The English Setter originated in England in the 1300s and has been used for hunting game birds since the 1500s. They are small to medium sized dogs about 25 inches tall and about 60 pounds on average. It is part of the Setter family that includes Irish Setters and Gordon Setters. They are athletic but elegant looking with long legs and a lean build perfect for running. Their coat is of medium length and has feathering on the tail, legs, abdomen, chest, and ears. There are five different colors, which are blue belton, blue belton and tan, lemon belton, orange belton, and liver belton. Although they were bred for hunting, this breed has become a popular addition to the family because of their friendliness and eagerness to please. The English Setter was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1884 and is the 102nd most popular dog breed.
The English Setter gets its name from the way they sit (or set) when they find game. They would sit by the game until their master was able to net the bird. They are also good pointers and hunters, which is believed to be due to their mixed breeding back in the 1600s. This was presumably done because of the use of guns for hunting so the English Setter could point rather than sit by the game. According to the AKC, the English Setter is a mix of Springer Spaniels, Large Water Spaniels, and Spanish Pointers in combination with its Setter background. The name of the flecks in the fur (belton) come from the town where the man (Edward Laverack) who started this breed hunted. The flecks in the white fur can be blue and tan, blue, lemon orange and liver colored. Edward Laverack began the English Setter breed in 1825 and it is this bloodline that all English Setters are based on. Another man who influenced the English Setter was Purcell Llewellin, who was a breeder who got his dogs from Mr. Laverack. Mr. Llewellin crossed his dogs with other English Setters that were known for their field capabilities and these dogs were then imported to the United States. It is Mr. Laverack’s English Setters that are the foundation for the show dogs and Mr. Llewellin’s dogs that are known for their field capabilities. They are now classed as a sporting dog with the AKC and a gun dog with the United Kennel Club (UKC). The English Setter has been a registered breed with the AKC since 1884 and they are the 102nd most popular breed.
English Setters are beautiful and elegant dogs that are not only good hunters and gun dogs, but also show dogs. They come in colors that sound tasty such as lemon, orange, and liver (if you like liver) and their medium, silky coat has long, flowing fringe on the tail, legs, abdomen, chest, and ears. The fur is flat and has no curl or woolliness. The English Setter has a long neck; muscular, straight legs; and a square muzzle with large nostrils and a black nose. Their large, dark eyes are round and give them an intelligent and curious expression. They have a long head with a well-defined face and their ears are set back and even with the eyes. The tail is long, straight, and has long fringe. Their graceful gait gives them a floating appearance with the long, feathered fringe flowing in the wind. When running, you can see the strength of the legs and long reach, which is what makes the English Setters such good field dogs.
Your English Setter needs to be combed and brushed at least three times a week so they are a high maintenance dog breed with all of their long feathering. You should use a metal comb and slicker brush to remove dead fur and condition the coat. Use your fingers to untangle any mats. You may need to use conditioner if the mats are difficult to remove. It is recommended that you bathe your dog once or twice a month to keep her clean and healthy. Use a mild shampoo and conditioner recommended by your veterinary care provider. This will help with shedding and dry skin. You can have your dog groomed and trimmed if she is not a show dog. Keep her nails trimmed to prevent cracking and check her ears for dirt, wax, and other debris. You can use an ear cleaner specially made for dogs. Brushing her teeth regularly will also prevent dental disease and bad breath.