The Lab Setter mix combines the popular Labrador Retriever with the energetic Irish Setter to create a clever and active dog. Is this mix right for your family?
- What does a Lab Setter mix look like?
- Are Irish Setter Lab mix dogs friendly?
- Exercise and training needs
- Health, lifespan, and daily care
- Finding Lab Setter mix puppies
The Lab Setter mix is an energetic, intelligent, and family-oriented dog. They are happiest in active homes where they have plenty to do. If trained and socialized well, they’ll get along with kids, dogs, family members and strangers alike! But, their exact temperament and appearance will vary depending on the genes they inherit from each purebred parent. So, new owners should be prepared for any outcome!
What is a Lab Setter Mix?
A Lab Setter mix most often combines the purebred Labrador Retriever with the purebred Irish Setter. However, sometimes this mix may actually refer to an English Setter Lab mix, so be sure you confirm with the breeder to know exactly what you’re getting.
Mixed breed dogs can be quite unpredictable, since puppies can inherit any blend of traits from their two purebred parents. But, here’s a brief look at what you can generally expect from a Lab Setter mix:
|Height:||21.5 – 27 inches|
|Weight:||55 – 80 lbs|
|Coat type:||Could be dense, short and double layered, or medium length and silky|
|Coat colors:||Black, yellow, brown, or shades of red with possible white markings|
|Temperament:||Energetic, playful, loving|
|Average lifespan:||12 years|
|Average puppy price:||$800 – $1500|
Lab Setter Mix History and Origins
Mixed breeding has been happening for a long time. But, the trend for deliberate mixed breeds has grown over the past couple of decades. The roots of this trend go back to the Labradoodle, which was originally bred to be an assistance dog for a woman whose husband suffered from dog allergies.
Since then, many breeders have chosen to experiment with mixed breeds, attempting to achieve the best traits of other purebred dogs in their puppies. Labradors are a popular candidate for mixing, since they have popular and loving temperaments.
Lab Setter Mix Appearance
Appearance can vary quite a lot in Lab Setter mix puppies. It’s hard to predict exactly which traits each dog will inherit until they’re born. But, we can get a general idea of the possibilities by looking at the parent breeds.
In terms of size, the Labrador Retriever is a large, stocky dog. They often grow between 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall, but can weigh anything from 55 to 80 lbs. Irish Setters, in contrast, tend to be taller and slimmer. They grow between 25 and 27 inches tall, weighing anywhere from 60 to 70 lbs when fully grown. In both breeds, females are usually smaller and lighter than males. A mixed puppy could grow to be anywhere between the extremes of these stats.
Both parent dogs have an athletic, muscular body, which puppies will likely also go on to have. They also have floppy ears, though the Setter’s are often longer than the Lab’s.
Coat Type and Colors
Labradors have a short, dense, double layered coat. They are moderate shedders, but have high shedding periods. Irish Setters have a silky, single-layered coat that grows to a medium length. Your mixed breed puppy’s coat could be more like one of these two types, or somewhere in between. But, the longer their coat is, the more grooming they will need. And, the more they take after the Lab, the more they will shed.
Labradors have three standard colors – black, liver/chocolate, and yellow. Setters also have three recognised colors – mahogany, chestnut, and red. So, your puppy could be any of those shades. But, since black is a dominant color, a black Lab Setter mix will usually be black in color.
Lab Setter Mix Temperament
Temperament is another area which can vary from one puppy to the next. But, fortunately in this mix, both purebred parents have relatively similar personalities. So, you have a better idea of what results you could get.
A Lab Setter mix will usually be a friendly dog that is very loving towards their family in particular. They are eager to please, and can get along with most people and animals when they’re socialized properly from a young age.
This mix will also be intelligent and active. All of these traits add up to make an energetic dog that needs plenty of training, exercise, and mental stimulation to stay happy. They won’t suit homes in which they are left alone for long periods, or where you have no time for exercise and training sessions.
