Training the English Setter: A Dog Specialized in Bird Hunting

This breed is very calm indoors, but, outdoors, the active character of a hunting dog surfaces, hence it must be taught who's the leader.
Training the English Setter: A Dog Specialized in Bird Hunting

Last update: 11 May, 2021

Teaching a dog basic commands may seem complicated and, of course, it requires patience and perseverance. But, if we also add the hunting instinct inherent to the dog breed in question, this task can become even more complicated. So, we’re going to give you some guidelines for training the English Setter, an excellent bird hunter.

English Setter: Characteristics

Before delving into the subject, let’s learn a little more about this dog, its characteristics and its character. This will help us figure out how to train it.

Physical traits

The English Setter is a medium-sized dog, reaching a height of 55 to 65 cm (21-25 in) at the withers in males, and 57 to 68 cm (22-26 in) in females. It weighs around 30 kg (66 lb), and its most distinctive physical trait is its coat, which is mottled with spots all over its body.

English Setter: characteristics.

The accepted colors for this breed are black-white, orange-white or three-color, with a mix of the colors mentioned. Depending on its color, it has different names such as Blue Belton, Orange Belton or Tricolor. Its tail is of medium length and always is kept either downwards or horizontally, but never upwards.

Character of the English Setter

The English Setter is a very calm dog at home, but very active when outdoors. It’s a very friendly animal that will love to lie down with you on the couch, cuddle and snuggle.

It’s not a one-person animal, which means that all members of the family can train them and they’ll obey them. In addition, its affectionate and friendly nature makes it ideal around children. However, remember that any interaction between pets and children must always be supervised by an adult.

English Setter: Character.

Tips for training the English Setter

The English Setter needs you to take into account a series of requirements when training it, which are specifically the reasons it was bred for. Here are some of them.


As we’ve already mentioned, the English Setter is a very sociable dog that needs to feel like a family member. Even if it’s enough for it to regard you as a leader, it also needs love and affection from the rest of the family, from other pets or from the people around you.

As a result, in order to train this breed correctly, it has to live in the house, and you need to train it by using positive reinforcement techniques instead of rebuking it when it does something wrong.


As part of the discipline, there’s a very important aspect that you should teach it: hierarchy. The English Setter is a strong and intelligent dog, and it’s aware of it. Showing it that you’re the leader and that it is your follower must be one of the basic principles in training an English Setter.

To teach this, there’s no need to shout or punish it, as we mentioned before. Positive reinforcement is always the key to good results when training any animal.


Routine is one of the most important factors when training an English Setter. This is an essential aspect which it’s accustomed to, and which must be part of its life.

Therefore, make sure that its walks, games, and meals, as well as baths, are always at the same time. This will help the animal keep calm and balanced, qualities that are very useful during the learning process.


Due to its intrinsic hunting instinct, exercise is vital in the training of the English Setter. All the energy that accumulates in its body must be channeled, and sport is the best way to achieve this.

Once you’ve fulfilled all these requirements, you can begin training your pet like you would any other breed. You’ll be able to teach it basic commands at home, but if you want something more advanced, you’ll probably have to get in touch with a professional.

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