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English Setter Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Yep, you read this right, in this article we going to be talking about the “English” Setter, not the more popular “Irish” Setter that most of our American audience is more familiar with.

And there’s a good reason…

For us choosing to write about these guys…. For starter’s they’re “AWESOME”!

But “Awesome” for whom? 

That’s the real question…

And the one that we’re going to hopefully be able to answer in the following article.  Because in this article, we want to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to own an English Setter so that if you’re ever given the opportunity to actually own one of these fantastic animals, you won’t be disappointed six months later that you did!

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

English Setter Dog Breed Fast Facts:

Country of Origin:  England

Original Purpose:  Bird setting and retrieving

Height:  24 to 25 inches

Weight:  50 to 65 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Sporting Group

Lifespan: 10 to 15 years

Origin of the English Setter Dog Breed

The English Setter dog breed is a rather “old” dog breed that dates back to the early 14th century, where these dogs were breed to help hunters hunt for birds.

In particular…

These dogs are believed to have been “cross breeding” several different hunting dogs together including a variety of different “spaniels” and “pointers”.

And unlike…

Hunting dogs where breed to help “flush” out game, these dogs were specifically breed and trained to simply “set” on game and wait for their hunting master to flush out the birds themselves or wait for an order to do so on their own.

The modern-day English Setter…

That we know and love today didn’t really come into existence until two very influential dog breeders named Welshman R.L. Purcell Llewellin and Edward Laverack made a dedicated effort to “perfect” the breed during the early 19th century ensuring that the breed would continue for countless generations to follow.

As a result of their efforts…

We now have two “types” of English Setters that folks will commonly refer to today which are directly related to the “kinds” of English Setters that both Llewellin and Laverack desired which are commonly referred to as either “show” types or “field” types.

Show “types” of English Setters…

Are derived from Laverack’s work with the breed and tend to be a “bit” larger than the “field” English Setters and also have a deeper muzzle and less spots or “freckles: on their face and coat.

“Field” types of English Setters…

On the other hand, tend to be the smaller of the two “types” of English Setters and were mainly breed for their “ability” in the field, rather than their overall appearance.  As an unintended consequence they just happen to have more “spots” on them, which we here at IndulgeYourPet happen to prefer!

Both the lines of…

English Setters were introduced in America in the late 1800s and were “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1878.

English Setter Physical Characteristics

As a general rule of thumb what you’re going to find is that most English Setters are going to be long, lean, and beautiful looking working.

And even though…

They may sometimes be referred to by a term that may no longer be in “vogue” in certain parts of the country, these “gundogs” are certainly a handsome breed.

A “handsome” breed with…

Very distinctive flat, wavy, and silky coat with feathering on the back of the legs, the tail, abdomen, underside, chest, and the ears.  All of which will be white, with a variety of spots and markings spread throughout which can vary in colors including:

  • Lemon,
  • Blue,
  • Orange,
  • And brown.

And while…

It is their distinctive coat that will typically give them away at first, there are several other features of this breed that should be mentioned as well.

Features such as their…

  • Oval-shaped skull,
  • Long and square muzzle

And their large brown eyes.

Following are the breed standard sizes:

  • Male English Setters are between 24-27 inches tall and weigh between 55 to 80 pounds
  • Female English Setters are between 23-26 inches tall and weigh between 45 to 70 pounds

Personality and Temperament of the English Setters

English Setters a gentle, kind, and affectionate dog breed that are certainly lively, but, not to the point that they’d exhaust their owners with their level of activity.

There also really…

Smart and amazing with children.  This is probably because they been trained for centuries to remain calm in the field and not scare away any birds until told to spring into action.


That seem to “transfer” very well to working and playing with children who can tend to be rather rambunctious and crazy at times.  Which your English Setter is more than happy to match and accommodate when the time is right but also relax and remain calm in the house when running and jumping would be inappropriate.

On that front…

The English Setter also makes a great watchdog which seems to have an “uncanny” ability to discern “good” guys from “bad” guys and be able to quickly settle down once a “stranger” has been properly introduced!

But before you…

Drop everything and start looking for the nearest English Setter breeder, we should point out that these guys can be a “bit” difficult to housebreak and are going to need require quite a bit of exercise in order to be truly happy.

This is why…

If you do decide to purchase an English Setter puppy or better yet adopt an English Setter rescue dog, you’ll want to be sure to enroll him or her in an obedience program right way and find out where all of your dog parks and dog trails are located.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy of the English Setter

Like all purebred dogs, English Setters are prone to a few diseases that are hereditary. The breed is a healthy one but, is still at risk of developing certain disorders.

Disorders such as:

The good news is…

That none of these conditions are necessarily life threatening which is why the average of an English Setter is 10 to 15 years.

The bad news is…

If you find yourself having to pay for the treatment of anyone of these conditions, you could be in for some serious “sticker shock” when you find out just how much it’s going to cost to treat any one of these conditions not to mention the fact that your dog could develop several of these conditions!

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet always advise any new pet owner to take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy on their new loved one.  This way if they ever do become sick or injured in the future, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of the cost of treatment.

For more information on who we “feel” currently offers some of the “best” pet insurance policies on the market right now, be sure to check out our Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • John June 22, 2019, 6:57 am

    Absolutely LOVE my English setter. Bit spoiled and used to a hike/run EVERY morning. If by chance I can’t get him out (due to an appointment) he becomes very vocal expressing his displeasure.
    High energy and a great running companion however, due to his birding nature very difficult to teach to heal – as he loves to run in a figure 8

    • indulgeyourpet June 22, 2019, 10:10 am


      Thanks for sharing, while none of us here actually own an English Setter, we each know folks who do and swear by them! They truly are a great dog breed!



    • Lynn F. March 15, 2020, 1:01 pm

      I had a English Setter that was the family favorite. He lived approx 12 years. I have wanted another English Setter since then but want to make sure I get one that has been breed responsibly because of all the health problems you might run into. These dogs are wonderful loving dogs. Not at all aggressive in behavior and they are people pleasers. It takes them quite a while to mature from the puppy stage 1.5 years. Up until that time they have attention deficit and don’t want to obey. After they mature and settle down a little all they need is a big back yard to run in and they are happy. Mine was a digger as well.

  • Jim a January 15, 2020, 8:58 pm

    Where can I find an english setter/dalmatian mix breeder?

    • indulgeyourpet January 16, 2020, 8:32 am


      Our advice would be to see if their might be a Facebook club in your area that has members who might know where to look locally in your area.

      Good luck!


    • Fran January 17, 2020, 7:16 pm

      Why the heck would you want a breeder for a mutt!! Go to your your local shelter please and thank you.

      • indulgeyourpet January 17, 2020, 7:41 pm


        While it is true that the English Setter was first “created” or “breed” by combining several different dog breeds at that time, it’s probably not fair to consider the breed today as a “mutt”.

        That said however, we would agree that supporting your local shelter and adopting there is by far the best choice unless someone one is absolutely determined to own one breed over another. In which case, choosing to work with a responsible and reputable breeder is a must.



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