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The English Setter Loves Everybody but Cannot Tolerate Loneliness

The English Setter is long and lean, beautiful and gentle – a working dog devoted to his or her family but most especially to the individual person "in charge." Affectionate, energetic and athletic, this natural hunter needs lots of vigorous exercise to emulate the days when its ancestors ran tirelessly "on the hunt." If you like to hunt, you've got the best companion available to help you in your pursuit. If you don't, not to worry. Just make sure you take your buddy or your "lady" on a brisk walk or jog daily.

No one quite knows when the English Setter originated, but most historians agree that more than 400 years ago, it started as an English dog trained to flush out birds. The breed is likely a combination of the Spanish Pointer, Springer Spaniel, and large Water Spaniel, resulting in a bird-dog that was excellent at finding and pointing game in wide-open country. Edward Laverack can be credited as the "father" of the modern English Setter, as he steadfastly inbred to produce what would become the perfect final result. The first English Setter show was held in 1859 at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Subsequent shows became very popular and also made the breed itself highly desirable. The first English Setters were imported to North America a few years after that, including what are now the famous Llewellinstrain dogs that ultimately produced the field trials Setter called Count Noble. The English Setter remains one of the most popular sporting breeds – elegant and athletic all at once.

Noble, lithe and slender, agile and beautiful, the English Setter has a long, lean, square muzzle and an oval shaped skull with a black or brown nose. The eyes are large, round, and usually dark brown in color. The beautiful feathered coating can be white with blue, lemon, orange, or brown in various markings, with light or heavy speckling. Some dogs can be tricolored white, brown, and blue. This white with intermingling hairs of darker colors is called a "belton" pattern.

The smallest of the Setter breeds, the English Setter stands 24 to 25 inches at the shoulder and usually weighs between 50 to 65 pounds in adulthood, although they can be as light as 35 and as heavy as 80 pounds, depending on whether or not they are bred for field or show.

Gentle, calm and sweet, the English Setter is very energetic and needs daily vigorous exercise for at least half an hour to be truly happy. This "gentleman by nature" is mischievous and strong-willed, too, if without a firm and gentle owner. Truly devoted to his or her people, your pet wants only to be with you. If you give your pet a half an hour to two hours a day of vigorous exercise, he or she becomes exceedingly mellow and laid-back inside – the perfect lapdog and couch potato to cuddle up to. Good-natured and called "intensely friendly," your pet loves everyone including you – but may be slightly aloof with strangers at first.

More than many breeds, the English Setter does not like to be left alone and wants to be with his or her people. Don't get an English Setter if you don't plan to make him or her part of the family, to be at your side most of the time.

English Setters are excellent with children and seem to have an affinity to bond both with children and with people who simply need a friend. They make wonderful companion dogs for those who cannot be particularly vigorous, such as the elderly or disabled, although again, they will need significant amounts of activity that can be taken care of in a couple hours' worth of exercise on a daily basis. Because they can be quiet lapdogs with sufficient exercise, a proper environment is any environment that will take care of exercise needs – after which calm, quiet companionship can be the norm.

Although English Setters are very responsive, your pet is going to remain a "young" dog for a long time, more a puppy – with the temperament to match – than an adult dog. Because of that, the training you give him or her should be gentle as well, with lots of positive reinforcement. It's wise to get your pet into obedience training at a young age, 8 to 12 weeks; waiting until your puppy is six months of age or older could make things more difficult, since English Setters can be strong-willed if they're not properly socialized. Your pet needs proper "parenting" by you from the beginning to ensure an obedient dog. Properly socialized, though, your sweet four-legged family member is exceedingly obedient and wants to please. Although English Setters don't rate as the most highly intelligent dogs, once they do learn something they learn it for life and very well. At their essence, they are focused working dogs who simply want to please.

As with any purebred dog, the English Setter can have health conditions that are concerning. Most common are elbow and hip dysplasia, allergies, hypothyroidism, lysosomal storage disease (a rare but fatal enzyme disorder), and congenital deafness. Working with a good breeder who screens for these conditions can minimize the chances that your puppy will have them. Life expectancy is 11 to 12 years on average, with many dogs living to between 13 and 15 years.

Grooming The long, feathered coat needs to be brushed and/or combed out a couple of times a week or any time you've taken your pet out in the great outdoors, to remove tangles. Bathe every 2 to 3 weeks, and plan to trim the coat every couple of weeks yourself if you don't show your dog; take to a groomer regularly if you do. English Setters will shed, but regular brushing and combing will help keep loose hair at bay. Rather adorable and amusing to many owners, English Setters can be droolers, especially in anticipation of a regular treat you give.

AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the English Setter.
Retrieved June 29, 2013.

English Setter.
Retrieved June 29, 2013.

English Setter.
Retrieved June 29, 2013.

English Setter Guide.
Retrieved June 29, 2013.

English Setter (Laverack Setter)
Retrieved June 29, 2013.

Group Classification: Gun Dog, Sporting Dog (AKC)


Country of Origin:

Date of Origin:

Hair Length: Medium

Shedding: Moderate Shed

Body Size: Large

Weight Male: 55-80 pounds

Height Male: 24-27 inches

Weight Female: 40-70 pounds

Height Female: 23-26 inches

Litter Size: 6 puppies

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years








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Hot Weather:

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White with overlay markings in the following colors Orange, Blue, Liver, Lemon, Tricolor (Blue/Tan/White).

Living Area
English Setters need lots of room in which to exercise and run. The ideal living situation for an English Setter gives you and your dog access to large, fenced-in outdoor areas, preferably in a rural or sparsely-populated suburban setting. Urban or more densely-populated suburban areas can still support an English Setter adequately with some ingenuity and with some willingness to seriously exercise your dog. English Setters can be kept indoors with no problems.