Golden Irish (Irish Setter & Golden Retriever Mix)

Height: 21-28 inches
Weight: 55-80 pounds
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Colors: Red, brown, fawn
Suitable for: Large families, those with big yards
Temperament: Active, playful, smart, outgoing

If you like Golden Retrievers but are concerned that they just don’t have enough energy, then do we have the dog for you!

Meet the Golden Irish, a cross between Retrievers and Irish Setters. These dogs are beautiful, loving, and affectionate — during those brief moments they’re sitting still, that is. They never stop moving, so unless you have the stamina to keep up with them, they’ll run circles around your entire family.

You won’t find a friendlier pup, though, and they can steal your heart faster than you ever thought possible. If all this sounds good and you’re thinking that a Golden Irish might be the right fit for your household, read on to learn everything you need to know about these wonderful animals.

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Golden Irish Puppies — Before You Buy

A Golden Irish puppy
ID 31136136 © Barbara Helgason | Dreamstime.com

If Hollywood held a casting call for the ideal dog, the Golden Irish would tick most of the boxes. They’re big, boisterous, and incredibly smart and have a limitless appetite for affection.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re the perfect dog for you. These animals require a great deal of reciprocal energy, and if you don’t have any gas left in your tank at the end of the day, you won’t be able to provide them with the attention they need.

If you think you can keep up with one, though, they will be a constant, loving companion for years to come.

Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

What’s the Price of Golden Irish Puppies?

If you want to make a Golden Irish part of your family, you’ll almost certainly need to go through a breeder to do it. These dogs don’t often show up in pounds, and when they do, they’re snatched up immediately.

Buying a Golden Irish puppy isn’t cheap, but they’re not as exorbitantly expensive as some other designer breeds either. On average, you should expect to pay somewhere in the vicinity of $800 for one; we’ve seen these pups go for as much as $2,200, though.

There aren’t many breeders currently offering Golden Irish puppies, so finding one may be a chore. Don’t let that stop you from doing your due diligence, though, as it’s imperative that you check out any potential breeders before making a purchase.

See if they’ll let you talk to other people who have bought from them in the past, and if at all possible, check out their facilities yourself. You want to see confident, affectionate dogs who look like they’re being well-cared-for, not droopy, depressed animals who run and hide when people come around.

Golden Irish

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Three Little-Known Facts About Golden Irishes

1. These Are Natural-Born Hunting Dogs

Both Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters were bred to be hunting dogs, so naturally, when you combine the two, you’ll get a pet who’s just raring to help you catch something.

Fortunately, they’ve also been bred to be gentle with their quarry, so they don’t have as much of a prey drive as some other hunting dogs.

If you enjoy hunting, a Golden Irish will make a wonderful addition to your hobby. If not, don’t worry about it — they love to hunt tennis balls too.

2. Their Hunting Background Makes Them Eminently Trainable

These dogs love to learn and thrive when given a job. As a result, they’ll take to training like a fish to water, so you shouldn’t have many issues getting them to behave.

However, we can’t stress enough that they need a job to do. They have to have something to occupy their minds, or they’ll give themselves a job — and they’ve just noticed an opening for a couch disemboweler in your living room.

3. They Love the Water

Both parent breeds are at home in the water, so it’s no surprise that Golden Irishes love to swim too. Letting them splash around is a great, low-impact way to burn off some of their energy, and when they climb out, they’ll be exhausted and happy.

However, if you have a pool in your backyard, you need to keep it covered when not in use. You also need to train the dog on how to enter and exit the pool safely, so they can get out if they fall in when no one’s around.

Just trust us on this: If there’s water around, they will find it, and they will jump in it.

golden irish
Credit: Adam Wheater, Unsplash

Temperament and Intelligence of the Golden Irish

These dogs are unbelievably intelligent, but unlike many other super-smart dogs, it never feels like they’re scheming to put one over on you. Instead, they’re constantly trying to come up with new ways to play and bond with you.

That’s not to say that they can’t get up to mischief, though. They make talented escape artists, so don’t leave them unattended in the backyard unless you’re certain it’s impenetrable. Also, they can find any treats that you leave in vulnerable places, so hide them in high, secure areas.

These dogs generally don’t have a malicious bone in their bodies, so they’ll assume that anything they meet is a new friend: strangers, other dogs, fire hydrants, etc. This makes them wonderful around children, but don’t expect them to serve as guard dogs. They’re more likely to help the burglar load up their van than try to stop them from taking your TV.

That sweet, loving nature makes them extremely codependent, though, so be prepared to have them permanently attached to your side when you’re home. They’re also sensitive and don’t react well to anger; after all, they can’t imagine getting mad at you, so how could you do that to them?

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

As mentioned, as long as you don’t expect them to protect your family from outside threats, they may be the perfect family pet.

They love people of all ages, and they’re known for being patient and loving with children. While you shouldn’t need to worry about aggression, these dogs are excitable, and when they hit full speed, they can absolutely mow down any toddler that gets in their way, so be careful during games of fetch.

While they’re great for active singles, they’re probably best-suited for large families. That way, they can always find someone to play with without overburdening a single person.

