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English Setter Dogs



English Setters are one of the oldest breed of Setters used for hunting game. The dogs were trained to find game and then freeze to show the hunters where to look. Most likely the breed came about by crossing Springer Spaniels, Spanish Pointers and Water Spaniels. English Setters were intensively bred around 1825 to produce a dog suitable for roaming far and wide. They are methodical in their search for prey and instinctively freeze when prey is found, rather than give chase. There are two types of setter, those bred for show and those used for field work. The show Setter has a much longer coat.


English setters are strong willed, people friendly dogs who like to please their owner. They can walk and run for miles and are happiest when out on walks, exploring and catching scents. If given enough exercise, they are laid back and content in the house. Happy to jump on the sofa for a cuddle, forgetting how big they are. They will try and get on your lap. They are friendly with other dogs, strangers and pets and generally very good with children. If they don't receive enough exercise, they can very boisterous in the home. They don't grow up until they are at least two years old and sometimes later and are happy playing the fool. Training needs to be firm, they aren't stupid dogs and respond well to training. They are responsive to their owners moods and can be sensitive. They make good therapy dogs as they are very devoted and love companionship.

A quick walk on the lead is no good for an English Setter, they need to run around and wear themselves out. Competitions they do well in, include Flyball, agility and field trials where they really excel. Grooming can take some time, mainly the ears and feathering on the body and tail. Brushing a few times a week and regular trimming will keep the coat looking good. English Setters can suffer from Canine Hip Dysplasia and deafness can also be an issue with the breed.


English Setters possess a lively and easygoing temperament. They are very sociable dogs who will crave your attention or that of a playmate. They absolutely hate to be left alone all day and the chances are you would come home to a home full of chewed up furniture. This is a family orientated dog and will be great with kids and should be fine with other pets providing early socialisation is implemented.

Being very intelligent and having long memories their sensitive side means that they respond best to postive reinforment when training. Push them too hard and they will show you their stubborn streak and giving you the cold shoulder.

Health Problems

Health problems that may affect English Setters include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia, deafness, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina which can lead to blindness) and Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD: excessive cartillage build up at joints which can lead to lameness and joint swelling).

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 11 - 15 years
  • Weight: 20 - 36 kg
  • Height: 24 - 25"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Medium
  • Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
  • Breed Type: Gun Dog
  • Size: Large
  • Energy Level: High
  • Exercise Required: Over 2 hours

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English Setter Pictures

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