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  #1  
Old August 6th, 2010, 12:11 PM
Kalou Kalou is offline
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Want some info on English Setters

I plan on getting a dog once I am out of school and have a house (and have a backyard) suitable for one. I have been set on a collie because I hear they are great with other pets (I have 2 cats) and easy to train.

However, I have always loved English Setters. Is there anything in particular I should know about them? Are they generally pretty healthy dogs? Are they gentle and would be good with cats?

Any info would be great!

thanks!
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Old August 6th, 2010, 01:17 PM
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Frenchy Frenchy is offline
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Kalou , Hazelrunpack should be here later , she has 8 English Setters (yes ! 8 !) so she'll be the best person to answer all your questions.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 02:44 PM
Kalou Kalou is offline
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sounds great! thanks.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 09:34 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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English setters, eh? Brace yourself for a novel. I'm handing control of the keyboard over to madame hazel and she's might wordy

Keeping in mind that there will always be individual difference, English setters are for the most part wonderful gentle family dogs. In fact, I'd describe them as usually psychologically 'soft'--raise your voice to a labrador, for instance, and he'll smile at you, wag his tail, and share the joy of whatever mischief he's just gotten into; raise your voice to most setters and they'll hang their heads in shame and pout for a while.

Bench setters tend to be more mellow and have more coat; field setters tend to be more driven and generally have shorter coats.

But setters are a hunting breed, which means a lot of exercise and a fenced backyard if possible cuz they're going to want to be on the go--especially as youngsters. It also means they're going to have moderate to high prey drive--which means possibly not good with cats. If you're getting a very young ES, of course, you can teach it to consider cats as part of the family that are not to be harrassed. If you plan on adopting an older rescue, make sure you ask if the dog has been evaluated with cats. Teaching an older dog that cats are not prey is not impossible, but if you can find one that respects cats already, your job will be easier.

Health problems common with English setters are elbow dysplasia and auto-immune hypothyroidism. Some headway is being made against hip displasia through careful breeding, but we always get our new dogs' hips and elbows evaluated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (http://www.offa.org/) which maintains a registry of canine diseases. In our experience, general practice vets have trouble spotting the early radiographic signs of elbow dysplasia, so if you don't want to go the OFA route, at least try to find a vet with lots of orthopedic experience to evaluate the xrays. None of our dogs have dysplastic hips, but two of them have very mild elbow dysplasia which is, to date, non-symptomatic.

Auto-immune hypothyroidism is common in setters, often developing later in life (which makes it difficult to breed out of a line since often the dog is past breeding age before hypothyroidism develops). However, it's very easy to treat with thyroid replacement hormone.

Although they don't have much of an undercoat, they do shed...quite profusely when they're blowing their coat. All 8 of ours are blowing their coats now...so don't get me started on this! However, daily grooming helps immensely--especially if you do it outside I used to use a brush, but I've found that a metal grooming comb works even better. Daily brushing will also help prevent matts--setter coats can range from woolly to silky, but they're all prone to matts if not groomed often enough. It doesn't have to be a time-consuming grooming, though--I can comb, brush teeth, clip nails and clean ears on all 8 of ours in less than an hour. If we're just combing and brushing teeth, it takes less than 30 minutes total for all of them, provided I don't run into unexpected matts.

If you're going to get a puppy...well, someone once said: There's a puppy in the house? You've let the devil in to play... And setter puppies live up to that. They're entertaining as heck, but they're mischievous little blighters! Takes them 12 - 36 months to grow up, and then suddenly they go through what hubby and I call SSMS (sudden setter maturity syndrome) after which they become couch potatoes. The difference is so marked that we've actually taken them into the vet, thinking they were ailing--only to find out they were just entering their couch potato stage.

Probably already TMI, but if you have any more questions, I'll be more than happy to give madame hazel the keyboard again.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 12:26 AM
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Dee-O-Gee Dee-O-Gee is offline
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Well said Madame Hazel! You're control over the keyboard was well put!

While I do not have 8 setters, I do have one. Our Mollie is a field type and is very high in energy thus needing plenty of exercise. She entered our lives a year ago as a 12 week old puppy and has a fabulous relationship with our Springer and 2 cats. She is a very loving little girl with no health issues thus far other than chewing on tissue paper and sandals!

Like Hazel said; if you're looking into this breed and already have 2 felines, you may want to consider a younger setter to introduce it to your already established family.

We had had a Golden Retriever for almost 14 years until she went to the Rainbow Bridge and I can truly say that our Mollie is right up there with our Golden Angel as far as personality, disposition and temperment.
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  #6  
Old August 7th, 2010, 07:37 AM
Kalou Kalou is offline
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Thank you guys so much for all the info. I just think they look like great dogs. I still have a while before I plan on getting a dog but I like to get all the info I can ahead of time so that I make the right choice! If I have any questions I'll be sure to let you know!

thanks again
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Old August 7th, 2010, 10:18 AM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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For sure keep us posted on what you decide. Cuz you know we'll need lots of pics when the time comes, regardless of what kind of dog you end up with.
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