Most authorities are in agreement that all red setters came from breeding white and red dogs the Irish called “An Sotar Rua agus Bán,” dogs that had increasing amounts of red. This means the Irish Red and White Setter predates the Irish Setter. Between the 1920s and the 1950s, the only breeding of these magnificent dogs occurred in Ireland, and even that was on a limited basis. The red and white breed once so popular with sportsmen fell out of favor as the all-red dogs established themselves in greater numbers. Eventually, the reds became the dominant variety, and in the mid 19th century, the flashy all red Setter took the world by storm from greater exposure at conformation shows. By the late 1800s, it was nearly impossible to find a white and red setter in the show ring.
In 1940, Mr. and Mrs. Will Cuddy were given an Irish Red and White puppy bitch they named Judith Cunningham of Knockalla, and some sources believe that every recorded Irish Red and White today may be descended from Judith. The Cuddys helped form the Irish Red and White Setter Society in Ireland, and worked to get recognition for the breed.
Happily, the Irish slowly built breed numbers back up between the end of WWII and the early 1980’s, and during this time, the breed was officially known as the Irish Red and White Setter. In the 1960s, a few Irish Red and White Setters were imported into the United States, but an increase in breed numbers began in earnest in the 1980’s when breeding pairs were imported. The American Kennel Club fully recognized the Irish Red and White Setter January 01, 2009.