Small Spanish hunting dogs were brought to Ireland when the Spanish Armada joined the Irish rebellion against the British in about 1500. Originally they crouched, or set, in front of the bird while the hunter threw a net over bird and dog, hence the term “setter.” Over time, breeders developed a taller red-and-white dog to point game, and by 1800, the Irish setter had evolved. Today’s Irish setters are pure mahogany or red, with an occasional strip of white on the chest. Active, independent aristocrats, they are the choice of many sportsmen. At home, they are sweet-natured, trainable companions.