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Breed Profile: English Setter


English Setter Dog Breed Picture - Photo of English Setter Photo © iStockphoto.com/nelsonarts




The English Setter dates back over 400 years and is considered one of the oldest gundog breeds. Though distantly related to Irish and Gordon Setters, English Setters are a distinct breed. Developed in England as a bird dog, the English Setter likely originated from various types of spaniels. The name "setter" comes from the posture the dogs used to take while birding - they would crouch low to the ground, or "set."

The English Setter was brought to the US in the 1800s and was registered by the AKC in 1878. The breed has been loved by many for its beauty and versatility.


45-75 pounds (field-bred dogs are smaller than show stock)


White with belton markings (specks of color). These markings may be liver, orange, lemon, blue (white with black markings) or tri-color (blue belton with tan points).

Health Problems:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

About the Breed:

The English Setter is a graceful, athletic medium-sized dog breed that excels at hunting and other dog sports. This hard-working and agile hunter is highly intelligent, gentle and affectionate. The English Setter is happiest when near people and will not thrive as an outdoor or frequently kenneled dog.

The silky, feathered coat of the The English Setter requires routine grooming. The long coat should be trimmed approximately every six weeks and the ears should be kept clean. Note that the smaller field dogs may have shorter hair, while dogs bred for conformation are larger with longer hair.

The English Setter is a quite active dog that enjoys working. They are excellent gundogs and bird dogs, but also do well in dog sports like agility. It is essential that the English Setter is given plenty of exercise, preferably several times daily. The breed's energy level is also well-managed with proper training. This intelligent breed should respond well to many forms of training.

The English Setter is a loyal and friendly dog that tends to do quite well with children. The breed's even-tempered personality adds to its versatility, making the English Setter a wonderful companion for all kinds of active families or individuals.

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