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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > English Setter Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

English Setter Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

English setter dog looking at a distance

Lovely and lively, the English Setter is a medium-sized purebred dog that was originally developed in England to find and point gaming fowl. As amazing at home as he is out on the hunt, the English Setter is an intelligent and active dog overflowing with personality and playfulness.

Breed Overview


18 – 21 inches


40 – 55 pounds


10 – 12 years


White with orange flecking (orange belton), black, tricolor, blue belton (black and white), lemon belton (white and lemon), liver belton (white and liver)

Suitable for:

Active families, active singles, people who have large backyards


Loyal & loving, energetic, intelligent, easy to train

While many folks might confuse this breed with the Irish Setter, the English Setter is worlds away. If you’re still on the fence about buying this breed, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here’s your complete guide to caring for an English Setter.

English Setter Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

divider-dog paw

English Setter Puppies

English setter puppy sitting outdoor
Image Credit: Stupina Kseniia, Shutterstock

An affectionate and active breed, the English Setter is a loyal and loving family pet that is social with strangers, friendly with other dogs, and great with young children. Highly intelligent, the English Setter loves to learn and can pick up on basic commands with ease. Indoors, this breed loves to lounge around and cuddle on the couch. However, outside, he’s a completely different dog and enjoys running and romping in a big backyard.

This dog is best suited for active families that can provide him with tons of daily exercise and mental stimulation. If you live in an apartment or can’t comfortably exercise this dog, the English Setter may not be a great fit for you.

Since this is a purebred dog, English Setter puppies are on the pricier side of the spectrum.

english setter lying on grass
Image Credit: michellegraber, Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the English Setter

Through almost 500 years of strategic breeding, the English Setter is among the world’s most beautiful, loyal, and intelligent purebred dogs. Rooted in their love for the hunt, the English Setter’s personality is a combination of hard workmanship, superior intelligence, and friendliness.

Commonly referred to as “gentlemen,” English Setters are great pets for active families. Without his daily exercise quota, this dog can get into mischief. Tons of mental and physical stimulation is critical for this breed.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes! The English Setter makes a great family pet for people who can devote the proper amounts of time to adequately exercise and train this dog. Generally an easy-going dog, the English Setter is great with kids and also the elderly. He is tolerant of tots and a great playmate for older children. Always supervise playtime between your children and any dog. Never allow your kids to pull on your pet’s fur, ears, or tail. Do not allow them to pester the dog while he is eating.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The English Setter is a great addition to a multi-pet household. He loves to roughhouse and run with other larger breeds and can do well with smaller dogs. Due to his high prey drive, the English Setter may be tempted to “hunt” smaller pets, such as cats and bunnies. Never leave this breed alone and unsupervised with your smaller animals.

english setter dog
Image Credit: michellegraber, Pixabay


Things to Know When Owning an English Setter:

The most important thing to consider before buying an English Setter is if you have enough time to devote to this dog’s activity needs. Due to his history of hunting, the English Setter is constantly on the go and needs at least two hours of vigorous exercise each and every day.

Here is everything else you need to know to ensure you provide a healthy and happy home for your English Setter.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

English Setters are medium-sized dogs with large amounts of energy. As such, yours will need a high-quality kibble with enough calories to properly fuel his activity levels. Feed your English Setter about two cups of protein-packed kibble divided into two meals each day. Ensure he always has access to fresh water.

Exercise 🐕

One of the most important things to consider before buying an English Setter is if you can provide your dog with sufficient amounts of daily exercise. A high-strung breed, the English Setter needs two or more hours of physical exercise daily. Take him for a brisk jog, play fetch with him in the backyard, or enroll him in a weekly agility training class to tire him out. Without enough exercise, your English Setter can develop destructive habits, including excessive barking and chewing. If you do not have the time to fulfill your dog’s exercise needs, an English Setter isn’t right for you.

side view of an english setter dog
Image Credit: Terje Ansgar Eriksen, Pixabay

Training 🎾

English Setters are natural learners and teaching them basic tricks is a breeze. While positive reinforcement training works best, it’s also important to make training sessions purposeful. A natural worker, English Setters are at their best when they have a job to do. Make yours feel useful by catering to his natural need to hunt. Ask your English Setter to retrieve your slippers, the morning paper, or his favorite toys.

Grooming ✂️

Thoroughly comb your English Setter’s thick fur a few times per week to prevent matting and tangles. Clip his nails as needed. Be sure to brush his teeth every day to promote tooth and gum health.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Skin allergies
Serious Conditions
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Lysosomal storage disease
  • Hypothyroidism

A generally healthy dog, the English Setter can live for up to 12 years. However, this breed is susceptible to certain health conditions. Regular vet checkups, plenty of exercise, and high-quality dog food are all essential for your English Setter’s wellbeing.


Male vs Female

Male English Setters are bigger than females by a few inches and a couple of pounds. Both genders are fun-loving and friendly.


3 Little-Known Facts About the English Setter

1. They’re an Extremely Old Breed

English Setters have been around for more than 500 years! They were developed to flush out and hunt game birds. They earned their name for their ability of “setting,” or crouching in a low position while hot on the trail of prey.

2. They’re a Smaller Setting Breed

The English Setter is one of the smaller setting breeds and is substantially tinier than the Gordon Setter and Irish Setter.

3. They Were Bred for Beauty

During the 19th century, there was a development in English Setter breeding to enhance their overall appearance and aesthetics. Today’s English Setters have very distinctive coat patterns.


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a happy-go-lucky dog with lots of love to give, the English Setter could be a great choice for you. Athletic, agile, and smart, the English Setter requires plenty of physical and mental stimulation. A bored English Setter can get into trouble.

If you have the time and energy to train, exercise, and engage your dog, the English Setter might be the perfect pooch for you.

Related Reads and Breeds:

Featured IImage Credit: Gonzalo Jara, Shutterstock

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