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English Setter: nature, care and diseases

English setter comes from Wales, and the breed's origins date back to approx. 500 years back. It has been concluded that he is the descendant of pointers and spaniels, but possibly the blood of the Spanish Pointer as well.

English setter

Otherwise called Laverack Setter, it owes its name and modern elegant appearance to Sir Edward Laverack, who in 1825 successfully started breeding dogs of this breed for many years, starting with Ponto and Old Moll. In parallel, R. Purcell Llewellin focused more on utility than appearance, hence he crossed lines of laveraks with working dogs.

Setters were primarily hunting dogs. They were perfect for hunting birds with the use of a net that the hunter cast over the birds exposed by the dog, and sometimes covering and characteristically crouching quadrupeds. As the industrial development and the proliferation of firearms, the ways of hunting changed, and Setters also divided into specific specializations.

Today, English Setters are not only hunting dogs, but also sports dogs and, due to their friendly disposition and love of play, also companion dogs.  The American Kennel Club recognized the English Setter in 1884, and the FCI a little later in 1963. According to the FCI classification, the English Setter belongs to group 7.

  • English setter character
  • English Setter breed description
  • Setter care and nutrition
  • Disease English Setter
    • Atopy
    • Double row of eyelashes
    • Cataract
    • Congenital deafness
    • Acute expansion of the stomach
    • Lipofuscinosis
    • Hip dysplasia
    • Cranio-mandibular osteopathy
  • Is it worth choosing an English Setter??

English setter character

English setter character

English setter is an active, vigorous and cheerful dog. His friendly disposition wins him many fans, especially among families with children. Dogs love playing and stroking, so they will be reliable and tireless companions for escapades and variations, especially for older children. They also have good contact with other pets.

They are not aggressive and do not provoke fights. They need a lot of exercise and will feel best if they can run freely on the property. As hunting dogs, they are also great as hunting assistants, although they will not disdain any interesting outdoor activities. Due to their strong hunting instincts, they should be trained from an early age and not let go in unprotected areas, because they have an immediate pursuit of potential prey in their blood. They are hardy and brave dogs, sometimes also used as watchdogs, although it is not an ideal job for them.

English Setter breed description

The size and weight of the dog

The English Setter is the tallest setter (according to the FCI standard - although some sources give the Gordon Setter the biggest one). The height at the withers of the male dog is 65-68 cm, and the height of the female is 61-65 cm. The body weight of an adult individual ranges from 25 to 45 kilograms.

The appearance of the dog

  • The head is carried high, long, with a clearly marked occipital tumor and the foot.
  • The square-shaped muzzle ends in a black or liver truffle on the nose.
  • Jaws strong with a full set of teeth set in a scissor bite. Lips slightly pendulous.
  • Ears of medium length, set low, hanging, covered with longer hair.
  • Round eyes with a lively expression, brown of different intensity.
  • The neck is long and well-muscled, turning into a straight back with a well-defined withers.
  • The chest is deep and the loin is broad and muscular.
  • The tail is moderately long, set flush with the line of the back, covered with silky hair forming a banner. Carried slightly curved but not curled.
  • Limbs straight and muscular, with tight legs and well arched toes.
  • The hair cover is long, plentiful and silky soft. The hair is longer on the back of the legs and on the tail and slightly wavy on the head.


  • black and white (blue belton),
  • white-orange (orange belton),
  • liver belton,
  • white and lemon (lemon belton),
  • tricolor (flamed blue or liver belton).

Under the term "belton " there is a mottling coat characteristic of dogs of this breed.

Setter care and nutrition

Setter care and nutrition

The long and delicate coat of English Setters requires patient and systematic brushing, preferably several times a week. This action also helps to remove dead hair and significantly reduce the amount of hair fluttering around the house.

