Will An English Setter Dog Breed Be A Good Companion?

Background and Registry


The English Setters have been around for about 4 to 5 centuries already. They said to have been descended from the line hunting dogs and were even bred as one due to their exceptional senses.

English Setters are great at being bird hunters. They help point the birds they find to their masters by silently crouching down so their masters can seize the prey with their nets. They are also good at retrieving the catch. This is also why they are called Setters because they “set” the catch.

In the long history of English Setters, two names stood out – Edward Laverack and R. Purcell Llewellin. They were known to have crossed their English Setters together and have created the foundation for the lines of English Setters known at present.

Although English Setters are not mainly bred for hunting purposes at present, they still grace many households because their gentle temperaments make them one of the best companion dogs there is. They are simply superb, especially for active fur parents.

Registry with American Kennel Club

The English Setter is among those dog breeds that were first recognized by the American Kennel Club when they were established.

This breed is categorized under the Sporting Group along with other Setters, Pointers, Spaniels, and Retrievers.

General Information on English Setters

  • HeightMale 25 to 27 in, Female 23 to 25 in
  • WeightMale 65 to 80 lb, Female 45 to 55 lb
  • Lifespan12 years


Gentle, Sociable, Athletic, Calm

Best match

Families with older kids, Active single fur parents, home with fenced-in yard, spacious apartment with nearby parks

Physical Appearance

There is everything to love about the look of English Setters. They have big, brown eyes that speak their calm and silent energy. They have brown or black noses which are powerful in smelling prey, and they have adorable droopy ears.

English Setters do not come big. They are medium-sized dogs wherein the male ones could grow up to 25 to 27 in tall and weigh about 65 to 80 lb. On the other hand, female English Setters are slightly smaller in size, only growing up to 23 to 25 in and weighing about 45 to 55 lb.

You will not see this type of dog breed often. In fact, they can be rare, and getting one of them often means that you are included in the long waiting list.

Being categorized under the Sporting Group, expect that English Setters would have athletic bodies. Their coats are silky and extremely luxurious which definitely adds to their beauty and appeal.

The color of the coats of English Setters come in blue, chestnut, lemon, orange, tan, or liver Belton. There are also English Setters that come in white mixed with patterns of black or in tricolor. At birth, however, English Setters normally come in solid white.

It is indisputable that English Setters are one of the most beautiful dogs there is. They are among those who will stand out in a crowd and will gain a second look no matter what.



If you have an English Setter, investing in a high-quality bristled brush and a metal comb will be to your advantage. This would help you maintain its healthy coat and remove also all the dirt that got stuck in it. Moreover, this would help prevent dog hair from scattering all over your house.

The ideal brushing frequency for the coat an English Setter has at least thrice a week – although more often than that would also do you good. This would maintain its beautiful coat which is among the things that add to its appeal. This could also prevent its hair from tangling and matting which could be annoying to deal with.


Bathing your English Setter doesn’t need to be done frequently especially if it doesn’t get dirty easily. It’s even better if you don’t because this will wash off the natural oil it has on its coat which would cause it to look dry and unhealthy.

For an English Setter, every 4 to 6-weeks interval won’t hurt.

When you bathe your English Setter, you can only use dog-friendly shampoo and conditioner to aid you on the task. Find one that would allow your fur baby to smell good. Other products even have an anti-parasitic formula that you may want to take advantage of.

Other Grooming Needs

Your English Setter’s grooming wouldn’t be complete without cleaning all parts of its body.

The ears of an English Setter need cleaning at least once a week. There are dog ear cleaning solutions at the nearby pet store that you can use. Cotton can be used in cleaning the outer part. Do not use any sharp objects or even Q-tips as this may cause harm to the ears of your English Setter

In cleaning the ears of your fur baby you may also want to check for any unusual smell. If the ears of your doggo start to smell bad, then this can be an indication that your English Setter is suffering from an ear infection so might as well bring it to the vet.

