The English Setter has earned its reputation not only as an extraordinary hunting breed but a wonderful companion animal as well. They are extremely intelligent and known for forming strong bonds with their owners very early on. If there is one thing that all English Setter owners agree on as a basic truth, it is that this breed very much depends on human interaction to stay healthy. Not only do they expect to be part of the family, they are quite actually the best type of dog for those needing a twenty four hour guardian or an enthusiastic traveling buddy.
Because of their need for interaction, those expecting to get a dog that crate trains well should likely opt for another breed. An owner who spends long periods of time away from home is likely to encounter problems that stem from the breed's tendency towards separation anxiety. If there is a way for an owner to bring their dog with them during the day, the situation is likely to make both the owner and the dog quite happy. Owners with sedentary lifestyle who expect to train out the Setter's penchant for activity will also be sorely disappointed. Intelligent breeds will need to work their minds as much as their muscle. This is no different for the English Setter.
In the same vein, those looking for a dog that enjoys pleasing its owner will enjoy the English Setter; however, those who expect to be the boss and work through harsh disciplining techniques will be sorely disappointed. Once again, the intelligence of the breed means the English Setter comes with a good sense of self awareness. They will never give in completely to any kind ill treatment. The hallmark of the English Setter is trust and loyalty and it must be mutual between the dog and owner in order for a solid relationship to be established. Good owners will set up boundaries based on cooperation rather than brute force.
While they are prone to bark in order to give a heads up, the English Setter is not spectacular guard dog. Since they are not suspicious in nature but are instead friendly, they see no need to become particularly standoffish with those they do not know. This does not mean they will abandon their owner to danger if and when such an unfortunate circumstance rises; nonetheless, this is not the breed for those looking for a high level of security from their canine companion. This is also not the breed for those who dislike the idea of hair on furniture or clothing. Their longish coat is prone to a moderate amount of shedding. An owner who is willing to take up one to two short grooming sessions per week can likely cut shedding down to a negligible amount.