Is an English Setter a good family dog?

Picture the scene: a classic midsummer’s day, a generous splash of sunlight illuminating the neatly mowed lawn in your backyard. The barbeque is spitting, hamburgers and hot dogs are on the grill, and the kids are bouncing around a blue inflatable pool, squealing with infectious energy and excitement. But wait… who is that prancing around in the excitement, a wisp of white and orange fur darting between the kids and the grill, bringing another layer of joy to the scene? Meet the English Setter, one of the most good-natured, affectionate, and aesthetically pleasing dogs that you could welcome into your family.

Did you know that the English Setter dates back to the 1300s? That’s right, this breed has been around for quite some time, merrily running the open landscapes of Europe even before America had been officially ‘discovered’! This dog breed was named ‘setter’ because of how it ‘sets’ or sits down after locating game birds, a trait that made them invaluable to hunters long ago.

Now, don’t mistake them for just hunters and scenic artifacts from history. English Setters are versatile and family-oriented dogs. They are known for their incredible gentleness and fondness for kids, making them perfect family pets, sort of like a nanny-dog. If Mary Poppins were a dog, she would likely be an English Setter!

What makes an English Setter so great for families? Let’s dive into the details.

English Setters have an exceptional temperament. They are sweet-natured and extremely patient, which means they can endure a little bit of rough handling from children without showing aggression. Their cheerful demeanor and friendly attitudes make them quick to form tight-knit bonds with their family members. They quite literally become a four-legged family member, full of love, loyalty, and a strong desire to please.

These dogs are also exceptionally sociable. This means they quite enjoy the company of other pets. From other dog breeds to cats and even nobler creatures like horses, English Setters are happy to befriend any and all. So, if you’re an animal-loving family with a few home animals already, there’s no need to worry – an English Setter will slot right in!

Despite their calm and composed nature, English Setters are also lively and energetic. They love to play, making them a fantastic partner for your children’s outdoor adventures. Their playful nature means they require regular exercise, so prepare for plenty of lively walks and playtime in the yard.

One crucial aspect to note is that these dogs evolved to be ‘working dogs’. Despite being good-natured and obedient, they have a deep-seated need to feel stimulated. They appreciate challenging games and fun training sessions. This presents a beautiful opportunity for your kids to engage with their new pet in exciting and productive ways.

However, their need for mental stimulation also means they can be a tad mischievous if left alone for too long. They may engage in minor destructive behaviors like digging or chewing. But a bit of chewed-up furniture is a small price to pay for the love of an English Setter – and this can easily be avoided with sufficient stimulation and companionship!

Their appearance also makes them a hit among families. With their long, wavy coats in a palette of white, black, and tan, English Setters are beautiful to admire. Regular grooming will be needed to maintain their gorgeous coat but imagine all the fun family grooming sessions that could bring!

In terms of training, English Setters are incredibly smart and eager to learn. However, their gentle and sensitive nature means heavy-handed or aggressive training methods are not advisable. Instead, adopting positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praises, makes the training process smoother and more enjoyable.

Additionally, English Setters can be pretty vocal, expressing their happiness, excitement or unease with different sounds. So, if you appreciate a dog that loves to ‘talk’, then you are in for a treat! Their barking is usually reserved for when they feel something is amiss. Not quite a watchdog, but they do have protective instincts and will alert you when something isn’t right.

So, is the English Setter a good family dog? Absolutely. With their friendly disposition, loving nature, sociability, and charm, they are a fantastic addition to any household. Yes, they require some effort in terms of grooming and mental stimulation. But their companionship, loyal love, and joy they inject in daily life far outweigh the effort. They are just the perfect, furry, loveable addition to your idyllic family picture. Maybe, it’s time you introduce your family to an English Setter and let the fun begin!