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English Setter- (Dog Breed Information)

English Setter-A Sporting Dog and Pointer

The English Setter is a medium-sized sporting dog. They are graceful, elegant, proud and are also a pointer since they freeze and point in the direction of the prey it has found. It has been said, “As a breed to share one’s life and living space with, no other breed gives me more pleasure than the English Setter.”

These lovely dogs get along well with children as well as other people and dogs.

At A Glance

  • Breed: English Setter
  • Breed Group: Sporting
  • Temperament: Mellow, Friendly, Merry
  • D.H.T. Outdoor Ranking: -/10 For Temperate Climates
  • Worldwide Popularity: Low
  • Breed Origin: England

General Information And Breed History

The English Setter is a sporting dog along with being a pointer.  This dog is a medium-sized breed. It is part of the setter group, which includes the red Irish Red and White Setters, and black-and-white Gordon Setters. Their coat is mostly white with flecks of color in different color varieties. at medium length with long silky fringes on the back of the legs, under the belly and on the tail.

A gentle beast but at times strong-willed and a little mischievous.  This gun dog was bred for a mix of endurance and power, it is used to hunt for game such as quail and pheasant.

When working, the dog will hunt methodically seeking the airborne scent of its prey. 

Setters hunt by covering over large distances in a methodical fashion, quietly hunting game by scent. When prey has been found by smelling the air, the setter will stop, freeze and point in the direction of the prey. Once the dog has shown where the birds are by freezing on point, upon order it would then slowly inch forward to scare the birds into flying. The hunter who had been following the Setter would then release hawks to seize the birds in the air.

Nets were sometimes used instead of hawks. Setters would be used to show the hunter where the birds were. The hunter would then come up behind the setter and throw a large net over the birds.

General Appearance

The English Setter is a medium-sized dog that has a graceful overall appearance. Its size can range from 24 inches for females up to 27 inches for males. The head is slightly domed with a muzzle that has depth and the eyes, which are normally dark in color have a kind, gentle expression. They have a long muscular neck, well-angled shoulders, and a brisket of good depth. The body is of a moderate length proportionate to its height and it has strong powerful hindquarters. It carries its tail in line with its back. 


A setter’s body is muscular and athletic. Their muzzle is long and square. The neck is long and graceful, muscular,and lean.

  • Head- Long and lean with a well-defined stop
  • Muzzle – Long and square
  • Eyes – Large and round
  • Tail – Carries straight and level with topline


The English Setter has a beautiful coat that is flat and has feathering on the underside, backs of legs ears, underside of thighs, and tail. They are mostly white with different specks or flecks of orange, white with black markings, tricolor with tan on the muzzle, over the eyes and on the legs, lemon, and liver. The coat requires a lot of grooming.

Legs & Feet

Legs are straight and strong. They do not turn in or out. Their feet face directly forward. Toes closely set, strong and well arched. Pads are tough and durable.

Tail & Hindquarters

The Setters tail is long with feathering, carried straight and level with their back. Their hindquarters are wide, muscular thighs and well with lower thighs. Pelvis equal in length to and forming a nearly right angle with upper thigh. The Lower thigh is only slightly longer than the upper thigh. Hock joint well bent and strong. Hind legs, when observed from the rear are straight and parallel to each other.

General Statistics

  • Life Expectancy: 12 Years
  • Height (at the withers): 27 inches
  • Male: 25 – 27 inches
  • Female: 23 -25 inches
  • Weight:  80 lbs
  • Male: 65- 80 lbs
  • Female: 45 – 55 lbs

Recommended Dog House Dimensions

The recommended dog house dimensions can be found on the dog house dimensions charts for 440 recognized breeds which includes this dog breed that looks like a wolf.  But to save you time, here are our dog house minimum size recommendations:

  • Door Height: 29.7 inches
  • Door Width: 18.9 inches
  • Inside Ceiling Height: 36.5 inches
  • Interior House Length: 59.4 inches
  • Interior House Width: 37.8 inches

Expected Costs

Breed Average Puppy Cost: $600 USD

Starter Costs: $2,000

This is our estimate for initial purchase, shots and a few things like food, a bed, leash, that sort of thing.  Basically, this will get you set up but the costs will be greater once the dog is old enough to get spayed or neutered.