We bathe the dog 1-2 times a month, remembering to use an appropriate brush both before and after wetting the coat. If the lavender is not a show dog, its coat can be shortened to make it easier to keep it clean. We also periodically check the cleanliness of the ears, the length of the claws, which we shorten if necessary, and brush the dog's teeth with a specially designed toothpaste.

In nutrition, we can use both ready-made and home-made dog food, remembering that the amount and proportions of nutrients should be adjusted to the size, age and physical activity of the dog. The animal should have constant access to fresh and clean water.

Disease English Setter


Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common pruritic dermatoses in dogs. In English Setters, AD symptoms appear between the ages of 6 months and 7 years and most often affect females. The underlying mechanism of atopy is hypersensitivity to inhalation allergens and substances acting through direct contact with the skin surface. The pruritus may initially appear seasonal, but over time, due to polysensitization, it persists throughout the year. The skin changes are mainly:

  • redness and baldness in the facial area (around the eyes and lips) - - redness and itching in the axillary, groin and peripheral parts of the limbs,
  • secondary eruptions,
  • recurrent inflammation of the external auditory canal.

Diagnosis of atopy is based on an interview, general examination of the animal, examination of samples of eruptions and skin lesions to rule out other diseases and, in addition, an allergological blood test. Antihistamines (rarely), steroids or innovative preparations such as Apoquel (containing oclacitinib) or Cytopoint (containing lokivetmab) are used to treat atopic dermatitis.

The fragility of the skin

Brittleness of the skin (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) is a congenital disorder of connective tissue structure, which, due to collagen deficiency, is excessively stretchy and brittle, which makes it easy to tear. The wounds heal are difficult and take a long time. The so-called skin asthenia is used to diagnose skin asthenia. elongation index calculated from the formula:

EI = (height of skin fold on the back / distance from occipital tuberosity to tail) x 100

EI> 14.5 indicates asthenia.

There is no treatment. According to some sources, the administration of vitamin C in high doses helps to reduce the symptoms of the disease. An animal suffering from asthenia should only be led on a leash, undergo regular flea prevention in order to avoid itching that leads to self-injury and to protect it from injuries and injuries. Specimens with this defect should be excluded from reproduction.

Double row of eyelashes

Double row of eyelashes is a hereditary congenital defect consisting in the appearance of an additional row of eyelashes on the inner edge of the eyelid margin. As a result of the presence of these extra hairs, the surface of the cornea is mechanically irritated, resulting in abrasion or damage to its structure. Additionally, increased tear production and blepharospasm are observed. Treatment consists of either cryoepilation or electroepilation, which allows the extra hair to be permanently removed.


Cataract is the gradual and progressive clouding of the lens, which impairs the process of vision and, over time, even leads to complete loss of vision. The causes of the disease include:.in. gene mutations, parasites, metabolic diseases or injuries.

In young dogs there is also the so-called. congenital cataracts caused by infectious agents, as well as congenital abnormalities within the eyeball. Hereditary cataract is probably conditioned by an autosomal recessive gene.

During the course of the disease, various changes take place in the lens, leading to the precipitation of insoluble proteins and a reduction in its translucency. Clinically, cataract is visible as a white disc that can be observed through the pupillary opening of the iris. Ophthalmoscopy is used for diagnostics, and the treatment consists of a surgical procedure performed using the phacoemulsification method. Drug treatment is ineffective.

Congenital deafness

Congenital deafness is a congenital genetic defect consisting in the degeneration of the static-auditory nerve. The lack of reaction to sound stimuli is already visible in puppies in the first weeks of their life. For diagnostic purposes, a hearing test is carried out using the BAER method, which consists in determining the potentials evoked in the brainstem in response to sounds. The test is performed under pharmacological sedation. It enables an objective assessment of the degree of hearing damage. There is no treatment.

