Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

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

English Setter dog
Height: 18 – 21 inches
Weight: 40 – 55 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Colors: 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
Temperament: Loyal & loving, energetic, intelligent, easy to train

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.

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.

divider-dog paw

English Setter Puppies – Before You Bring One Home…



3 Little-Known Facts About English Setters

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.

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.


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 Image Credit: Zelma Brezinska, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets