English Setter

A brief characterisation of the breed
Brief historical information
Nature, Temperament
Where is the English pointer at use?
Health and care
The system of breeding, club contact, breeding requirements
FCI Standard

A brief characterization of the breed

The English Setter is often said to be the most beautiful hunting dog ­ pointer. He is very handsome, elegant and of noble contour, character and nature. His aristocratic appearance, gentle and lovable nature and noticeable elegance immediately enchants us.

Brief historical information

The oldest mentioning of the "Spaniel" in England is from the year 1485. The later term setter is used by Dr. J. Caius, in the oldest book about dogs of the British Isles, written in the year 1570 in coherence with hunting spaniels. Today the only used term SETTER is taken from its special feature when hunting ­ pointing. When warning the hunter that game is present (pointing), setters tended to sit down (set). So they shortened the name setting dog to Setter. The term sitting spaniel still comes up in the year 1704 in the encyclopedia Dictionarum Rusticum et Urbicum.

 The origin of the English Setter, two Irish Setters and the Gordon Setter arises from English hunting spaniels, mainly from the English Springer Spaniel. The individual breeds of setters were still not practically recognized from each other at the end of the 18th century. The English author Taplin, in his work "The Sportsman Cabinet" ,judges that the English setter arose from crossing setters used for water work with a pointer.  The differentiation was then done on the basis of the characteristic colours of the dogs.  The greatest merit on the development of the English setter has Edward Lawerack, who built the basis of the new separate modern line in the year 1825. After him then is continuator Purcell Llewellin. That is why in older literature they speak of the "Lawerack Setter".  The English setter was first shown on the 28th 1st 1859 on a show in Newcastle, where their broad popularity in England and the export to Europe and Canada evidently started.  The English setter came to the Czech republic, like all the other setters from the Isles, in connection with the import of English Thoroughbred horses to the courtyards of the Czech nobility around the year 1850. Here they were used like special pointing dogs for feathered game.  The second and main flow of the English Setter is dated in the year 1935, when the English setter appears in our practical game management and also takes part in various trials and hunting dog shows. From the year 1950 the number of population bred in the Czech republic has not changed much, but we can happily say that we see better dogs and that in all matters.

Nature, temperament

The English setter is in the dog world a real "aristocrat" with a very noble nature, lovable and friendly to people. The English setters even temperament and friendly nature makes him a dog controllable and easy to train. His natural intelligence helps him easily understand new inputs and to deal with new situations. He keeps gained experiences in his mind and cultivates them. With his temperament, he always surprises us how quickly and with what willingness he deals with new and familiar situations. In his exterior we look for overall harmony of all the body parts, which fluently connect to each other. The English setter always has a friendly look and his proudly carried head is of perfect shape. The movement of his body, gently decorated with fur of moderate length, is graceful and for the eye of the observer very interesting.

Where is the English setter at use?

This breed can be used anywhere. He is frequently used like a hunting dog of good qualities in game keeping. Furthermore thanks to his refined inborn qualities he is presented on competitions of field trial type ­ that means use in sport and hunting. Often almost demonstrative beauty of the representatives of the breed English setter frankly tempts us to present them at dog shows and use them as representatives. Then last but not least we have them as cultivated and temperament companions in families. It is almost a rule that who has once owned an English setter, remains faithful to this breed. This proves the charisma of the breed.  The English setter loves close contact with his master and blossoms in activities done together with him. There are also some nonhunting activities in which the English setter can be used in, for instance agility, canicross and other many other sports in which exercise and communication, between man and dog, play main role.  He is friendly in the family. It is not in his nature to be a guard dog. He reacts to training well, keeps gained experiences in his mind and cultivates them. His good hearted ,gentle appearance and nature is enchanting. Possible coexistence with him inside your house is without conflicts. He is friendly to children. With kindness, patience and consistency one will raise him well.

Health and care

Because this breed is a longhaired breed, we always have to count with basic care. By this we mean brushing out his coat. How often we have to brush out his coat depends on were we keep him, on the weather and the place we take him out for walks, or the countryside he works in. The English setter is a naturally clean and neat dog and takes care of himself as far as capable he is. The best way to make his contours stand out is to partially trim and cut parts of silky fur. It is essential to prepare the dog for shows. You do not have to trim or cut the dogs coat especially if the coat is taken care of most of the time. It depends on the decision of the owner.  He tolerates living outside in the kennel well. When coexisting at home he respects a place that is set for him. We can characterise the English Setter as a sporty and healthy breed. For the needs of breeding we have RTG pictures taken to eliminate hip dysplasia. In practise we thoroughly examine their performance on trials for hunting dogs and then in general game keeping practise. We could then say, that when choosing a pup (from the health aspect) we should choose pups from parents of good quality, that succeeded very well at trials. Then we should also look at the HD (hip dysplasia) result.