The nails of your doggo need to be cleaned as well. Doing this once every other week is ideal to prevent it from being uncomfortable with it as it moves around. It prevents it from spreading dirt as well.

Lastly, the dental health of your English Setter should never be forgotten. You should brush the teeth of your pooch at least twice a week to ensure that it won’t develop tartar or plaque.

There are times when owners cannot deliver when it comes to the thorough grooming that their fur baby needs. There’s no need to worry, however, because there are groomers that could help you out. You could ask assistance from them until such time that you can already manage on your own.

They are not called professionals for nothing. They are thorough so you can definitely count on them.

Food and Feeding

Nowadays, fur parents would be happy to know that they wouldn’t run out of choices when it comes to getting the right dog food for their English Setters. There are a variety of brands available commercially for that. The only remaining challenge is choosing the best brand based on the ingredients.

If you want your fur baby to reap the maximum nutrition from the food they eat, you should give them dog food made from whole grain. You shouldn’t get one that is made of fillers and refined ingredients.

Although English Setters would need different amounts of food throughout their life, the ideal for fully adult English Setters is between 2 to 3 cups of kibble which should be distributed into two meals a day. This is not cast in stone because you could still increase it if you think they need more based on their daily activity, or decrease it if you think they need less.

There are fur parents who prefer to feed their English Setters canned dog food, cooked food, and raw food over kibble and that works too. Just ensure that the diet will contain all the nutrition the doggos would need.

If you want complete nutrition for your fur baby, you may also want to supplement their food with vitamins. This brings forth a positive impact on their bones, the English Setter’s coat, and even their immune system. There are different vitamins available but a veterinarian could surely help you out in choosing the best one.

Exercise and Physical Activity

Don’t be fooled by the mellow attitude of your English Setter inside your home because this pooch is not lacking when it comes to energy. In fact, it is very energetic that there are times when it’s hard to keep up with it.

With an English Setter being traditionally bred as a hunting dog, you can expect that it would need plenty of exercise before it can be contented for the day. It would need 1-hour of high intensity at the very least to give it sufficient physical and mental stimulation.

The 1-hour daily exercise doesn’t need to be in one go. This can be divided into two schedules so that you won’t overtire your pooch.

If your English Setter is not conditioned for vigorous exercises, you may want to start bringing it out first for a few minutes of short walks. Then increase the time and the distance as it gets used to it. This would give your fur baby a challenge while improving its endurance.

A normal walk around the neighborhood would bore your English Setter. So over time, you should be able to find new activities that would continue to challenge it.

You’ll find that an English Setter would be a great companion during hiking trips if you are an active person. It would also be great in keeping up with you if you want to go for a run. You’d even find that there are English Setters that love a good swim. Being natural athletes, English Setters would also enjoy various dog sports.

If you think you are still not giving your fur baby enough exercise, then you can give it additional playtime at an enclosed yard. Even alone, it is guaranteed that an English Setter would find something to entertain itself.

But if you want to help it out, you can supplement its daily exercises with a ball or other dog toys. Chasing a ball would give it the additional exercise it needs.

You will find that when you don’t get your English Setter sufficient exercises, it would fall easily into boredom and depression. This would cause it to develop unfitting habits that in many instances, can be annoying and destructive.


Right Training Approach

You’d be lucky to know that when you get an English Setter, you are in for a pooch that is moderately easy to train. It wouldn’t even matter if you are a first-timer in handling such a breed because training an English Setter wouldn’t be an issue for you.

You should keep in mind though that an English Setter is a sensitive dog breed. Because of this, only positive reinforcement will work when training it. Rewarding it with praises, cuddles, or treats is a great way to motivate it.

Raised voice or intimidation should be a no-no because it will only discourage your fur baby. It may break its spirit and the bond you have established with it. Even a negative tone in your voice could upset an English Setter so while you are training it, make sure to only use an encouraging and happy tone.

