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Irish Setter Lab Mix: Info, Pictures, Care & Facts

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on July 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

Irish Setter Lab Mix

Irish Setter Lab Mix: Info, Pictures, Care & Facts

Maybe you have decided to breed a dog, or you’re at least researching your options. There might also be a one-off chance that you spotted a dog that got your attention on a rescue or shelter page. Regardless of why you’re curious about the Irish Setter Lab mix, we have all of the details for you.

Granted, this dog combination won’t be for every family, but they certainly acclimate to a variety of lifestyles. In this article, we’re going to go over a little about the hybrid themselves along with some information about the parent breeds so you can decide if this dog is right for you.

Breed Overview


12–18 inches


15-35 pounds


12-15 years


White, blue, silver, red, brown, gray, black

Suitable for:

Active families, those looking for a low-shedding dog


Loyal & loving, intelligent, easy to train, friendly, gets along with other pets

Both the Irish Setter and Labrador Retriever are hunting dogs that have a strong affinity for the outdoors. If you have ever been around either breed, you know just how cheerful, content, and exploratory they really are.

When you combine these two breeds, you’re not going to get many surprises. They are actually quite similar in temperament. However, you may notice a few differences in their looks. Let’s get to know this power-packed combo a little better.

Irish Setter Lab Mix Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Irish Setter Lab Mix Puppies

When you have an Irish Setter Lab mix puppy, you can expect lots of laughs and adventures! Quickly, this little tyke will turn from a potato in your hands to a playful, springy little pup before your eyes.

As they grow rapidly, you will go through several phases with them; some will be challenging, others will warm your heart! These puppies, while very energetic, tend to be extremely affectionate and eager to please.

For this reason, simple tasks, like basic commands and house training, usually come with ease. Since this is a hybrid breed, and there are no official breed standards, we highly suggest being very selective when choosing where you purchase one of these dogs from.

If someone has a litter of accidental puppies, that’s totally fine as long as the puppies and parent dogs seem healthy. However, if a breeder is advertising these dogs as some type of designer dog, steer clear. It is hard to tell if vetting has been established, genetic testing has been completed, or the puppies have been properly socialized. Perhaps you were looking online on sites like Petfinder, and you saw a puppy listed as an Irish Setter mix. If that’s the case, it is a good idea for you to brush up on your facts before you commit.

Instead, we highly recommend looking at local rescues and shelters to see if they have a combination like this. Keep in mind that when you purchase from a rescue or shelter, all of the vet care is already done for you and your pup has a fresh start in life.

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Irish Setter Lab Mix Origin & History

In order to get a firm understanding of the history of the Irish Setter Lab mix, it is important to understand each parent breed. The Labrador Retriever started out in Newfoundland, Canada, in the 1700s. Originally, they were called Lesser Saint John’s Dogs, named after the territory from whence they came.

The breed was further developed in the United Kingdom before it really took off in America. Once the Americans got their hands on the Labrador, they ended up developing the American version. You might notice that the English and American versions are slightly different in structure. The American version tends to be a little sleeker, more athletic, and higher energy. The English version tends to be a little sturdier, blockier, and lackadaisical.

The Irish Setter is considered a medium-sized sporting breed that originated in Ireland in the 1700s. Their land of origin is in their breed title, so there’s really no confusion about it. These dogs have been considered an all-purpose hunting dog, excelling in several areas of expertise.

Their original ancestors were red and white in color, but these days, they are classically red. They adapted this way in early 19th century Ireland.

Parent Breeds of Irish Setter Lab
Image Credit: (L) TMArt, Shutterstock | (R) MirasWonderland, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Irish Setter Lab Mix

When it comes to temperament, the Irish Setter Lab mix is going to be a fabulous companion. They are highly intelligent and incredibly loving, which makes them an all-around fabulous pet to have in the home.

Both the Irish Setter and the Lab are generally very docile, easygoing dogs that acclimate well into a variety of lifestyles. While both of them have hunting roots, they don’t necessarily have to serve this purpose.

However, these dogs often require lots of room to roam and explore, so you need to be willing to accommodate this desire before committing. Not only can these dogs be excellent candidates for advanced training, but they also have the temperament to be fabulous emotional support animals.

Initially, puppies might be a little bit hyper and somewhat hard to control, but they tend to even out very well as they age.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Irish Setter Lab mix makes a fabulous family companion. They will love everyone in the home, great and small. Humans are part of their pack, and they definitely look to you for love, guidance, and affection.

They will gladly accompany you on adventures, and they have the temperament that permits you to take them in public without issue. If you were looking for a dog that could acclimate very well into a growing family, this is certainly a fabulous selection.

Because of their size and need for exercise, they might not work as well with folks who have sedentary lifestyles or mobility issues. They need country or suburban homes with large backyards.

If you exercise them appropriately, they might also work well in any living situation. However, visits to the park and daily walks are an absolute must for socialization and exercise.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The Irish Setter Lab mix will absolutely prefer to have another companion around. They are pack animals at heart and would be best friends with another doggy companion. So, whether you already have a dog now or you plan on getting another one in the future, these dogs will acclimate with joy!

When it comes to cats and smaller pets, it’s always a good idea if the animal is raised alongside them. Because both Labs and Irish Setters have a natural prey-driven instinct, cats can definitely spark this.

Even if your Irish Setter Lab mix is fantastic with your cat at home, that doesn’t mean they will extend the same compassion to a strange cat roaming the neighborhood. We highly recommend that you acclimate them and socialize them appropriately as puppies to ensure that they are totally tolerant of the feline population.

