Description & History

The English Setter is believed to be one of the older breeds of gundog and is probably of Spanish origin.

Initially regarded as setting dogs or sitting spaniels, they were used to locate game, as were other sporting dogs, in order to provide food for the table.

The breed was originally evolved during the reign of Elizabeth I by Robert Dudley, Earl Leicester.

In time the breed was to be recognised in its own right as the English Setter; it is the smallest of the three setter breeds.

In 1822 Edward Laverack developed the breed further. In his book written towards the end of the nineteenth century, Laverack refers to nine strains of setters. One of these strains bears his name - the Laverack Setter. They were described as being "ideally blue or red beltons", that is dogs with a white base and flecked with black or lemon.

Some years later Richard Purcell Llewellin continued Edward Laverack's work. These breeders produced two strains, the Laverack for showing and the Llewellin for hunting and, subsequently, field trials.

The English Setter is a dog that will find, point and flush on command whilst withstanding the elements in open country, undergrowth or in water.

In the show ring it is a breed which has won many top awards. In 1859 English Setters were shown at the National Show of Sporting Dogs in Birmingham and from then on the breed has had a following in the show ring.

It is one of the most elegant breeds in the world with a temperament to match. Nevertheless it is a working dog and therefore should live in the country where it can exercise freely.

Rosamund Walters.

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