Back in the last century when I was in the second or third University, a close friend had an Red setter named Shanty. Shanty was his call name, since his registered name was Tamoshanter – the Irish bonnet named for Tam O’Shanter, the hero of a Robert Burns poem.
The name was appropriate because Shanty’s owner was a bonny Irish lass from South Boston – the accompanying photo shows them playing on Southie’s beach.
Some considered Shanty more than a bit crazy as were many of the other show quality Irish Setters (sotar rua – Irish for “red” setter) I ran across in the Boston area.
Shanty was about 75 lbs. and a gorgeous chestnut/red color but sometimes with a wild look in his eye. He adapted well and quickly to weekends on my boat with my Newfoundland pup but always kept an eye on his mistress.
Despite a rather wild and unpredictable reputation, I found Shanty to be a wonderful dog. I think the 71 most popular ranking in the U.S. (according to the AKC) doesn’t reflect the true potential of this great family dog.
According to one web site the average Irish Setter will live 10-11 years.
Did you know two presidents had red setters? Check the next page to see who that was. The video over the page has more in-depth information about life, health and training.
Red Setter in Motion
President Truman had a red setter called “Mike,” but after President Nixon got a red setter, they became the 3rd most popular breed in the USA.
[youtube width=”602″ height=”350″ video_id=”ooK_VY3nA4w”]
As a “bird dog,” the red setter does it all. First, find the birds – by running all over the place. Second, point to them. Third, retrieve.