English Setter Dog Breed Profile

English Setters are beautiful and charming dogs that are elegant yet powerful. The name “Belton” comes from the intermingling of darker hairs all over the body.

A well-balanced hunter stands about 25 inches tall at the shoulder under the showy suit.

Blue Belton, orange or lemon Belton, blue Belton and tan, and liver Belton are all colors associated with his English hunting heritage. Edward Laverack, the father of the breed, liked to hunt in Belton.

An English Setter with a blue Belton coat is white with black markings; orange or lemon Belton is white with orange or lemon markings; blue Belton and tan has tan markings, rendering this dog a tricolor; and liver Belton is white with deep reddish-brown markings.

A slender neck confidently carries the long, oval-shaped head, and the dark brown eyes have a gentle smile. The merry English Setter is known as the gentlemen of the dog world, but he is a bit of a rascal when it comes to playtime. English Setters get along well with both people and other dogs.

When these dogs find game birds, they would “set” or crouch low, so hunters could throw their nets over them. Breeders bred the dog after the gun was developed to stand in the more traditional Pointer form.

English Setters are still used in recent times as hunting dogs as well as family pets. This super-attached dog adores their human family and even other dogs, but apartment dwellers beware!

These pups are very energetic and require a lot of daily exercises, so they’ll do best in a home with plenty of room to run around.


  • Since English Setters may become nuisance barkers when they are young, you should prevent them from doing so.
  • English Setters gain weight quickly but keep track of what they eat and cut back if they seem to be gaining weight. Introduce daily exercises to keep their weight in check.
  • A fenced yard is required; English Setters cannot be trusted to remain in an unfenced yard.
  • Since English Setters are capable of digging and leaping, make sure they have a stable fence.
  • Potty training can be challenging, so start early and be consistent.
  • Never buy a puppy from an irresponsible pet store, breeder, or puppy mill, if you want a healthy dog.


Setters have been used as hunting dogs used to hunt game birds in England for over 400 years. They were most likely a mix of many hunting dogs, such as pointers and spaniels. Edward Laverack of England and Welshman R.L. Purcell Llewellin created the modern English Setter in the nineteenth century.

In 1825, Laverack bought his first two dogs, Ponto and Old Moll, from Rev. A. Harrison, and they became the breed’s base. Laverack focused his efforts on creating a gentle and companionable Setter.

He most likely crossed his lines with Pointer and Irish Setter, producing dogs that excelled in the show ring but struggled in field trials.

Llewellin began with Laverack-type dogs and worked to enhance their field results. To develop their scenting ability and pace, he crossed them with Gordon Setters and other breeds.

In the late 1800s, both types of English Settlers came to America. Laverack’s line became the basis for today’s show setters, while Llewellin’s line became the foundation for field dogs.

Today’s setters have a distinct look with their sculpted heads, muscular bodies, and long feathery tails. Show dogs are typically a little bigger than field dogs. They have a more opulent coat and a slightly different coat pattern.

Colour patches are standard in field English Setters, but they are not appropriate in show dogs.


Males can stand 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh 65 to 80 pounds; females can be 23 to 25 inches and 45 to 55 pounds.


The English Setter should be gentle, affectionate, and kind. He’s energetic, as befits a sports dog, but not to the point of exhaustion. An English Setter will bark to warn you that someone is entering the house, but he will accept visitors to whom you introduce him.

Temperament isn’t something that happens in a vacuum. A variety of factors influence it, including heredity, schooling, and socialization. Puppies with a good disposition are curious and playful, and they enjoy approaching people and being carried.

Choose a puppy in the center of the pack, rather than abusing his littermates or hiding in the corner. Often visit at least one of the parents — the mother usually is the available one—to ensure that they have pleasant personalities.

Meeting the parents’ siblings or other relatives will also help you assess what a puppy would be like as an adult.

When English Setters are young, they, like all dogs, need early socialization — exposure to a variety of people, sights, sounds, and experiences.

Your English Setter puppy will grow up to be a well-rounded dog if he or she is socialized. Enrolling him in puppy kindergarten is a fantastic place to start.

Regularly inviting friends over and introducing him to crowded parks, dog-friendly restaurants, and strolls to meet neighbors would all help him improve his social skills.

English Setters are people-oriented, but they may also be independent thinkers due to their hunting background, which also requires them to work well away from the hunter.

Strong reinforcements such as food rewards and affirmation are used to train them with compassion and consistency. If you mishandle your English Setter, he will become more stubborn and less likely to do your bidding. Maintaining interest in your preparation is your best bet.

Keep training sessions short, engaging, and always end on a high note. Always praise your dog when he does something well. This is called Positive reinforcement.


English Setters are relatively safe, although they are susceptible to some health conditions, which can be genetic health disorders, as are all breeds. While not all Setters can contact any or all of these illnesses, it’s vital to be aware of them if you’re thinking about getting one.

English Setters are relatively safe, although they are susceptible to some health issues, as are all breeds. While not all Setters can contact any or all of these illnesses, it’s vital to be aware of them if you’re thinking about getting one.

Find a decent breeder who can show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents if you’re buying a puppy. Health clearances demonstrate that a dog has been screened for and cleared of a specific disease.

Setters should have health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a fair or better score), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease, as well as thrombopathia clearances from Auburn University and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying normal eyes.

You should search the OFA website for health clearances (offa.org). Hip Dysplasia (HD) The thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint, which is a heritable condition. Some dogs exhibit pain and lameness in one or both rear legs, but a dog with hip dysplasia does not show any signs of discomfort.

Arthritis can grow as a dog ages. The University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program or the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or provides X-ray screening for hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia dogs should not be born.

