The early development of the English Setter is attributed to Edward Laverack of Whitchurch, Shropshire, England. In the early 1800s, Laverack, author of “The Setter”, developed a dog that represented the field dog of its day (1815 -1900). Laverack setters, combined with Duke and Rhoebe blood, were the foundation stock for the Llewellin strain developed by Purcell Llewellin of Pembrokeshire, South Wales. Llewellin setters enjoyed their greatest popularity between 1900 and 1925. English setters of the Laverack and Llewellin strains imported from England were bred to select “native” setters, those that had been in America since its early history, to produce the modern-day English Setter which is acknowledged as a superior hunting and field trial dog.
English setters are generally known for a mild, affectionate disposition along with beauty, intelligence and an aristocratic appearance. They are predominantly bicolor, having a white body showing black, orange and occasionally liver markings. Black and liver dogs can also be tricolor, showing tan or orange points on their eyebrows and cheeks. Females range from about 35 to 45 lbs, males from 45 to 60 lbs.
True to its heritage, the English setter is built to run efficiently, and hardwired to hunt to the gun. Its lively, energetic manner is balanced by intelligence, devotion and a desire to please. Elegant yet rugged, well-suited to varied conditions and terrains, the English Setter is an agreeable and willing partner that can provide the upland bird hunter with many rewarding days in the field.
From the beginning, English Setters enjoyed great success in American field trials, dominating pointers in the early years. That legacy continues today particularly in cold climates where their coat offers good protection from the cold and heavy, punishing cover. They have proven themselves proficient on all species of upland birds and tenacious field trial competitors from the grouse woods to the horseback Shooting Dog and All-Age arenas.
— Jerry Kolter, Barbara Teare