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Considered an alert dog and a protector of the family, the English setter is quite friendly, gentle and mild-mannered, but needs regular interaction with people and brisk daily walks.

     English Setter At a glance


Weight Range:

Male: 55-80 lbs.
Female: 45-70 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 24-27 in.

Female: 23-26 in.


Floppy ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: >40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Very energetic
Longevity Range: 10-14 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: High Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Low
Tendency to Dig: Low Social/Attention Needs: High

Bred For:

Bird setting, retrieving


Length: Medium
Characteristics: Straight
Colors: White with orange, liver, lemon or black flecks
Overall Grooming Needs: High

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Sporting
UKC Classification: Gun Dog
Prevalence: Common

The English Setter Dog Breed

The English setter is one of the oldest gun dog breeds, with a history that traces back to the 14th century. Among its forebears are the Spanish pointer, French pointer and a variety of spaniels.

The dog is a beautiful, elegant, slim, white setter with blue, lemon, orange or brown speckling. Some dogs may be tricolored: blue, white and brown.

The hair is long, flat, silky and a little wavy. The eyes are large and hazel, the nose is dark, and the moderately long ears hang downward. The ears, tail, legs and underside are all heavily feathered.

A fully-grown male English setter stands 25 to 27 inches tall and weighs 65 to 80 pounds (29 to 36 kilograms). Females stand 23 to 25 inches tall and weigh between 45 and 75 pounds (20 to 25 kilograms).

The average life span of an English setter is 12 years, although some have been known to live well into their teens.


The English setter is a gentle, friendly, placid dog that is especially good with children. He is mild-mannered and sensitive and loves to both give and receive affection. These dogs are known to be alert and protective of their families and territories, but will calm down quickly when told to.

English setters are very sociable dogs. They enjoy being with both people and other dogs.

These dogs are known to enjoy roaming, digging and jumping. They are very active as puppies but are known to mellow out considerably when they fully mature.

Living With:

The active English setter needs plenty of exercise, particularly when he is a puppy. Hikers or joggers will find this breed blends in beautifully with their lifestyles. Minimum exercise should be a long, brisk walk every day, without which the dog might become difficult to manage. However, one should exercise a puppy or young English setter carefully; the dog's bones do not mature fully until about 12-14 mo. of age.

The English setter is an intensely friendly dog. He does not do well banished to the backyard or to a doghouse. Even more than most dogs, he needs to be with people and included in their daily lives.

The coat will mat and tangle if not brushed at least once a week. The deep flews tend to drip water after drinking.


The English setter is one of the oldest gun dog breeds, with a history that traces back to the 14th century. Among its forebears are the Spanish pointer, French pointer and a variety of spaniels. In fact, the breed was originally known as a setting spaniel.

The breed came into its own in England in the early 1800s when Sir Edward Laverack created a special hunting strain of the English setter. Later, R. Purcell Llewellin developed yet another hunting strain. The influence of these two breeders is so great that English setters are sometimes called "Laverack setters" or "Llewellin setters."

The word "setter" refers to the almost-seated position the dog assumes when he has discovered game.