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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > English Setter

English Setter

Origin: Great Britain

AKC Group: Sporting

Height: 21 - 25 inches (Male)

Weight: 45 - 75 pounds (Male)

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English Setters are mild mannered, lovable and affectionate. However, like most sporting dogs, they require a great deal of daily exercise or they'll become restless and destructive. These pleasant dogs get along well with children, strangers and other animals. They're sometimes hard to housebreak.

The English Setter is a sporting dog. In general, sporting dogs are active and alert and require daily exercise. Because they have superior instincts in the water and woods, sporting dogs are often used for hunting. If exercised and trained properly, most sporting dogs make excellent pets. However, some of these dogs like to bark and whine a lot, so they're not suited for apartment life.

Great Britain
Male height: 
21 - 25 inches
Male weight: 
45 - 75 pounds
Straight, with longer hair on the chest, stomach, legs and tail.
Mostly white, speckled and flecked with black, orange, lemon, or liver. Eyes are dark. Nose is black or brown.

The development of the modern English Setter can be credited to Edward Laverack and Purcell Llewellin, who were contemporaries in mid-19th-century England. Laverack considered appearance important, and his handsome "Laveracks" are behind many of today's best show lines. Llewellin, on the other hand, was primarily interested in hunting, and he created a strain that paired the hot-blooded abilities of the faster Laverack dogs with some Gordon and Irish Setter traits. Today's English Setters still show variation in show and field types, with show types being more elegant and more heavily coated. Breeders of the show type are interested in hunting ability, though, and are becoming more and more active - and competitive - in hunting tests and field trials, where this fast and able sporting dog can bring up birds with the best of them.

Placid, mild mannered and friendly, the English Setter loves affection and is eager to return it. He is devoted and loving, with his gentle and charming character shining through all he does. His enthusiasm comes out when he's playing, hunting or going for a walk, but he quickly settles down once back inside, making him a suitable housedog. He can often be single-minded, but if given enough time and patience, can learn to do just about anything you ask.
At home: 
Quiet indoors yet playful and boisterous outdoors, the English Setter can adapt to many living situations. Ideally, he should have daily access to a field or other large, fenced-in area, but as long as his exercise needs are met, he can do well in an urban area. The English Setter is not a "loner" and must have companionship - he needs to be with his family and should not be left along for long periods. He likes to dig and roam, so a fenced-in yard is necessary, and he should not be left off leash unless in a secure area.
Regular exercise is necessary for the English Setter. He loves his time spent on long walks and country - or town - outings.
The English Setter requires a high-quality, age-appropriate diet. Field-type Setters may need a bit more food because they expend more energy working the field.
Although the English Setter is eager to please, he does have an obstinate streak, which makes some doubt the breed's intelligence - but nothing could be farther from the truth. He just needs a persistent but gentle trainer (he does not respond well to heavy-handed techniques) to bring out the best in him. He is a merry, outgoing dog who is easy to socialize.
The steady temperament of the English Setter means that he gets along with just about everyone he meets. Children are among his favorite playmates, and he enjoys the company of other dogs, cats and other pets.
The average life span of the English Setter is 10 to 12 years. Breed health concerns may include blindness; ear infections; and hip dysplasia.
Fun fact: 

From 1861 to 1892, 11 English Setter show champions were pure Laverack dogs.

Grooming blurb: 
The long feathered coat of the English Setter needs regular brushing to keep it tangle- and dirt-free. Use a bristle brush for the main body, a rubber-backed brush for the fringe on the chest, legs and tail, and a pin brush to remove dead undercoat. Check his ears regularly to stave off infection.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.