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What Is Bad About English Setters? (Explained!)



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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There are many things that people love about English setters, but there are also a few things that some people don’t like.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the bad aspects of owning an English setter.

We will also provide some solutions to these problems so that you can make the most out of your relationship with your dog!

Key Takeaway

  • While English Setters are generally good-natured and friendly, they can be challenging due to their high energy levels, stubbornness, susceptibility to certain health issues, and a strong need for constant companionship which makes them sensitive to harsh treatment or being left alone.
  • English Setters are more prone to health conditions due to their genetic predispositions, breed-specific traits, and lifestyle factors that can lead to a range of issues including hip and elbow dysplasia, congenital deafness, hypothyroidism, skin allergies, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

What Is Bad About English Setters

English Setters, while generally a lovely breed, can have some challenges including high energy levels, proneness to certain health issues, and a need for constant companionship.

1. English Setters require a lot of exercise

What Is Bad About English Setters

One such aspect is their high energy levels. English setters need a lot of exercise and if they don’t get it, they can become destructive.

English Setters need a lot of exercise. They are high-energy dogs that need to burn off excess energy. If they don’t get enough exercise, they can become destructive and bark excessively. English Setters also need a lot of space to run around. They are not suited for living in apartments or small homes.

Dog breeds have different energy levels, which is important to consider when choosing the right dog for your lifestyle. English setters are high-energy dogs that require a lot of exercise. If you’re not able to provide them with the physical activity they need, they may become restless and destructive.

To tire out an English setter, you’ll need to engage in activities that challenge their mind and body. A long walk or run is a good start, but you can also try agility courses or even flyball.

Be sure to give your dog plenty of opportunities to sniff and explore, as this will help burn off some of their excess energy. With patience and consistency, you should be able to tire out even the most energetic English setter says A-Z Animals.

2. English Setters have a strong hunting instinct

What Is Bad About English Setters

English Setters have a very strong hunting instinct. This is one of the reasons why they make such great hunting dogs. They are able to track and find games with ease, and they have an innate desire to hunt. However, this strong hunting instinct can also be a bit of a problem if you’re not careful.

If you don’t provide your English Setter with enough exercise and stimulation, they may become bored and destructive. It’s important to make sure that your dog has plenty of opportunities to run and play, and that they are given ample time to work on their tracking and hunting skills.

With the right amount of exercise and training, an English Setter can be a fabulous hunting companion.

3. English Setters are known for being escape artists

What Is Bad About English Setters

English Setters are known for their escape artist tendencies. They are curious dogs who love to explore, which can often lead them into trouble. If you have an English Setter, it is important to keep a close eye on them and make sure they are always safely contained. Otherwise, you may find yourself chasing after your furry friend all over the neighborhood!

The average English Setter can jump a fence that is about four feet tall. However, some individual dogs may be able to jump higher. If you have an English Setter who is a particularly good jumper, you may want to consider raising the height of your fence says PetHelpful.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you do decide to raise the height of your fence. First, make sure that the fencing material is sturdy and will not collapse under the weight of your dog. Second, be sure to provide your dog with plenty of exercise so that he does not become bored and start trying to jump the fence out of boredom.

4. English Setters require a lot of grooming

What Is Bad About English Setters

Another downside of owning an English Setter is that they require a lot of grooming. Their coat needs to be brushed daily to prevent mats and tangles from forming. They also shed a lot, so you’ll find hair everywhere if you don’t keep up with the brushing!

They should be brushed at least once a week, and more frequently if they are shedding. English Setters also need to have their nails trimmed regularly. While they do not require professional grooming, many owners choose to take their English Setters to a groomer for regular baths and haircuts.

Overall, English Setters are relatively high-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming. However, their beautiful coats make them well worth the effort says DogTime.

5. English Setters are destructive

I know that it really depends on the dog itself, but many English Setters are destructive. If your English Setter is being destructive, the first thing you should do is figure out why. Once you know the reason, you can take steps to fix the problem. For example, if your dog is bored, try giving them more toys or taking them on more walks.

There are several reasons why English Setters can be destructive. One reason is that they are bred to hunt and have a lot of energy. This energy needs to be an outlet, or else they will start chewing on things or digging holes.

Another reason is that they are very intelligent dogs and need a lot of mental stimulation. If they are bored, they will find ways to entertain themselves, which may not be what you had in mind!

If you’re considering getting an English Setter, it’s important to do your research and find a reputable breeder. A good breeder will be able to tell you whether or not their dogs are prone to destruction. They will also be able to provide you with tips on how to best train and care for your new dog says AKC.

6. English Setters are hard to train

Like all dogs, English Setters need proper training and socialization in order to be well-behaved companions. However, some English Setters are more difficult to train than others.

One reason why some English Setters are hard to train is that they are very independent thinkers. This means that they are not always quick to obey commands or follow instructions.

Instead, they often need time to process information and make their own decisions. As a result, training sessions with an English Setter may take longer than with other breeds.

