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Adopt an English Setter

English Setter Dog Breed

Picture: Robert Dowling/Corbis


gundog, setter, pointer

Area of origin:


Original function:

bird setting and retrieving

Average size of male:

Ht: 25, Wt: 60-65

Average size of female:

Ht: 24, Wt: 50-55

Other names:


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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

English Setter Dogs Available on Petfinder Right Now

See more adoptable English Setter dogs available on Petfinder

English Setter Dog Temperament

Bred to cover a lot of area when hunting, the English setter is a lively dog that loves to hunt and run. This is especially true of dogs from field lines. If not given sufficient exercise, they can be overly lively inside. With daily exertion, however, they are calm and tractable house dogs. Those from conformation lines are particularly laid-back and gentle and excel with children and less active adults. This is an amiable, easygoing breed that gets along well with children, strangers and other dogs.

English Setter Dog Care

The English setter needs a lot of exercise every day, requiring at least an hour of hard exertion. He does best when he can live inside and play outside. The long coat needs regular brushing every two or three days. The white coat may be difficult to keep gleaming in some areas. Some clipping and trimming every month or two is advisable for optimal good looks.

English Setter Dog Health

Major concerns: deafness, CHD, elbow dysplasia
Minor concerns: PRA, OCD
Occasionally seen: epilepsy
Suggested tests: hip, elbow, hearing, eye
Life span: 10-14 years

Interested in the history of the English Setter dog breed?

Even before the advent of the shotgun, when birds were often caught with a net, dogs were trained to crouch when they pointed game. These "setters" were the forerunners of today's setters. The English setter is the oldest known of this group, perhaps dating back to the 14th century. He was developed to locate game on the moors and then to freeze until the game was dispatched. The English setter's ancestors probably included the Spanish pointer, springer spaniel and large water spaniel. The cultivation of the English setter through concerted pure breeding was undertaken by Edward Laverack beginning around 1825 and continuing for over 35 years. These dogs formed the basis of all English setters today. Incidentally, the term belton was coined by Laverack to describe the roan or ticked flecks of color and comes from the town of Belton, where Laverack hunted. The other most influential breeder, Purcell Llewellin, obtained his foundation stock from Laverack but based his breeding on field ability alone. Llewellin crossed his Laveracks with unrelated English setters to produce such outstanding field dogs that many were imported to America. The Laverack and Llewellin setters diverged, with the Laverack providing the foundation for the show setters and the Llewellin forming the foundation for the field setters. Both types have enjoyed steady popularity in America.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with English Setter Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with English Setters ready for adoption:

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