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English Setter Temperament: Balanced and well-natured

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Ready to invite a charming new furry friend into your life? If so, get ready to embark on an exciting journey into the captivating world of the English Setter breed. With their friendly demeanour and sensible nature, English Setters have captured the hearts of countless pet enthusiasts – and they might seize yours, too!

Join us as we delve deep into the history, temperament, health considerations, and frequently asked questions about this exceptional breed. But that's not all – we'll also unveil ideal names for your male and female English Setter companions, present delightful gift suggestions for fellow admirers, and ultimately assist you in answering the crucial question: Is the English Setter the perfect addition to your life's story?

English Setters are gaining popularity due to their unique charm and unwavering loyalty, which has attracted a growing number of fans. In this blog post, we're about to explore the reasons why. So, if you're curious whether this cherished breed aligns seamlessly with your lifestyle, read on!

Table of Contents

English Setter History: Where are English Setters from?

With its grace and charm, the English Setter has a history as rich and intricate as its beautiful coat. This breed's roots extend into the past, dating back to the 14th century, making it one of the oldest gundog breeds.

The English Setter's history is rooted in its role as a skilled bird dog. Originally known as a "Setting Spaniel," these dogs were invaluable to hunters during the 14th century. They were trained to find game birds and "set" them by crouching down, indicating the location of the birds to the hunters. For that purpose, the Setter had to remain completely quiet.

This method allowed for a more controlled approach to hunting, especially when using nets. Over time, as the use of guns replaced nets, the term "Setter" came into existence.

English Setter Temperament
Originally known as a "Setting Spaniel," these dogs were invaluable to hunters during the 14th century.

During their early history, Setters were favoured by noble families who appreciated their exceptional hunting abilities. The exact origins of these dogs remain a mystery, but it is speculated that some may have been brought back from the European Continent following wars during that era.

The Setters didn't yet distinguish themselves into the various breeds we recognise today; instead, they were known by the aristocratic families that owned them.

The Setters of today started distinguishing themselves in the 18th century, down to two very influential breeders and lovers of the breed.

One of the most influential figures in the development of the English Setter was Mr. Edward Laverack (1800-1877). Laverack meticulously refined his own strain of Setters through careful inbreeding and selective line-breeding during the 19th century.

These dogs, known for their stunning appearance and elegance, became the Laverack-type Setters. Laverack's dedication to the breed extended to the written word, as he authored the seminal book "The Setter" in 1872. This work became the foundation for creating the English Setter Standard, a guideline that continues to shape the breed's conformation standards in dog shows.

Parallel to Laverack's work, another passionate breeder, Mr. Richard Purcell Llewellin (1840-1925), developed his strain of Setters. Llewellin Setters were known for their exceptional hunting abilities and became the epitome of the working Setter.

Llewellin based his strain on Laverack's work and incorporated various other strains into his breeding program. The resulting dogs became known as the Llewellin-type Setters and are cherished for their work ethic and hunting prowess.

The difference between the two strains is that one is for the show ring, and one is born and bred for hunting.

English Setter Temperament
The history of the English Setter is a captivating narrative of evolution and refinement

The history of the English Setter is a captivating narrative of evolution and refinement. English Setters have come a long way from their origins as Setting Spaniels working on moorland to their development into two distinct strains by dedicated breeders like Edward Laverack and Richard Purcell Llewellin.

Today, they are celebrated not only for their beauty but also for their versatility as both show dogs and working dogs.

This breed's enduring legacy is a testament to the passion and dedication of those who have shaped it over the centuries, ensuring that the English Setter remains a beloved and cherished breed for generations to come.

The breed registrations of the English Setter with the UK Kennel Club fluctuated over the past year. In Q1 2022, there were 28 registrations, followed by a notable increase in Q2 2022 with 72 registrations.

However, Q3 2022 decreased to 55 registrations, and Q4 2022 had 57 registrations. In total, the year 2022 witnessed 212 English Setter registrations. Moving into Q1 2023, 49 additional registrations showcased a continued interest in this beloved breed.

Q1 2022

Q2 2022

Q3 2022

Q4 2022

2022 Total

Q1 2023







Source: updated September 2023

Now that we have learnt about their history, let's look at the temperament of the English Setter.

What is the Temperament of the English Setter?

Before bringing an English Setter into your home, familiarising yourself with the breed's Characteristics and Temperament is crucial. The research will help you evaluate whether it aligns with your lifestyle and your family's needs. Additionally, it's essential to recognise the commitment required for Training, Exercise, and Grooming.

The sensitive, alert and gentle temperament of the English Setter has been bred into this dog for centuries. A hunting dog doesn't need only great instincts but also a great nature to work alongside humans.

The English Setter is often called "the moderate Setter," lying in temperament between the reserved Gordon Setter and the more boisterous Irish Setter. They're gentle, sociable, and open to new experiences and connections. These attributes make the English Setter an excellent family dog.

They always seem in a good mood and will undoubtedly lift yours when getting up in the morning is hard.

This dog is inside the house sweet and composed, but their hunting instincts and activeness come out outdoors. As soon as their feathery paws hit the ground, they come alive and are happy and active runners. For this reason, they're more suited to a semi-rural living arrangement and less for the urban setting.

The English Setter is an active dog; if they don't get enough outlet on the outside through mental and physical activities, they can become restless and rowdy at home.

The English Setter can be a good dog for first-time owners if they have time to devote to them and cater for their active minds. Training can be easy if potential owners research positive reinforcement training methods.

Their independent spirit can make them easily distracted, so keeping training sessions short and sweet is the best way to succeed. They're eager to please, so training them shouldn't be too challenging for a committed owner and someone interested in Gundog training.

English Setter Temperament
The English Setter can be a good dog for first-time owners if they have time to devote to them and cater for their active minds.

These dogs strike a harmonious chord between spirited and composed and possess a balanced energy level, rendering them adaptable companions for both the active enthusiast and those who relish a more tranquil pace of life.

Their exceptional hunting instincts distinguish them as proficient bird hunters, rendering them the perfect choice for hunters searching for a dependable and skilled hunting ally.

English Setters are great with children displaying patience and friendly demeanours. They're also very tolerant of strangers. However, their sensitive nature should always be taken seriously, and encounters should be supervised to keep your Setter and children manageable.

If the English Setter has been socialised according to their needs, the owner should have no issues with guarding behaviour. However, they're alert, so they effortlessly detect changes in their environment and can let the owner know if someone approaches the house.

A houseproud owner might have some issues with bringing mud and twigs into the home. They're a typical outside breed and thrive in rural settings. A pavement walk will certainly not keep them entertained enough.

Time must also be invested in their grooming needs. Their impressive, feathery coat does need more attention to keep the glamorous and elegant look.

English Setters are a charming breed that brings forth companionship, elegance, and adaptability. Potential owners must be ready to dedicate time to training and physical activity to nurture content and well-rounded pets. With their numerous virtues, English Setters are an appealing option for families and individuals searching for a devoted, friendly, and affectionate canine companion.

Let's now have a look at some common English Setter questions.

Are English Setters hypoallergenic?

No, English Setters are not considered to be hypoallergenic dogs. They have a long, silky coat that can shed and produce dander, a common allergen for people with allergies.

While no dog is entirely hypoallergenic, some breeds have fewer allergens and may be more suitable for individuals with allergies. If you're looking for a hypoallergenic dog, consider breeds like Poodle, Dandie Dinmont, or Portuguese Water Dog, as they produce fewer allergens and shed less.

If you have allergies to an English Setter or any other dog breed, there are several ways you can take to help reduce allergens and manage your symptoms. Here are five top tips:

Regular Grooming: Regular grooming is essential to reduce shedding and dander. Brush your English Setter's coat frequently to remove loose hair and dander, ideally outdoors.

Designated Pet-Free Zones: Create designated areas in your home that are off-limits to your English Setter.

Frequent Cleaning: Vacuum your home frequently using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Regularly clean your dog's bedding, toys, and other items they often encounter.

Air Purification: Consider using high-quality air purifiers with HEPA filters throughout your home.

Personal Hygiene: Wash your hands after handling your English Setter and avoid touching your face, especially your eyes and nose, immediately after interacting with your dog. This can help prevent allergens from directly contacting your sensitive areas.