When it comes to smaller cage animals or livestock, these dogs chase, terrorize, or even accidentally kill these animals. Supervision is always, always necessary.

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Things to Know When Owning an Irish Setter Lab Mix

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Because you have such an athletic dog on your hands, it is nonnegotiable to have a high protein, good quality dog food that will keep up with their developing bodies and help them sustain as adults.

Sometimes, folks find it easier to find an all life stages formula that will work with their puppy from the time they bring them home until they say goodbye. Others prefer to have specialized recipes to cater to the individual life stage, ensuring that that puppy is getting the nutrition they need.

While dry kibble and wet canned food are still viable options on the market, they are the only options available to parents these days! Many families are turning more toward fresh food recipes. Many companies offer these types of meals on a subscription basis.

You would have your puppy’s meals tailored explicitly for them according to their age, health issues, and special considerations. If you are more holistic, you might want to choose a raw or homemade option.

We highly recommend that you do so under the supervision of a veterinarian to make sure that your puppy is getting all of the right nutrients they need to develop appropriately.

Exercise 🐕

Exercise is important for any dog! But when it comes to this particular breed, it’s even more crucial. On average, these dogs will need at least an hour of exercise a day to stay happy and healthy, even though they would take more.

They love running around, exploring the great outdoors, sniffing out new and exciting things, and seeing the world at its finest! These dogs are generally very easy to please when it comes to exercise, as they enjoy a versatile selection of games and activities.

These dogs make excellent candidates for dog parks because they make friends easily and play well with others. They enjoy socialization and usually prefer to have another canine on standby to romp around with.

Training 🎾

These dogs will do wonderfully with training. As we mentioned earlier in the article, when it comes to basic commands or potty training, they already have it in the bag. With patience, persistence, and routine on your part, they should be house-trained in no time.

Keep in mind that every dog is different and there are considerations to keep in mind for each case. So don’t hold your puppy to the standard, especially if you’re a novice owner who does not have experience training dogs.

If you need some help, there are always professional trainers on standby waiting to help you.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming is an important part of owning any dog. You need to make sure that they have a bath every 4 to 6 weeks and that their nails are trimmed and their ears are cleaned. They don’t require any special haircuts or brush, as these dogs will usually have short to medium hair.

Irish Setters have much longer hair than a lab, so if it takes after this parent, you might brush more frequently, usually once per day. However, if they have shorter coats, you can brush as needed to collect debris, shed, and anything else that might be lingering in the coat.

Even though these dogs don’t need haircuts, you can always take them to the groomer for a pampering session.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Both the Irish Setter and Labrador Retriever were built for their hardiness and ability to withstand the elements. So, when it comes to overall health, you should expect a relatively healthy breed, permitting there was nothing genetically wrong in the making.

For optimal health, vet care is crucial. Many pet families are turning to pet insurance policies to cover them in the event of veterinary emergencies. Vet care keeps growing in cost and the demands keep growing as people get more serious about their pets.

Some families feel that this is a good layer of protection to ensure that their dog can get the appropriate kind of vet care no matter their financial state.

Your vet will get to know your puppy quite well in their first year of life. They will be busy monitoring growth, administering routine vaccinations, performing spay or neuter surgery, and microchipping.

Labs and Irish Setters share many of the same potential health concerns. So, there are only a few health issues that you need to familiarize yourself with. Here are a few potential problems to mention.

Minor Conditions
  • Dental disease
  • Obesity
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Lymphoma
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Bloat

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Male vs Female

If you’re trying to decide whether to get a male or a female Irish Setter Lab mix, hopefully we can help. First, if you are basing this off personality, you will need to find other criteria. Each dog has their own individual personality that realistically has nothing to do with their sex.

Since the Irish Setter and Lab are slightly different in size, males aren’t necessarily bigger than females in every case. However, males do tend to be a little stockier with broader muscle definition.

Neither dog breed is prone to same sex dog aggression, so there’s really no concern there either. In terms of sexual reproduction, you will obviously have to worry about a female getting pregnant if they aren’t spayed in time.

While males show fewer behavioral changes once they reach sexual maturity, it is in their best interest to get fixed as well. However, females are going to undergo heat cycles twice a year where they will bleed and undergo slight personality changes for roughly 6 weeks.

So, if you aren’t sure when you would be able to get your dog fixed, getting a female might not be the best decision if this will be problematic or hard to handle.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Irish Setter Lab Mix

1. Labrador Retrievers have webbed feet.

One interesting fact about this breed is that Labrador Retrievers have webbed feet and Irish Setters do not. That means it’s a gamble on whether your puppy will share this feature with their Lab parents or have regular old tootsies like the Irish Setter.

2. Irish Setters are fast on their feet.

Irish Setters tend to be very calm and loving in the home. But don’t let their cool, calm, and collected demeanor for you. Outdoors, these dogs are capable of running at great speeds up to 30 mph.

3. Your dog will be athletic, lovable, and good-natured.

If you get an Irish Setter Lab mix, they have all of the right ingredients to create the perfect dog. Since they are so similar in personality and energy levels, you can pretty much guess how the puppy will act. But each dog is different, and they will pose their own individual set of quirks and eccentricities.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about the Irish Setter Lab mix, does this sound like a dog that would interest you? We have to say that there are very few negative things we could say about this particular combination. These dogs will generally be extremely affectionate, good with strangers and other pets, and perfect for suburban and rural living.

If you found one of these dogs at a rescue or shelter, you might just be able to give this puppy a second chance at a better life.

Featured Image Credit: (L) DragoNika, Shutterstock | (R) Zontica, Shutterstock

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