Protective, Friendly, Devoted — The English Setter Dog Breed

English Setter Dog Breed

With a mane most humans would die for, the English setter catches your eyes with its long, flowing locks and steals your heart with his unending devotion. Protective, yet friendly, this breed will fill your days with playtime and companionship.

Do English Setters Bark a Lot?

While English setters aren’t known as barkers, they have no problem letting you know when a stranger approaches your home. This breed does have an issue with being left alone, as they are very social creatures and want nothing more than to be with you. Separation anxiety can cause your English setter to have various unwanted habits, including excessive barking and destructive behavior while you’re away. This breed may take to jumping on you as you come through the door, due to its strong attachment to its family members. And, thanks to their long memories, once an English setter learns something, it can become a habit—good or bad.

english setter hunting

Not addressing these behaviors early on could lead to out-of-control behavior down the road. However, there’s hope; these energetic athletes of the dog world may chill while alone if given regular daily physical exercise and mental stimulation. When trying to reduce your English setter’s barking, consistency in your methods and the use of positive reinforcement works best.

Be careful using food as an incentive, because this breed has a tendency to gain weight rather quickly.

Facts About English Setters

One of the oldest gun dog breeds, English setters can be traced back to the 14th century. It is believed they are the result of crossbreeding between a Spanish pointer, springer spaniel, and the large water spaniel. The word “setter” refers to an English setter’s almost sitting position it takes when this breed locates game birds when hunting. English setters are pretty sociable and enjoy being around humans and other dogs. Playful, and full of energy, English setters are known for their love of roaming, jumping, and digging.

  • Size: 45 to 80 pounds and about 23 to 27 inches tall
  • English setter lifespan: English setters live on average 12 years
  • Coat: Medium length silky, speckled double coat with colors liver, orange, and lemon
  • AKC group: Sporting

Are English Setters Easy to Train?

English setters may score the highest in obedience competitions, and they are relatively easy to train the basics: sit, stay and come, provided the training is positive-reinforcement based.

It’s worth noting, the English setter temperament tends to be willful, and without sufficient mental stimulation, mischievous. English setters perform well at jobs that require concentration and problem-solving abilities, making hide-and-seek and scent games a necessity. These guys are also not couch potatoes, so expect plenty of playtime along with training.

Do English setters make good pets?

Good-natured, affectionate, and devoted companions, English setters make great family pets and do well with children thanks to the breed’s patience. This breed is adaptable, making them an excellent choice for small or large homes, providing they have room to roam outdoors.

Is the English setter a good watch dog or guard dog?

While an English setter isn’t your typical threatening looking guard dog, they will do a fine job of alerting you when strangers are around. With that said, they will also warm to strangers you welcome into your home.

Do English Setters Need Grooming?

English setters shed a lot and require a good amount of grooming thanks to their long, silky hair. Brushing at least once a week with a soft bristle brush will help maintain the coat, while a metal dog comb (with long teeth) can make it easier to prevent or work through tangles. You can further keep your English setter looking its best by routinely trimming around the face and feet. Regularly check your pet’s ears as an English setter as floppy ears which can make them ideal breeding grounds for bacteria.

All dogs’ nails need to be trimmed regularly, especially if they don’t spend a lot of time outside on hard surfaces, which naturally file down dogs’ claws. Most breeds do well with a nail grinder or a guillotine style nail scissor, although the latter can be hard to use if your dog has black nails (because you can’t see the quick).

English Setter Mixes

Although not one of the more popular breeds to mix, the affectionate English setter can make for some adorable mixes. A combination with a breed that requires little grooming may lessen the grooming needs of an English setter mix offspring. If you’re interested in finding a unique English setter mix here are some popular English setter breed mixes:

  • +Border collie = English Borsetter collie
  • +Boxer = English Boxetter

Resource Links for More English Setter Information