The English Setter, also known as the Lawerack or the Laverack, is a breed of dog in the Sporting Group. This beautiful and graceful breed is known for their agility, intelligence, and athletic feats, but they are also famous for their extremely sweet and gentle temperaments. The English Setter was recognized by the AKC in 1884 and AKC approved in 1986.
The average English Setter stands 24 to 25 inches high at the shoulders and weighs between 45 and 80 pounds (the females are smaller and lighter than the males). Their soft feathery coat is easy to care for with regular brushing, but their ears should be cleaned on a regular basis and frequently checked for any signs of infections.
History & Health
The English Setter is one of the oldest gundog breeds, and they were developed in England in the 1600's as superior birding and hunting dogs. While the exact ancestry of the English Setter is unknown, some of their known ancestry includes mixes of pointer breeds and hunting dogs.
The average life expectancy of the English Setter is between 10 and 12 years, and while they are generally a healthy breed there are some increased health risks and conditions associated with this breed. Canine hip dysplasia, congenital deafness, canine hypothyroidism, and cancer are some of the more well-known ailments that can affect Setters.
Temperament & Personality
The English Setter is a true family dog. Mild-mannered and sweet, the English Setter loves people of all ages and can be trusted around children. They have a knack for remembering things and people, often greeting someone they haven't seen in a long time as if they were old friends. English Setters are sociable creatures who crave the company of humans. They will want to be included in all family activities, are small enough to travel well in the car, and athletic enough to keep up on jogs and hikes. English Setters love all people and are far too laid back to be a reliable guard dog.
This medium-sized dog requires a lot of activity for healthy development. They are not well suited for an apartment lifestyle, but thrive in houses with big yards or farms with plenty of room to run and socialize with other animals. They enjoy most any physical activity, from long walks, to games of chase in the back yard, to competing in an endurance ring - as long as the activity involves the company of people, the English Setter will love it.
English Setters may love people, but they are more stubborn than you might think. The desire to please isn't strong in them. They are actually quite manipulative, and consistency is key to raising an obedient Setter. A gentle hand is also important when training, as they are sensitive dogs with long memories. They will not forget someone who treats them poorly. Their long memory also means that it can be hard to break English Setters of bad behavior, so early training is very important to keep bad habits from becoming permanent.
English Setters can only tolerate being alone for a few hours at at time. They should not be raised in homes where they will be alone all day or they will become destructive chewers and neurotic barkers. Companion dogs don't always help the situation, either, unless the dogs are raised together as puppies and the Setter considers the other dog part of his pack.
Boredom can also lead to destructive behaviors in this breed. If not given enough activity during the day, an English Setter will find ways to entertain himself, and it often involves chewing things that don't belong to him.
An elegant, substantial and symmetrical gun dog suggesting the ideal blend of strength, stamina, grace, and style. Flat-coated with feathering of good length. Gaiting freely and smoothly with long forward reach, strong rear drive and firm topline. Males decidedly masculine without coarseness. Females decidedly feminine without over-refinement. Overall appearance, balance, gait, and purpose to be given more emphasis than any component part. Above all, extremes of anything distort type and must be faulted.
Size and proportion in harmony with body. Long and lean with a well defined stop. When viewed from the side, head planes (top of muzzle, top of skull and bottom of lower jaw) are parallel. Skull--oval when viewed from above, of medium width, without coarseness, and only slightly wider at the earset than at the brow. Moderately defined occipital protuberance. Length of skull from occiput to stop equal in length of muzzle. Muzzle-- long and square when viewed from the side, of good depth with flews squared and fairly pendant. Width in harmony with width of skull and equal at nose and stop. Level from eyes to tip of nose. Nose--black or dark brown, fully pigmented. Nostrils wide apart and large. Foreface--skeletal structure under the eyes well chiseled with no suggestion of fullness. Cheeks present a smooth and clean-cut appearance. Teeth--close scissors bite preferred. Even bite acceptable. Eyes--dark brown, the darker the better. Bright, and spaced to give a mild and intelligent expression. Nearly round, fairly large, neither deepset nor protruding. Eyelid rims dark and fully pigmented. Lids fit tightly so that haw is not exposed. Ears--set well back and low, even with or below eye level. When relaxed carried close to the head. Of moderate length, slightly rounded at the ends, moderately thin leather, and covered with silky hair.
Neck and Body
Neck--long and graceful, muscular and lean. Arched at the crest and cleancut where it joins the head at the base of the skull. Larger and more muscular toward the shoulders, with the base of the neck flowing smoothly into the shoulders. Not too throaty. Topline--in motion or standing appears level or sloping slightly downward without sway or drop from withers to tail forming a graceful outline of medium length. Forechest--well developed, point of sternum projecting slightly in front of point of shoulder/upper arm joint. Chest--deep, but not so wide or round as to interfere with the action of the forelegs. Brisket deep enough to reach the level of the elbow. Ribs--long, springing gradually to the middle of the body, then tapering as they approach the end of the chest cavity. Back--straight and strong at its junction with loin. Loin--strong, moderate in length, slightly arched. Tuck up moderate. Hips--croup nearly flat. Hip bones wide apart, hips rounded and blending smoothly into hind legs. Tail--a smooth continuation of the topline. Tapering to a fine point with only sufficient length to reach the hock joint or slightly less. Carried straight and level with the back. Feathering straight and silky, hanging loosely in a fringe.
Shoulder--shoulder blade well laid back. Upper arm equal in length to and forming a nearly right angle with the shoulder blade. Shoulders fairly close together at the tips. Shoulder blades lie flat and meld smoothly with contours of body. Forelegs-- from front or side, forelegs straight and parallel. Elbows have no tendency to turn in or out when standing or gaiting. Arm flat and muscular. Bone substantial but not coarse and muscles hard and devoid of flabbiness. Pasterns--short, strong and nearly round with the slope deviating very slightly forward from the perpendicular. Feet--face directly forward. Toes closely set, strong and well arched. Pads well developed and tough. Dewclaws may be removed.
Wide, muscular thighs and well developed lower thighs. Pelvis equal in length to and forming a nearly right angle with upper thigh. In balance with forequarter assembly. Stifle well bent and strong. Lower thigh only slightly longer than upper thigh. Hock joint well bent and strong. Rear pastern short, strong, nearly round and perpendicular to the ground. Hind legs, when seen from the rear, straight and parallel to each other. Hock joints have no tendency to turn in or out when standing or gaiting.
Flat without curl or wooliness. Feathering on ears, chest, abdomen, underside of thighs, back of all legs and on the tail of good length but not so excessive as to hide true lines and movementor to affect the dog's appearance or function as a sporting dog.
Markings and Color
Markings--white ground color with intermingling of darker hairs resulting in belton markings varying in degree from clear distinct flecking to roan shading, but flecked all over preferred. Head and ear patches acceptable, heavy patches of color on the body undesirable. Color--orange belton, blue belton (white with black markings), tricolor (blue belton with tan on muzzle, over the eyes and on the legs), lemon belton, liver belton.
Movement and Carriage
An effortless graceful movement demonstrating endurance while covering ground efficiently. Long forward reach and strong rear drive with a lively tail and a proud head carriage. Head may be carried slightly lower when moving to allow for greater reach of forelegs. The back strong, firm, and free of roll. When moving at a trot, as speed increases, the legs tend to converge toward a line representing the center of gravity.
Dogs about 25 inches; bitches about 24 inches.
Gentle, affectionate, friendly, without shyness, fear or viciousness.
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Sources: American Kennel Club