English Setter

English Setter

30 June 2023

Let’s talk about… English Setters: what are they?

  • English Setters are elegant and athletic dogs that were originally bred in England for bird hunting and retrieving.
  • They belong to the sporting group of dog breeds and are known for their graceful appearance and friendly nature.
  • Famous English Setter owners include President Herbert Hoover, Bette Davis, Brigitte Bardot and Clark Gable.
  • English Setters have a medium to large build, with males standing around 61-69 cm tall at the shoulder, and females slightly smaller at 58-66cm.
  • Their average weight ranges from 25-36 kg.
  • They have a life expectancy of about 10 to 12 years.

English Setters  Exercise Needs: 4/5 Grooming Ease: 3/5 Trainability: 4/5

What is the temperament of English Setters like?

  • English Setters have a friendly and gentle temperament, making them excellent family pets.
  • They are known for their affectionate nature and love being around their human companions.
  • They are generally good with children and other pets when properly socialised from an early age.
  • They enjoy mental stimulation activities such as obedience training, puzzle toys, and interactive games.
  • They also have a strong instinct for hunting and may show some pointing behaviours. Providing outlets for their natural instincts, such as supervised off-leash play in secure areas or participating in dog sports like field trials or agility, can help satisfy their needs.
Finn, the English Setter

How much exercise do English Setters need?

  • English Setters are an active breed that requires a good amount of exercise to thrive. On average, they need around 1 to 2 hours of exercise per day. This can include activities such as brisk walks, jogging, playing fetch, or engaging in mentally stimulating games.
  • When it comes to puppies, their exercise needs differ from adult dogs. While they are still growing, it's important not to overexert their developing bones and joints.
  • Puppies should have controlled exercise sessions that include short periods of play and exploration in a safe environment.
  • As a very general guideline, puppies can start with around 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, up to twice a day. But this should be tailored as per your vet’s advice on your individual dog.
  • English Setters usually reach their full exercise capacity at an adult level around 12 to 18 months of age. However, individual dogs may vary, so it's important to monitor their energy levels and adjust their exercise accordingly.
  • English Setters are intelligent dogs that require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviour. Engage them in interactive games, puzzle toys, and training exercises that challenge their minds. Consider activities such as scent work or obedience competitions to keep them mentally engaged.
Flint, the English Setter

Do English Setters need a lot of grooming?

  • English setters come in a variety of colours, including blue, orange, tri-colour, lemon and chestnut belton.
  • English Setters have a medium to long coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best. Their feathered coat is prone to tangling and matting, so daily brushing is recommended to prevent knots and remove loose hair. This will help maintain the coat's silky texture and prevent it from becoming tangled.
  • Regular bathing should be done as needed, typically every 6 to 8 weeks or when they get dirty.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Freddie, the English Setter

Are English Setters easy to train?

  • While each dog is unique, English Setters are generally considered moderately easy to train.
  • Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and rewards to motivate and reinforce desired behaviours. English Setters respond well to positive feedback and will be more eager to please.
  • Consistency is crucial in training an English Setter. Use clear and consistent cues for commands and ensure that all family members are on the same page. Patience is key, as English Setters may take their time to fully grasp and execute commands.
  • Expose your English Setter to a variety of people, animals, and environments from an early age. This helps them develop good social skills and makes them more well-rounded companions.
  • Keep training sessions short and engaging to hold your English Setter's attention. Regular, brief sessions are more effective than long, monotonous ones.
  • Remember to be patient, stay consistent, and create a positive and nurturing training environment.
Tiro, the English Setter

What do English Setters eat?

  • English Setters should be fed a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level.
  • Puppies require a specific puppy food formulated to support their growth and development. They should be fed three to four times a day until 6 months old, when they should be reduced to being fed twice daily.
  • As they mature, around 12 to 18 months of age, English Setters can transition to adult dog food and typically be fed twice a day.
  • Portion control is important to prevent obesity, as English Setters can have a tendency to overeat if given the opportunity.

Are English Setters healthy?

English Setters are generally a healthy breed, but like any dog breed, they may be prone to certain health conditions. Some common health concerns in English Setters include:

Bones and Joints

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis


  • Ectropion - with this condition the eyelid rolls out, which can expose the eye to dryness


  • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone


  • Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if an English Setter is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves English Setters

BorrowMyDoggy has 262 English Setter members.

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive.  If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

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