History and Standard

    The ancestor for the whole range of setters was a long-grained white spotted dog (also called "bird dog"), which can be seen on Holland paintings from the 15. and 16. century. The name "setter" is from the English "setting dog" because when the dog sniffs, it usually sits or lies on the ground. 

    The English Setter is the fanciest and the slimmest from the whole range of setters. In England the dog was used for hunting quails and partridges. Dead animals were retrieved by other dogs (usually retrievers or Spanish dogs). The ancestors of the English Setter were already hunting in the middle-age. The breed was cultivated in the 18th century by reverend Harrison. From the 19th century, the cultivation was continued by Edward Laverack and Purcell Llewellin.

For more information look for special literature.

Standard FCI since 7. 9. 1998
Number of standard: 2
English setter

ORIGIN: Great Britain.


Pointing dog.

    Group 7 Pointing Dogs.
       Section 2.2 British and Irish Pointers and Setters.
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.


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

Nose: Colour of nose black or liver, according to 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 occipit 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 larger and very muscular, never throaty nor pendulous below throat, but elegant in appearance.

BODY: Moderate length.
Back: Short and level.
Loin: Wide, slightly arched, strong and muscular.
Chest: Deep in brisket, very good 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 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.

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

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 foregoing 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.