English Setter

English Setter

The English Setter is a friendly and affectionate creature whose character combines childish playfulness and aristocratic manners. Neither one nor the other prevents the animal from being a great hunter.

Brief information

  • Breed Name: English Setter
  • Country of Origin: UK
  • Weight: males 25-36 kg, females 20-32 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): males 65-68 cm, females 61-65 cm
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years old


  • Despite the developed instincts, English setters do not show aggression either to strangers or to four-legged brothers.
  • Representatives of the breed cannot live without active participation in the everyday bustle of the owner. These animals are not loners at all, but very sociable creatures.
  • From the "Englishman" it is difficult to raise an attentive and responsible watchman: rather, the dog will "kiss" a stranger than growl warningly at him.
  • English Setter is an ideal option for families with children: it's hard to find a tailed nanny better!
  • Representatives of the breed are not used to competing for the territory and attention of the owner, so they will gladly accept a new friend: a dog, a cat and even a rabbit.
  • The exhibition line of setters is suitable for living in an apartment; the working line needs more space and the opportunity to stretch its paws in a fenced yard.
  • Learning new teams can be difficult due to the stubbornness inherent in some English setters.
  • The breed needs daily careful care, which is not always liked by novice dog breeders.

English Setter is famous for its endurance. Elegant appearance, worthy of a royal person, hides a perky character and inexhaustible optimism. Quick wit and developed intelligence are the main reasons why the English Setter is loved by both hunters and ordinary dog breeders. Despite the energy and unwillingness to sit in one place, the animal rarely imposes its society on others. It is difficult to find a more understanding and devoted friend than a setter, even among his four-legged brethren. This is a balanced and moderately sociable dog that will be happy to keep company while walking in the park or watching the evening news.

Breed characteristics

Aggressiveness ?
Not aggressive ( Rating 1/5)
Activity ?
High ( Rating 4/5)
Training ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Molt ?
Moderate ( Rating 3/5)
Need for care ?
Very high ( Rating 5/5)
Friendliness ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Health ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Cost of maintenance ?
Above Average ( Rating 4/5)
Attitude to loneliness ?
Moderate time ( Rating 3/5)
Intelligence ?
Standard ( Rating 3/5)
Noise ?
Low ( Rating 2/5)
Security qualities ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
*The characteristics of the English Setter breed are based on expert assessment amitypuppies.net and reviews of dog owners.

History of the English Setter breed

English Setter

The origin of the English setter is controversial and causes a lively discussion among breeders. Some attribute the role of the progenitors of the breed to the "Spaniards", others to the ancestors of modern spaniels. The true roots of the setters are unknown. The only indisputable fact is that this is an English breed, whoever its distant ancestors were.

Recently, dog breeders are increasingly inclined to the second version. During the Renaissance spaniels were very popular in Western Europe. At that time there were two main types of this breed: for hunting in wetlands ("water") and on land ("field"). The most famous at that time was the setting spaniel. Representatives of this breed were guided by a unique way of hunting a bird. Noticing her, the dog crept up and stood in a stance, which attracted attention. The hunter cautiously approached the prey and threw a net on it: firearms appeared much later.

The behavior of the animal during the hunt determined the name of the future breed. The word comes from the English set – to install. And indeed: having noticed the prey, the dog indicated its location to the owner with the help of a conditional signal – a rack. Sometimes the name "setter" is mistakenly translated as "squat". Despite this, the version has the right to exist: during hunting, the animal really "squats" to the ground in order to approach the game unnoticed.

Initially, the selection of setters focused solely on preserving the working qualities of dogs. The exterior did not arouse interest and therefore was extremely diverse – exactly like the breeds with which the setting spaniels were crossed: retrievers, greyhounds , hounds and even poodles . The specimens received were quite motley, but this did not detract from their hunting qualities.