The system of breeding, club contact, breeding requirements

Breeding is controlled by the clubs through breeding consultants. The aim of breeding is always healthy dogs, typical at work, in exterior and in character.  Moravskoslezký klub chovatelů anglických ohařů (MSKAO) 

Contact: the chairman of the club Mr. Vlastimil Resner

Veleckého 30

615 00Brno


Breeding requirements of MSKAO

- membership in MSKAO

- show prizes max. VD (second prize) and better (first prize)

- teeth: complete scissor bite

- the bitch or stud must be chosen from a committee of three members (breeders committee)

- the stud must have these working trials and prizes: autumn trials (PZ), I. Prize and Field trials or must succeed in general trials for all pointers.

- the bitch must have these working trials and prizes: autumn trials in II.prize at least.

- the bitch and stud must have these limit marks from the following disciplines:

scenting 3, pointing 4, inborn eagerness to work 4, progressing (moving forward after escaping game) 3, nose 4, discipline 3, stillness after gunshot 3 (the mark 4 is the highest mark on the mark scale 4, 3, 2, 1, 0)

- or the dog must pass Field trial with at least 6 points (point range 1-20 points for the whole demonstrated performance).

The Czech pointer and setter club (ČPSK)

Contact: chairman of the club Mr. Josef Němec

U Výtopny 5

410 02 Lovosice


Breeding requirements ČPSK

- membership in the ČPSK club

- X-ray of hips for hip dysplasia maximum 2/2

- show prizes must be max. VD (II. prize) and better

- bitch and stud both ­ must have a work trial, either a ­ Field trial and must have at least 6 points or must have another work trial (JZ, PZ, VZ) with the same marking as in the MSKAO club.


No. of Standard: 2

English setter

Origin: Great Britain

Date of publication of the original valid standard: 24.06.1987

Utilization: Pointing dog

Classification F.C.I.: Group 7 Pointing dogs

Section 2.2 British and Irish Pointers and Setters

Setter with working trial.

General appearance: Of medium height, clean in outline, elegant in appearance and movement.

Behaviour/Temperament: Very active with a keen game sense. Intensely friendly and good natured.

Head :Carried high, long and reasonably lean

Cranial region:

Skull: Oval from ear to ear, showing plenty of brain room; occipital protuberance well-defined

Stop: Well defined

Facial region:

Nose: colour of nose black or liver, according to the colour of coat. Nostrils wide

Muzzle: Moderately deep and fairly square, from stop to point of nose should be equal to length of skull from occiput to eyes.

Lips: Not too pendulous

Jaws/Teeth: Jaws strong and of nearly equal length, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Full dentition desirable.

Eyes: Bright, mild and expressive. Colour ranging between hazel and dark brown, the darker the better. In liver beltons only, a lighter eye acceptable. Eyes oval and not protruding.

Ears: Moderate length, set on low, and hanging in neat folds close to cheek, tip velvety, upper part clothed in fine silky hair.

Neck: Rather long, muscular and lean, slightly arched at crest, and clean cut where it joins head, towards shoulder and very muscular, never throaty nor pendulous below throat, but elegant in appearance

Body: Moderate length

Back: Short and level.

Chest: Deep in brisket, very good in depth and width between shoulder blades. Ribs good round, widely sprung and deep in back ribs, i.e. well ribbed up.

Tail: Set almost in line with back, medium length, not reaching below hock, neither curly nor ropy, slightly curved or scimitar shaped but with no tendency to turn upwards: flag or feathers hanging in long pendant flakes. Feather commencing slightly below the root, and increasing in length towards the middle, then gradually tapering towards end; hair long, bright, soft and silky, wavy but not curly. Lively and slashing in movement and carried in a plane not higher than level of back.



Shoulders: Well set back or oblique

Elbows: Well let down close to body

Forearms: Straight and very muscular with rounded bone.

Pastern: Short, strong, round and straight.

Hindquarters: Legs well muscled including second thigh. Long from hip to hock.

Thighs: Long.

Stifles: Well bent.

Hock: Inclining neither in nor out and well let down.

Feet: Well padded, tight, with close well arched toes protected by hair between them.

Gait/ Movement: Free and graceful action, suggesting speed and endurance. Free movement of the hock showing powerful drive from hindquarters. Viewed from rear, hip stifle and hock joints in line. Head naturally high.


Hair: From back of head in line with ears slightly wavy, not curly, long and silky, as is coat generally, breeches and forelegs nearly down to feet well feathered.

Colour: Black and white (blue belton), orange white (orange belton), lemon and white (lemon belton), liver and white (liver belton) or tricolour, that is blue belton and tan or liver belton and tan, those without heavy patches of colour on body but flecked (belton) all over preferred.


Dogs: 65-68cm (25,5-27ins). Bitches: 61-65cm (24-25,5ins).

Note of the Standard Committee: * Belton* is the customary term used for the description of the distinctive coat-ticking of the English setter. Belton is a village in Northumberland.

This expression has been created and spread out by the book about the English setter written by Mr. Edward Lavarack, breeder who has had a preponderating influence upon the actual appearance of the breed.

Faults: Any departure from the forgoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

N.B. Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.