English Setter

English Setter

Group: Sporting Group

Origin: Great Britain


    – Males: Approx. 25 inches (63cm)
    – Females: Approx. 24 inches (62cm)


    – Males: 65 to 80 lbs
    – Females: 45 to 55 lbs
English Setter
Image by Nicki5623 from Pixabay

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Breed Profile

The English Setter is an elegant gun dog with well developed hunting instincts. He is a true gentleman by nature, with a kind and gentle expression. Because of his lovable disposition, beauty, and abilities in the field, the English Setter breed has maintained his popularity as a family companion. He makes a wonderful house dog as well as an excellent personal hunting dog. His good-nature and eagerness to please make him excellent with children and a good candidate for Therapy work. His competitive attitude makes him good at field trials, obedience, conformation, and agility.

The English Setter is one of three modern Setter breeds — The Gordon Setter was developed in Scotland, the Irish Setter in Ireland, and the English in England and Wales. Setters today are all distinctive in their appearance with feathered coats and tails, slender bodies, and finely sculpted heads. The English Setter is the smallest of the three and known as the “moderate” Setter, both physically and in temperament.

The English Setter’s coat is flat and without curl or wooliness. He has feathering on the ears, chest, belly, underside of the thighs, the back of all legs and tail. His colouring is either black and white, orange and white, liver and white, lemon and white, white, black-white and tan, orange belton, liver belton, lemon belton, tri-colour belton, or blue belton. The belton markings can vary in degree from clear, distinctive flecking to roan shading.

Health Issues

Although the English Setter is known to be a healthy breed, like all breeds, they can be susceptible to certain health issues, including:

  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia — According to the English Setter Association of America, the current average for Hip Dysplasia in English Setters is about 24% affected with the percentage decreasing.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies — English Setters have been known to have allergies to pollen, flea bites and molds.
  • — Approximately 10% of the English Setter breed may suffer from bilateral or unilateral deafness.

If you are considering the adoption of a English Setter puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Recommended Health Screening:

For the English Setter, the CHICNOTE 1 database includes health screenings for:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Congenital Deafness
  • Also listed as “Optional”: Autoimmune Thyroiditis

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Did You Know?

  • The breed originated in England, where it was developed for bird hunting and retrieving and has a history dating back to the 17th century.
  • The breed is known for its beautiful, silky coat that comes in a variety of colours,
  • English Setters are known for their friendly and gentle nature. They are affectionate and enjoy human companionship.
  • The breed has a keen sense of smell and their ability to scent and locate game is impressive.

Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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