English Setter – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Do you believe that English Setter is the right breed for you? Before you get yourself a fast English Setter, check this guide first. Read on.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
45 to 80 pounds
Life Span:
11 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The English Setter is a medium-size dog best known for his sporting spirit and great looks. This dog comes with recognizable coat patterns of color in different colors, including lemon, orange, and liver.

Under all of that unusual coat stands a dog of up to 25 inches and 80 pounds.

They are active dogs, still used as hunting partners across the globe. Even during the hunt, they are affectionate toward their people. As affectionate dogs, they are gentle toward other pets in the home.

As they have high energy needs, regular exercise and well-structured training are a must.

To meet their exercise needs, it’s best to have them located in a large house with a huge backyard that’s well fenced. Their long and silky coat will demand some regular brushing and bathing only when really needed.

This isn’t a breed for you if you are not comfortable with frequent brushing and overall regular grooming. This dog has a high potential for weight gain, so knowing how much you should feed your dog is imperative.

The English Setter is a great dog for those who love to hike a lot – they won’t leave you behind and will be able to handle long distances without any issues as long as you prepare him well.

They are not much of barker, but they will monitor their surroundings all the time and chase something that passes them by. This ‘gentlemen of the dog world’ may be your perfect match if you are up for an active dog who loves spending every moment with you.

Quick Facts

Real name: English Setter
Other names: Lawerack Laverack Llewellin (or Llewellyn), Setter
Origin: England
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 45 to 80 pounds
Height: 1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 11 to 15 years
Litter Size: 5 – 6 puppies
Color: Different colors with flecks of color
Coat: Short to medium length

English Setter History

Mentions of this breed date back to the 14th century.

Some sources claim that the English Setter was created by crossing Pointing and Spaniel breeds, while others claim that there are some documents claiming that English Setters were used before guns were developed.

Their work was to find birds and crouch to indicate the presence of birds, so the hunter could react. In the 19th century, two types of English Setters emerged and took on the name of the breeder who was responsible for the development of the breed.

Edward Laverack of England is highly respected among dog lovers for his contribution to the breed’s development. In 1825, Edward obtained “Ponto” and “Old Moll,” and directly affected the further development.

Another important figure for the breed’s development was R. LL. Purcell Llewellyn of Wales. His contribution lies in his focus on dog field performance.

On the other hand, Edward was focused on creating dogs that were more for the show. The English Setter reached States in the 19th century. The American Kennel Club recognized the English Setter in 1884.

English Setter Physical Appearance

The English Setter is a slim and beautiful dog, with a unique appearance. They usually have a long coat with a speckling of different colors, that only add to their overall elegant look.

Some English Setters may be tricolored: blue, white, and brown. This pattern only makes them more distinguishing within the canine world.

All in, this is an easy breed to spot and recognize. The eyes are big, expressive, and commonly hazel. The nose is dark, while the ears are moderately long set downward.

The body is well-feathered, including ears, tail, and legs. Males stand 25 to 27 inches while females tend to be slightly smaller standing 23 to 25 inches.

As for the weight, males tend to have between 65 to 80 pounds, while females usually weigh between 45 to 55 pounds.

Both males and females have the shape and posture of an asymmetrical gun dog with the perfect balance of stamina and style. This is a flat-coated dog with a firm topline and a well-muscled body.

Eyes are dark brown, while ears are set back and low, and are always of moderate length. The neck is long and graceful. Their coat is usually without curl or any percent of wooliness.

Flecked-body is preferred. Head and ear patches are acceptable, while the heavy patches of color on the body are not desirable. The overall movement is full of grace, soft, and firm.

English Setter Personality

The English Setter is a gentle dog of affectionate nature with strong love toward his humans. They are a bit aloof with people that they do not know.

Children will be safe with them, as no strangers would be able to approach them. With older children, they will behave like best friends alive – their energies will match.

This breed will be gentle toward any family member who shows them love and care. They will bark whenever someone approaches home.

If you have an active social life and a lot of people coming over, you should introduce your English Setter to them. This way you will keep barking at a minimum. Use training sessions to manage barking in dogs.

Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including:

  • Training
  • Heredity
  • Socialization

To truly understand how well-behaved your English Setter is, it’s important to monitor his behavior. As a general rule, happy and healthy puppies are playful and extremely curious.

It’s usually very hard to keep them in one spot and still. They just love moving around and exploring. This is something that you should keep in mind when choosing the right puppy for you.

Always choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, and never the one that is extremely shy or too aggressive, or hiding from everything. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t suitable, but it means that dealing with those puppies will demand more time and energy.

This is a true “Gentleman by Nature” who will demonstrate strong will and playful nature. They’re not strangers to being mischievous. This is even stronger in those coming from working lines.

They are people-oriented dogs, but it won’t stop them from showing just how much energy they have to spend time with other animals.

They thrive on outdoor time. They love when they have a job to do. As active dogs, they will need a lot of exercise. How much exercise doesn’t this breed needs? The English Setter will be happy with about two hours of exercise per day.

They will be of lower energy indoors, but it doesn’t mean that they will stay still no matter what.

This means that you should know some indoor games as well, to create a fun indoor playtime, that your English Setter can actually benefit from. Plus, they will play any game as long as they get to spend time with their humans.

