Origin and History: one of the oldest of the gun dog breeds; originated in France over 500 years ago by crossing of French and Spanish pointers; came to England in 1600 and spaniel crosses were added. A setting breed, it will ‘set’ or crouch as it air scents the birds in the field. It was originally called a Setting Spaniel. Crossing the Laverack line (show dogs) and the LLewellin line (field dogs) developed the breed that is familiar today. AKC recognition in 1884.
General Appearance: a bit smaller than the Irish and Gordon setter but still elegant and substantial, he is the ‘moderate setter’ ; an active dog with strength and stamina but not as rollicking as the Irish Setter; combines a noble appearance with grace and style. Height and Weight: males about 25 inches and 60-70 pounds: females about 24 inches and 45-55 pounds.
Coat and Colour: body coat lies flat, and is silky smooth to touch, never curly or wooly; longer feathering on ears, chest, tail, backs of legs, under belly, and underside of thighs. Puppies nearly always born white; Many colour patterns exist; Black and white, orange and white, liver and white, lemon and white, white, black-white and tan, orange belton, liver belton, lemon belton, tricolour belton, blue belton. Belton is an English village and in the case of the English setter, refers to the ticking pattern on the coat.
Feeding: Use any good quality kibble or proper raw diet. Feed twice daily and avoid heavy exercise before and after meals: Kibble should be softened with warm water before feeding: Generally good eaters so take care that proper weight is maintained: must not be allowed to become overweight.
Training and Obedience: firm kind and consistent training methods are a must: a sensitive breed that will not do well with harsh punishment: will do decently in obedience but may not be as quick and precise as other faster, smaller breeds: They are not natural retrievers but can be taught to enjoy chasing a ball.
Temperament: kind and calm nature, not as rollicking as the Irish Setter: considered a ‘gentleman’ and loves to be near his family: Good with kids, cats and other dogs. Will be guardy if sensing an intruder and tend to be barkers so this trait needs to be stopped at a young age. The English setter as a medium/large breed , makes an excellent family pet.
Activity and performance: excel in the field, and in hunt tests. Will do well in agility, , Frisbee, rally and are ok when properly initiated, in the water. When training outdoors for any of the above activities, they might be easily distracted by birds. They require daily vigorous exercise to stay fit. A walk or safe run in an open field away from distractions and traffic will keep them fit. Because they air scent their birds, care must be taken when off leash.