If you’re buying a puppy, make sure the breeder can show you evidence that the parents were checked for hip dysplasia and found to be well.

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition, but it may also be brought about by environmental causes such as accelerated growth due to a high-calorie diet or injuries sustained when jumping or sliding on slippery ground.


Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too little hormone. Infertility is a moderate symptom of the disease.

Obesity, mental dullness, low energy levels, drooping eyelids, and irregular heat cycles are some of the more visible symptoms. The dog’s hair becomes coarse and brittle, falling out, and the skin becomes tough and dark.

Hypothyroidism is handled with occasional medicine that must be provided to the dog for the rest of his life. A dog that receives thyroid therapy on a regular basis will live a complete and happy life.


Deafness is a fairly common condition that can present a number of difficulties for both the dog and the owner. Deafness and hearing loss may be managed with medication and surgery in some cases, but deafness is rarely healed.

A deaf dog requires patience and time, and there are many tools available, such as vibrating collars, to make life easier for you and your puppy.

If your dog has been diagnosed with hearing loss or complete deafness, consider whether you have the courage, time, and resources to care for it.

Regardless of your decision, you can inform your breeder so that he or she can take precautions to avoid repeating the breeding.

Elbow Dysplasia

Large-breed dogs are prone to this heritable disorder. Different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog’s elbow are believed to be the cause of joint laxity.

This may result in arthritic pain or lameness. Your veterinarian may suggest surgery to fix the problem or pain relief to alleviate the discomfort. Maintaining a good weight for your dog often relieves pressure on his joints.

Since there are different degrees of elbow dysplasia, it’s difficult to predict how it would affect your dog.


An English Setter’s dream situation is to live in a house with a fenced yard where he can play. He won’t be able to wander off in pursuit of birds or other prey if he has a fence around him.

Weekly obedience classes and regular half-mile walks will fulfill his needs from 4 to 6 months of age. You should gradually increase the distance and duration of your walks as he matures.

English Setters are curious and active dogs who will investigate and chew everything they can get their hands on. No accidents in the house and nobody is irritated cleaning pee or excretes with a puppy in a crate.

Start early with your English Setter’s housetraining and compliment him when he goes outside to potty.


2 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food per day, split into two meals, is the recommended daily number. The amount of food your adult dog consumes is determined by its size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level.

Dogs, like humans, are unique individuals that need different amounts of food. A dog who is very active would need more than a dog who is sedentary.

The type of dog food you buy makes a difference as well; the better the dog food, the more it will nourish your dog, and the less you’ll have to shake into his bowl.

Coat Color And Grooming

One of the English Setter’s charms is his attractive coat. The coat is entirely smooth, with no curl or wooliness. The ears, chest, abdomen, undersides of the thighs, backs of the legs, and tail are all embellished with feathering.

Wash him with a stiff bristle brush at least three times a week, preferably daily, to keep his skin safe. Every six weeks or so, give him a bath to keep him smelling fresh.

He sheds like all dogs, but brushing him regularly will keep loose hairs off your clothing and furniture.

An English Setter has a beautiful coat when well-groomed. Wash him with a stiff bristle brush at least three times a week, preferably daily, to keep his skin safe and his coat shiny, and use a steel comb to gently remove any tangles or mats.

Every six weeks or so, give him a bath to keep him smelling fresh. He sheds like all dogs, but brushing the coat regularly will keep loose hairs off your clothing and furniture.

For a tidy look, you may want to trim stray hairs every six weeks. If you’re not sure how to do it, take him to a licensed groomer or ask the breeder to teach you.

Check and clean his floppy ears weekly to avoid ear infections because they obstruct air circulation.

Brush your Setter’s teeth at least twice or three times a week to get rid of tartar and the bacteria that live inside them. Brushing your teeth on a regular basis is much easier if you want to avoid gum disease and bad breath.

If your dog’s nails don’t break down naturally, trim them on a regular basis. They’re too long if you can hear them tapping on the cement. When your Setter jumps up to greet you, short, neatly clipped nails keep your legs from being scratched.

When your Setter is a puppy, begin accustoming him to being brushed and inspected. Handle his paws constantly — dogs’ feet are sensitive — and examine his mouth and ears.

Make grooming a pleasurable activity for him, complete with encouragement and incentives, and you’ll be setting the stage for simple veterinary exams and handling when he’s older.

Check the face, ears, nose, mouth, eyes, and feet for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation. There should be no redness or discharge in the eyes. Your weekly examination will allow you to detect possible health issues early.

Children And Other Pets

It’s more normal to need to protect an adult English Setter from children than it is to need to protect a child from an adult English Setter. He’s patient and laid-back, and he’ll put up with a ton — even though he shouldn’t have to!

Since puppies and toddlers are also in the process of being civilized, they need constant attention to avoid ear pulling or tail tugging.

Many breeders tend to sell puppies to families of children that are at least six years old and capable of self-control. Adult English Setters are recommended for families with younger children.

Whatever the circumstance, tell your child never to touch a feeding dog or attempt to steal the dog’s food. A child should never be left alone with a dog.

English Setters get along well with other dogs and animals, mainly if they were raised in the same household. They are, however, birdy, and you should keep your pet birds safe until you’re sure your Setter knows that they aren’t allowed. 

Rescue Groups

English Setters are often purchased without a good understanding of the responsibilities that come with owning one. Many Setters are available for adoption or fostering. There are a few rescues that we haven’t mentioned yet.

If your region does not have a rescue identified, contact the national breed club or a local breed club, and they will be able to direct you to a Setter rescue.

You May Also Like