The English Setter, is a medium-sized breed of dog, and is part of the Setter family. The original purpose of the English Setter was to set or point upland game birds, and the term “setting Dogges” is an ancient term used for setters. From the information that is available, it seems that the English Setter was a trained bird dog in England more than 400 years ago. Some evidence shows that the English Setter originated in crosses between the large Water Spaniel, the English Springer Spaniel, and the Spanish Pointer. When combined this produced an excellent bird dog that has a high degree of proficiency in finding and pointing game in the open county. Setters or “setting” dogs had become established and were widespread on British estates by the 17th century. However, the evolution into the more specific individual breeds of setters happened at a later date.
The overall appearance of the English Setter should be elegant. He is a medium-sized dog and the size can range from 24 inches for females and up to 27 inches for males. The head should be slightly domed, and the muzzle of the dog should have good depth and should show some chiseling under the eyes. The eyes should be dark in color and should display a kind, gentle expression. The ears lie in an elegant fold and the tops of them should be positioned in line with the eyes. He has well angled shoulders, a brisket of good depth, and a long muscular neck. He has strong hindquarters and the body is of a moderate length that is proportionate to its height. The tail should be long enough to reach the hock and is carried in line with its back. The main body coat lies flat, has a silky texture, and is short to medium in length. The base color of the dogs coat is white with differing colored ticking.
This breed’s temperament has been described by breed standards as a “Gentleman by Nature”. It can however, be mischievous and strong-willed. They are people-oriented, energetic dogs that are best suited to families that can give them activity and the attention they desire. They are also well suited to individuals such as hunters in which they can be given a job to do. The breed is active and require up to two hours a day of exercise. This dog has been described as “good natured”, “intensely friendly”, and loves visitors and is very especially happy with children.
The average life expectancy of the dog is 11-12 years however, 13-15 years is not unheard of. Some common health concerns with the breed include autoimmune thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia, and allergies. Some may be affected by cancer and this has been identified as the most common cause of death for the breed.