It will also do you good if you keep the training schedule short. An English Setter or even other types of dogs tend to wander out of boredom during long training hours. Thus, keeping it short but two to three times a day will be more effective.

You will find that being a smart pooch, your English Setter may get easily bored in repetitive tasks involved in obedience training. But do not fret because as long as you are geared with a lot of patience and yummy treats then you will do okay in gaining back its cooperation.

But just in case, you can also make your training activity more creative. Make it more challenging and train at different places so there is always something new that will stimulate its senses. But don’t pick a place without too much distraction. In that way, it can still focus on the task at hand.

Basic Training

It was mentioned above that an English Setter is not that keen to go through repetitive tasks. Nevertheless, obedience training should still be on top of your list as this will instill discipline in your doggo.

Start with simple commands such as sit, stand, and rollover. With how smart an English Setter is, it will learn these commands in no time. Just be sure that you also employ consistency in your efforts.

Potty training should also be high on your priority list. This will help your pooch be house trained and will stop it from treating any part of your home its personal bathroom. For sure, you don’t also want to be constantly cleaning after your pooch.

When it comes to potty training your English Setter, creating a schedule on when to bring it out to do its business is vital. The best time is always upon waking up, before sleeping, and sometimes in-between meals. This is the time perceived when your English Setter would need to do its business.

When you maintain this schedule for your English Setter dog, soon enough you’ll find that it would wait until you let it out before it pee or poop. It may even develop its own way of communication when it needs to go ahead of the normal schedule. Sometimes it whines by the door, scratches the door, or even paces restlessly in front of the door.

If you are done with the basic and wants your English Setter to go advanced, then you can do that too. There are many credible trainers out there who could help you out if you need assistance.


Socializing your English Setter should also be a part of its training. This would help it be a well-rounded dog.

Contrary to what many believe, socializing their doggo is not a difficult task. All you need to do is to introduce it regularly to people and pets outside of those who it considers as its family.

The advantage of socialization is that it could help build the confidence of your English Setter in how to act around different people. It could also help eliminate its potential to be aggressive. Lastly, it would make it easier for your fur baby to get along with other people and even other animals.

Common Health Concerns

It is unfortunate that like other breeds, English Setters are also prone to health issues. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your English Setters will absolutely acquire any of the diseases listed below because this dog is still a healthy breed. But these are the health concerns that were observed to hit their breed in recent years.

Some of these health disorders are the following:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a skeletal condition wherein the ball and socket joints do not fit well with each other. This may affect one or both hind legs of your English Setter. Extreme pain is associated with this condition because instead of working smoothly, the ball and socket joints rub against each other instead.

An English Setter who has Hip Dysplasia normally exhibits uneven walk, particularly on the hind part. Some even walk on a bunny hopping motion or have difficulty moving at all.

This type of disorder can be hereditary but there are instances when it can also be caused by accidents or imbalanced growth of the bones. There is no cure for this but there are pain medications to manage the pain. There are also cases when an English Setter suffering from this needs to undergo surgery.

Elbow Dysplasia

Like Hip Dysplasia, this is a condition on an English Setter’s skeletal makeup. Instead of the hind part, Elbow Dysplasia affects the front legs of an English Setter. This is when the bones composing its elbows do not work together as expected normally due to abnormal growth of the bones. Likewise, this also causes pain to your fur baby.

Elbow Dysplasia impacts the mobility of an English Setter. Some of them exhibit a swimming motion as they move around, while some suffer from swelling elbows.

Pain medications are prescribed to English Setters who are suffering from this condition. In some cases, surgery is recommended.

Hearing Loss

English Setters also suffer from hearing loss that is oftentimes inborn. In many cases, fur parents do not immediately notice this until after some time.

An English Setter who has a hearing defect would need a special kind of care and attention. It doesn’t mean that it cannot have a normal life because there are many ways to help it cope and make life easier for it. However, this can be particularly challenging particularly for a first-time parent.

