Countries of Origin: Ireland, Scotland, and England, depending on breed
Height: (At the withers) 60 – 68 cm depending on breed and sex
Weight: 23 – 35 kg depending on breed and sex
Best suited as: Pet, show, or gun dog with an active owner or family
Lifespan: 10 – 14 years depending on breed
The Setter is a dog type used for hunting game like pheasant, quail, and grouse. Setter breeds include Gordon Setter, English Setter, Irish Setter, and Irish Red and White Setter.
Most setters have long, silky, high-maintenance coats. The colour and length depends upon the setter type. Gordon Setters, the largest of the Setter group, are black with brown markings on the lower legs and paws, throats, vents, muzzles, above each eye, and two spots on their chest. English Setters have a speckled coat that come in white with orange flecks, white with black flecks, white with liver flecks, or white with blue or liver flecks and tan on the face, legs, and chest. Irish Setters have a red or chestnut coat. Irish Red and White Setters have a mostly-white coat with dark red patches.
Setters of all types have been around for hundreds of years and were bred specifically to be setters or pointers for game birds.
Most Setters are energetic, friendly, and love other dogs and people alike. Outgoing and enthusiastic, they are smart and good around kids. They do need a lot of exercise or to be kept busy hunting, or they can get into mischief. When inside the house, they love to lounge around on couches and laps.
Setters can be a bit difficult to train, and require firm yet fair training methods that focus on positive reinforcement. They are very sensitive to criticism.
Care and Grooming
As mentioned, the Setter as a group needs a lot of exercise. Games of catch in the backyard, or long brisk walks daily are required. They do love to interact with other dogs, so off-leash dog park visits would be perfect to add into your weekly activities list.
Depending on how you use your dog, its grooming requirements will differ. If you use your Setter for hunting or field work, its coat should be kept shorter, which in turn requires less grooming. A show dog or a pet that has longer fur will require more frequent brushing trimming.
As with any dog, frequent tooth brushing is required to prevent dental issues. If you are comfortable doing so, you may also trim its nails – if not, have your groomer trim the nails.
Setters are not as prone to many genetic diseases as some breeds, but there are a few health conditions that they may develop, including progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cataracts, hypothyroidism, and bloat. Some of them suffer higher incidences of congenital deafness, food allergies, cancer, and autoimmune thyroiditis.
Suitability As A Pet
Any dog from the Setter group would do well in an active family environment, as long as it is properly trained and given enough exercise. Gordon Setters tend to be larger and might knock down small children unintentionally, so do choose carefully if you have young children.
Setters include the following breeds: