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English Setter Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Traits, Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

english setter

Height: 23 – 27 inches
Weight: 45 – 80 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Colors: White, blue Belton, blue Belton & tan, lemon Belton, liver Belton, orange Belton
Suitable for: Very active families, house with a yard
Temperament: Loyal & loving, easy to train, friendly, gets along with other pets

The beautiful and sweet English Setter is a medium-sized dog that is a member of the Sporting Group. They are very energetic and require a fair amount of exercise, but they are mellow dogs that enjoy relaxing at home.

They are known for their unique coats that come in the color of “Belton,” which is speckles of blue, lemon, liver, or orange, usually on a white coat. They have medium-length fur with feathering on their legs, ears, chest, abdomen, and tail. They have long, elegant necks with an oval-shaped head and long muzzles and ears.

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English Setter Puppies

english setter puppy
Image Credit: Shutterstock

The English Setters are athletic dogs that were bred to be hunting dogs, so they require a fair amount of exercise. They are very eager to please, and therefore, training is relatively easy. They are robust and healthy dogs with a slightly longer lifespan than other dogs the same size. They are very friendly with other animals and people and are generally easygoing in nature.

3 Little-Known Facts About the English Setter

1. The term “Belton” is used exclusively with the English Setter.

Belton is the speckling or flecking of color on the English Setter. It comes in blue (white with black flecks), orange (white with orange flecks), liver (white with liver flecks), tricolor (blue or liver Belton with tan markings on the legs, chest, and face, chest) and lemon (white with orange flecks and lighter-colored nose).

2. The name “Setter” comes from the stance.

The English Setter comes from the Setter family (which includes four British variations) and gets its name from how it lies down, or “sets” when locating game birds.

3. The English Setter is both energetic and mellow.

When you take an English Setter outside, they are very active and playful but are quiet and calm dogs while indoors.

english setter

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Temperament & Intelligence of the English Setter 🧠

They are smart, playful, and devoted dogs that can make good watchdogs but are friendly with strangers once introduced. The English Setter will not do well in an apartment and require a house with a fenced backyard. Because they were bred to be hunting dogs, leaving them alone with smaller animals or birds is risky as they might follow their instincts.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The English Setter makes a fantastic family pet. They get along very well with children as they are very patient and tolerant. They will watch over and protect the family but are not aggressive. They are gentle, calm, and good-natured dogs.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

English Setters are known to be easygoing and get along well with other pets. However, as previously mentioned, be wary of birds around the English Setter because of their hunting instincts. Like any dog, the English Setter needs to be properly socialized while they are puppies. This will help them to accept and tolerate other animals into their adulthood.

English Setter looking up
Image Credit: michellegraber, Pixabay

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Things to Know When Owning an English Setter:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The English Setter is prone to becoming overweight, which must be considered when feeding this dog. They should be fed about 2 to 3 cups of dry food about 2 or 3 times a day. If you’re concerned about how much or how often you should feed your dog, you should speak to your vet.

Exercise 🐕

The English Setter is an athletic and energetic dog that needs the opportunity to run. They require a fenced area to run in, and if you don’t have access to this, running, jogging, or biking with your dog on a leash will be a great way to allow him to expend some of his energy. Several daily walks or taking him for a hike are also ways to keep your dog healthy and happy.

english setter

Training 🦮

English Setters are easy to train as they are loyal and eager to please, and their intelligence allows them to quickly pick up training. They are sensitive dogs and, therefore, will respond best (like all dogs) to positive reinforcement. Always avoid using punishment throughout the training process.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming the English Setter should include brushing them once a week, but it would be best to brush them 2 or 3 times a week. The longer fur needs to be kept tangle-free as mats will cause discomfort and can create skin problems.

The English Setter has very long, drooping ears that should be cleaned regularly as the ears might contain excess wax and oils. If you start trimming your dog’s nails and brushing their teeth when they are puppies, they will get used to these necessary grooming habits.

Health Conditions ❤️

Minor Conditions
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Retinal degeneration
Serious Conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Deafness
  • Excess cartilage
  • Deficient bone growth

Minor Conditions

The English Setter is susceptible to hypothyroidism and retinal degeneration. Your vet will check your dog’s thyroid (which includes urinalysis and blood tests) and your dog’s eyes during a routine physical exam.

Serious Conditions

The English Setter is prone to hip and elbow dysplasiadeafnessepilepsy, and excess cartilage, and deficient bone growth. The vet will check your dog’s hips, elbows, and hearing as well as to conduct blood and urinalysis tests to check your dog’s overall health.

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Male vs Female

The female English Setter usually is smaller and lighter than the male. The female ranges from 23 to 25 inches in height and the male might be 25 to 27 inches. The female might range from 45 to 55 pounds, and the male could be 65 to 80 pounds in weight.

Spaying or neutering your dog will change many dog’s behaviors. It is thought that after the surgery, most dogs tend to settle down and become less excitable and aggressive. Unless you’re planning on breeding your dog, they should be spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

There is also the belief that the main difference between male and female dogs (other than the obvious biological difference) is in their behavior. Some believe that male dogs tend to be more aggressive and not quite as affectionate as females, but there are debates on this subject.

However, the primary determinant of how your dog’s personality is formed will be based on how the puppy was raised and socialized and how you treat your pet into adulthood.

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Final Thoughts:

The English Setter is a loving companion and an energetic dog that will be a perfect fit for you and your family. It can act as a watchdog, alerting you to strangers but without any aggression to worry about.

Finding an English Setter breeder won’t be difficult as there are many of them scattered around the world, discoverable through Google. Just be sure to investigate any breeder you are considering. You need to ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate breeder that loves their dogs and wants them in the best home.

Multiple rescue groups are devoted to the English Setter that you can consider for adoption. You can fill in an application for a puppy or an adult dog and be rest assured that the dog will be in good health and rehabilitated before the final adoption. Most importantly, you will be adopting a rescue dog and supporting the group in the process.

If you’re looking for an energetic yet mellow dog that you can play with outside or cuddle with inside, you will have the perfect dog in the English Setter.

Featured Image: Shutterstock

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