Another reason why some English Setters are difficult to train is that they are very high-energy dogs. They require a lot of exercise and stimulation in order to stay happy and healthy.

Without enough physical and mental activity, English Setters can become bored or destructive. This means that their owners need to be prepared to provide them with plenty of opportunities for exercise and playtime.

What is The Behavior of an English Setter?

English Setters are known for their friendly, gentle, and affectionate behavior, making them excellent family pets, but they also possess a high energy level that requires significant exercise to prevent restlessness.

From my years as a veterinarian, I’ve found English Setters to be one of the most sociable breeds. They are typically very friendly and get along well with children, other dogs, and even strangers. Their gentle and patient nature makes them a great fit for families.

These dogs are also known for their energy and intelligence. Bred as hunting dogs, they have a strong instinct to chase and retrieve, which can make them active and playful pets.

However, this energy also means they need plenty of exercise to prevent them from becoming bored and potentially destructive. Regular walks, playtime, and mental stimulation such as training or puzzle toys are crucial for this breed.

Despite their energetic nature, English Setters are also quite affectionate. They love spending time with their human family and are known to be quite cuddly. Separation can be hard for them, so they do best in homes where someone is often present.

In terms of training, English Setters are intelligent and generally eager to please, but they can be stubborn at times. Consistent, positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed. They are sensitive dogs, so harsh training methods are not recommended.

Why English Setters Are More Prone To Health Conditions

English Setters are more prone to certain health conditions due to a combination of genetic predisposition, breed-specific traits, and lifestyle factors.

Genetic Predisposition

From my experience as a veterinarian, I’ve observed that English Setters, like many purebred dogs, are prone to specific genetic health conditions. These include hip and elbow dysplasia, a condition affecting the joints that can lead to discomfort and mobility problems. They are also susceptible to congenital deafness, which can be present from birth or develop over time.

Breed-Specific Traits

Certain traits inherent to the English Setter breed can also contribute to their susceptibility to health issues. For instance, their hunting origins mean they’re highly active dogs. Without the proper exercise and diet, they can become overweight, leading to issues like hypothyroidism and exacerbating conditions like hip dysplasia.

Infectious Diseases

English Setters, like all dogs, are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections such as parvo, rabies, and distemper. Regular vaccinations and preventative care can help protect them against these diseases.

Eye Conditions

English Setters are prone to certain eye conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which can lead to blindness, and eyelid abnormalities like entropion and ectropion. Regular eye check-ups can help detect these issues early and manage their progression.

Skin Conditions

Atopic Dermatitis, a type of skin allergy, is also common in English Setters. This condition can cause itching, redness, and discomfort and requires regular veterinary care and management.

In conclusion, while English Setters are generally healthy dogs, they do have a higher risk for certain health conditions due to their genetics and breed traits. As a vet, I always recommend regular check-ups and preventative care to keep these lovely dogs healthy and happy.


Q: What is an English Setter?

A: An English Setter is a breed of dog known for its elegant appearance and gentle nature. They are medium-sized dogs that are often used as hunting companions.

Q: What is the temperament of an English Setter?

A: English Setters are known for being friendly, affectionate, and good-natured. They are also intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train.

Q: How do I groom an English Setter?

A: English Setters have long, silky coats that require regular brushing to prevent tangles and matting. It is recommended to groom them at least once a week.

Q: Are English Setters a healthy breed?

A: English Setters are generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Regular vet check-ups and proper care can help prevent or manage these conditions.

Q: Where can I find an English Setter breeder?

A: You can find English Setter breeders through reputable kennel clubs or online directories. It is important to do thorough research and choose a responsible breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs.

Q: What is the difference between an English Setter and a Llewellin Setter?

A: The Llewellin Setter is a specific type of English Setter breed that is known for its high hunting ability. While they are similar in appearance and temperament to English Setters, Llewellin Setters have been bred specifically for their hunting skills.

Q: Are English Setters good family dogs?

A: Yes, English Setters are known for being good family dogs. They are gentle and patient with children and get along well with other pets.

Q: How much exercise does an English Setter need?

A: English Setters are an active breed and require regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Daily walks, playtime, and opportunities to run off-leash in a secure area are recommended.

Q: Can I train an English Setter for hunting?

A: Yes, English Setters are excellent hunting dogs. With proper training and socialization, they can be trained to hunt and retrieve game.

Q: Can I adopt an English Setter from a rescue organization?

A: Yes, there are rescue organizations dedicated to finding loving homes for English Setters in need. Contact your local animal shelters or search online for English Setter rescue groups.

Conclusion and final thoughts

In conclusion, English Setters are beautiful and loving dogs that make great pets for the right owners.

However, they do have some characteristics that can be considered as “bad” by certain individuals.

These include their high energy levels, stubbornness, and tendency to chase after small animals.

Despite these potential challenges, with proper training and socialization, English Setters can make wonderful companions and excel in various activities such as hunting, agility, and obedience competitions.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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