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English Setter
Characteristics, History, and Health

English Setter

The English Setter is one of the oldest breeds of gun dogs, with a history that traces back to the 14th century. They originated in England where they were used for hunting game birds, specifically upland birds such as quail and pheasant. The English Setter's ability to 'set' (or crouch low) to indicate the presence of game was a trait that was highly valued by hunters in a time before firearms were widely used. The breed as we know it today, however, was largely developed by two men, Edward Laverack and R. Purcell Llewellin, in the 19th century. Laverack spent over 50 years refining the breed, focusing on appearance and hunting capabilities, while Llewellin, using some of Laverack's dogs, selectively bred for improved hunting capabilities. The English Setter is a breed of dog known for its elegance, athleticism, and friendly personality. They are members of the Setter family, which also includes the Irish Setter and Gordon Setter.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Old Hemlock Setter, Llewellyn Setter
Life Expectancy
12 years
Average Male Height
25-27 inches
Average Female Height
23-25 inches
Average Male Weight
65-80 pounds
Average Female Weight
45-55 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Double, Silky
Coat Colors
Blue Belton, Lemon Belton, Orange Belton, White, Blue Belton & Tan (Tri-Color), Liver Belton
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

English Setters can suffer from degenerative myelopathy, progressive rod-cone degeneration, and neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis 8 (NCL-8). Genetic testing can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

English Setters are known for their friendly and gentle nature. They are typically good with children and other animals, making them a great choice for families. They are also intelligent and trainable but can be a bit stubborn. English Setters are quite active and require regular exercise to prevent them from becoming bored and possibly destructive.

Fun Facts

English Setters have a unique 'speckled' coat, which comes in various colors such as blue belton (black and white), orange belton, lemon belton, liver belton, and tri-color.

Despite their hunting origins, English Setters are often described as 'gentlemanly' or 'aristocratic' because of their graceful movement and elegant appearance.

The "Llewellin Setter" is not a separate breed, but a strain of English Setter that's been selectively bred for hunting prowess.