Tennessee, United States
Posted January 8, 2009
English Setters generally make great family dogs. They love to be with people. They are good with children and adults. They have lots of energy and need exercise but if they are given good exercise they will be quite happy to rest and sleep near you the rest of the day and night. They usually settle down and become much calmer by the time they're 2-3 years old. They do need to be with people -- they have a "soft" personality. You can't make them live outdoors or in a kennel all the time. They will be very unhappy if they can't be with people. They're rather be with people than dogs. They do require good grooming at least once a week.
English Setters can make a decent watchdog. They can be alert enough to bark when someone approaches. But they make terrible guard dogs. They are very friendly dogs usually and will often make friends with strangers and strange dogs.
The breed is relatively healthy. If you're getting a puppy you should ask if the puppy has been "BAER tested" -- a hearing test for puppies, as there is some deafness in the breed. Otherwise, dogs can also develop hip or elbow dysplasia, as with many breeds. Ask if the parents of the puppy have had x-rays for OFA (a registry that keeps track of hip and elbow dysplasia) and what the results were. Dogs are around 25 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 70 lbs. Bitches are slightly smaller and can weigh from 50-60 lbs. English Setters usually live to be around 12-14 years old with good care.