Depending on the gravity of the deafness of your English Setter, there are medications or procedures available that could still improve the hearing of your fur baby. But in some cases, a fur parent should also accept that this may already be the permanent state of the fur baby.

There is no way to control the heath issue that will be passed on to your English Setter dog breed especially if this is hereditary. But one precaution is to get English Setters only from reputable breeders. By doing this, you can lessen the probability that the English Setter you are going to get is with a poor health condition. They will even support this with health clearance and other documentation.


An English Setter has a life expectancy of an average of 12 years. In many cases, there are those that even exceed this. But this depends on the care it receives during its lifetime.

Generally, the healthier your English Setter is, the longer it can live. Thus, it is only necessary to give it a nutritious dog’s diet, sufficient exercise, and medical care.


English Setters are among the most gentle dog breeds you’ll ever meet. They are tempered and very sociable which goes well in getting along with the people around them.

Despite having a gentle nature – some would even consider this as a prim and proper behavior – English Setters are far from being a boring dog breed. They know how to have fun too but they just know where to do this and that is in the great outdoors.

Once out there, you’d find that they easily transform into playful and very lively dogs which is natural for dogs belonging to the Sporting Breeds. They are packed with energy but they are more controlled in releasing them. Thus, you won’t have an issue keeping up. They are even willing to go your pace if you are bonded enough.

English Setters may be calm dog breeds but this doesn’t discount the fact that they are good watchdogs. No strangers could get past their alert senses and they are not shy in letting their family know if there are trespassers. They won’t go crazy aggressive but their bark knows how to deliver a warning to the strangers coming in. Nevertheless, they also know when they need to be protective.

One should keep in mind that although it is in their nature to be calm and sociable, it is not right to expect English Setters to just magically be those without you exerting any effort in socializing and training them. At the end of the day, bad traits may still develop if fur parents wouldn’t instill discipline on their fur babies from puppyhood and if an English Setter would grow up in a home where it is frequently treated poorly.

English Setters As Family Pets

English Setters would be a good fit for active fur parents. They are energetic enough that they can be great companions for different outdoor activities or when you just want to go on a hike. They wouldn’t easily tire during long walks especially if their body is conditioned for such activities daily. They are even friendly dogs that you wouldn’t worry about them turning against people you encounter along the way particularly if they are socialized from a young age.

An English Setter could also get along well with kids. They are very patient so they won’t have any issues tolerating the young ones’ antics. With how gentle an English Setter is, sometimes it doesn’t even mind that it is already getting hurt in the process. But precautions should still be made to prevent accidents from happening to both your children and your doggo.

other pets, that would also sit well with your English Setter. It won’t have any issues particularly if they are brought up together. If it is a new pet, it would work also to not leave them unsupervised. An English Setter, no matter how even-tempered, can still act like a hunting dog given their history.

An English Setter would do best if it lives in a home with a fenced-in yard. But apartments would do also as long as it is spacious enough and there is a place where it can exercise. An English Setter is not a barker so you don’t have to be concerned. But it can develop the habit if not trained.

If you are a fur parent that normally goes away for a long period, then you can do away with an English Setter. This dog breed loves to be with its favorite human round the clock, thus, it wouldn’t appreciate being left behind. It even tends to develop separation anxiety whenever it sees its fur parent go.

At the end of the day, if you want to get an English Setter, you may want to weigh first if this will be a perfect fit for you. But one thing is for you, English Setter is a dog breed that won’t have qualms in loving you as long as you know how to properly take care of it.

The Cost of Getting an English Setter

Purchasing an English Setter Puppies

A lot of people would be tempted to get an English Setter just for their looks alone. Add their gentle and amazing temperament, you’re probably among those who won’t pass up the chance.

You can have an English Setter from reputable and responsible breeders for around USD1000 to USD1500. There are also English Setter pups for as low as USD600 but with this amount, you are not sure if your money is worth it especially if you cannot get any guarantees regarding the condition of the pups.

