When Do English Setters Get Their Spots?

The English Setter is a medium-sized sporting dog with a good temperament and a gorgeous appearance. They come in a variety of colors and markings, and one of the most commonly asked questions is “When do they get their spots?”

when do english setters get their spots
When Do English Setters Get Their Spots?

When English setter puppies are born, they are nearly always born white—just like Dalmatians—and they begin to develop spots within days of their birth. Their spots typically start as little pinpoints of color on their abdomens, mouths, and noses; these specks are referred to as “ticking” on their otherwise white coats. Also, until the spots fully begin to show, it’s impossible to forecast which colors will appear.

These beautiful dogs will have patches and even more spots continue to form throughout their lives. Typically, their markings will continually change, and pre-existing speckles and patches may spread even further.  Body patches are not ideal markings for English setters used in showcase settings and competitions, but it’s indisputable that these dogs are a gorgeous sight to behold regardless of AKC standards.

English Setters

Along with the Irish Setter, among others, the English Setter is a member of the “Setter” group of dog breeds. With an oval skull and lengthy mouth, this dog has an overall long and slender build with huge, round, and often hazel-colored eyes.

The mid-length coats of English setters are generally white with black or brown patterns, although this breed of setter has been known to come in other such colors as “lemon” and orange as well. The hair around their tummies, ears, and tails is long and wavy. Their shaggy ears hang down and are a unique feature with their spotted and patchy patterns.

English setters are bright dogs with outstanding temperaments, despite their stubbornness and playfulness. The terms “gentlemanly” and “very kind” have often been used to describe this considerate and intelligent dog. English setters are enthusiastic and people-oriented, and they are a good pet choice for families who can give them plenty of attention and exercise.

An English Setter’s Spots

An English Setters Spots

English setters come in a wide range of colors and patterns. They’re generally blue and white (blue Belton) or orange and white (orange Belton). The term ‘Belton’ refers to spots that are a mix of another color and white, and somewhat diluted in appearance, rather than the solid marks of pure color such as those seen on Dalmatians.

English setters are typically born all-white. Sometimes, a puppy may be born with an eye or ear patch, and having a patch of color on one of the pups’ bodies can be quite frustrating for a breeder aiming for show-quality standards in their setters’ appearances—eye and ear patches are allowed in showcases, but body patches are not. Belton marks range from distinct flecking to roan (more color present in the appearance than white), but it’s usually the flecked markings that are produced when a white base is then mixed with the spotted black hair that grows in.

When a setter ends up with a mixture of three colors (such as brown, black, and white), this is considered a “tricolor” coat. As mentioned above, Belton is a combination of colors that may be blue, orange, lemon, chestnut, or brown markings along with the base white coat. For the puppies that are born with a few first color patches, these may easily be colors such as orange, black, or even yellow.

General Health of an English Setter

When English setters eat the recommended amount of high-quality dog food for their age group (puppies, adults, or seniors), they often will stay very healthy. The serving sizes indicated on dog food containers are a fine place to start if you’re unsure of how much food your setter needs each day, but a veterinarian can also advise on how much to feed an English setter based on his or her size, amount of exercise, and other criteria. English setters, like any dog, can gain weight if they eat too much or don’t exercise enough; therefore, owners should keep track of their dog’s daily calorie consumption and activity levels.

The English setter is an overall quite healthy breed of dog, but it is also susceptible to certain medical conditions. Here are a few common problems that most English setters eventually face throughout their lives and that you should be aware of if you are thinking about getting one:

  • Dental problems
  • Infections
  • Dermatitis
  • Obesity
  • Parasites
  • Ear infections
  • Eye diseases
  • Joint and bone problems
  • Allergies

However, many of the conditions are very common amongst numerous breeds of dogs, and regular veterinary care will ensure that you stay on top of the issues and keep your furry friend as healthy as possible. Always be sure to contact your veterinarian if you notice your dog exhibiting any unusual or sickly behavior that may indicate an impending medical concern.

english setter spots
English Setter spots

Related questions:

What are some of the most common inherited issues in English setters?

English setters, like all purebred dogs, are susceptible to certain inherited disorders. Although the breed is generally healthy, it is particularly susceptible to issues such as deafness, hip dysplasia, hyperthyroidism, and dermatitis.

Is it possible for an English setter to live in an apartment?

If they receive enough exercise every day, English setters can make good apartment dogs. They must be allowed to run several times a week to receive the appropriate amount of exercise for their physical health and mental well-being. Whenever a setter is allowed to run freely outside to burn off energy, owners should make sure they are in an enclosed yard or dog park setting for safety.

Why are they referred to as “setters”?

The English setter was named after its habit of “setting,” or getting down low, when assisting with bird hunting so that their owners (the hunters) were easily able to cast their nets over their spoils. Breeders adapted the dog to stand in a more typical pointer posture after the invention of the gun.

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.