The appearance of setters attracted dog breeders only in the first half of the XIX century. At the same time, an interesting feature was revealed: despite the fact that all dogs belonged to the same breed, their color varied strictly depending on the territory. Scotland "sheltered" black setters with a red tan; Ireland – animals of red-piebald and chestnut-red colors; the southern part of England – white dogs with orange, black or brown spots.

This pattern prompted breeders to identify three independent branches: Scottish (Gordon-setters), Irish ( red setters ) and English (with the appropriate name). Edward Laverack took up work on the exterior of the last branch. He was a passionate hunter – it was this trait that attracted attention to the setters.

Sir Laverack began the selection work with two specimens purchased from Pastor Harrison – Old Mall and Ponto. The breeder planned to improve the breed by inbreeding – crossing animals that were related. He put his soul into fifty years of breeding, which bore fruit – the graceful and elegant exterior of the English setter.

Sir Edward's cause was also supported by his compatriot Richard Llewellyn. Unlike his colleague, the breeder did not adhere to the inbreeding strategy, considering it necessary to dilute the setter gene pool with other breeds. This caused a conflict, because of which the British continued to work on breeding dogs, but independently of each other. So two branches of the breed were formed: the Laverack and Llewellyn lines.

In 1859, English setters first appeared at an exhibition in Newcastle upon Tyne. The more often representatives of the breed participated in such shows, the more their popularity grew. The turning point in the history of setters was the 70s of the XIX century. The English Kennel Club recognized the breed and began to keep its pedigree book. At the same time, the first dogs set foot on the lands of the New World, causing another wave of popularization of setters. Ten years later, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the four–legged English aristocrats, who eventually formed a new breed line - this time American.

On the territory of Russia, dogs were known as laverack-setters. They were often called "loviraki" – in the Russian manner; joking about the fact that the animals refuse to catch crayfish, but they do a great job hunting birds. Dogs were popular with aristocrats who kept huge kennels. Historical facts confirm that the setter was among the favorite breeds of Nicholas II. These animals were also preferred by many representatives of the intelligentsia: Alexander Kuprin, Ivan Bunin and Alexander Blok. The revolution of 1917 almost put an end to the development of the breed. It gained a second wind only at the end of the XX century.

English setters retain their popularity. Due to many years of breeding and separation of the show class, the hunting instincts of dogs have slightly dulled. The laurels of the winner passed to other breeds (in particular, the Breton Epagnole). Despite this, "Englishmen" are still used as friendly dogs, but more and more often they are brought up as friendly and active companions who can brighten up the most monotonous everyday life.

Video: English Setter

Appearance of the English setter

The English Setter is a medium–sized breed. These dogs clearly have sexual dimorphism: bitches look more elegant and refined than males. However, in both cases, the setters differ in proportionate and dry physique.

The breed standard defines the parameters of the animals. So, the height of the male at the withers reaches 65-68 cm, females – 61-65 cm. The weight of the English setter is 25-36 kg and 20-32 kg, respectively. Males are heavier and more massive.

Head and skull

English setter in the woods

The light head of the English setter is of moderate length, carried high and proudly. In profile, the parallel lines of the forehead and lower jaw are noticeable. The oval–shaped skull has a pronounced occipital protuberance and a wide frontal part - they provide enough space for the brain. The brow ridges give the dog's head a relief, slightly protruding forward.


When looking at the animal's head from above, it becomes noticeable that the straight muzzle is narrower in comparison with the skull. At the same time, its length coincides with the length from the foot to the back of the head (square type). Well filled under the eyes. The transition from the forehead to the nose with a straight back is clear. The flat cheeks of the setter practically do not stand out. The movable nose lobe has wide nostrils – the main advantage of a hunting dog – pigmented in black or brown. The lips fit tightly to the jaws, while the upper one slightly overhangs the lower one. Folds form in the corners of the mouth, but the mucous membrane is not exposed. The lip edging color matches the color.


