English Setter

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The English Setter is a breed of dog. It is part of the Setter family, which includes red Irish Setters, Irish Red and White Setters, and black-and-tan Gordon Setters. It is a gun dog, bred for a mix of endurance and athleticism.




The coat is flat with light feathering of long length or short length depending on the type. The bench or show type has a long, flowing coat that requires regular grooming. The field or hunting type has a shorter coat that requires less grooming.

The various speckled coat colours when occurring in English Setters are referred to as belton; valid combinations are white with black (blue belton), white with orange flecks (orange belton)), white with orange flecks and lighter nose (lemon belton), white with liver flecks (liver belton), or "Tricolour" which is blue or liver belton with tan markings on the face, chest, and legs.


This breed's standard temperament is best described as a "Gentleman by Nature".[1] However, it can also be strong-willed and mischievous.[2] English Setters are energetic, people-oriented dogs, that are well suited to families who can give them attention and activity,[3] or to working with a hunter, where they have a job to do. They are active dogs outside that need plenty of exercise in a good sized fenced-in yard. Inside they tend to be lower energy and love to be couch potatoes and lap dogs that love to cuddle.[citation needed] Many are good around children.

They rank 37th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of above average working/obedience intelligence. English Setters are very intelligent and can be trained to perform about any task another breed can do, with the exception of herding. However, they are not always easy to train, as their natural bird instinct tends to distract them in outdoor environments.[citation needed] Their temperament is considered a soft one. Therefore they are very sensitive to criticism, and could be unwilling to repeat a behaviour out of fear to disappoint the trainer. Positive reinforcement training methods therefore work best for English Setters.


Setters have few genetic problems but some problems occasionally occur. Canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, congenital deafness (affecting 12.4% of the specimens of the breed[4]), canine hypothyroidism, and autoimmune thyroiditis (affects 27.4% of specimens[5]) are some of the more well-known ailments that can affect this dog. A specific form of cancer is also common in older members of the breed. Some lines are prone to allergies including food allergies. Life expectancy is between 10 to 12 years, though with proper medical care 13 to 15 years is not out of the question.

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