The eye of the Irishman, indeed of all Irish breeds, is most typical; it should be "Irish" in expression, and to understand what that is a study of a good dog is essential. The whole appearance, even to the uninitiated, should be that of a "thoroughbred," quality rather than size, if a choice has to be made. The dog's colour, too, is important; the red should be deep, rich, and pure.
But whatever his species, the setter is a charming companion. He is gentleness itself, and of the daintiest habits. If he is a housedog in the country, an eye must be kept upon him as regards game, or there will assuredly be trouble. He is not delicate, and should be brought up hardily. If wet, take care to dry him absolutely before kennelling, and, of course, groom him daily and well.
His food should be varied, and not entirely farinaceous. Exercise in abundance is good for him, and it should be regular. For this reason, it is best to keep him in the country. To the writer's thinking, a sporting dog in a town is a somewhat pathetic anomaly. Perhaps an exception might be made to a small cocker spaniel, but the setter is built on racing lines, as a glance at him shows, and his birthright is the "open road," the breezy common, and the rolling downs.
Puppies are expensive, for they are usually bought by sportsmen for their natural avocation, and the demand is often greater than the supply. But an unbroken young puppy can be bought from a breeder for a sum varying from three to five guineas, according to strain and age. The writer once had a charming ten months' puppy sent to give away as a present; he was gun-shy, and therefore useless to his master. But he proved a good companion, and is the pride of his present master on account of his beauty and attractive ways.
For those who keep setters as companions, it will be comforting to know that if their friend strays on his own account into a game preserve, and refuses to come at call, his owner is not responsible for any damage he may do, unless it is proved that he was of a mischievous disposition, and that his owner knew the same. In that case, the master will be liable for any trespass and consequent damage. But it is wise with all sporting dogs never to allow temptation to arise. Bitches, alas, for the credit of their sex, are, as a rule, more incorrigible offenders than dogs.