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The English Setter Dog Breed Tips and Info

Jun 24, 2008
The English Setter dog breed originated initially in France with the crossing of the Spanish and French pointers nearly 500 years ago. Brought to England in the 1600s, the English Setter was further modified with the addition of the Water Spaniel and the Springer Spaniel. The dog has been used successfully as a hunting dog, primarily for game birds, for several hundred years since and is one of the oldest gun dog breeds. The name "Setter" derives from the unique position the dog assumes when it has found its prey as the dog crouches low to the ground, setting his quarry.

The English Setter that we know today was fully developed by the work of two men, Edward Laverack and R. Purcell Llewellin. Laverack began a project of methodical inbreeding in the mid to late 1800s. He was able to obtain two English Setters that had been owned by a reverend who had kept his dogs "pure" for some 35 years. Laverack's dogs became famous for their beauty and refinement, and they are really the foundation stock for many of the top show dogs in English Setter history.

Further changes to the English Setter breed came about through the work of Llewellin. His work developed a strain in the breed used primarily for hunting in the field rather than show. This line of field Setter is oftentimes called "Llewellin Setters", but they are actually not a separate breed but simply a field-bred English Setter.

English Setter Breed History

The English Setter has been used as a hunting dog since it inception and the breed history shows that it is one of the most proficient bird dogs among hunting breeds. Additionally, through the work of Laverack, the English Setter has become a formidable and accomplished show dog. First shown in England in 1859, the dog became popular immediately as a show and field dog.

The English Setter was brought to the United States soon thereafter and the American Kennel Club recognized this large breed dog in 1878, one of the first pure breeds to be accepted by the AKC. There is a statue in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Museum of Count Noble, the famous field English Setter from the 1870s that is the very foundation of the American Llewellin strain of the breed. The English Setter breed continues to serve as a dual-purpose dog today as it is used as both a field and show dog.
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For more information on the english setter or a complete list of dog breeds visit this Dog Behaviour website.
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