Remember that individual sensitivities to allergens vary. If you're considering getting a dog and have allergies, spending time with the breed you're interested in before making a decision can also give you a better idea of how your allergies might be affected.

Are English Setters good with cats?

English Setters are known for their friendly and sociable nature, which can extend to interactions with other pets, including cats. However, how well an English Setter gets along with cats can depend on several factors:

English Setter Temperament
A houseproud owner might have some issues with bringing mud and twigs into the home.

Early Socialisation: Early socialisation ensures that an English Setter grows comfortable around other animals, including cats. If an English Setter puppy is introduced to cats positively and controlled from a young age, they are likelier to have a positive relationship.

Individual Temperament: Each dog has its personality and temperament. Some English Setters might have a stronger prey drive, potentially challenging cat interactions. Others might be more laid-back and adaptable, making them more likely to get along with cats.

Cat's Personality: The temperament of the cat also plays a role. More confident and assertive cats might establish boundaries with a dog more effectively, leading to smoother interactions.

Supervised Introductions: When introducing an English Setter to a cat, it's essential to do so under close supervision. Use positive reinforcement and rewards to encourage calm and friendly behaviour from the dog and the cat.

Gradual Introduction: Start with short and controlled interactions, gradually increasing the time they spend together. Allow them to get used to each other's presence without forcing direct interaction.

Respecting Boundaries: It's essential to recognise and respect the boundaries of both the dog and the cat. Giving them space and time to adjust is best if either shows discomfort.

Training: Basic obedience training is crucial for an English Setter to learn commands like "leave it" and "stay," which can be helpful when interacting with cats.

Remember that every dog and cat is an individual, so there's no one-size-fits-all answer. If you're considering introducing an English Setter to a cat, assess their personalities and temperaments and be prepared to invest time and effort into a gradual and positive introduction process.

Can English Setters live in apartments?

English Setters are spirited and energetic dogs with a deep-rooted love for the outdoors. Originally bred as sporting dogs, they thrive in open spaces and countryside environments that allow them to explore and expend their abundant energy. While they can adjust to apartment living, it's essential to consider their natural inclinations.

These dogs have a strong need for regular exercise and mental stimulation. Living in an apartment might limit their space for running and playing, making it essential to find nearby parks, open fields, or hiking trails where you can provide them with ample outdoor time. Their vitality best suits an environment that resonates with their outdoor-loving nature.

English Setters are highly social animals, enjoying human companionship and interaction with other dogs. In a larger house with a yard or countryside setting, they can engage with the natural world, other animals, and people in ways that align with their inherent characteristics.

While it's possible to share an apartment with an English Setter, it's worth noting that their genuine joy and fulfilment often come from the freedom of larger spaces and the rural countryside. Providing them with a larger house and outdoor access would align more naturally with their breed traits and ensure their contentment.

Do English Setters bark a lot?

English Setters are typically moderate barkers. Their barking tendencies can vary from one individual to another, with some being more vocal and others being quieter.

While they have natural alertness and might bark to signal something unusual or exciting, their traditional role as bird-finding dogs involved a different behaviour. When they located birds, they would exhibit a behaviour called "setting." This involves them crouching down and remaining motionless, facing the birds.

This stance was a signal to the hunter that birds were present. Therefore, while they may bark in certain situations, their historical role required them to remain silent and motionless when they found birds.

English Setters should not make a noise when hunting - in fact, it would be a very serious fault if they did.

In Field Trials, if a dog makes the slightest noise, even a little whine, whilst hunting, the dog would be eliminated from the competition.

Proper training and socialisation can help manage their barking and teach them when to vocalise in a home environment.

Gift ideas for English Setter lovers

Prepare to enchant the hearts of English Setter enthusiasts with a thoughtfully curated collection of presents that resonate with their deep affection for this extraordinary breed. From endearing keepsakes to necessities, these heartfelt gifts will evoke joy and gratitude, igniting wagging tails and warm smiles.

Etsy has some beautiful English Setter lovers gifts:

Gift ideas for English Setters #1: Glass figurine - NHarrisandSon

Elevate your decor with elegance and the timeless charm of English Setters. Explore our exquisite collection of handcrafted glass figurines that capture the grace and beauty of this beloved breed. Each intricate piece showcases the distinctive features of English Setters, from their flowing coat to their expressive eyes. Add a touch of canine sophistication to your space, or surprise a dog lover with a truly captivating gift.

