Gallery of sporting dogs

If I didn’t get a dog from the herding group, I think I’d be next most likely to pick a dog from the sporting group. They’re also high energy, but they tend to be friendlier overall and perhaps have more potential to be easygoing. Sporting dogs don’t stress too much–unless there is a threat of the game of fetch ending.

(Click on a photo to be taken to its source.)

English setter

English setter

English cocker spaniel

English cocker spaniel

Golden retriever

Golden retriever puppy

Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever

Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever


Breed love: English setter

English Setter
English setter at a show. Source: Flickr, user ChocolateLuvr

I’ve always found setters extremely pretty. They’re like the bigger versions of spaniels. The English setter is especially attractive to me because he is rumored to have a more laidback temperament than his more well-known and fiery redheaded cousin, the Irish setter. Unlike the Irish, English setters come in a wide range of exciting coat colors.

English Setters in the park...
A happy English setter. Source: Flickr, user pixeljoy

Like most sporting dogs, English setter puppies have tons of energy. This should not come as a surprise. They were bred, after all, to run in the field all day long. Setter puppies are also known for being happily destructive with their mouths, like retrievers and other gun dogs. English setters tend to be friendlier, more outgoing, and less flighty than their regrettably over-bred Irish cousins. For this reason, if I ever opted for a setter, I think I’d go with an English one. Just look how handsome they are!

We have friends in town who have a Llewellin setter named Finn and he’s a beautiful dog; looks quite similar to a young, speckled English setter. I definitely need to hang out with him more…

English setter links:

Breed love: Irish setter

So glossy. So pretty and she knows it. Click for source.

My dad, who grew up with dozens of different dogs, had an Irish setter for a short period of time. The beautiful setter, however, did not last very long in his family. The dog had so much unchanneled energy that no one could keep it in a fence. The setter ran away countless times and finally escaped one day and was never found again. It’s a sad story for a such a beautiful dog, but it is perhaps a sage warning for anyone seriously considering an Irish setter.

Irish setters are famous for their hyperactivity and nervous natures. They are gorgeous and loyal dogs when their energies are properly utilized, but they do require plenty of attention and training.

Gazing into your eyes. Click for source.

Irish setters reached the height of their popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. President Richard Nixon, for instance, had a gregarious Irish setter named King Timahoe. It’s impossible to deny that these dogs are utterly beautiful. However, these sleek redheads come with fiery personalities. For that reason, I don’t think I’d ever get an Irish setter, but I’m very happy to admire them from afar.

Irish setter links: