Prey Drive In English Setters

7 Feb 2024, 3:06 p.m. by Tracey McLennan


English Setters are a breed of gundog that can trace it's history back to the 14th century when the breed was developed from the spaniel. Originally they were called a Setting Spaniel.

This breed is a real specialist when it comes to predatory instincts. They work be ranging out in front of their person, hunting for birds. When the dog has located a bird, then they should go still, known as setting and stay still, facing the bird. The dog should stay still until the human can get close to the dog at which point the dog will be asked to go forward, causing the bird to fly.

Keep Your English Setter Happy

These dogs often live happily as companions but experts in the breed note that they are only truly fulfilled if they have opportunities to use their natural ability to find and set birds.

Suggested Activities

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Predatory Motor Sequence statistics for English Setters. The graph shows the percentage of English Setters in my research study that had a strong level of interest in each behaviour.

Bar chart showing the percentage of English Setters intensely interested in each part of the predatory motor sequence

Hunt: 83%

Orient: 60%

Eye: 54%

Stalk: 46%

Chase: 66%

Grab-bite: 26%

Possess: 14%

Kill-bite: 9%

Dissect: 3%

Consume: 0%

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Woman with short hair and a purple top walks through stunning countryside carrying a pink dog lead

Hi - I'm Tracey.

I am the founder of Best Dog Learning and Stuff and a massive prey drive enthusiast. I've lived with high prey drive dogs for over 20 years and I love them. I run the awesome High Prey Drive Club where I help my members learn to have fabulous walks and happy lives with their high prey drive dogs.

I am a published researcher in my field with both my original research and my review of the literature looking at prey drive in dogs being published in the respected journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

I am the author of Canine aggression: Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindess and compassion.

I want to show you how easy and fun it can be to have a high prey drive dog.

If you'd like help with your dog, I'm ready to help you right now.