If, however, your family is so active that you’re never home, then don’t even think about getting an Irish Golden. These dogs need people, and they’ll become depressed and destructive if left alone all day. If you’re always on the go, then the best dog breed for you is probably a cat.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Golden Irishes generally get along with anything they come in contact with, including other pets. However, while they’ll be fine with another dog in the house, don’t expect the two to become best friends, as your Golden Irish will likely only have eyes for you.

This can cause issues if your other pooch likes to play with dogs, as many Golden Irishes will ignore their fellow canines to focus exclusively on a game of fetch or tug-of-war. The last thing you want is to start some sort of twisted love triangle between you and your two dogs.

As for cats and other pets, Golden Irishes aren’t usually aggressive toward them, but they will most likely chase them if they run. This usually ends with nothing more than a soft pinning, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasurable for the cat, and you need to nip this behavior in the bud as soon as possible.

Even though they’re generally good with other animals, you still need to socialize them from a young age so they’re calm and confident around others.

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Things to Know When Owning a Golden Irish

Any dog is a considerable investment of time, money, and energy, but that’s especially true of Golden Irishes. If you introduce one into your home, you’re going to need to spend a great deal of time with them every day.

In order to better prepare you for the requirements of Golden Irish ownership, we’ve provided a little cheat sheet that will walk you through what to expect.

Food and Diet Requirements 🦴

You would think that any dog as active as a Golden Irish would have a bottomless appetite, but these dogs are often so busy playing that they can forget to refuel. Once they sit down to eat, though, they can polish off a large amount of kibble in a hurry.

We recommend giving them a high-protein, high-fat food to ensure that they have all the energy they need to tend to their affairs (like chasing tennis balls, running back and forth in the backyard, and barking at that suspicious-looking stick across the street).

You can give these dogs treats, especially as training rewards, but be careful not to overdo it. They’re good at burning calories, but you don’t want them to become overweight, as they can be prone to joint problems later in life.

We’d also encourage giving them a glucosamine supplement if their regular kibble doesn’t have much of the stuff, but it’s less urgent than with many other large breeds.

golden irish
Credit: Ryan Stone, Unsplash

Exercise 🐕

Here’s the thing about Golden Irishes: They will get their exercise. It’s just a matter of whether it will come in a form that you find acceptable or not.

If you don’t want your dog running laps inside the house or digging up your yard, then you’ll need to give them plenty of stimulation, both physical and mental. An hour a day is the bare minimum, and there really isn’t a maximum with these pups.

Don’t just run them mindlessly, though. If you can fatigue their minds, their bodies will follow, so anything that challenges them mentally is a good idea. Agility training checks both boxes off nicely, and it’s something we recommend with many breeds.

As mentioned previously, these dogs will love to accompany you to the beach, and if you take a Frisbee or something along, you can both have a grand old time that will leave your pooch exhausted. It’s one of the most fun and effective ways of draining a Golden Irish’s batteries.

Training 🎾

These dogs love to learn, so you can train them every day of their lives, if you like. In fact, we recommend it.

Both parent breeds were designed to be hunting dogs, so these smart pups will learn commands in no time, and they love to be given a job. The more you teach them, the happier they’ll be.

As mentioned, though, you need to stay positive during the training. These dogs don’t like to be punished, and you won’t see great results from negative training techniques. They’ll run to the ends of the Earth to put a smile on your face, however.

Golden Irish

Grooming ✂️

The great thing about many designer breeds is that they hardly shed at all, making grooming a non-issue.

The Golden Irish is not one of those breeds.

These dogs have extremely long, dense coats and shed frequently. You’ll need to brush them daily if you have any hope of keeping the dog hair under control in your house.

They don’t need to be bathed often, unless they get dirty, but then again, this is a breed that loves to get dirty. The good news is that they usually love baths, so it shouldn’t be a rodeo trying to rinse them off.

They do need their ears cleaned regularly, and you should dry them off when they get wet. The more these dogs swim, the more attention you should pay to their ears. You’ll need to trim their nails and brush their teeth regularly as well.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Golden Irishes are an extremely healthy breed and have few major health problems to worry about. These dogs shouldn’t incur enough vet bills to bankrupt you, so that may offset their high price tags as puppies.

Still, there are a few things you should be on the lookout for, which we’ve listed below.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies
  • Ear infections
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Ectropion

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Male vs. Female

It’s difficult to tell the male apart from the female with this breed, as both are similar in size. You can generally expect boys to be a bit bigger than girls, though.

The males also have more “Velcro” in their blood; these dogs will stick by your side no matter where you go. They love to be with their people, and they’re never happier than when participating in group activities with their entire family.

The ladies are a bit more reserved, but they still love to hang out with their kinfolk. They tend to mature faster, which makes them a bit more obedient, and they’re more likely to take to crate training rather than trying to climb into bed with you.

However, all dogs are individuals, so we can’t promise that your Golden Irish won’t be the complete opposite of what we’ve described here.

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Final Thoughts

If you were going to design the prototypical dog, it would likely end up looking like the Golden Irish. These dogs love people, they have boundless energy, and they’re smart as whips, making them the perfect pets for a family that’s constantly on the go.

Of course, if your ideal weekend consists of Netflix and naps, these dogs might not be right for you. They can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to play at all times, and they’ll try to involve you in the fun at every opportunity.

As long as you’re not couch-bound, these dogs can make the perfect addition to your family. In fact, don’t be surprised if you start planning your leisure time around what you think the dog wants to do!


Featured Image: Pxhere