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English Setter

English Setter Breed


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Dog Size

Energy Level

Dog Energy Level


Dog Trainability

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Physical Characteristics:
Height: 23-27”
Weight: 45-80 lbs.
Energy Level: Moderate – High
The American Kennel Club recognizes the English Setter in the following colors:

  • Blue Belton
  • Blue Belton and Tan (tri-color)
  • Lemon Belton
  • Liver Belton
  • Orange Belton
  • White

Health & Longevity

Average Life Span: 10-12 years
English Setters boast overall good health, but they do have a few health issues that can affect them sometime in their lifetime. These pups are prone to developing the usual health conditions that could affect any pup, regardless of breed. For example, heartworms, bone cancer, and parvo virus are common diseases for dogs. There are two breed-specific health complications that your English Setter could encounter:

Elbow Dysplasia

This condition is a birth defect that occurs when the elbow bone and socket are deformed, causing dislocation, cartilage deterioration, and nerve damage. Symptoms are subtle, but you might notice an awkward limp or strange gait with obvious dislocation. Surgical intervention is required to correct this condition.


This condition can either be a birth defect or a result of trauma, such as loud noises or severe head damage. It might be in one or both ears, but this condition is incurable, despite the cause. Pet owners usually train, or retrain, their English Setters via visual cues to help them better cope with hearing loss.

Other health conditions that your English Setter might develop includes hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, Von Willebrand’s disease, and glaucoma. The average lifespan for an English Setter is between 10 to 12 years. This length is slightly less than that of an average purebred of most other breeds.

Temperament & Train-ability

Bred to be a hunting and instinct-driven purebred, the English Setter is an energetic pup with an overall calm exterior that melts away when small animals are in sight. Socialization is important for the English Setter from a young age because these dogs often look at smaller pups as inferior and larger dogs as challengers. They also have a low tolerance for the rowdiness of younger children. You can train these kinds of responses out of them by exposing them, during the puppy phase, to other dogs and small children. It helps build their tolerance and acceptance.

Training sessions, in general, will require your establishment as the alpha in your pack. These pups have a natural dominance that shines through when they catch sight or smell of animals they would normally consider prey, such as small birds, squirrels, and cats. When you put yourself in the dominant position, you are showing them, for the first time, that you are the leader, and your word goes. It will take lots of patience, encouragement, and praise, but you will get there.

Exercise is important for an English Setter because their boredom is quick to engage. When English Setters get bored, they get destructive. Then there goes your furniture and favorite shoes. These pups would do best in a fenced-in backyard, where they can roam and romp for hours at a time. Or, on rainy days, dig out a few dog toys, and take your English Setter for 2-3 short walks around the neighborhood.


English Setters have smooth, soft hair that is close-cropped around the body, but lengthy on the legs and ears. This requires two different kinds of brushes—a soft-bristled brush for their body, and a medium-bristled brush for their longer hairs. Brush your English Setter at least three times per week.

Check his ears once a week, as the long hairs can drag in debris and bacteria. This could cause a crusty, painful ear infection. Check for signs of oozing liquids, a foul smell, redness, and an irritated, crustiness around the outer edges. If your pup is infection-free, use a cotton swab and warm water to clean the outer parts of each ear that you can see.


The English Setter is a healthy eater who loves to graze all day long. However, grazing can lead to chronic overeating and then obesity and related health problems. While you might be tempted to invest in a few automatic feeders, opt for a healthy meal schedule instead. Feed your English Setter a healthy, high-quality diet of whole grains, lean meats, and veggies in a reliable, reputable brand of dry dog food. He needs 1-2 cups of good-quality kibble per day, divided into two meals.

While automatic feed bowls are a no-no, automatic water bowls are an excellent idea. English Setters have a couple of favorite rooms throughout the house, so invest in 1-2 or automatic water dishes and put them in two of his favorite rooms. Keep them filled to support his hydration and overall good health.

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English Setters are fairly popular purebreds, so it should be simple to find a breeder to accommodate your need for a new companion. However, check the reputation of your prospective breeders before investing in a pup. Ask for the AKC registration, bloodline documentation, and health histories of the pup, as well as the parents. You could also ask to see the parent English Setters, as you can examine them yourself for obvious signs of malnutrition or genetic health conditions.

When you find a respectable, trustworthy breeder, the average price for English Setter puppies will vary from $460 to $600. If you want an English Setter with show qualities, expect to shell out well over $1,000 for an AKC show purebred.

You should also check your local animal shelter before you search for a breeder. Plenty of English Setters have been abandoned over the years, so you are likely to find an adoptable pup. Adoption fees range from $75 to $250, but price depends on the state, county, and shelter regulations. Add-ons, such as vaccinations and spay or neuter operations, are going to be an extra fee, which could rack up your adoption fee to between $400 – $500.

Paws ‘N’ Pups Ranking

Paws ‘N’ Pups ranks every breed out of 4 with 1 being easiest to integrate into your life and 4 being the toughest – The lower the ranking the better.

Ranking takes into account a few basic factors including cost, skill level needed, high vs low maintenance and how critical regular training is to success. English Setters earn a 2 on the integration scale because no one English Setter is like the next one. These pups are diverse in their personalities, so there is no way of knowing if you will get an especially stubborn purebred, or a sweet, obedient canine. Additionally, these dogs need lots of stimulation and playtime to keep them occupied. This means they are best-suited for someone with a love for fitness and outdoor activities.


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