Anticipated Annual Care Cost: $500- $1000

How The English Setter Reacts To


Setters are enthusiastic and mild-mannered. They do extremely well in a family environment making them great with children. This breed loves to bark and makes a great watch or alert dog. T. The English Setter is a very quick learner, however vies for human attention and require much of it or they can become destructive and somewhat of a tyrant.

Other Dogs:   

The English Setter should not be trusted around smaller and more passive animals, however, they can do quite well with other more common animals such as the cat and the dog, given they have been socialized.


This breed will do quite well with cats as long as they have been socialized.

Other Animals:

They will do great with cats and other dogs, but not so much around smaller animals. Best not to keep them around any other pet you may have that is not a cat or dog.

Care Requirements


Exercising your setter is very important. This breed is very active, so, therefore needs lots of physical activity to keep healthy both mentally and physically. A great form of activity for this breed is a daily run or playtime in a rather large secured fenced area. But, this is not ideal for most people as not all of us have large yards that our dogs can run around in. So, that being said, English Setters can keep up with a bicycle, or jog with their owner and they even like long hikes in the woods! But if the setter is under the age of two, their bones have not fully matured, so running is not a good option because of the impact of the concrete on their little bones. Avoid high impact for young setters. After a long walk, or run, the setter will be more than happy to join you in some relaxation for the evening.

Grooming & Coat Info

In order to maintain a setter’s long, silky coat they need to be brushed at least once a week with a soft bristle brush. A long-toothed metal dog comb can also come in handy for gently working through areas where tangles may be beginning to form. If tangles and mats are not taken care of at first sight they can cause skin problems and not to mention how uncomfortable it would be for them to deal with mats and tangles. Regular trimming around the face, feet, and other areas can keep the coat looking neat and tidy. Their nails should be trimmed once a month, and bathed every four to six weeks as this will keep the coat and skin clean and healthy.

Health & Nutrition

The English Setter does well on a high-quality food diet. Speak to your veterinarian to find out which is the best for your Setter. Remember to follow the instructions and do not overfeed your dog. If you are going to feed your dog human food, make sure you know the foods that are safe for your dog to eat.

Deafness, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and bloat are some health concerns with this breed. A responsible breeder will scan their stock for these health issues. This breed is a generally healthy dog.


English Setters are wise, good-natured, and devoted companions. They are very sensitive so tough reprimands hurt their feelings. The best way to train them is with happy reinforcement rather than making them sad with negative energy. Their super nose and prey drive can lead them to follow their instincts which is to hunt,—but this can get them into a pickle, so it’s important to start their training as soon as they are able consistency is golden.

Puppies are like that curious cat. They want to play with everything, so please remember to keep valuable or unsafe items out of reach. When given the attention, training, and exercise he needs, an English Setter is wonderfully companionable and pleasantly manageable in the home. If they are not given attention or training needed, then well you may just have a tyrant on your hands, but we won’t have to experience that since we will give them all the love, attention, exercise and training that they need.

Recommended English Setter Book:

English Setter Gifts

Frequently Asked Questions

Do English setters bark a lot?

The English Setter who is a sporting dog is a great watchdog and will bark to alert its family that someone is approaching the den(home). They are generally quiet indoors, but they cannot take being alone for hours and will express their unhappiness through chewing on things and barking loudly. If you are a family that is not home for most of the day, then this breed is not a good choice.

How do setters hunt?

The English Setter hunts by keeping its head held high so that it can smell its prey. Once it locates it prey it freezes and its body points in the direction of the hunt just like a pointer. The hunter then comes along and catches the prey.

Do Setters Shed?

Setter are moderate shedders but don’t fret, regular brushing will help keep dead hair from ending up onto your floor, furniture, and clothing.

Are Setters Pointers and Sporting Dogs

Yes, the English Setter is considered to be a pointer as well since they freeze and point when they have located prey, and they are definitely a sporting dog.


  1. Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds- D. Caroline Coile, Ph. D.
  2. American Kennel Club –
  3. Wikipedia –
  4. Canadian Kennel Club –
  5. The Kennel Club –

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