Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

English Setters: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about English Setter temperament, personality, and behavior.

english setter topics

English Setter dog breed

English Setter Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

English Setter Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

There are two distinct types of English Setter.

The original field/hunting type (sometimes called the "Llewellin Setter") is smaller, with a broader, natural-looking head and much less hair. These dogs have strong hunting instincts and need vigorous exercise.

The "bench" or "show" type of English Setter is quite tall, with a long narrow head and a profusion of silky hair that needs plenty of brushing and trimming. These dogs are more laid-back than field lines and are content with long daily walks and occasional running and fetching games.

Whatever their type, English Setters tend to be the mildest-mannered of the three setter breeds (English, Irish, and Gordon).

They are very sociable dogs who must not be left alone all day without the company of people or other pets, else destructiveness may result.

English Setters have an obstinate streak that takes the form of resistance rather than wild disobedience. If pushed too hard, they'll simply brace their legs and refuse to walk. You must be persistent, but never heavy-handed.

English Setters have long memories, which means that once they learn something (whether right or wrong), they remember it. On the negative side, this means bad habits can be difficult to break.


If you want a dog who...

  • Is medium to large, elegant and graceful in build and motion
  • Has a lovely feathered coat
  • Is gentle with everyone -- definitely not a guard dog
  • Is peaceful with other animals

An English Setter may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • Providing enough exercise to keep him satisfied
  • Exuberant jumping, especially when young
  • "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
  • Stubbornness
  • Slowness to housebreak
  • Frequent brushing and combing
  • Shedding

An English Setter may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy


More traits and characteristics of the English Setter

If I was considering an English Setter, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise. "Bench" or "show" type English Setters are content with long daily walks and occasional running and fetching games to vent their energy, while "field" or "hunting" type English Setters need more vigorous exercise. Without enough exercise, English Setters become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by destructive chewing, especially when young.

  2. Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, English Setters need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking. If you work all day, this is not the breed for you.

  3. Stubbornness. English Setters are not Golden Retrievers. They can be extremely stubborn and manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your setter to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My English Setter Training Page discusses the program you need.

  4. Housebreaking. English Setters can be slow to housebreak. Expect four to six months of consistent crate training.

  5. Grooming. To keep their silky coat free of mats, English Setters require regular brushing, and also clipping and trimming every few months. English Setters from show lines typically have more profuse coats that need much more extensive grooming than English Setters from field lines.

  6. Shedding. English Setters shed quite a bit, so be prepared for dog hair on your clothing and furniture, and regular vacuuming.


book cover To learn more about training English Setters to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your English Setter the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.



book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy English Setter. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.


If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the English Setter might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.


book cover Once you have your English Setter home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.



Please consider adopting an ADULT English Setter...

When you're acquiring an English Setter PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult English Setters who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter

MORE OF MY ARTICLES YOU MIGHT ENJOY.....