The ears of the English setter are placed at the level of the eye line and slightly directed to the back of the dog's head. Soft and velvety to the touch, thin and narrow. The shape is close to triangular; the tips adjacent to the cheekbones are rounded. Covered with long hair.


The eyes are set deep and quite far apart. Oval shape, small. The eyelids are dry and tightly fitting. The incision is straight. The iris is colored brown (dark shades are preferred). At the same time, speckled setters have lighter pigmentation of the eyes. The look is smart and expressive.

Jaws and teeth

Hunting dog breeds are distinguished by powerful jaws – and the English Setter is no exception. A uniform scissor bite is preferred. Its direct format in animals older than six years is not considered a defect. Strong teeth have a healthy white color. The incisors are located at the same level, the canines are pronounced. There is a complete formula – 42 teeth.


The flexible neck expands to the shoulders and is set quite high. Its oval cross-section is noticeable when looking at the dog from the front. There is no suspension, the nape is convex.

English Setter's muzzle


The animal's torso is perfectly balanced, so it seems elegant and light. A strong back is distinguished by smooth curves in the area of the shoulder blades and croup. The chest is dry, the musculature acquires clear outlines in older dogs (three years and older). The ribs are convex and elongated, especially at the back, which makes the chest of the setter seem full. A straight and short back turns into a moderately convex loin. The croup is sloping, with smooth outlines. The bottom line is smoothed, the belly is picked up in moderation.


English setter with baby

The tail of the English setter is planted slightly below the back line, thereby continuing it. It has an average length, as well as a rectilinear or saber-shaped shape. Tapers from the base to the tip. In a state of calm, the dog keeps its tail down, when excited, raises it almost parallel to the ground. The wavy fur at the bottom of the tail gives it a resemblance to a feather.


The humerus bones are articulated at right angles with the shoulder blades retracted. There is practically no gap between the elbows and the chest of the setter. Oval forearms smoothly turn into pasterns of insignificant length. The fingers are gathered into a "ball" and end with strong claws. The developed pads of the paws are rough to the touch.

Hind limbs

In the rack are directed backwards. Perfectly muscled legs are elongated. The wide hips are articulated with the croup at an angle of 90 °; the lower legs are muscular. The joints of the limbs are dry. Short metatarsals turn into rounded paws with moderately convex pads. The space between the fingers is filled with wool, which can be cut before participating in exhibition shows.

Manner of movement

English setters are characterized by graceful and light movements with a strong push of the hind legs. The dog maintains a proud posture, while carrying his head high. The forelimbs are carried far forward when moving at a trot. By increasing the speed and pace, the animal puts its paws closer to the middle line.

Wool cover

The breed is characterized by "overgrowing" with a luxurious fur coat by the age of two or three. The length of the hairs varies depending on their location. The head and front surfaces of the limbs are covered with short hair, which is slightly elongated throughout the body of the dog. In the area of the ears, chest, limbs and tail, thicker and longer hairs form combs, "pants" and "feather" on the tail.


English lemon-colored setter

To determine the speckled color of the setter, the word "belton" is traditionally used, attaching a prefix to it and thereby specifying the color:

  • brown – liver;
  • orange – orange;
  • lemon – lemon;
  • black – blue.

There is also a tricolor variant – brown- or black-speckled with tan. For the breed, a uniform arrangement of the speckles without large spots is mandatory.

Possible vices

Even the slightest deviation from the standard is considered a defect. Among the main ones are:

  • excessively wavy and ring-forming wool;
  • the high fit of the ears, their uncharacteristic size;
  • roundness of the skull in the area between the ears;
  • excessively short or long tail;
  • obliquely and/or wide-set eyes;
  • sharp and short muzzle with wings;
  • flat or barrel chest;
  • light pigmentation of the iris;
  • straight shoulders and/or pasterns;
  • crescent-shaped tail;
  • narrow and hunchbacked back;
  • underdeveloped croup.
English setter at a dog show

The disqualifying vices of the English setter include:

  • solid red, brown or black color without a speck;
  • sagging and excessively hunchbacked back;
  • aggressive or fearful behavior;
  • thick, round and short neck;
  • amble or heavy movements;
  • wedge-shaped head;
  • the presence of dewclaws;
  • yellow pigmentation of the eyes;
  • narrow set of limbs;
  • weakly expressed stop;
  • hook-shaped tail;
  • cryptorchidism;
  • clubfoot.