Living With English Setter

English Setter needs a lot of exercise. Expect that you two explore every dog park and know every city corner.

This breed will need a lot of exercises even when he is a puppy. Just make sure that you don’t overdo exercise and walking time, while his joints are developing.

Joints in puppies are extremely sensitive and as they are growing they should be maintained and never pushed beyond their limits. Did you know that dog’s bones reach maturity about 12-14 months of age?

This is why you should be extra careful when it comes to training and exercise needs.

The English Setter is a highly friendly dog. Expect walks to last even longer, because this breed will want to say hello to every dog that comes across this path.

You may love it at first, but it can be time-consuming over time, so make sure that you always plan longer walks. They will love spending time in the backyard, just soaking in the sun, and greeting neighbors and birds.

They will love having a human next to them, just to make chilling more interesting.

English Setter With Children And Pets

If you are getting a puppy, you should know that they need to go through a socialization period to be well-behaved.

If you have toddlers around, you should be extra careful. Put extra attention, time, and care into introducing them in the best way possible. Make their environment friendly, safe, and without heavy distractions.

Children and dogs will find a language of their own if there is no stress. Supervise them as they get familiar with each other.

In general, children and dogs should always be supervised. No matter how well dogs and children may behave, accidents may happen.

This is especially the truth when dogs are in their training process and children are still seeing dogs as moving toys, just bigger in size.

Always educate your child, or children, not to disturb the dog while sleeping, eating, resting in his place, or drinking water. Dogs are highly territorial creatures and aren’t fans of others messing with their area.

True to his roots, this breed will love to hunt and run. Running sessions are a must to keep their breed healthy. If not given enough exercise, your English Setter will become bored.

As you may know already, bored dogs will demonstrate destructive behavior. This type of behavior can lead to many issues in the long run both to your dog and you.

All in all, the English Setter is an easygoing dog that gets along nicely both with people and animals, including smaller pets if he trained right from the first day.

English Setter Training

English Setters are intelligent dogs, who love to please. They won’t mind having regular training sessions, as long as they are rewarded afterward.

They are devoted and will take anything but positive training reinforcement as cruel. Moreover, no dog should ever experience any type of harsh treatment.

Positive reinforcement is what will help you have a well-behaved and happy canine.

These dogs come with high prey drive and need to explore their surroundings, which means that their instincts can get them into trouble. This is why early socialization and training are important.

This is even more expressed during their puppyhood. This means that you should keep valuable items or any dangerous items out of reach. Make training sessions short, consistent, and fun.

Make sure that you have the right treats on hand. Dogs love reward-based training and treat will only help you make training more efficient. When given enough training, attention, and exercise, the English Setter will be a great companion.

English Setter Exercise

Dogs with high prey drive need more active time. Regular walks are mandatory, but they need extra time to be active. English Setter will thrive on additional exercise time, a daily run, or a play session in an open, large, and secured area. Jogging with this breed will be a true enjoyment.

If you are an outdoor person already, taking your English Setter on hikes would be such a treat. However, be careful when it comes to puppies, since their bones and joints are developing at a slower pace, you might want to avoid heavy exercise.

This is the best way to avoid any joint-bone-related issues. When outdoors these dogs will be energetic and active.

Indoors, your English Setter will enjoy quiet time and being a couch potato. All in all, whatever you find interesting your English Setter will find it appealing as well.

English Setter Grooming

If you are not a fan of grooming dogs, this is a breed to skip.

This is a breed with lavishing and long coat with strong feathering on ears, chest, belly, tail, and back of the legs. To remove tangles and keep his coat healthy and shiny brushing him a couple of times per week is a must.

To make the brushing experience as enjoyable as possible, have the right grooming tools on hand. The right tools will help you keep mats away and keep that coat shiny and clean.

Regular trimming around the face, feet, and other areas should keep your English Setter looking neat. Nails should be trimmed or ground once a month.

Some dogs may experience faster nail growth, and additional nail care should be performed. Batch only when needed and with dog-friendly shampoo. Dogs have different skin than humans do, and frequent bathing isn’t something that is suitable for them.

English Setter Health

English Setters are considered to be healthy dogs.

Just like humans, they may develop certain health conditions over the years. This is why regular veterinarian check-ups are so important and a big part of prevention.

Responsible breeders will always screen puppies for the most common health conditions. If you are adopting, you should also get information on your dog’s health. Some of the health issues that may appear in this breed are:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Deafness
  • Bloat
  • Epilepsy

As a part of regular check-ups and overall health prevention, your veterinarian may conduct the following health tests:

  • Elbow evaluation
  • Hip evaluation
  • Thyroid evaluation
  • BAER testing

Is English Setter For You?

English Setter is a breed with strong hunting instincts and an intense need for quality exercise. These are highly sociable dogs who cannot be left alone for too long.

Otherwise, they may show some signs of destructive behavior. English Setters are sensitive dogs with long memory. This means that if any harm is done to them, they will remember it.

Treat this breed, like any other breed, with positive training methods and good leadership.

This is a dog for you if you want a medium to large dog with a feathered coat and is gentle with everyone. Make sure that you have some dog experience before you get this breed.

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