English Setters are a popular breed of sporting dogs that are known for their elegant appearance and friendly temperament. They are often considered as good family dogs due to their affectionate nature and playful behavior. However, before bringing an English Setter home, it is important to understand their breed characteristics and temperament to ensure they are a good fit for your family.

Are English Setters Good Family Dogs

As a breed, English Setters are known for their gentle and friendly temperament. They are affectionate towards their family members and enjoy being around people. They are also good with children and can make great playmates. However, like any breed, they need socialization and training to ensure they behave appropriately around children and other pets.

Breed Overview

Origin and History

English Setters are a breed of setter that originated in England during the 19th century. Edward Laverack, an Englishman, is credited with developing the breed. He bred them for their hunting abilities and as a result of his efforts, the breed became popular in the United States as well. There are two main varieties of English Setters: the Llewellin Setter and the Laverack Setter.

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Physical Characteristics

English Setters are medium-sized dogs that typically weigh between 45 and 80 pounds. They have a long, silky coat that can be white with black, blue, orange, lemon, or liver markings. Their ears are long and droopy, and their tails are typically docked. They have a deep chest, long legs, and a graceful, elegant appearance.

Temperament and Behavior

English Setters are known for their gentle and affectionate personalities. They are intelligent and sociable dogs that enjoy being around people. They are energetic and playful, making them great family pets and companions. They have a strong hunting instinct and were originally bred as gun dogs. They are excellent sporting dogs that are skilled at pointing and retrieving.

Setter Varieties

There are two main varieties of English Setters: the Llewellin Setter and the Laverack Setter. The Llewellin Setter is a smaller, more compact dog than the Laverack Setter. They are known for their excellent hunting abilities and are often used as sporting dogs. The Laverack Setter is a larger dog with a longer coat. They are known for their elegance and grace and make excellent family pets. Both varieties of English Setters are great dogs with unique characteristics and personalities.

Family Compatibility

English Setters are known for their gentle and sociable nature, which makes them excellent family dogs. They are great companions for families with children and other pets. This section will explore their compatibility with families and other pets.

Good with Children

English Setters are gentle and patient with children, making them great family dogs. They love to play and are very active, which makes them the perfect playmates for kids. They are also very protective of their family, which means they will keep a watchful eye on children and keep them safe.

However, it is important to note that English Setters can be quite boisterous and may accidentally knock over small children. Therefore, it is important to supervise playtime and teach children how to interact with dogs properly.

Interaction with Other Pets

English Setters are sociable dogs and get along well with other pets, including cats. They have a playful nature and love to interact with other animals. However, as with any breed, it is important to introduce them to other pets gradually and supervise their interactions.

English Setters are known to have a high prey drive, so it is important to keep them on a leash when walking them near other animals. They may also chase smaller pets, such as hamsters or guinea pigs, so it is best to keep them separated.

Overall, English Setters are excellent family dogs that are gentle, sociable, and great with children and other pets. With proper training and socialization, they can make wonderful companions for any family.

Health and Care

Are English Setters Good Family Dogs

Common Health Problems

English Setters are generally healthy dogs with a lifespan of 10-12 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. The most common health problems in English Setters include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, deafness, and allergies.

Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are both genetic conditions that affect the joints, causing pain and lameness. Regular vet checkups and proper exercise can help prevent these conditions from developing or worsening.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, leading to weight gain, lethargy, and other health problems. Regular blood tests can help diagnose and manage this condition.

Deafness is a common issue in English Setters, with up to 20% of the breed affected. While deafness cannot be cured, it can be managed with proper training and communication methods.

Allergies, particularly to food and environmental factors, can cause skin irritation and other health problems. Regular grooming and a healthy diet can help prevent and manage allergies.

Grooming Needs

English Setters have a silky coat that requires regular brushing to prevent tangles and mats. Feathering on the legs and ears may require extra attention. They shed moderately throughout the year and more heavily during seasonal changes.

Regular teeth cleaning and ear cleaning can help prevent dental and ear problems. Bathing should be done as needed, but not too frequently as it can strip the coat of its natural oils.

Exercise Requirements

English Setters are athletic dogs with a high energy level. They require daily exercise, such as a long walk or run, hiking, or playing fetch. Without proper exercise, they may become bored and develop destructive behaviors.

Weight gain and lethargy can also occur if they do not receive enough exercise. However, it is important to avoid over-exercising young English Setters, as it can lead to joint problems later in life.

Diet and Nutrition

English Setters require a balanced diet with high-quality protein and fats. They may be prone to weight gain, so portion control and monitoring calorie intake is important. Feeding them a healthy diet can also help prevent certain health issues, such as hypothyroidism and allergies.

Regular vet checkups can help ensure that your English Setter is receiving the proper nutrition and is at a healthy weight.

Training and Behavior

Training Tips

English Setters are intelligent dogs and they are generally easy to train. However, they can be stubborn at times, so consistent training is important. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, work well with this breed. They respond well to training that is fun and engaging, so incorporating games and toys into training sessions can be helpful.