There are many perks when you get your English Setter dog from a reputable breeder. They have a breeding program wherein puppy’s parents that will be crossed go through a strict vetting first.

The health condition is checked to ensure that they cannot pass on any existing condition to their litter. The pedigree is also verified to ensure that you are getting nothing less than a pure breed. They even prefer to use champion lines to parent your pup.

Upon the birth of English Setter puppies, they even go through a series of health checks. They make sure that all the medical care is provided together with good nutrition until they release the pup to the would-be fur parents. Thus, you are sure that the pup you are getting is nothing less than superb in terms of quality.

If you prefer to get an English Setter puppy from a puppy mill, you cannot get the same privileges. Yes, you can get English Setter puppies for a low price but they can have genetic health problems which would just cost you more in the long run. Keep in mind that any type of medical care is expensive.

Puppy mills do not have a reputation for ethical breeding. They normally produce pups for the bucks so oftentimes the condition is compromised.

Considering the Shelters

If you are short on bucks and if you want to make a change, you can also help rehome English Setters that are in the shelters. Purebreds they might be but there are also instances when they are still abandoned by their owners which is unfortunate.

There are risks involved in adopting an English Setter or other pets from a shelter. However, if you are one with a lot of love to give, you can easily turn the odds in favor of you. English Setters could love you back in no time when you show them the love and care they deserve.

Other Costs to Consider

In getting an English Setter, you shouldn’t only focus on the money you need to set aside so you can buy one. You should also think about the cost you need to meet so you can give it a good life. Most often than not, fur parents overlook this so many pets end up in animal shelters.

In getting an English Setter or other breeds, among the necessities they are going to need would include food, shelter, and dog accessories. The dog accessories would be the leash, dog bowl, bed, and toys which dogs would need in their daily lives.

The aforementioned necessities will not just be a one-time expense. Although the dog accessories are not things that need to be changed frequently, an English Setter would need a steady supply of food for it to grow strong.

There are also miscellaneous expenses involved in getting an English Setter. For instance, there may be a need to dogproof your house or have your backyard fenced for it to have a safe place to live and play in. You may also need to pay for services such as grooming, doggy daycare, and training.

Needless to say, there are numerous expenses involved in getting a pet.


An English Setter is one of the best companion dogs there is. It is great for most types of fur parents particularly those who are active ones because you will be instantly granted a partner in your adventures. It won’t even have problems with children and other pets which is a plus too. It would give you unconditional love and affection so long as you would treat it right.

But before you make that first step in getting an English Setter, you should check first if you can give an English Setter or any type of dog breed a comfortable life. Getting any type of pet is a huge commitment and you have to ensure that you can meet its needs throughout its life.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Are English setters good house dogs?

A: There is no doubt that English Setters are great house dogs. They are mild-mannered and gentle dogs which makes getting along with other family members, not a problem. They can be trained too which bodes well even if you are only a first timer in owning the breed. Further, they would be a good companion to adventures particularly if you are an active individual.

However, to maximize the potential of an English Setter, you should be able to commit to its training, exercise, and socialization requirements. This would also help your English Setter be a well-rounded dog.

Q: Does an English Setter shed?

A: An English Setter does shed. During this time, you need to increase the frequency of their brushing so that you can immediately remove the dead hair on their coat. This would prevent said hair from tangling and matting and would help in the upkeeping of your fur baby.

Q: Are English setters calm dogs?

A: English Setters are mellow dogs. They do not just go misbehaving inside the house especially if they are well trained. However, expect that they are going to act as the Sporting breeds that they are during playtime and exercise. They are active and athletic dogs that would do well in almost all types of dog sports.

Q: What breeds make English setters?

A: English Setters are known to have descended from the hunting dog breeds. Their exact origin is not known but research shows that they may have come from the spaniels and pointers several centuries before.

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