The Setter is a rather old breed, since such dogs existed at the end of the 16th century, and were used as hunting dogs. However, humans purposefully participated in its formation, and pointers and spaniels were used for crossing. Moreover, the work on improvement has been carried out for several hundred years.
The English setter we know today was created in the 19th century by the Englishman Edward Laverac and the Welshman R.L. Purcell Llewellyn. Laverac acquired his first two dogs, Ponto and Old Mall, from the Rev. A. Harrison in 1825, and these served as the basis for the entire future breed.
It is important to understand here that both of these people will play an important role in the development of the breed in the future, since each of them will develop certain qualities. For example, Laverak paid great attention to friendliness, openness and tried to create a dog with an affectionate temperament.
He used Irish setters and pointers (the pointer, as you can see, was used twice – in the early stages of the development of the breed and in more recent times). His dogs were excellent home companions, showed themselves well in the ring, but when it came to field trials, things were not so good at all.
And here Llewelyn intervened. He took the dogs of his colleague Laverac as his basis, but tried to improve the dogs by adding Gordon Setters and other breeds to the breeding program to increase speed and flair. As a result, both lines developed in parallel, and came to the United States at the end of the 19th century. Laverac’s line became the basis for the show, and Llewellyn’s line is field dogs, moreover, such a division is still present today.
So what’s the real difference? – you ask. But in what – show dogs are friends of man and family, although they are able to hunt, but field dogs have a sharper scent, more developed reflexes and superior speed. Externally, show dogs are usually somewhat larger than field dogs. Also, they have a greater variety of coat patterns. Thoroughbred English Setter in many countries is a rarity, it takes 98th place among the breeds of the American Kennel Club.
The English Setter is a large dog with a muscular, athletic build and thick coat. The ears are hanging, the chest is pronounced, the limbs are medium, proportional. The tail is slightly longer than average. The color can be two-color or three-color, but small specks are required for any color (large spots are not desirable).
The English Setter breed of dog is a very friendly and loyal dog, which was originally developed as a faithful companion to humans. These pets are very strongly attached to their family and owner, and are ready to help them wherever possible. On the other hand, sometimes they can be inherently stubborn, especially when they see unfair and rude treatment in their direction.
The English Setter has a high energy level, although it cannot be rated 10 on a ten-point scale. Rather, the energy level will correspond to an eight. In other words, the dog will happily participate in all active games, long walks, travels and hikes, but if after a walk you decide to rest, it will just as happily rest with you.
Despite its large size, the breed is highly adaptable and may well live in a city apartment. However, this can cause discomfort due to the large amount of wool, which he will certainly leave on the upholstered furniture, so here you make a kind of compromise.
If you live in a private house, then the dog will be able to perform the functions of a watchman. But, one should not expect that the English Setter will be as fierce as, for example, the Caucasian Shepherd. He will bark at the approach of strangers, perhaps even try to stop the intruder, but still, these dogs have a love for people.
In general, tenderness, love, affection are very inherent in this breed, and this can manifest itself not only in relation to the owners, but also to your friends and guests of your house, to whom you are friendly. The dog sees this, and it also opens itself. Aggression is not typical for setters.
This breed has hunting instincts and is more likely to hunt small animals, including cats. If the cat lives in your home, you need to train your dog to be present from an early age. Although the rest of the cats, on the street, can still be enemies. With other dogs, conflicts are possible, but not more often than usual.
The English Setter perceives children very well, these are his little friends, with whom he is always happy to spend time. He can also be a good nanny. In general, the breed has a very high intelligence and understanding of humans. Since the English Setter mainly worked in tandem with a hunter, he was often away from him, the breed developed a high degree of independence in decision-making, and this should be taken into account.
An English setter can learn a lot of commands, but basic ones are a must. Training should be kind, without rudeness and physical punishment, otherwise the dog will only withdraw into itself, become even more stubborn and generally cease to carry out commands normally. Here the whole point is in close contact with the owner, in love and understanding, because if you become an enemy to the dog, then you will remain.
Workouts should be consistent, active and interesting, they should not be prolonged, it is better to work for half an hour, but it is effective than wringing each other’s nerves for half a day. Be sure to use praise and rewards in the form of treats, the dog will appreciate it.
The English Setter breed needs to be brushed 2-3 times a week. The nails are trimmed 3 times a month. The dog is bathed once a week or more often, the ears are cleaned 3 times a week, the eyes are cleaned daily.
The English Setter is a healthy breed, but you may encounter the following problems:
- dysplasia of the hip joint;
- deafness – occurs fairly frequently in this breed, some forms of deafness and hearing loss can be corrected with medication and surgery, but usually deafness cannot be cured;
- elbow dysplasia;
- von Willebrand disease.