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

Yep, you read this right; this article will discuss 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 starters, they’re “AWESOME”!

But “Awesome” for whom? That’s the real question and the one that we will be able to answer in the following article, hopefully. 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 allowed to 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 relatively “old” dog breed that dates back to the early 14th century when these dogs were bred 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 other “spaniels” and “pointers.” Unlike hunting dogs, bred to help “flush” out the game, these dogs were explicitly bred and trained to “set” on play 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 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 species 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 frequently referred to as either “show” types or “field” types.

Show “types” of English Setters…

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

“Field” types of English Setters…

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

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

Physical Characteristics

As a general rule of thumb, you will find that most English Setters will 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 handsome.

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 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.

While their distinctive coat will typically give them away at first, several other features of this breed should also be mentioned. Features such as their…

  • Oval-shaped skull,
  • Long and square muzzle

And their large brown eyes.

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

English Setters are a gentle, kind, and affectionate dog breed that is undoubtedly lively but not to the point that they’d exhaust their owners with their activity level. They are also brilliant and excellent with children. This is probably because they have been trained for centuries to remain calm in the field and not scare away any birds until told to spring into action.


That seems to “transfer” very well to working and playing with children who can tend to be rather rowdy and crazy at times. 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 an excellent 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” challenging to housebreak and require a lot of exercise to be truly happy. If you purchase an English Setter puppy or adopt an English Setter rescue dog, you’ll want to enroll them in an obedience program immediately and find out where all your dog parks and trails are located.

Potential Health Concerns

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

Disorders such as:

The good news is that none of these conditions are life-threatening, so an English Setter’s average is 10 to 15 years.

The bad news is…

If you find yourself having to pay for the treatment of any of these conditions, you could be in for some profound “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 for their new loved one. If they ever 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, check out our Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Jim a April 15, 2020, 8:58 pm

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

    • indulgeyourpet April 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 April 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 April 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.



  • John June 22, 2020, 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, 2020, 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. December 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.

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