Acute expansion of the stomach

ORŻ, i.e. a sharp expansion of the stomach, is a rapid increase in its size as a result of overloading (e.g. too much food, liquids or gases produced from easily fermentable foods). In addition, expansion is also favored by too greedy ingestion of large bites of food and physical activity performed shortly after eating a meal. The first symptoms that indicate acute gastric dilatation are:

  • anxiety,
  • belching,
  • salivation,
  • abdominal enlargement.

If the stomach twists, we observe:.in.:

  • attempts to regain food content,
  • pallor of the mucous membranes,
  • dyspnoea,
  • loss of consciousness.

In an animal in this state, worsening circulatory and respiratory disorders may lead to shock and, consequently, death without quick help. For torsion-free dilation, gastric probing or lavage is performed, and for torsion, surgery is required. The disease is a life-threatening condition and the prognosis is cautious to unfavorable.


Lipofuscinosis belongs to storage diseases, i.e. those consisting in excessive deposition of an ingredient in the body due to the lack of enzymes decomposing it. Deposition occurs with lipofuscinosis lipofuscin deposits mainly in the nervous tissue and the retina of the eye.

As the disease progresses, vision loss and neurological disorders such as seizures and ataxia occur.

There is no treatment. The prognosis is poor.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a disease that is conditioned by many genes and the environment. The factors contributing to the development of the defect include:.in. improper feeding of puppies and too intense exercise. Puppies have normal hips at birth, and soon, due to the imbalance between the development of hard and soft tissues, their clinical symptoms develop, which include:

  • reluctance to move,
  • difficulty getting up,
  • frequent lying down and squatting,
  • rabbit jumping,
  • stiff gait.

Inaccurate fit of the femoral head to the acetabulum causes looseness in the joint and leads to degeneration, distortion and pathological dislocations.

Diagnosis is made on the basis of data obtained during the interview, clinical examination and X-ray image under sedation. Treatment may be pharmacological or surgical.

Cranio-mandibular osteopathy

Cranio-mandibular osteopathy is a disease whose essence is the formation of bone growths in the area of ​​the mandibular joint, which leads to limitation of the mobility of the mandible and the occurrence of pain when opening the mouth, while eating and when touching.

The first symptoms of osteopathy appear in animals around the age of. 4-10 months. Additionally, we observe recurrent fever, emaciation and lack of appetite related to food intake difficulties. X-ray pictures show ossification foci in the area of ​​the mandible, temporal bone and the tympanic can. The disease is treated only symptomatically with anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, and in the case of inability to feed independently, artificial feeding with a probe is used.


Hypothyroidism is the reduced production of thyroid hormones and the decreased supply of these hormones to the cells and tissues of the body. The most common cause is lymphocytic thyroiditis, followed by its idiopathic atrophy or neoplastic changes. The most common symptoms are:

  • weight gain despite normal appetite,
  • apathy,
  • getting tired quickly,
  • panting,
  • polydipsia / polyuria,
  • skin changes and others.

Diagnosis is based on fasting blood levels of thyroxine and TSH. The treatment uses synthetic levothyroxine in individually determined doses, which are subject to periodic monitoring.

Is it worth choosing an English Setter??

The English Setter is an intelligent, obedient and relatively easy-going dog. Training is an important point in his case, because a deeply rooted hunting instinct, uncontrolled in advance, can cause us a lot of problems, especially in the form of unexpected escapes. Setters are great for families with children, because they like the company of people and adhere to the principle of "the more, the better". They appreciate movement in any form and do not like to be bored. In addition to hunting, they will also work well in dog sports, such as agility and obedience. They can also be therapy dogs.

Setters will make life more pleasant for every dog ​​lover who will have some time for them to play, run crazy, long walks and stroking the ear while enjoying a blissful rest. They are not very barky, not very picky about food and do not require labor-intensive care, although you need to take care of their beautiful appearance. With an appropriate dose of exercise and activities, they will also adapt to functioning in small apartments. They do not like to be bored and can exhibit destructive behavior when left on their own for long periods of time.

Sources used >>

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