Fowler Companion: Setter

By uvengwa, Jan 23, 2014 | |
  1. uvengwa
    Pointers, Retrievers and Spaniels are all good fowler dogs, but one particular breed worth mentioning is the Setter. This dog is a little different because it freezes rather than chases the prey. This gives you the advantage to taking the shot as birds are flushed out.

    They share the same traits as the German Shorthaired Pointer, a dog who tends to freeze and points to the direction of the kill, but they have differences in apperance. Setter history dates back to 15th century Spain, having been exported to France, England, and North America.

    English Setter

    The hunting history of this breed goes back 400 years in England, and you can find various portraits of dogs that resemble the Setters of today. It owes its lineage to the Water Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel and the Spanish Pointer. It is a dog that you would have seen on lavish country estates in previous centuries, and they have also made excellent show dogs in modern times, going back to the 1800s. In 2012, the Kennel Club listed them as a "vulnerable native breed," but the American Kennel Club has gone on record in saying that the English Setter is a breed that is bouncing back in numbers.

    Hunting Instinct

    The Setter will essentially take on the same position as other Pointer breeds, which gives the hunter the proper signal that prey is on the horizon like shown below.

    Photo from Live Auctioneers

    The Setter is heavy on scent, keeping its head in the air as it picks up the air scent of the birds. This is a dog that heavy on air scent tracking, which is perfect for water fowl hunting.

    They were most popular in the United Kingdom, comprising various breeds: English, Gordon White, Irish and Irish Red.

    Irish Setter

    Most of the breeds have a natural inclination to track birds since birth, but it is important to see if a young pup displays these tendencies.

    Indoor Pet

    It is not only a good hunting companion, but a great pet for the family. They are naturally friendly and well-tempered for the home. They have plenty of energy and would need plenty of daily exercise like any other hunting dog. Inside the home, however, they tend to have lower energy and are instant couch potatoes, much like the Whippet.

    They are receptive to visitors, unlike other fiercely loyal breeds like the boxer, and they are also well-behaved around children. When it comes to training, they can be fairly headstrong, mischievous at times, but this all depends on the bloodline.


    This is a healthy breed that lives anywhere from 11-12 years, and can even live as long as 15 years. The most common type of illness this dog succumbs to is cancer, at least for the English Setter. When it comes to maintenance, they have a long coat that requires attention, but the White, Red and Irish require less trimming. If you're looking for a good direction dog, this is another dog to consider besides the Pointer, and this is one dog that has fine pedigree status. This dog will make a great hunting companion and friend.

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