English Setter

Lifestyle Needs

English Setter

The English Setter is a large size breed with a fine, glossy coat and feathering.  Formerly a working breed but now usually a handsome companion dog.  Ideally he needs to live in a house with a garden and should have plenty of exercise, including opportunites to run free.  His coat will need daily grooming to keep it at its best.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 14.5% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

None known

BVA/KC Health Schemes: www.bva.co.uk/chs

  • Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and disability):  breed mean score 15.6 (parents should be lower)
  • Elbow dyplasia (malformation of the elbow joint causing pain and lameness):  ideally O:O
  • Eye disease: Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (annual testing) (gradual loss of vision)

Identified by the UK Kennel Club as part of their Breed Health and Conservation Plan.

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:

DNA Tests Available

  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL) (degeneration of nervous system, causing various neurological defects).
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA-rcd4)

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

None known

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Atopy (hypersensitivity to pollen and other protein particle – causes intense itching
  • Malassezia dermatitis (fungal skin inflammation)
  • Shoulder osteochondrosis (abnormalities of bone and cartilege, causes chronic pain)
  • Symmetrical onychomadesis (acute claw disease where dogs lose all 4 claws)
  • Ectropion (turning outwards of eyelid, causes discomfort and irritation)
  • Deafness
  • Panosteitis (bone inflammation)
  • Cancer: trichoepithelioma; lymphoma
  • Lysosomal storage disease (enzyme deficiency, causes liver degeneration)
  • Pancreatic disease (chronic inadequate digestion and voluminous foul smelling faeces)
  • Hypothyroidism (insufficient production of thyroid hormones, causing lethargy and tendency to obesity)

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):  www.puppycontract.org.uk

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

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