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Irish Shepherd: Irish Setter and German Shepherd Mix A Complete Guide

Have you ever wanted the beautiful markings of a German Shepherd but in a more affable and friendly dog? The Irish Shepherd is that and more in one complete package!

Crossing a German Shepherd with an Irish Setter results in an Irish Shepherd, a dog with a majestic appearance and the capabilities for almost any task.

Irish Setter and German Shepherd Mix

Continue reading to learn more about this unique mixed breed, especially if you need an exercise buddy!

Irish Setter, Irish Shepherd, and German Shepherd Comparison Table

Irish SetterIrish ShepherdGerman Shepherd
Height25-27 inches26-27 inches22-26 inches
Weight60-70 pounds60-80 pounds50-90 pounds
Life Expectancy12-15 years12-13 years7-10 years
ColorsChestnut
Mahogany
Red
Black and cream
Black and red
Chestnut
Mahogany
Red
Black
Black and cream
Black and red
Black and silver
Blue
Gray
Liver
Sable
Coat TypeSilky coat with medium lengthDouble coat with medium lengthDouble coat with medium length
Affection LevelsVery lovingVery lovingVery loving
Shedding LevelAverage sheddingHigh sheddingHigh shedding
TemperamentVery playful
Average protectiveness
Very playful
Pretty protective
Pretty playful
Very protective
Health IssuesBloat
Hip dysplasia
Eye conditions
Thyroid disorders
Ear infections
Bloat
Hip dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia
Ear infections
Bloat
Hip dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia
TrainabilityPretty easy to trainPretty easy to trainVery easy to train
ExerciseVery high exercise needsVery high exercise needsVery high exercise needs
Friendliness to PeopleVery open to strangersPretty open to strangersAlright with strangers
Friendliness to DogsVery good with other dogsPretty good with other dogsAlright with other dogs
Drooling LevelsSome droolingSome droolingSome drooling
Mental StimulationHigh mental stimulation requiredHigh mental stimulation requiredVery high mental stimulation required
Barking LevelAverage barkingAverage barkingAverage barking
Irish Setter, Irish Shepherd, and German Shepherd Comparison Table

About Irish Setters

You might not instantly recognize the name or sight of an Irish Setter, but the breed has been charming the hearts of humankind for over 200 years. They are most famous for being exceptional family dogs, getting along swimmingly with other pets and small children with ease and enthusiasm.

Aside from their tame nature, their notable characteristics include their genteel coating that speaks of the overlooked, impressive figure of the sporting dog. Some go as far as claiming Irish Setters are the most beautiful breed known to the world.

Irish Setter Dog Breed
Irish Setter Dog Breed

The silky fur is more than for show, though, it helped Irish Setters establish themselves as trusted bird hunting companions no matter the weather conditions of the Emerald Isle.

It didn’t get in the way of work either as Irish Setters dash to and fro with almost unparalleled amounts of grace and speed.

These days the Irish Setter is mostly an entertainer for the family with few issues. However, an Irish Setter demands a respectable chunk of time dedicated to playing and other forms of exercise.

If this need is not consistently met, the breed may act out due to boredom, despite even the best training practices.

About German Shepherds

German Shepherds are one of the few truly world-famous breeds and top practically every list of dog breeds in terms of popularity or working ability. It’s easy to see why when you consider everything the breed has going for it:

  • Excellent sight, hearing, and sense of smell even among other breeds
  • Highly appealing coat and colors
  • Extensive work history across a wide array of fields
  • Intense loyalty and affection for its owner

Even as a show dog, the German Shepherd stands out from the crowd thanks to its unique “pose”.

While most dogs feature a “square” stance with both front and rear legs sitting parallel underneath the body, the German Shepherd flaunts a single, extended rear leg as if to say that it is a cut above the rest.

Unfortunately, the breed isn’t without its flaws. The most significant problem most people encounter is the double-edged sword which is the fierce loyalty of a German Shepherd.

German Shepherd Dog Breed
German Shepherd Dog Breed

Because a German Shepherd can be extremely dedicated to a single owner or caretaker, the dog can also become frustratingly anxious when separated from its chosen person.

This separation anxiety can result in some destructive behaviors, and if a German Shepherd’s master is not around, they can be less sociable to strangers and family members alike.

Proper socialization and training can remedy most of this issue but it is best to be with your German Shepherd as much as possible.

About Irish Shepherds

The Irish Setter and German Shepherd mix is a match made in heaven as it aims to fix the few problematic aspects of the German Shepherd while retaining many of the favorite aspects of the Irish Setter.

Irish Shepherds have a dignified nature for showing off to guests while being approachable and loving, even with complete strangers.

Are Irish Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?

The short answer is: probably not.

These dogs want nothing more than to play with loved ones and are constantly looking to add more people to that list. The breed doesn’t even bark much as far as intimidating potential evildoers.

If an Irish Shepherd senses something it deems to be a threat, it may bark a few times to alert someone and be done.

The protective and vigilant nature of the German Shepherd genes might kick in, but don’t count on it to stop any home invasions or burglaries.

What Will My Irish Shepherd Look Like?

As with all mixed breeds, designer dogs, hybrids, or whatever name you call them, it is difficult to predict their appearance accurately.

Guessing what an Irish Shepherd will look like is made even more difficult by adding short-haired versus “long-haired” German Shepherds.

Thankfully, both breeds have relatively similar coat types as well as a limited pool of colors. Your Irish Shepherd will look, more likely than not, a particularly fluffy German Shepherd and may or may not have the classic black-brown markings.

However, it is also probable that an Irish Setter’s floppy ears will supplant the erect ears of the German Shepherd parent in an Irish Shepherd.

How Much Exercise Does An Irish Shepherd Really Need?

If you have to ask this question, an Irish Shepherd is not the breed for you. Both the Irish Setter and the German Shepherd are highly active breeds, so their offspring will be no different.

It is strongly recommended to try and engage Irish Shepherds in at least 2 hours of rigorous exercise each day.

This means that a simple 5K run might not be enough to tire out these overgrown puppies. Instead, opt for playtime that engages more of their muscles, such as tug-of-war.

You can also use exercise as an opportunity for training and mental stimulation by rewarding your Irish Shepherd during games like fetch.

A large, fenced-in backyard is best when living with an Irish Shepherd so they can explore and play alone if need be. A giant exercise wheel might help in a small apartment but should not be the only solution.

Conclusion

Irish Shepherds are wonderful family pets when you’ve done your research and are prepared to invest enough time into their training, socialization, and exercise.

When all is said and done at the end of the day, an Irish Shepherd’s dream is to jump into the lap of its favorite person and wind down with the family.