The English Setter is a medium sized dog which should have an elegant overall appearance. The field or hunting type can be finer in build and construction than those from bench or show lines. The breed was designed to hunt game such as quail, pheasant, and grouse so should be able to cover a lot of ground when seeking the airborne scent of the birds, carrying its head high. The head should be slightly domed with a muzzle of good depth and show chiselling under the eyes, which should be dark in colour with a kind, gentle expression. The top of the ears (sometimes the ears are referred to as “leathers”) are positioned in line with the eyes and lie in an elegant fold.
The base colour of the coat is white with differing coloured ticking also called flecks or speckling. The various speckled coat colours when occurring in English Setters are referred to as belton; valid combinations are white with black (blue belton), white with orange flecks (orange belton), white with orange flecks and lighter nose (lemon belton), white with liver flecks (liver belton), or “tricolour” which is blue or liver belton with tan markings on the face, chest, and legs.
This breed’s standard temperament is best described as a “Gentleman by Nature”. However, it can also be strong-willed and mischievous, especially if coming from working/field breeding lines. English Setters are energetic, people-oriented dogs, that are well suited to families who can give them attention and activity, or to working with a hunter, where they have a job to do. They are active dogs that need plenty of exercise and up to two hours a day of exercise is recommended. Inside they tend to be lower energy and love to be couch potatoes and lap dogs; the breed is described as “intensely friendly,” “good natured,” and “adores visitors and is particularly happy with children.
English setters can be affected with genetic problems like hip dysplasia and false pregnancies and sometimes congenital deafness.