English Setter

"The Gentleman of the Dog World"

Photo of English Setter


Although the breed's forebears date back to the fourteenth century, the modern English Setter results from the efforts of two nineteenth-century residents of the United Kingdom: Edward Laverack and Richard Purcell Llewellin. Laverack's breeding efforts resulted in a gentle dog who made a fine companion and show animal, but did not always perform well in field trials. To correct this perceived deficiency, Llewellin crossed Laverack's English Setter with other breeds that exhibited more prowess in the field. Today, the Llewellin setter is considered to be the field-bred English Setter, while Lavarack's dog is the foundation for the breed's show dogs of today. The show dogs are generally larger and have more abundant coats than the field dogs. The English Setter was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878, and in 2006 ranked 98th among 154 breeds recognized by the AKC.


The English Setter is said to be one of the sweetest-tempered, most well-mannered dogs to grace the planet. Like most sporting breeds, these dogs need plenty of exercise and enjoy being outside. However, they need to be with their people just as much, if not more, than they need to work off excess energy. However, the English Setter's affection goes beyond people; these dogs also enjoy being in the company of other dogs. They are among the most affable members of the canine kingdom, and can excel as therapy dogs.


English Setters are generally 24 to 25 inches tall at the shoulder. Their coats are white with markings in orange, blue, lemon, or liver. They have long, floppy ears, and long furnishings on their trunks, legs, and tails. Like all setters, their heads are long and relatively narrow, especially when compared with other sporting breeds.


Although the English Setter's rapport with people and natural good manners are legendary, he may not be too thrilled with undertaking precise or advanced obedience training. Still, these dogs do respond well to basic training that is loving and positive in approach, as well as to field training.

Grooming & Care

This breed is relatively easy to care for: weekly or bi-weekly brushing, periodic trimming of the furnishings, and monthly baths are all that's needed to keep an English Setter looking his best. Weekly ear cleanings and pedicures are also important.

Health Concerns

Like any purebred dog, the English Setter has his share of inherited health issues. Among the chief health concerns are hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and deafness. Breeding parents should have OFA, CERF, and BAER clearances.

Famous English Setter

Jim the Wonder Dog, famed for his mental abilities and memorialized by a statue and museum in Marshall, Missouri.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level Active
Schedule Part-time or willing to hire a dog walker
Personal Style Easygoing and casual, Affectionate
Training Style Patient, Positive, Satisfied with the basics
Home Fenced yard or access to one
Children Older kids
Experience Not necessary
Quick Facts
Size Medium
Grooming Brush a few times a week
Exercise Very high - this breed loves to run and needs vigorous daily workouts
Training Can be stubborn, Early socialization is very important
Temperment Friendly, Enthusiastic, Intelligent
Challenges Needs to hunt things.
Height 24 to 27 inches
Weight 55 to 65 pounds
Life 10 to 15 years
Home Alone Fine with lots of exercise first
With Kids Fine with older kids
With Strangers Friendly
Availability Available, so choose your breeder carefully

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.