Photo of an English setter

The character of the English Setter

Owners of English setters note: this is one of the most friendly and affectionate hunting breeds. Animals are human–oriented-sometimes even too much. Instead of a long sleep on your favorite litter, the setter will prefer to spin under your feet, making itself felt by periodic barking and taking a feasible part in the activities of the owner. It doesn't matter if you are planning a trip to the store or watching TV shows, the dog will always make a pleasant company.

English setter on a run with the owner

The hyper–vigilance of the "English" is the main reason why animals suffer from loneliness and constantly experience the fear of separation. To maintain a healthy and balanced psyche of the pet, it is not recommended to leave it unattended for the whole day. Setters love to spend time in the company of the owner and treat guests in the house with no less happiness. The animal can easily jump on the chest and "kiss", which not everyone will be happy about.

It follows from this that the breed is not suitable for guarding the house. In every stranger, the dog sees a potential friend and does not seek to protect the entrusted territory. However, with proper upbringing, you can make an English setter moderately friendly, but do not expect a zealous property protection from a pet. To do this, it is better to choose a different breed – risenschnauzer , airedale terrier or a larger one cane corso .

Non-conflict and good nature of the setter make it an excellent dog for families with children. In games with young friends, the pet will show gentleness and patience, will not bare its fangs in response to a careless poke and will happily get involved in children's adventures. This kind of company is the best for an active and sociable dog. However, do not leave her alone with a small child: the pet may not calculate the strength and accidentally push your child during the game.

Setter meets a kitten

English setters get along well with other pets. This breed is not prone to jealousy, dominance and a desire to defend its rights to the territory. On the contrary, the pet will be glad to have a four-legged brother who will help brighten up loneliness in your absence. The "Englishman" needs the same energetic and temperamental friend who will not be horrified by indomitable energy and will support any adventure – whether it's hunting for a fly or chasing a sunny "bunny".

With proper socialization, the setter lives in the same territory and with small pets. A dog's game with decorative rodents and birds can turn into sad consequences, but only by chance. Otherwise, the instincts of the "Englishman" do not provide for the pursuit of prey, because the task of the setter is to indicate the location of the game with the help of a rack, and not to catch it.

This breed is divided into two lines – working and exhibition, but both need active walks. At the same time, dogs of the show category can be content with long promenades and the opportunity to run in the fresh air. It is desirable to keep working dogs in a private house with a spacious fenced yard: these pets can drive even the most trained athletes to death.

It is logical to assume that the working line of English setters is not suitable for keeping in an apartment. Lack of physical activity will make the dog unmanageable. In an attempt to throw out the accumulated energy, the pet can arrange a real pogrom in your absence, so get ready for an unpleasant surprise.

As for the exhibition copies, they are quite comfortable living in apartments. Moreover: after a walk, the setter magically transforms into a couch potato and spends the rest of the day on the couch next to the owner.

As befits a hunting dog, the "Englishman" loves hunting so much that he is ready to sacrifice food and sleep for the opportunity to follow his instincts and find prey in the tall grass. Flair and excellent tracking skills make the setter a universal hunting dog, whose talent is recognized by hunters from different parts of the world.

Running English Setter

Education and training

English Setter puppy on a leash

Representatives of the breed are characterized as highly trained and obedient animals, but still can not do without difficulties. Due to his violent temperament, the "Englishman" may seem disobedient, so the owner will have to make efforts to educate and train, not forgetting to stock up on iron patience beforehand.

