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About the English Setter

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The Friendly "Feather Tail"


The English Setter is known for its good natured and intensely friendly personality whose mellow temperament makes it an excellent family member. It is a medium-sized dog with a medium to long silky white coat flecked and/or patched with color. A member of the Sporting group of dogs, English Setters love to bond with their human "pack" members - they are NOT a dog to be left alone in a dog house at the back of the yard. They would much rather be wherever you are. Their happy, loving and gentle personalities also make them excellent Therapy Dogs.
English Setters are one of the oldest breeds of gun dogs with a history that traces back to 14th century England. They were bred to "set" and with the introduction of the gun, point upland game birds. There are now two distinct types of English Setters; bench or show setters known as Laveracks, tend to be larger with longer coats (feathering) and heavy lips. They are usually registered with the American Kennel Club. This is the type of Setter usually seen at dog shows. The profuse coat of this type requires regular grooming.
The field or hunting type Setters, often called Llewellins, tend to be smaller, have less pendulous lips, less coat and fewer spots. They are usually registered with the Field Dog Stud Book and can be seen competing in hunting tests and field trials. Both types share the easygoing, loving personality that makes this breed so appealing.
The English Setter can be fairly easy to train but has a stubborn streak that takes the form of quiet resistance rather than outright disobedience. An impatient owner who shouts and applies rough physical correction will get very poor results in the training of this breed. English Setter puppies require early, consistent and patient obedience training. It is important to note that English Setter puppies do not mature until they are approximately two years old.
Anyone interested in owning an English Setter is encouraged to learn as much as possible about the breed before making a decision. Attending an English Setter event and contacting breeders is a great way to learn. Breeder referrals can be found on the English Setter Association of America website ( Local and national English Setter rescue groups can be found on our Links page.