English Setter



Developed more than 400 years ago the English Setter is a distinct breed from the Gordon and Irish Setters. The origins of the setter breed can be traced back to 1500 in France and came about from combining the Spanish Pointer and the French Pointer. These original setters were known as "Setting Spaniels".

The word "setter" is derived from the position the dog adopts when hunting. Upon spotting game, setters tend to freeze in a standing position. This alerts his handler who in turn provides a cue to the dog prompting it to creep forward and flush out the birds. English Setters have been bred to adopt an almost sitting position when freezing to make them more visible to the Hunter. Setters hunt by air scenting over large distances and conduct this in a very methodical, systematic and silent manner. Being a gundog breed, setters are conditioned to be comfortable around the sound of gun shots. And they are generally bred for two purposes, either hunting or as conformation show dogs.

The English Setter is one of the oldest gun-dog breeds developed in England more than 400 years ago. French hunting dogs were brought over to England by Sir Edward Laverack who eventually developed them into the Laverack or English Setter. To this day Laveracks dogs remain the foundation stock for many top end conformation show dogs. Dogs bred for such shows tend to be larger and heavier than those bred for work.

Often described as a "Gentleman by Nature" the English Setter is an affectionate family dog that enjoys being around people and dislikes being confined or isolated. Considered above average in intelligence and being a gun dog breed it will need plenty of both physical and mental stimulation, especially if coming from a working breeding line. A minimum of 2 hours of exercise per day is recommended.

They are considered friendly, good natured and make great pets and also excel when given a job. At home their energy level drops and they enjoy laying around and make great lap dogs.

Although highly trainable English Setters can be strong willed and mischievous. As such, they do require a firm, calm and confident handler otherwise they can become a handful, difficult to house-train and subsequent behavioural issues may occur. Perhaps they are not the best choice for first time dog owners. Due to their gentle and sensitive disposition, they respond best to positive reinforcement training and generally do not cope well with harsh criticism.

The English Setter is a majestic looking dog that is long, lean, with a slightly domed head. The muzzle is long and there should be dark coloured chiselling under the eyes. It should have wide nostrils that is either brown or black in color. The eyes are large and hazel/dark brown. The ears are set back and low. The tail commences at the topline and tends to be thicker at the base tapering to a point with straight, silky feathering. Dewclaws are occasionally removed.

The base coat colour is white with flecks. The flecks occurring in English Setters are referred to as belton; are there a number of valid combinations including: 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" - blue, tan and white. The flecks should be distributed all over the body.

Height. Males 24 - 27 inches (61 - 69 cm) Females 23 - 26 inches (58 - 66 cm)

Weight. Males 55 - 80 pounds (25 - 36 kg) Females 45 - 70 pounds (20 - 32 kg)

English Setters are prone to hip dysplasia and gain weight easily if overfed. Females are vulnerable to false pregnancies. The average life expectancy is 10-12 years.

At Hong Kong Canine we offer a specialized training programmes for working dogs like the English Setter. We work with all breeds, ages and sizes.