Let's talk English Setters

Every day is a Good Hair Day for the English Setter: these gorgeous glossy and dappled dogs have plenty of energy and a sweet, mellow nature. Descended from pointers and spaniels, like their other setter cousins, they were originally bred as hunting dogs. But times have changed and English Setters certainly don’t need a country lifestyle – as long as they get plenty of exercise, they make content and affectionate family dogs. 

Official name: English Setter

Origins: United Kingdom

Black and white side view portrait of an English Setter, head turned to the left
 Drooling tendencies

Low

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level Medium
Suited to apartment living?  Very low
 Energy level * High Family Pet? * 
Very high
 Compatibility with other pets Very high
Can stay alone? * Very low

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
Inline Image 15
Illustration of an English Setter
Male
65 - 69 cm Height
29 - 36 kg Weight
Female
61 - 65 cm Height
20 - 25 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2-15 months
 Adult age  15 months to 5 years
 Mature age  5-8 years
 Senior age  From 8 years

English Setter sat on dry grass

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Get to know the English Setter

All you need to know about the breed

The English Setter is sometimes referred to as “the gentle(wo)man of the dog world” and the breed’s elegant appearance – a silky dappled coat and graceful, almost regal bearing – certainly chimes with that description. But with their affectionate, playful and devoted natures, English Setters have much more to offer than their looks, although it’s fair to say that the breed’s charming appearance is a defining characteristic.

The complete list of English Setter colours reads like the menu of an extremely experimental ice cream parlour: black and white (blue belton), orange and white (orange belton), lemon and white (lemon belton), liver and white (liver belton) or tricolor i.e. blue belton and tan or liver belton and tan.

Once trained, English Setters are sociable and easygoing and get on well with other dogs and children. They are friendly with strangers once they’ve been introduced (those gentlemanly manners!) but may bark to let you know if someone they don’t know is approaching the house. Although they have an independent streak, training should be straightforward, if you stick to the key principles of patience, positive attitude and consistency.

English Setters need plenty of exercise but are calm at home, putting themselves on doggy energy-saving mode indoors. But they don’t like being left alone for long periods. All in all, English Setters make a lovely family pet – just as long as you can handle your dog having the best hair in the family.

Side view of English Setter standing looking to the right

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2 facts about  English Setters

1. Belton Breed

The word ‘belton’, unique to the breed, is used to describe the English Setter’s beautiful dappled coat. It is also the name of the English village where Edward Laverack, known as the founder of the breed, used to hunt. 

2. On your marks, get set... 

The English Setter, originally a hunting dog, gets its name from the way the breed was developed to “set” or lie low to show it had found birds so hunters could throw their nets on them, without tangling up the dogs. Changing hunting practices saw them trained to stand more upright but they kept the name.

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History of the breed

The English Setter as we know it today, all glossy speckled coat and joie de vivre, was developed in 19th century England as a hunting dog.

Edward Laverack, the man who gave the name “belton” to the English Setter’s flecked coat, is considered the founder of this gentle and friendly breed, beginning with his first two dogs, Old Moll and Ponto. Meanwhile, Welshman Richard Purcell Llewellin developed a separate sub-set of the breed, more focused on field performance, known as Llewellin Setters.

The breed’s origins date back even further to crosses with pointer and spaniel breeds and are closely entwined with that of other setter breeds, all of which got their name from their ability to lay down quietly or “set” when they found prey.

In more recent years English Setters, elegant and sweet-natured dogs, have evolved to find their place as gentle and friendly family companions.

Black and white close-up portrait of an English Setter looking left

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of English Setters

1. Coat

Wavy, speckled coat in a wide variety of colours.

2. Head

Well-defined head held high; upright, elegant bearing.

3. Legs

Lean build with strong, muscular legs.

4. Ears

Alert expression and large silky ears.

5. Tail

Graceful curved tail with feathered fur.

Side view of English Setter standing looking to the right

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your English Setter
English Setter running through grassy field

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Caring for your English Setter

Grooming, training and exercise tips

English Setters’ silky, lustrous locks are naturally beautiful – but to keep them looking their best, English Setters regular grooming: brushing, trimming of their longer “feathered” fur and a bath every six weeks or so. Bred for the great outdoors, modern-day English Setters may be calm home companions but still need plenty of exercise, in the form of long walks, jogs, play sessions or off-the-lead runs in an enclosed space. English Setters need early and consistent training to keep their natural prey drive in check but they are sensitive souls who take reprimands to heart so training should be patient and reward-focused. You’ll be rewarded with a pet who is as affectionate, devoted and good-natured as they are beautiful.

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All about English Setters

Once trained, English Setters get along well with children as well as other animals. They are sociable and affectionate but can suffer from separation anxiety – don’t leave your English Setter home alone too long unless you want him to embark on some rather destructive interior decoration. 

English Setters are not known to be aggressive – in fact, they have a reputation for being gentle. English Setters are alert and lively, however, and will bark to let you know if someone they don’t know is approaching the house. 

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/