When training an English Setter, it is important to start early and be patient. They can be sensitive to harsh training methods, so a gentle approach is best. Consistency is also important, as English Setters can become bored with repetitive training sessions.

Behavioral Challenges

English Setters are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities, but they can also be prone to separation anxiety. This can lead to destructive behavior, such as excessive barking and chewing. To prevent separation anxiety, it is important to gradually acclimate the dog to being alone and to provide plenty of mental stimulation when they are left alone.

Another behavioral challenge that English Setters can face is excessive barking. This can be caused by boredom or anxiety, so providing plenty of exercise and mental stimulation can help prevent this behavior. Consistent training and positive reinforcement can also be effective in reducing excessive barking.

Overall, English Setters are intelligent and trainable dogs that make great family pets. With consistent training and plenty of mental stimulation, they can be well-behaved and obedient companions.

Adoption and Buying Advice

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Choosing an English Setter

When choosing an English Setter, it is important to consider the breed's temperament and characteristics. English Setters are known for their friendly and gentle nature, which makes them great family dogs. They are also highly intelligent and easy to train, making them a good choice for first-time dog owners.

Potential owners should also consider the energy level of the breed. English Setters are active dogs that require daily exercise and mental stimulation. They enjoy long walks and outdoor activities, so families with an active lifestyle may be a good match for this breed.

Costs and Considerations

The cost of an English Setter puppy can vary depending on the breeder and location. It is important to do research and find a reputable breeder that follows the guidelines set by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Adopting from a shelter or rescue organization is also a great option and can be more cost-effective.

In addition to the initial cost of the puppy, potential owners should also consider the ongoing costs of caring for an English Setter. This includes food, grooming, veterinary care, and training. English Setters require regular grooming to maintain their long, silky coat, and they may be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia and ear infections.

Overall, English Setters can make great family dogs for those who are willing to provide them with the love, care, and attention they need. By considering their temperament, energy level, and ongoing care requirements, potential owners can make an informed decision about whether this breed is the right fit for their family.

Stories and Experiences

A Furry Guardian Angel

One heartwarming tale comes from the Smith family, who adopted an English Setter named Max. Their youngest, Emily, was struggling with anxiety, especially at bedtime. Enter Max, who instinctively sensed Emily's unease. Night after night, Max would curl up at the foot of Emily's bed, providing a comforting presence. This loyal companion not only became a beloved family member but also Emily's furry guardian angel, easing her worries and bringing joy to the entire household.

The Adventurous Duo

Meet Jake and his human, Sarah. Together, they embarked on countless outdoor adventures. From hiking trails to beach outings, Jake's boundless energy and love for exploration matched Sarah's adventurous spirit perfectly. English Setters' enthusiasm for outdoor activities makes them fantastic companions for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. Jake's antics and zest for life turned every outing into a memorable experience, creating a unique bond between man and canine.

Considerations Before Getting an English Setter

Before bringing an English Setter into your home, consider the following:

  1. Time Commitment: English Setters thrive on human interaction. Ensure you have enough time for play, exercise, and bonding.
  2. Grooming Requirements: Their beautiful coat demands regular grooming. Be prepared for brushing sessions and periodic baths to keep them looking their best.
  3. Space Needs: While they can adapt to apartment living, having access to a yard or outdoor space enhances their well-being.
  4. Training Consistency: English Setters respond well to positive reinforcement. Consistent training builds a strong and obedient relationship.
  5. Financial Responsibility: Veterinary care, quality food, and grooming expenses contribute to the overall cost of caring for an English Setter. Ensure your budget aligns with their needs.
  6. Compatibility with Your Lifestyle: Consider your activity level and lifestyle. If you enjoy outdoor activities and an affectionate companion, an English Setter might be the perfect fit.

Remember, bringing a dog into your home is a long-term commitment. By understanding the unique characteristics of English Setters and addressing these considerations, you'll be well-prepared for a fulfilling and joyful journey with your new four-legged friend.

Are English Setters Good Family Dogs


In conclusion, English Setters can indeed make wonderful family dogs. Their friendly disposition, adaptability, and intelligence contribute to a positive living experience. With proper care, training, and socialization, an English Setter can become an integral part of a loving household.


  • Q1: Are English Setters good with children?
    • A: Yes, English Setters are known for their gentle nature, making them great with children.
  • Q2: Do English Setters require a lot of grooming?
    • A: Yes, regular grooming is necessary to maintain their distinctive coat.
  • Q3: Can English Setters live in apartments?
    • A: While they can adapt, English Setters thrive in homes with access to outdoor spaces.
  • Q4: How much exercise do English Setters need?
    • A: They have a moderate activity level, requiring regular walks and playtime.
  • Q5: Are English Setters prone to health issues?
    • A: Like any breed, they may have common health concerns, emphasizing the importance of regular vet check-ups.