The English Setter is a breed of dog from the Setter family. The Setter family includes Irish Red and White Setters, red Irish Setters and black and tan Gordon Setters. Male English setter males are slightly larger than females with the males averaging 60-70 pounds and females 45-55 pounds. The English Setter is a very graceful dog that's full of stamina. They have a lean and log head with silky ears and fringed tail. Their neck is long and muscular meeting with a level back that just slightly slopes toward the tail, which tapers to a point and is carried level with their and straight when they're moving.
The English Setter is a breed of dog that is affectionate and gentle as well as being friendly. They are not a shy or aggressive dog. They may have been bred for hunting, but they enjoy being around people and part of a family. They get along good with other dogs and children and are fairly easy to train. The English Setter is the perfect dog for a family for first time dog owner.
The coat of the English Setter is flat and medium length with light feathering. They coat naturally flows and will require regular grooming. The field setter has less feathering than the show setter, but both look similar.
The color of the English Setter may be a variety of colors with the most common being a speckled coat referred to as belton, which is white with black (blue belton) or orange flecks (orange belton). They may also be liver colored or white with black and tan flecks, which is called a tri-color belton.
The English Setter was originally bred over 400 years ago as a bird dog. Their job was to point upland game birds. They were trained in England to retrieve birds. They were developed by crossing the larger Water Spaniel, Spanish Pointer and Springer Spaniel. The result of this cross was an excellent bird dog that was very proficient in pointing and finding any game in open country. In the 1800s, Edward Lavarack and Purcell Llewellin worked together to develop a special type of breed that would be a working setter. Their creation was known as the Llewellin Setter. This is not a separate breed but did have separate bloodlines. In time they had the perfect breed developed, with the first one being shown in the Newcastle upon Tyne. As they became more and better known in England, they became more popular.
Shortly after this time, they were brought to North America where they were used in field trials and once again their popularity soared. Today the English setter is referred to as one of the most elegant and popular sporting breeds. Today there are two types of English Setter: the show dog and the field dog. The field type is a little smaller and has less feathering on their bodies.
The most common way to describe the English Setter has always been as a "gentleman by nature". In spite of this, they can be very mischievous and strong-willed when they feel the need. They are active dogs that enjoy being around people and will do best when they're with families that spend a lot of time with them. They enjoy being in the house, even content to be a couch potato at times and cuddled. Most English Setters are good with children.
The English Setter is a very intelligent dog that, with the exception of herding, can be trained to do almost anything. Because of their natural birding instinct, they tend to distract easily.
The English Setter is a fairly healthy breed of dog. Very few of them are less than healthy although some do have genetic problems. Some of the problems the English setter may experience are hip or elbow dysplasia, canine hypothyroidism, and congenital deafness. Dysplasia is a disease that affects joints of the dog, with hip dysplasia being more common than elbow dysplasia. X-rays can be performed on the dog to determine if they have hip dysplasia. Generally, when a dog has hip dysplasia, it shows up in the first year or two of life. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the dog lacks the hormone thyroid that their body requires. A specific form of cancer is common with older dogs of this breed. They should not be overfed as they are very prone to becoming overweight. Female English setters often develop false pregnancies.
The English Setter has a soft flat coat that's medium length and very easy to maintain. All they require is regular brushing to keep any tangles and burrs out of their hair as well is help when they are shedding. They should not be bathed anymore that they absolutely have to be because too frequent bathing strips their coat of their natural oils which they need for a healthy glossy coat. The hair on the both of the feet can be occasionally trimmed.
The nails of the setter should be trimmed regularly so they don't get too long and break off on their own. Because they are an energetic active dog that enjoys running around outside, they can rip their nails too deep and possibly hurt the vein. The ears should also be cleaned once a week. Wash them with a moist cotton ball, making sure you dry them thoroughly. Regular maintenance of your English Setter makes it easier to detect any problems they may develop as well as checking for fleas or ticks. It's very easy for this dog to pick up parasites or ticks with all the time they spend outdoors, especially if they are hunting in the woods or brush.
The English Setter is a very energetic and active dog that needs a lot of exercise. Because they were bred to hunt, they require this sort of activity. While they don't have to be out hunting every day, they need regular exercise. They enjoy going for a walk, but will benefit more from a brisk fast-paced walk then from a slow leisurely walk. If you have a fenced in yard, they'll love the freedom to run around and play.
If the English setter doesn't get adequate exercise, they tend to become restless and it often affects their behavior making them difficult or mischievous. This is a dog that loves playing retrieving games such as catch with a ball or Frisbee. If you have a yard, they can run around off the leash. However, if you're walking them in the open public, they will need to be on a leash or they may take off after some small animal. The more exercise the English Setter gets, the healthier they'll be. Because they are prone to hip dysplasia, avoid letting them make large jumps, which may put strain on their hips. When they are still puppies, let them dictate when they've had enough energy as you don't want them to overexert themselves.
The English setter was originally bred to track animals by stalking them and waiting for their owner to come and do something with them. They were dogs that could independently do what was expected of them. Because of this, they will try to bring this independence into the home. It's important that they be given basic obedience training at a young age so they learn whose boss and what's expected of them.
They need to be trained to walk on leash in a public setting as well as around other people without tearing off after a small animal, etc. They are an intelligent dog that loves pleasing their master and will do well in any training situation that involves patience, consistency and praise. Many owners find that crate training is very successful in housebreaking this dog. With consistent and proper training, the English setter will make a wonderful pet and family dog, whether it's used as a hunting dog or companion dog.