The Irish Setter is one of the most beautiful breeds and with a very affectionate and winning personality, their appeal can be awfully hard to resist. Before you jump right in and rush out to adopt one, however, make certain that your home is the kind of environment that an Irish Setter can thrive in. If you jump the gun, you'll soon find that you've gotten yourself, and your dog, into a situation that makes you both miserable.
The Irish Setter is a large breed of dog. While this means that they can be a joy to watch with their graceful and elegant movements and long, flowing coats, they also require a lot of activity and exercise in order to stay in shape and be emotionally satisfied. If not sufficiently exercised, you may well find this breed to be too "hyper" for you as they're prone to lots of jumping and barking to get your attention.
The Irish Setter's coat requires a great deal of maintenance. They can't get by on the basic brushing and bathing that other breeds thrive on. You'll need to invest in many different kinds of brushes and shampoos and experiment regularly with what equipment and which kinds of food best maintain the balance of oils in the Setter's coat and keep it looking its best. If you can't see yourself spending a lot of time doing research and bathing a dog of this size, the Setter might not be the breed for you.
In addition to their demanding physical needs, the Irish Setter is a breed that requires a lot of attention as well. Once they bond with a human, they'll become upset if left alone for more than a few hours and may well act on this frustration in undesirable ways such as chewing and barking. Bear in mind that this is one of your dog's only means of communicating to you that there's a problem and that this particular behavior is unlikely to be overcome through training. The bottom line is you'll be needing to spend a lot of time with your Setter. If you have other commitments that prevent you from doing so, think twice before adopting one.
Irish Setters do respond well to training, but they also have a strong and independent personality. While this can be appealing in some senses and makes for a dog of true character, it can also pose a challenge when it comes to training as you'll have to exercise a lot of patience and have a very consistent approach. If the Setter senses any inconsistency in your discipline or rewards, he or she is much more likely to "test the boundaries" and act out in ways you might not approve of.
Overall, the Irish Setter is a very high-maintenance breed, but this deep level of commitment doesn't come without its rewards: a properly cared for Setter can be a wonderfully loyal and protective companion. To be fair to both you and your future dog, however, it's imperative that you know what you're getting into before bringing one into your home.