Choosing a setter as a pet implies a strict hierarchy in the family. The puppy should understand that only one person is engaged in his feeding and upbringing – his owner, whom you need to obey. Make consistent and firm demands to your pet: otherwise, the animal will not understand what reaction you expect from him. At the same time, you should not go to extremes: raise your voice to the dog or, on the contrary, be touched by his every prank.

Set the rules, beyond which the puppy should not go. It is necessary to adhere to unanimity in the education of the setter. If one family member scolds the baby for spoiled slippers, and the other praises and secretly treats a treat, the animal will never grow obedient.

English setters are owners of developed intelligence, which allows them to learn most of the commands, and in the shortest possible time. The main thing is not to expect unquestioning obedience from the pet: this breed is not as docile as aussi or border collie . If the setter doesn't like your command, it will be difficult to get the pet to do what you want. At the same time, some representatives of the breed are afraid to upset the owner and will prefer to do nothing, rather than poorly execute the command.

Young setters tend to get carried away with the game and do not always listen to your words. You will have to take care to establish contact with your pet. The next step is to unobtrusively and gently return the attention of the "Englishman" to the training process. Imagine that you have a small child in front of you, to whom you cannot raise your voice, and act. There is a small amount of stubbornness in this breed, so it's worth learning how to get the better of it.

English setters like to catch frisbees, run and catch up with the ball thrown by the owner. If you want to keep your pet busy with something more exciting, pay attention to obstacle running or offending.

Care and maintenance

English setter plays with a ball

The English setter needs daily and careful care. The reason for this is the long and thick coat, the main object of pride of the breed. These dogs shed profusely, which is especially noticeable in owners of white-colored pets. Before purchasing the "Englishman", make sure that your family members do not suffer from allergies to wool. Be prepared for the fact that regular wet cleaning will become an integral part of life along with the appearance of the setter.

The animal's fur needs careful combing every day. Use a comb or brush with natural bristles: in addition to removing dead hairs and dust, this device will provide your pet with a pleasant massage. When combing the setter, pay special attention to the long hair on the paws and tail of the dog: it is here that tangles are most often formed.

Trimming the wool will not be superfluous. At the same time, it is recommended to consult a specialist, and not to arrange a beauty salon at home. Representatives of the exhibition line of setters need this procedure every five to six weeks, while the working line needs it much more often.

The coat of the English setter is covered with a thin fatty shell that protects the hairs from dirt and serves as a water-repellent barrier. Do not bathe your pet regularly: even soft shampoos for dogs are able to "wash" the natural protection. It is enough to arrange bath procedures for the setter once every ten days or as needed. Going for a walk in autumn or winter, it is recommended to dress the animal in a waterproof jumpsuit.

Long and hanging dog ears accumulate fat and dirt, which can cause otitis media, eventually developing into chronic. Clean the ears of the "Englishman" at least once a week with a cotton pad. As an auxiliary agent, boric acid or another substance with a drying effect can be used.

Washing the setter's eyes is no less a mandatory procedure, while it is best to use brewed tea. In extreme cases, running water is also suitable. If your eyes are watering, carefully inspect them and rinse thoroughly in case of foreign particles.

Despite excessive activity, English setters rarely grind their claws sufficiently. The reason lies in the fact that animals prefer to run on the ground rather than on asphalt. Growing back, the claws can create uncomfortable sensations and force your pet to limp. Use a claw cutter for large breeds of dogs and shorten the claws once a month. The nail file will help smooth out sharp edges and notches.

Beautiful, though dirty

The oral cavity of the "Englishman" is no less demanding in care. The teeth of the setter are cleaned with a special nozzle on the finger, using a paste for dogs. In no case do not share your own hygiene product with your pet! Substances contained in "human" toothpaste can cause an allergic reaction and even poisoning.

English setters are susceptible to drafts. Take care of the equipment of a cozy corner, protected from any wind blows. A soft couch or a small orthopedic mattress for children is perfect.

