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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

English Setter

Group: Gundogs (Group 3)
Club: English Setter Association Of Victoria Inc
Contact: Mrs Michaela Barraclough
Phone: 0432 787 029

Brief History

English Setters are one of the oldest gundog breeds, descended from Setting Spaniels traceable to the 14th Century. Smaller than today’s English Setter, these were valued for their hunting ability and unusual characteristic of dropping into a low crouch on finding birds. This was described as “setting”.

Dogs of the colours and patterning of today’s English Setters were documented in Elizabethan times; however the modern English Setter is taller than its spaniel ancestors, as hunters wanted a longer legged type that could work all day in upland country locating quail, grouse, and partridge.

The English Setter of today was largely developed during the 18th and 19th centuries by careful selection for working characteristics, soundness of body and temperament, along with beauty. Two notable breeders of the time, to whom the modern English Setter owes much, were Edward Laverack and Purcell Llewellin. Selective breeding produced the medium/large sized, elegant, distinctively coated and good-natured breed we know today.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime.

The average life span is 12 to 14 years.


The English Setter is such a sweet-tempered breed and he is great with people and other animals. The breed standard describes English Setters as “intensely friendly” which, when coupled with their size makes them an ideal family dog. This is a breed that will adapt easily to your lifestyle whether you are seeking a companion, a show or working dog, just as long as they are loved and can give love in return.

General Breed Description

The English Setter is of medium height, elegant in appearance and movement. He is very active, with a keen game sense. The breed performs well in the field, as well as in such dog sports as Obedience, Rally, Agility and Conformation dog shows.

English Setters come in colours of black and white, orange and white, lemon and white, liver and white and tricolour, which can be black, white and tan, or liver, white and tan.

Coat and Care Requirements

The English Setter’s silky coat is easy to look after. A good brush and comb several times a week, checking for tangles after a romp in the park is all that is necessary. The throat, ears and feet will need to be trimmed regularly to keep the dog tidy and free from mud and grass seeds.


Height: Males 65 to 69cms (25.5 to 27ins), Females 61 to 65cms (24 to 25.5ins).


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders it is recommended you enquire about the breed’s health and what health testing the breeder does. The English Setter is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Hip Dysplasia (HD),

Elbow Dysplasia, Hereditary Deafness BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) and Bloat.


Suitable owners would be those who enjoy regular exercise with a daily long walk and who want an affectionate and loyal dog as a member of their family. The English Setter is a social animal and needs companionship, so prospective owners must be prepared to include them in their day to day living activities. They are dogs that do not kennel well, so if this is the breed you select, get the dog used to being in a kennel early in life. They do not like being left in a back yard, they like to be with you as part of the family.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders