Over many years breeders have bred to enhance the traits of setters to make them good hunting dogs. This means they must have boundless energy and to be able to ‘quarter’ effortlessly. This involves running at great speed over rough terrain for a great distance then turning on a hairpin and running twice as far in the other direction until detecting a bird at which point they will stop and set the prey indicating to the hunter that a target has been found.Setters use air scenting to locate the bird which is often out of sight hidden in undergrowth and then remain stock still to pinpoint to the handler the prey’s location. Setters are never taught to retrieve.

This breed therefore has to be energetic, have great stamina and persistence, be biddable, responsive to commands and lack aggressive tendencies.  They need to be bold and confident.  Setters hunt mainly by scenting the air and locating birds and prey in the undergrowth and often unseen, they have silky coats to protect them from thorns etc.

The problems that arise from this is recall because of the distance these dogs can cover and walking on a loose lead as many dogs will zig zag out in front of you (see tips on recall and heelwork).

So why do we have so many setters in rescue?  A good gundog is valuable but unfortunately not every dog makes the grade.  Brood bitches produce puppies and unfortunately the pups that do not make the grade are dumped by the hunters as are the brood bitches that can no longer breed together with the older and poorly dogs that can no longer do their job.

In order to help these dogs live happy lives within our homes, you must find out as much as you can about the dog’s background and understand, from their perspective, how they think and why they have particular behaviours.  If you do not know this information, it is safe to assume that they’ve lived in a cage or been tied to a stake and therefore have no toilet training, been fed scraps of mainly bread and do not understand English language.   When they come to you they will have had minimal interaction with human and spoken to in another language.   The only language the dog will understand is your body language.

Please understand therefore the horrible life these dogs have had, they may not trust humans and will have had to fight for food.  They will not understand what you are asking them to do and on top of that, they have had a long arduous journey to the UK.

Look through the profiles of all the dogs carefully.  Read their stories and consider what their needs might be.  Think carefully if you already have dog(s) which dog would best fit in.  If you are unsure contact the person dealing with the dog and they will help you decide which is best.

These are some of the things to consider when choosing your setter:

  • How much time do you have?
  • How fit are you?
  • Which sex?
  • Confident dog?
  • Nervous dog?
  • Old dog?
  • Young dog?
  • Are you out to work?
  • Is your garden secure?

These are loving, loyal dogs and when they get under your skin, they’ll be on your settee forever!

Take a look at our available setters >>>