Speaking about dog nutrition, it is worth noting: setters are not prone to obesity, because they instinctively limit themselves in food. Having determined the exact portion size, you will never have difficulty feeding your pet. If the animal has emptied the bowl and continues to lick it, then it still feels hungry. Don't be afraid to give out an extra portion: the setter will never devour food out of greed, as if he really is an English aristocrat. The best option for feeding a pet is a competent combination of natural food and premium brand feed.

The English setter needs a lot of protein, so be sure to include meat and boneless sea fish in his diet. Both products must be served raw, pre-scalded with boiling water and cut into pieces. Combine meat with rice and buckwheat porridge; do not forget to treat your pet with vegetables and fruits. As a breakfast, it is recommended to give the setter fermented milk products.

When choosing elite food, pay attention to options with a complete absence of vegetable proteins, preservatives and dyes. They are also good because they contain a vitamin and mineral complex, which is necessary for an animal to maintain good health. If you prefer to feed your dog mostly dry food, do not forget to provide round-the-clock access to clean water. Bottled or pre-aged for 6-8 hours is best.

Exclude the following products from the diet of the English setter:

  • milk (relevant for dogs aged 4 months and older);
  • fatty meat (particularly pork);
  • tubular bones of any size;
  • boiled and raw river fish;
  • chocolate and other sweets;
  • raw yeast dough;
  • mushrooms in any form;
  • berries with pits;
  • legumes;
  • raw eggs.
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Health and diseases of the English setter

English setter swims in the pond

The excellent health of the breed representatives is due to the fact that breeders have always selected the strongest dogs without hereditary defects for breeding. Despite this, English setters are still susceptible to some diseases:

  • congenital enlargement of the esophagus;
  • purulent inflammation of the uterus;
  • hip dysplasia;
  • bone tumors;
  • limb paralysis;
  • congenital deafness;
  • food allergies;
  • retinal atrophy;
  • inversion of the intestines;
  • eversion of the century;
  • dermatitis;
  • epilepsy;
  • otitu.

Otherwise, the "English" are considered dogs with good immunity, which is able to resist most common diseases.

How to choose a puppy

An English setter puppy with unformed spots

You will get a purebred English setter only in specialized nurseries or from a breeder who is engaged in breeding the breed. In an attempt to save money, many often buy a puppy from their hands or at the bird market, and this is wrong. A miser pays twice, and in the case of a setter, you can get a pet with deviations from the standard or a bouquet of hereditary diseases.

English setter puppies are born without crape, which begins to manifest and intensify with age.

Do not rush to choose a puppy in the kennel. Ask the breeder to show you the four-legged pair from which the litter originated, watch all the puppies. Try to determine if there are defective babies among them: deaf, blind, with obvious breed defects. If such puppies are present, do not bother to clarify whether the breeder can show photos of grown setters from the last litter. This way you can determine how "standard" and healthy a pet is waiting for you.

How to choose one kid among all the charming horde? Make a selection (desired gender, color and degree of compliance with the breed standard) and observe the puppies. Evaluate the behavior of the setter as a whole, his manner of play and even gait. A healthy baby should be active and moderately curious.

Photos of English setter puppies

How much does an English setter cost

The price of representatives of the hunting breed is very conditional, because it depends on many factors: the title of the parents (if it is an exhibition specimen), the popularity of the kennel and its geographical location, the age and sex of the dog, the animal's compliance with the standard. On average, English Setter puppies cost future owners in $250 - $300. For elite show-class dogs – potential winners of exhibitions – breeders can demand $700 - $800.

Please note: by purchasing an English setter in a kennel, you will receive a puppy's veterinary passport with notes on vaccination and treatment from worms. The breeder also provides confirmation of the pedigree of the baby in the event that it is important.

It doesn't matter which line the dog belongs to – working or exhibition. In any case, you will get a playful and devoted friend who will brighten up your life!

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