English Setter

The English Setter is a large graceful and placid dog that forms part of the gundog group.

English Setter breed group


Size of English Setter

Large. A graceful, athletic dog.

Country of Origin

Great Britain

Time of original development

The English Setter’s origins can be traced back to the 1800s.

The English Setter through History

A competent and intelligent working dog used for hunting and setting birds. The English Setter breed is still found working today in rural areas, but is more commonly kept as a trusted family companion dog.

English Setter introduction and overview

The English Setter is an ever-popular breed with families. It’s a large dog with long lean limbs and an almost mournful expression. It has a gentle and placid nature. The English Setter is intelligent, making it easy to train.

Colour varieties of the English Setter

The breed comes in a variation of colours including:

  • Black and White
  • Black White and Tan
  • Blue and White
  • Blue
  • Belton Blue
  • Belton and Tan
  • Lemon and White
  • Lemon Belton
  • Liver and White
  • Liver Belton
  • Liver White and Tan
  • Orange and White
  • Orange Belton
  • Tricolour

Size and weight of the English Setter

Height bitch 61-65cms

Height dog 65-69cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 20-32kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 25-36kgs

Exercise requirements of the English Setter

High. The English Setter requires at least 2 hours of exercise each day, so best suited to a physically fit and active owner.
English Setter temperament, socialisation with children, other dogs and other pets
The English Setter is a calm, placid and gentle dog with an even temperament. It normally mixes well in a family enviroment and generally adapts well to other pets, including cats if socialised from an early age.

Is the English Setter a good dog for a first time dog owner?

Yes, but it’s a large dog, so will need plenty of living space and access to a large garden to be completely happy. It’s an intelligent dog that responds well to training, which should be introduced at an early age to avoid instinctive behaviour such as roaming and running off.

People considering this breed should also consider the time commitment needed to provide adequate exercise and stimulation for this athletic breed.

English Setter coat length

The breed has a fine silky coat with long featherings on the chest, legs, tail, abdomen and ears.

Grooming requirements of the English Setter

High. The flowing feathers do require regular grooming to keep the coat matt free and healthy. In some dogs the feathers can grow to an unmanageable length and may require professional grooming to keep in shape. Long flowing feathers on the ears can make meal times and drinking a messy event. Feet and pads can also be problematic with a build up of fur that can easily conceal thorns and foreign bodies quite easily, so should be checked after dog walks.

You should budget for regular grooming sessions 3-4 times a year if your dog has a long coat, which can cost from around £40


No. The breed is quite a heavy shedder and in many dogs the undercoat can be quite prolific.

Health Issues in the English Setter

The breed is generally healthy, but potential owners should be aware of the following known health problems that have been reported and consult their breeder:

  • Skin problems and ‘hot spots’
  • Blindness due to the deterioration of the retinas
  • Elbow dsysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Thyroid problems

As with all pedigree dogs, it is very important to obtain a puppy from a source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding the inherent physical and psychological diseases of the breed.

Average lifespan of the English Setter

A healthy English Setter can expect to enjoy a predicted lifespan of around 11-13 years.

Approximate English Setter pedigree puppy price

Litters are normally available and you should expect to pay around £850 for a puppy . There are usually between 6-8 puppies in an average litter. There were 289 English Setter puppies registered with the Kennel Club in 2015.

Insuring an English Setter

The English Setter is a large dog with quite a high cost value, so expect to pay a higher premium than an average sized dog. Remember that whatever the premium starts out at, dog insurance will always rise with your pet’s age after about four years old, and any on-going illnesses or conditions that the dog develops will also affect your annual insurance premiums from then on.

Estimating how much a English Setter would need to be fed each day

An English Setter bitch weighing requires around 330gms complete dry food per day. An English Setter dog weighing 30kgs requires around 365gms of complete dry food per day.

The weekly cost of feeding a bitch weighing 25kgs is around £6.60

The weekly cost of feeding a dog weighing 30kgs is around £7.30

These are estimated costs only, and based on feeding a slightly above average quality complete dry food, bought from a popular supermarket on the high street.

Other necessary costs to consider when owning any dog

Don’t forget to budget for regular preventative treatments and procedures that are not covered by pet insurance:

  • Worming
  • Flea treatments
  • Annual vaccination boosters
  • Microchipping
  • Neutering or spaying

There are 3 other setters in the gundog group, the Gordon Setter, Irish Setter and the Irish Red & White Setter.