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Frequently asked questions

Some popular questions about English Setters

Do English Setters require plenty of exercise?

Yes, they do require exercise. "Plenty" depends on the dog. Some are more of a coach potato, some seem full of energy even after a long physical exercise. Setters are gun dogs, they are happiest while running freely in natural habitat. If you cannot provide such exercise they will be content with agility training, jogging or biking along your side too. Owning a garden does not mean the dog will use it to fulfil his needs for a physical exercise. Usually young dogs (before 2 years of age) are very demanding, require at least one long walk (1,5-2 h) in a safe terrain without a leash apart from regular shorter walks during the day.

Don't worry, if you won't find time to excercise your English Setter, it will use its energy indoors:)

I used to know setters what ate walls (yes, WALLS), carpets, stuffed toys, furniture, car upholstery out of boredom. Some of them, when left alone full of energy, will howl several hours unless you come back or will learn how to open closed doors by the time you are back...

Do English Setters require advanced grooming sessions?

An adult English Setter requires basic combing every 3-4 days to keep the long, silky coat free from mats and dirt. During a walk in the field or forest your setter will bring many sticks and leaves in his coat which need immediate care, because they can cause very nasty tangles.


Every 6 weeks it is good to card the undercoat and remove dead top coat on the scull, neck, shoulders, back and loin to avoid the coat growing too long and turning into an untidy, wooly fur. This is a painless procedure and can be made by a professional groomer. The paws, ears and front side of the neck are usually clipped very short to make the dog look more elegant. 

If you forget or give up your setter's coat maintenance, after a few weeks you will own a furry ball with plenty of hard to manage tangles. They can be detrimental fo the animal's skin and cause big discomfort.


Are you enchanted by the clean and elegant English Setters you see in some of our pictures? Remember, they RARELY look so perfect all the time. Setters are dogs, they love mud, water, running into fields full of grass, collecting dirt and sticks around their long silky coat. Especially autumn and winter walks with your setter most probably will end with a bath. The dog may be white while leaving the house, but may return as a muddy monster.


Are English Setters easy to train?

English Setters are intelligent creatures and learn quickly. However they have a gentle character - punishment and very harsh training methods are useless with setters. Additionally, setters are hunting dogs and have a strong or moderate hunting passion, depending on the individual. The passion makes training them a little bit tricky and more challenging. Nevetheless, setters can be obedient, when trained with patience and consequence from a young age. They love to please. With a gentle but firm attitude you can train your setter as good as other breeds. English Setters take part in obedience, agility and hunting contests. Everything is achievable! I would say ES are not a breed for people who never had a dog before.

In what colours

English Setters come?

English Setter coat colours are:

- orange belton (white base with orange freckles)

- blue belton (white base with black freckles)

- tricolour (blue belton + tan around the eyes and legs)

- lemon belton (white base + very light orange freckles + light brown eye and nose colour)

- liver belton (white base with liver/chestnut freckles)

Lemon and liver beltons come in tricolour versions as well.

In the ES population today, the most popular coat colours are: orange and blue belton. Orange setters are born always solid white, Blues and Tris are born already with some black markings visible right after birth. Tricolors are revealed after couple of days when the tan appears around the eyes and ears. The rest of the spots usually show up as soon as 5-6 week of age and very rapidly they cover up the face, feet and later also the rest of the body. The process of pigmentation may not be finished until 1-2 years of age. That is why we can only estimate what the puppy will look like as an adult based on the markings we see already and the coat of his parents. Generally speaking very white pups usually do not turn into a heavy spotted dog and a dark puppy will continue to get darker with age.


Male or female?

There is no right answer. No sex is "better". Some owners prefer females and you will never convince them for adopting a male and all the way round.

Some facts: bitches tend to be more time consuming in the heat period (usually two times in a year) unless spayed. Males, on the other hand, can be more stubborn and challenging while training in the "teenage" period and quite "deaf" and goofy during the heat season. Males usually have more coat which means more work to keep it clean and nice.

There are many stereotypes - girls are sweeter, more gentle, less active, more shy. Boys are braver, bigger, stronger, outgoing. It is all nonsense :) I met hyperactive and bossy bitches and very gentle and shy males. The character of the animal is very individual, depends on genes, upbringing, socialisation, and many other factors, not solely on the sex.

Do English Setters have health problems?

It is a generally healthy breed, created to run effortlessly for several hours in search for birds. English Setters rarely catch a cold and are quite "weather proof". However,  according to the current scientific research, English Setters do have some genetic predisposition for:

hip and elbow dysplasia,


- hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroiditis 

- gastric torsion,

- progressive retinal athropy (rcd-4)

- allergies/skin problems

We try to do our best to avoid these diseases in our breeding programme. To do this, all dogs and bitches in Penkivil are health tested towards hip and elbow dysplasia, thyroid levels, pra-rcd-4 and deafness. 

Do English Setters shed a lot?

English Setters shed normally as all long-coated dogs do. When groomed regularly a significant amount of old fur is removed and may cause less shedding.

If you love clean floors and carpets or if you have allergies - this breed is not for you. English Setter owners have usually a good quality vacuum cleaner and a big dose of patience to clean the home regularly in order to maintain a clean environment.

Are English Setters good guarding dogs?

No. English Setters are far away from guarding or any sort of aggression towards strangers. They are goofy, energetic and love the whole world. They will greet happily any family member, postman or... robber too :)

Are English Setters good with children?

When raised thoughtfully - yes. English Setters are very gentle and never aggressive. They are still animals, so please NEVER EVER leave them alone without supervision with your child. Older children should be informed about the rules the dog must obey in the home. English Setters make great family pets.

Will my English Setter befriend a cat?​​


Setters may have a strong prey drive, which can be dangerous for other smaller animals when not addressed in time. That means you need to accustom the dog from a young age to other pets, e.g. cats. Puppies raised with cats usually after some time make friends with them or just ignore them.

Remember, that the cat also needs some time to feel comfortable with the dog - especially when the dog is introduced as the new member of the family. This may take even couple of months. If you have a very old cat not used to dogs - rethink adopting an English Setter.

Who are English Setters not for?

1. People who want a calm lap dog to cuddle with in the evening after their return home following several hours of absence.

2. People who have never raised a dog before and are not willing to put extra effort in training and grooming.

3. People who live alone and work long hours.

4. People not interested in any sort of physical activity.

5. People who do not have patience and money for grooming sessions/grooming services for their dog.

6. People who want just "a pretty dog".

7. People who want their apartment and clothes to be sparkling clean all the time.

8. People who do not understand the risk of inheriting a hereditary disease (even after careful breeding) and consequenses of dealing with it (dysplasia, allergies, thyroid levels).

9. People who cannot afford quality vet care - ES are big dogs and vet expenses can be higher.

10. People who are lightweight - ES can be too strong for them to handle.

11. People seeking for an "instant" dog - already trained, smart, easy to maintain.

12. People who want their dog to spend most of the time in the yard, looking after the property.

13. People who want to buy an ES as a birthday or Christmas present.

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