Training and Exercise Needs
Both parent breeds respond best to positive reward methods, so it’s likely the Lab Setter mix will, too. This technique will build on the strong bond between you and your dog, and will avoid increasing any stress-related behaviors. But, it’s important to subtract your dog’s training treat calories from their daily allowance, to prevent excess weight gain and obesity.
Training multiple times a day will provide some much-needed mental stimulation. But, it will also provide a small amount of exercise. On top of this, an Irish Setter Lab mix will need at least an hour each day dedicated to exercise. This will keep them healthy and happy. Bored Lab Setter mixes are more likely to find their own fun around the house, which can lead to unwanted behaviors like barking, digging, chewing, and so on.
Lab Setter Mix Health and Care
Both the Labrador and Irish Setter live to an average of 12 years old. But, research suggests that mixed breeds tend to live significantly longer. So, if you choose a Lab Setter mix from a reputable breeder, it could live well into its teens.
Mixed breed dogs can still be prone to the same health conditions as their parent breeds. In particular, Lab Setter mixes can be prone to joint problems. Here are some of the major health concerns that could arise in this mix:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat)
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Canine leukocyte adhesion deficiency
- Exercise induced collapse
- Autoimmune thyroiditis
Health testing is available for many of the above problems. So, ensure you choose a reputable breeder that only breeds from healthy dogs with clear checks.
Are Irish Setter Lab Mixes Good Family Dogs?
A Lab Setter mix can make a wonderful addition to the right home. But, their exact traits and care needs can be quite unpredictable. Some may shed more than others, and may have higher grooming requirements, which can impact any family member with allergies, and the time you must spend tending them each day.
Although some traits are unpredictable, this mix will always be very energetic and people-oriented. They have high social needs, which can be unsuitable to people that work away from home. This mix won’t suit being left alone for long periods. Doing so can lead to stress and depression, which can result in unwanted behaviors.
Finding Lab Setter Mix Puppies
The Labrador Irish Setter mix is not hugely popular compared to other mixed breed dogs trending at the moment. So, it could take some time before you find a breeder. This does have an upside. Puppy mills and disreputable breeders will usually focus, instead, on more popular breeds. But, you should still be vigilant in your search for a reputable breeder selling healthy puppies.
Price can vary depending on demand, puppy color, your location, and so on. But, as a general idea, a Lab Setter mix will often fall somewhere between $800 and $1500. If you’re struggling to find this mix from a breeder, it’s also a good idea to look in rescue centers. These dogs are usually slightly older, but can be just as loving, and an equally good match as any puppy would grow up to be.
Do You Have A Lab Setter Mix?
An Irish Setter Labrador mix will make an energetic, friendly pet. These dogs are playful, affectionate, and intelligent. You’ll be bringing home a best friend for life! But, it’s important to choose a reputable breeder, and to ensure you’re willing to meet their high energy and training needs.
Do you have a Lab Setter mix at home? Let us know what they’re like in the comments! We would love to hear from you!
Readers Also Liked
References and Resources
- Adams, V. (et al), ‘Methods and Mortality Results of a Health Survey of Purebred Dogs in the UK’, Journal of Small Animal Practice (2010)
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior’, Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports (2015)
- Cutler, J. (et al), ‘Puppy Socialization Practices of a Sample of Dog Owners from Across Canada and the United States’, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (2017)
- Brancalion, L. (et al), ‘Canine Coat Pigmentation Genetics: A Review’, Animal Genetics (2021)
- Urfer, S. (et al), ‘Risk Factors Associated with Lifespan in Pet Dogs Evaluated in Primary Care Veterinary Hospitals’, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association (2019)
- Clements, D. (et al), ‘Dogslife: A Web-Based Longitudinal Study of Labrador Retriever Health in the UK’, BMC Veterinary Research (2013)
- Bauer Jr, T. (et al), ‘Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency in Children and Irish Setter Dogs’, Pediatric Research (2004)
- Taylor, S. (et al), ‘Exercise-Induced Collapse of Labrador Retrievers: Survey Results and Preliminary Investigation of Heritability’, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association (2008)
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website