by Doris Donnerman
(last updated April 3, 2009)
The oldest gun dog breed in America is the English Setter. It is believed that the origin of the Setter came through that of the Setting Spaniel. Wherever American upland game birds were found you would find the English Setter as the primary gun dog.
The English Setter loves attention and affection; he thrives on it. He worships his master and wants to be in his masters company and will do most anything for him. The English Setter is more prone to being a "one-man" dog.
He does his best when training is neither hurried nor forced. If you try to rush his education or hurry him in his training he will be ruined by too much correction or punishment. This is one dog that you want to be sure that he knows why he is being punished before you punish him. You can accomplish more by a sharp scolding or shaming than by force. The English Setter is sensitive but not timid. If he begins to sulk when you have punished him you may have a problem. The best thing of all is to make your English Setter a companion and spend as much time with him as possible.
English Setters have a variety of colors and can be either black, white, and tan; black and white; blue belton; lemon and white; lemon belton; orange and white; orange belton; liver and white; liver belton; white and chestnut; and even a solid white. Usually a dog without heavy patches of color is preferred; you would want one that is flecked. The dog's coat should be flat and of good length without curl, not soft or woolly.
The full-grown male English Setter usually weighs between 55 and seventy pounds and stands about twenty-three to twenty-five inches from the shoulder. The female usually weighs from fifty to 65 pounds and stands about an inch shorter than the male.
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