A Type, a Color, or a Marking?

English Setters, classically beautiful dogs, are almost always born white, and as adults, have colored markings or ticking in a pattern known as Belton, so named for the village where the breed’s founder, Edward Laverack, liked to hunt. ESs can be orange belton, blue belton, tricolor belton (that’s a blue belton and tan), lemon belton and liver belton.

Belton. Got it?

Though we’ve heard some owners refer to their dog as a “Belton-Type Setter,” technically speaking, belton is a color. We’ve also come across references to “Llewellin Setters” which some regard as a setter bred solely for field work. On this, we defer to the breed experts, but Llewellins also have belton coloring, as well as non-Belton coloring  – predominantly white with colored body  ticking –  and “blanketed” coloring, a predominant body color other than white.

Finally, we’ve read that in the early part of the last century, the term “Dual Setter” came from the fact that many Laverack English Setters were used for both Show and Field. We’re hoping a stalwart English Setter person can confirm this.

All that said, we’re asking for English Setter owners to share pictures of their dogs along with an indication of the dog’s color so that we can all learn!

Image: “English Setter and Partridge” by Danchin Leon (1887 – 1939)

9 thoughts on “A Type, a Color, or a Marking?”

  1. Belton refers to ticking, not an absence of body patches. Llewellyn type English Setters are still Belton so long as ticking is present. All are still English Setters. Bench type or Laverack English Setters were referred to as dual Setters and the 13 Dual Champions – those with field trial and show championships- in the breed are all Laverack type.

  2. “Belton” is just a description of markings. Llewellin English Setters (which is very particular bloodline tracked through the FDSB), Ryman-type English Setters, Laverack or bench English Setters, field-type English Setters… their ticked markings are all considered “belton”. The Setters in the attached image are a blue belton (on the left) and a tri belton (on the right).

    Dual Setters are English Setters that can compete in both the field and the show ring. Since Laverack/bench dogs are the only ones who get AKC championships, they’re the only option for dual Setters (although some Ryman-types might be able to make the cut if they tried)

    • Great comment and wonderful picture, Danica, thank you!

  3. Belton’s are white with one color of ticking. Those classified as a color. Have ticking and patches of same color. Tri-color are white with ticking and patches of three colors, usually white, black and brown, but not limited to those colors.

    Llewellin’s are a pure bred strain of English setter. Breeding stock was purchased from Laverack, by Percel Llewellin around 1750. They are considered by many to be the original hunting English setter. They are registered FDSB, and to be registered. They must be DNA certified as Llewellin. Early on, some Llewellins were dual champions. Present day Llewellins are mainly used for hunting and trailing. Some could still do well in the show ring, but the AKC does not recognize them. They can be dual registered as an English setter, but that kind of defeats the purpose of breeding a pure strain. All Llewellins are English setter, but not all English setters are Llewellins. There is no such thing as a Llewellin type English setter. It is either Llewellin or it is not.

    • Thanks, John, great information and really helpful!

  4. how long before the puppies marking start to show,when is an ideal time for them to leave the litter
    they were born on 28/1/2021.

    • As we’re not ES breeders, Jen, we don’t know when pups start to reveal their markings, and perhaps one of our ES owning readers can better answer your question. As for when pups can go to their new homes, we would strongly discourage letting them go before two months of age, and speaking personally, we like to hang on to our puppies until they’re three months old. It gives them time to learn from their mother the beginnings of how to be good little canine citizens.

  5. Llewellin’s, much like English Setters (and other breeds as well) can whelp either solid in their primary color of coats or with patches and/or mask. Ticking comes in later as they mature and is unpredictable. Thus there is anywhere from 1- 3 color “phases” for the English setter and Llewellin’s colors, all white (primary color), secondary colors – black, tan, chestnut or orange. Orange can hardly be noticed at birth as its a very light cream color in contrast to the all white coat which is also cream white at birth. But in regards to the above, if any third color (tri’s) appears is commonly tan ticking.

    From all my experience, if a pup is whelped with what appears to be a tick at birth, it later will darken and grow and become a patch of various proportions so it disqualifies as a tick.

    Ticking is much like puberty in a Llewellin pup. Some pups start ticking early as 3-5 weeks, while others will take even longer to see. Ticking can appear in minimal or bloom into a medium or heavy ticking and in other cases. In other instances, some ticking may blend with the primary white canvas color and appear blue or other shades which is given different names such as greys/flints, roan, etc depending on the secondary color, usually black, brown orange, or tan.

    Usually you will have a good idea of a pups initial ticking by age 8-10 weeks, but mind you they are still not in full bloom and it can take up to 6-8 months before you see the full bloom of ticking.
    The exception in ticking is usually found in lighter colored pups (Orange, Tan, Lemon Yellow) as the ticking takes longer to appear (shade in) and show through. Lastly some additional ticking may only appear when the hair is wet!

    FDSB Belton- Per my last inquire “2013?” (not verbatim quote)- The FDSB (Now owned/acquired by the UKC “Sep1, 2021”) stated a belton is only a belton if it is “prominently” Ticked (no patches) and there is some controversial debate in such regards to heavy ticking/patching at the ears. respectfully,
    Thus anyone claiming a belton is one that is whelped all white needs to research the topic more as belton refers to ticking.

    The AKC (I think I read and believe)- allows and deemed a belton to allow patching at the ears (perhaps to be unique and different in definition from the FDSB and others???)

    However, I feel as far as the Belton topic goes, we should revert back to historical references and accept the historical standards of the person noted for the Belton . more so by the one who implicitly deemed the belton per his notations and acknowledgements in the KC.

    Edward E. Laverack’s book (The Setter)

    “As an instance I may remark , that if I had not kept my breed
    of ‘ Blue Beltons ‘ pure, this rare old strain would have de
    generated in a similar manner.
    When my dog ‘ Dash ‘ was first exhibited as a specimen of the
    ‘ Blue Belton,’ I believe most of the public and judges had never
    seen the breed. Since then many of this strain bred by me
    have been shown, and tested at trials ; amongst which I may
    enumerate Mr. Garth’s (Q. C.) ‘ Daisy,’ Mr. Purcell Llewellin’s
    Countess,’ Mr. Dickens’s Belle ,’ and others ……”

    Likewise, an image example of the belton is so noted (in the first Studbooks ever created world wide) the KC (Kennel Club) in the UK. Thus if the first image-definition of the belton (a laverack) is noted with an image as an example, it should be honored as part of the world wide standard … the image may appear in a later KC editions (I cant remember).


    But as for Ticking….One of my perplexing questions I like to ask in partial humor of a paradox is :
    “At what size does a tick stop being a tick and is considered a patch? A speckle or Freckle, a dime, nickel, quarter, half dollar in size?????? LOL

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