Friendly, energetic, intelligent, and gentle dogs. Usually good with children. English Setters seem to have a sensitive nature, and respond best to reward-based training using treats or favorite toys. English Setters are active and enjoy dog sports such as hunting, tracking, field trials, agility, retrieving, rally and competitive obedience.
The English Setter may date back as far as the 14th century and is the oldest of the setter group. Created to help hunters track and locate game on the moors, the dog would take a perfectly still sitting position if prey were present and wait until the hunter arrived. In addition to hunting, English Setters have also been used as bird dogs since the 1500's. It is believed that the first of the English Setters were developed in France by crossing a Spanish Pointer and a French Pointer. Another theory is that the English Setter originated from the Spanish Pointer, the Springer Spaniel and the Large Water Spaniel. From 1825 through 1860, a breeder named Edward Laverack developed this breed into the standard by which all English Setters are judged by today. Another influential breeder, Purcell Llewellin, purchased setters from Laverack and then crossed them with other English Setters known for their field capabilities. Llewellin's setters were known to be wonderful field dogs and both types of this breed were imported to America in the late 1800's and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878.