English Setter, Gun Dog

The English Setter is a dog breeds. It is part of the Setter family, which includes red Irish Setters, Irish Red and White Setters, and black-and-tan Gordon Setters. The English Setter is a gun dog, bred for a mix of endurance and athleticism.

The English Setter was originally bred to set or point upland game birds. From the best available information, it appears that the English Setter was a trained bird dog in England more than 400 years ago. There is evidence that the English Setter originated in crosses of the Spanish Pointer, large Water Spaniel, and Springer Spaniel, which combined to produce an excellent bird dog with a high degree of proficiency in finding and pointing game in open country. The modern English Setter owes its appearance to Mr. Edward Laverack (1800-1877), who developed his own strain of the breed by careful breeding during the 19th century in England and to another Englishman, Mr. R. Purcell Llewellin (1840-1925), based his strain using Laverack's best dogs and outcrossed them with the Duke, Rhoebe and later Duke's littermate Kate bloodlines with the best results. Today, you still hear the term Llewellin Setter, in 1902 the Llewellin Setter was given separate strain status in FDSB to put a stop to misuse of the Llewellin name. Only dogs whose pedigrees showed the Duke-Rhoebe-Laverack and Kate bloodlines were allowed to be named a LLewellin Setter and in 1996 the International Progressive Dog Breeders' Alliance and registry gave them FULL New Breed recognition for the first time. Field-bred English Setters are often mistakenly referred to as "Llewellin". However, only pure bred Llewellin Setters may be registered as Llewellin Setters.

English Setter Appearance

The English Setter coat is flat with light feathering of long length or short length depending on the type. The bench or show type has a long, flowing coat that requires regular grooming. The field or hunting type has a shorter coat that requires less grooming.

The various speckled coat colors when occurring in English Setters are referred to as belton; valid combination are white with black (blue belton), white with orange flecks (orange belton), White with orange flecks and lighter nose is lemon belton, white with liver flecks (Liver Belton) or "Tricolour" which is blue or liver belton with Tan markings on the face, chest and legs.

English Setter Temperament

This dog breeds standard temperament is best described as a "Gentleman by Nature". However, it can also be strong-willed and mischievous. English Setters are energetic, people-oriented dogs, that are well suited to families who can give them attention and activity, or to working with a hunter, where they have a job to do. They are active dogs outside that need plenty of exercise in a good sized fenced-in yard. Inside they tend to be lower energy and love to be couch potatoes and lap dogs that love to cuddle. Many are good around children.

They rank 37th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of above average working/obedience intelligence. English Setters are very intelligent and can be trained to perform about any task another breed can do, with the exception of herding. However, they are not always easy to train, as their natural bird instinct tends to distract them in outdoor environments. Their temperament is considered a soft one. Therefore they are very sensitive to criticism, and could be unwilling to repeat a behavior out of fear to disappoint the trainer. Positive reinforcement training methods therefore work best for English Setters.

English Setter Health

A relatively healthy dog breeds, Setters have few genetic problems but some problems occasionally occur. Canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, congenital deafness, and canine hypothyroidism are some of the more well-known ailments that can affect this dog. A specific form of cancer is also common in older members of the breed. Some lines are prone to allergies including food allergies. Life expectancy is between 10–12 years, though with proper medical care 13 to 15 years is not out of the question.

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