Gift for English Setter Lover

Gift ideas for English Setters #2: Personalised Wire English Setter -WoodWiredDesigns

Discover the perfect gift that beautifully blends artistry and nature – a Handmade Wire English Setter on Driftwood. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, this unique piece captures the spirit of the beloved English Setter breed. Whether for a passionate dog enthusiast or to adorn your space, this exquisite creation symbolises elegance and craftsmanship.

English Setter gift

Gift ideas for English Setters #3: Illustrated English Setter poem - TheEnlightenedHound

Delve into the world of English Setters with an Illustrated Poem. Experience the captivating blend of verses and artistry, perfect as a heartfelt gift or a cherished addition to your space. Explore the essence of these beloved dogs through the magic of words and images – an enchanting choice for any English Setter enthusiast.

Gift ideas for English Setters #4: English Setter Cushion - BellaGoesWalkies

Elevate gifting with this exquisite English Setter Cushion, a perfect blend of comfort and canine elegance. Crafted to capture the breed's distinctive features, this cushion adds a touch of sophistication to any space. Whether for a devoted English Setter lover or to accentuate your decor, this plush accessory is a stylish celebration of a cherished breed.

Gift for English Setter lovers

Gift ideas for English Setters #5: English Setter Coasters - MiloandMimiShop

Elevate your gifting with this exquisite English Setter Coasters, showcasing the breed's elegance while adding a touch of sophistication to any table. Ideal for enthusiasts or as a stylish addition to your own home, these coasters are a thoughtful way to celebrate a beloved breed. Treat someone (or yourself) to the beauty of our English Setter Coasters.

gifts for english setter lovers

Gift ideas for English Setters #6: English Setter Calendar 2024

Embrace the upcoming year with this enchanting English Setter Calendar. Each month features stunning visuals of this beloved breed, capturing their grace and charm in every glance. Whether for a passionate English Setter lover or to add canine elegance to your own space, this calendar is a timeless gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.

Gift ideas for English Setters #7: Personalised English Setter Cotton Tote Bag

Elevate your style and sustainability with our personalised English Setter Cotton Tote Bag – a perfect blend of fashion and function. Customise it with a name or message to make it truly unique. Whether you're a dedicated English Setter enthusiast or want to add canine charm to your accessories, this tote bag is a stylish, environmentally conscious statement.

English Setter Temperament in a Nutshell

English Setter Temperament
The English Setter makes for a great family dog.
  • English Setters are known for their sensitive and gentle temperament, making them excellent companions for families and individuals.

  • They strike a balance between being sociable and open to new experiences while maintaining a calm and composed demeanour indoors.

  • This breed's hunting instincts and activeness come alive outdoors, making them best suited for semi-rural living arrangements.

  • English Setters are highly trainable with positive reinforcement methods, but their independent spirit can make them easily distracted during longer training sessions.

  • They exhibit patience and a friendly demeanour with children, although supervision is advised to prevent overwhelming their sensitive nature during interactions.

Top 10 Female English Setter Names

Top 10 Male English Setter Names

Potential health issues in the English Setter breed

Owners of English Setters should be diligent in understanding the potential health issues that this breed can be prone to, despite their overall reputation for good health. Regular research and communication with breeders or veterinarians are crucial for staying informed.

Being financially prepared is essential, as veterinary bills can accumulate quickly in the event of health concerns. Owners should budget for routine check-ups and be prepared for expenses that may arise due to genetic predispositions or accidents.

Consider investing in pet insurance as a proactive measure to help mitigate potential financial burdens. This can provide peace of mind and ensure that your English Setter receives the necessary care without straining your finances.

The below issues have been linked with the English Setter breed:

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a relatively common orthopaedic issue in purebred dogs, characterised by improper hip joint development, which can lead to pain and reduced mobility in affected dogs. Responsible breeders perform hip screenings to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia in their breeding lines.

Atopic Dermatitis: Atopic dermatitis, often called allergic skin disease, is a prevalent condition in English Setters, causing itching, inflammation, and skin irritation due to environmental allergens like pollen or dust mites.

Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a common endocrine disorder seen in English Setters, resulting from an underactive thyroid gland that leads to various symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems.

Deafness: Deafness is a hereditary concern in English Setters, and some individuals within the breed can be born with congenital deafness or develop it over time.

Dead Tail: Dead tail," also known as "limber tail syndrome" or "swimmer tail," is a condition occasionally seen in English Setters and other breeds. It manifests as a limp or flaccid tail, often painful, and can result from overexertion, cold water exposure, or other causes.

Damage to Occiput: Damage to the occiput, the bony prominence at the back of a dog's skull, can occur in English Setters due to accidents or traumatic injuries. Such injuries should be taken seriously and promptly evaluated by a veterinarian to assess potential damage to the skull or underlying structures and provide appropriate treatment.

Routine preventive healthcare, such as vaccinations, dental care, and a balanced diet, is vital in keeping English Setters healthy. Responsible ownership involves a commitment to your pet's well-being, both in terms of their physical and financial needs.

Ultimately, staying well-informed and financially prepared demonstrates responsible ownership and ensures that your English Setter enjoys a long, happy, and healthy life by your side.

Reputable English Setter breeders in the UK

We would recommend contacting the below English Setter Clubs for information on upcoming litters or reputable breeders that can be recommended:

English Setter Fun facts

If we talk about the English Setter, we must include their beautiful Belton colours.

English Setter Temperament
The English Setter is better suited for a rural life.

In the context of English Setters and some other animals like Welsh Cobs and Clydesdale horses, "Belton" refers to a specific colour pattern in their coat. Belton is a term used to describe a coat that displays a flecked or speckled pattern, typically consisting of a primary colour with small, contrasting, and evenly distributed spots or dots of another colour. This pattern can create a unique and attractive appearance in these animals.

In English Setters, Belton coats can come in several colour combinations, with the primary colour typically being white and the dots or spots appearing in one or more of the following colours:

Orange Belton: The primary colour is white, and the dots are orange or chestnut.

Blue Belton: The primary colour is white, and the dots are black.

Lemon Belton: The primary colour is white, and the dots are pale or yellow.

Liver Belton: The primary colour is white; the dots are liver or brown.

These Belton colour patterns are considered standard for English Setters and are highly prized in the breed. They contribute to the breed's distinctive and elegant appearance. The specific pattern and combination of colours can vary from dog to dog, making each English Setter unique in its coat appearance.

Is the English Setter the right dog breed for me?

In conclusion, the English Setter is a breed with a temperament that combines sensitivity, alertness, and gentleness—a perfect blend honed over centuries of breeding.

Their love for the outdoors makes them better suited to semi-rural living arrangements rather than urban settings.

While pleasant and open to new experiences and connections, English Setters are also active dogs that require mental and physical stimulation. Without adequate outlets for their energy, they can become unsettled indoors. Therefore, potential owners should be ready to commit time to exercise and mental engagement.

Training an English Setter is generally straightforward, especially for those who adopt positive reinforcement methods. Keeping training sessions short and engaging is the key to success, and these dogs are particularly well-suited for those interested in Gundog training.

Their moderate energy levels make them adaptable companions for active individuals who don't mind getting their shoes muddy. Their exceptional hunting instincts make them reliable partners for hunters seeking capable bird hunters.

English Setters are also known for their patience and friendly demeanour with children, but their sensitive nature calls for supervision during interactions to prevent overwhelming them. Very young English Setters can display some rambunctious play, and small children can get accidentally injured.

Owners should be prepared for some tidying up, as these outside-loving dogs might bring a bit of the outdoors back home.

Grooming needs are another aspect that requires attention due to their impressive, feathered coat. Maintaining their glamorous appearance will require regular care.

Prospective owners should anticipate dedicating time to training, exercise, and grooming to nurture a joyful and well-adapted puppy. Given their numerous strengths, English Setters make an appealing choice for active families seeking a canine companion.

Owners voices in three words

to be added :)

Breed box English Setter



Dog Size

63cm - 68cm

Dog Weight

29kg - 36kg

Bitch Size

59cm- 65cm

Bitch Weight

28kg- 35kg



Feeding Need


Tendency to drool


Energy level


Tendency to bark


Tendency to dig


Attention need



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