The English Setter is a beautiful and elegant sporting dog of medium build. This breed is nearly 400 years old and is known for its many talents including locating birds and assisting hunters. If you are wondering what English setters are like, then this brief guide is for you.
Facts about the English Setter
- Search for the term English setter and the videos that will likely come up are ‘funny English setter videos’. Indeed, this is a fun loving dog that has a keen sense to please its humans.
- The breed was first developed in the 1800s by two English breeders Laverack and Llewellyn. There is a belief that the breed has originated from the Spaniel and Pointer families. What appears most probable is that the English setter is the oldest of British dogs which was probably introduced by the Romans.
- English setter size and physical description – The medium to large breed dog measures up to 25-27 inches at shoulders. A recommended weight range for the breed is 60-70 lbs for the males and 50-60 lbs for females. Setters have a soft silky coat with flecks (beltons) in orange, black, tan or lemon. Desirable traits amongst show dogs are fine chiseled head, and dark yet gentle and expressive eyes. English setter puppies are born white or white with black ears.
- Difference between Irish setter and English setter-The Irish setter is taller than its English cousin. Also, in color, the Irish setter is purely red or nearly black and chestnut.
- This is a good looking, intelligent and active dog prized for its sporting abilities. They make great companions as well.
- The average life span of an English setter is 10-12 years.
Where to find an English Setter
When selecting an English Setter puppy, go to the best breeders near you. You can find a comprehensive list of English setter breeders on the official website of English Setter Association of America. Responsible breeders will be very selective of who their puppy goes home with. So expect to answer several questions about your goals and objectives in getting a puppy. Also expect to spend at least 2 hours with the litter. This way, you can observe the pups closely. A puppy will show different behavioral traits during this period before getting exhausted. You can always go in for one that appears playful and approaches you but also keep your ultimate aim in mind as to why you want a dog in the first place. For example, if you want to raise a show dog, you’d naturally want a non-aggressive, smart, intelligent and somewhat docile puppy. Observing your potential pet for an hour or more will help you get a comprehensive impression or its total behavior repertoire.
The beauty of this dog combined with its intelligence and mild manner temperament make this a popular breed among all those who love a good dog. As far as temperament goes, the English setter is considered mild mannered compared to the Irish setter. He possesses no vices and is true and affectionate. This is a sensitive dog that is eager to please. This trait makes them easy to train, provided you begin at an early age and are consistent and gentle. Beware though: English setter dogs have an amazing scenting ability and a natural instinct to capture and kill its own prey. So they might not be suitable around small animals. Early socialization with other dogs and small animals can help curb this instinct. A sharp temperament is almost unknown in this breed and if your pet shows that, it may be sick, in pain or under extreme stress. All in all; English setters excel as family pets and thrive as household companions.
- This is not a reliable guard dog.
- He is quiet, calm, friendly and excellent with children.
- They are easy going dogs and love attention.
- Mild mannered and sweet, they can be trusted around kids.
- English setters are sociable animals and love humans.
- They are fun on family outings and love hanging out with their humans.
All dogs are creatures of habit so consistency is key to training your English setter. Set up a feeding, playing and training routine for your dog and soon he will fall in line. Start with the basics: housebreaking. You must teach your English setter puppy that it is not okay to pee inside the house. Show him a designated area where it is okay to pee. You can also use paper training. Crate training will also help you get your puppy to sleep away from you unless you want your pet to end up in your bedroom. I have discussed crate training in detail here. Additionally, enroll your pet in basic obedience class or work with a trainer or dog handler who can teach you the basics. Continue the training daily and use plenty of treats, praise and gentle commands. Never scold or punish your pet. Praise good/wanted behavior immediately. Keep training sessions short.
English setters are active dogs and they do well with an energetic and active owner who will spend time walking and exercising them. They love to go outdoors but are moderately inactive indoors. Your pet will do well in a rural or urban setup provided you give him a fenced yard. Always leash your dog when you walk him in dog parks.
Grooming is an essential aspect of owning a Setter breed. All setters need to be combed and brushed daily and the English setter is no different. Brushing removes tangles, mats and loose hair and daily combing will ensure completely knot free hair. This is an average shredding breed and brushing and combing will prevent hair all over the place. Bathe your Setter once every 6-8 weeks. You must also clean out its ears once a week to prevent infections.
Common health problems
Some health problems commonly seen in English setters are hip and elbow dysplasia. Canine hypothyroidism is also common in these dogs. Older dogs are prone to a specific type of cancer. Some lines have also shown food allergies.
Best food for the Setter is the one you prepare yourself. Of course, many good brads of store bought dog foods are also available but make sure you feed one without any corn or soy. It is easy to learn how to fix food for your pet. Just make sure you use the right ingredients so he gets a balanced amount of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Speak to your vet about the right food for your English Setter.