12-14 years10-14 years
ColorsChestnut
Mahogany
Red
Brown
Chestnut
Mahogany
Black
Blue Roan
Brown
Cream
Red
Black and tan
Brown, white and tan
Coat TypeSilky coat with medium lengthSilky coat with long lengthSilky double coat with long length
Affection LevelsVery lovingPretty lovingPretty loving
Shedding LevelAverage sheddingAverage sheddingAverage shedding
TemperamentVery playful
Average protectiveness
Pretty playful
Average protectiveness
Average playfulness
Average protectiveness
Health IssuesBloat
Hip dysplasia
Eye conditions
Thyroid disorders
Ear infections
Hip dysplasia
Eye conditions
Ear infections
Skin conditions
Hip dysplasia
Eye conditions
Ear infections
Skin conditions
TrainabilityPretty easy to trainPretty easy to trainPretty easy to train
ExerciseVery high exercise needsVery high exercise needsPretty high exercise needs
Friendliness to PeopleVery open to strangersPretty open to strangersPretty open to strangers
Friendliness to DogsVery good with other dogsVery good with other dogsVery good with other dogs
Drooling LevelsSome droolingSome droolingSome drooling
Mental StimulationHigher mental stimulation requiredHigher mental stimulation requiredAverage mental stimulation required
Barking LevelAverage barkingAverage barkingAverage barking

About Irish Setters

About Irish Setters
Irish Setter Dog

The 1800s were a complicated time for Irish hunters and to alleviate some of the hard work, the “Red Setter” was bred.

These dogs were the ancestor of the Irish Setter, their sleek bodies were able to cross great distances in the blink of an eye. The breed gained the favor of many hunters for their keen efficiency as well as their natural good looks.

Even though they still have their place in the world of hunting dogs, working as gundogs, the breed’s popularity has declined over time.

This most likely comes down to the fact that many people no longer have the time or desire to meet the rigorous exercise needs of the breed in today’s fast-paced society.

Nevertheless, owning an Irish Setter can still be a rewarding and fun experience thanks to their amiable nature and desire to please.

Be prepared for multiple hours of hard exercise and plenty of training exercises to fully meet your dog’s needs if you decide to adopt or purchase one of these magnificent dogs.

About Cocker Spaniels

About Cocker Spaniels
Cocker Spaniel Dog

Not to be confused with the English Cocker Spaniel, another breed recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Cocker Spaniel is believed to have originated in Spain.

Up until the 19th century or so, spaniels were loosely categorized as land or water spaniels but when interest in purebred dogs rose in England, the Cocker Spaniel was one of the first to be classified.

The breed’s massive popularity stems from a black Cocker Spaniel that won Westminster’s Best in Show two years in a row (1940 and 1941).

The breed’s cute, mischievous nature combined with the beauty of the dog’s coat, eyes, and floppy ears certainly didn’t harm their reputation either.

However, it would be foolish to dismiss the breed as a prim and proper show dog. The Cocker Spaniel is the smallest of the sporting spaniel breeds and as such can easily be trained to aid in the hunting of small game like waterfowl and other birds, or simply as an athletic partner for running sizeable distances.

The name comes from the combination of the dogs being a spaniel-type breed and the fact that this subset of dogs specialized in hunting woodcock.

When the breed made its way to America, the Cocker Spaniel was divided into two variations – the American and English.

About Cocker Setters

Because many designer breeds involve two very different sets of dogs, it becomes very difficult to predict what the resulting offspring will look and act like. Luckily, with the Cocker Setter, this is less of an issue.

As far as personality goes, the combination of the Irish Setter and Cocker Spaniel in a Cocker Setter is the perfect example of synergistic harmony.

The natural temperament of a Cocker Setter will be jovial and friendly to all with minimal jealousy or resource aggression.

The biggest amount of variability you might experience when it comes to a Cocker Setter is its size and weight.

Even so, the difference in healthy Cocker Setters will be pretty comparable, in which case the color of their coats might help you differentiate individual dogs.

Is the long hair of the Cocker Setter hypoallergenic?

Some people may boldly assume that the long hair of the Cocker Setter is hypoallergenic because other long-haired breeds such as the Poodle are well-known for being hypoallergenic.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. While Cocker Setters and Poodles share coats of similar length, the difference comes down to the type of coat they have.

Poodles have long, human-like hair that does not often shed, if at all. Meanwhile, Cocker Setters have hair that is closer to true fur and is shed regularly throughout the year.

Are Cocker Setters good family pets?

With some working dogs, dogs that have a high prey drive, or dogs with a strong herding instinct, having small children or other pets living in the same household can be a hassle.

Even though the Cocker Setter is descended from two hunting lineages, the Cocker Setter can be very gentle and an excellent playmate for young children when given some proper socialization and training.

How much exercise do Cocker Setters really need?

Cocker Setters require a minimum of an hour per day of intense work or play but this should be closer to two or three hours if possible. Note that an hour-long walk, even at a brisk pace, is not an hour of rigorous exercise for a Cocker Setter.

A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, if a Cocker Setter doesn’t get enough exercise they may turn to destructive habits to entertain and tire themselves out.

Conclusion:

The Cocker Setter is a designer dog breed that can fit almost any purpose thanks to its adaptability. Whether you need an exercise partner or a companion to accompany you on small game hunts, the Cocker Spaniel is plenty intelligent and energetic to get the job done.

Remember that a dog is a serious commitment for life, only adopt or purchase a Cocker Setter if you plan to take care of it properly.

If you don’t give your Cocker Setter a job, be prepared to spend some significant time exercising the dog both mentally and physically to keep them satisfied. If not, you can expect some devastated clothing and furniture whenever you come home.

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