Gordon Setter Dog Breed Information Guide


Hailing from Bonnie Scotland, the Gordon Setter is a large, black and tan gundog breed; a very capable game dog that is a favorite among hunters world wide, in addition to being a devoted and lively family companion.

Gordon Setter History

Originally called the Gordon Castle Setter, the breed originated in Scotland; the ancestor of the Black and Tan Setters that existed in Scotland around the 16th century. The breed derived it’s name from it’s first official enthusiast; the 4th Duke of Gordon, who kept a pack of these dogs at his Castle. Gordon Castle became the headquarters for efforts to breed the very best setters, and the Duke of Richmond carried on the tradition after the death of the Duke of Gordon.

The breed’s name was changed around the early 1900’s to “Black and Tan Setter”, but the breed was renamed the Gordon Setter when the breed was registered by the English Kennel Club.

Among the first breeds to be recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), Gordon Setters arrived in North America during the mid 1800’s, and found popularity among hunters seeking a diligent shooting dog. Although the Gordon Setter does not have the flash or speed of many of it’s rival gundog breeds, the breed has gained a steady following, both as a hunting companion and as a beloved family pet.

Gordon Setter Appearance

The Gordon Setter is a large, ruggedly beautiful dog who appears to be just what he is – a strong, capable field dog and a devoted and affectionate family companion.

The Gordon Setter is the “heavyweight” of the setter breeds, weighing in at up to 80 pounds and with a sturdy, substantial build. More powerful than aerodynamic, the Gordon Setter is less speedy than other setters, but more powerful and steady.

Gordon Setters have a thicker coat than other setters as well, and the longish black and tan coat falls in shiny, silky waves over the dog’s sides, chest, backs of legs, ears and tail.

Gordon Setter Temperament

The Gordon Setter is a devoted, and disciplined gundog that is a joy for the hunting enthusiast. As much as Gordon Setters love to be in the thick of things, running, fetching and doing their job, they also thrive on the companionship and love of their family members. The Gordon Setter is very loving and affectionate with family, but tends to be somewhat reserved with strangers.

Protective of his home and family, Gordon Setters have also been known to be aggressive towards strange dogs, although they are usually excellent with other canine and feline members of the family.

Gordon Setter Exercise Info

Gordon Setters thrive with activity. These dogs have energy and enthusiasm to spare, and need a generous amount of exercise daily to stay happy and healthy. Gordon Setters that do not receive the requisite amount of activity can become easily bored, and this can lead to undesirable behaviors.

Gordon Setter Grooming Info

The Gordon Setter has a silky, medium length coat that is black with tan markings. The coat needs to be brushed and combed every few days to keep mats and tangles at bay. To keep your Gordon Setter looking his best, it’s recommended that some professional grooming be sought on occasion.

Gordon Setters have low set ears that should be cleaned regularly with an acidifying cleanser to keep ear infections and ear mites at bay. It’s best to do this a few times a week.

You should bathe your Gordon Setter a few times a year, using a hypoallergenic dog shampoo. It’s very important to rinse your dog thoroughly after applying shampoo; any residue left on the coat can cause your dog skin irritation. It’s a wise decision to use cotton balls during bathing to prevent your Gordon Setter from getting water in his ears, which can lead to yeast infections or inflammation.

As grooming goes, however, the Gordon Setter is relatively low-maintenance. A few hours of your time each month and you’ll have a great looking dog to be proud of.

Gordon Setter Training Info

When training your Gordon Setter, one must consider the role your dog is going to play. If your Gordon Setter will serve only as a family companion, then basic obedience training started from an early age will usually give you a happy, well-behaved dog that is a pleasure to live with.

Training the Gordon Setter for the field is more involved, and unless you are very experienced with the techniques involved in training sporting dogs, it’s best to seek the advice and expertise of a dog trainer specializing in hunting dog training. There are many books available that deal with this subject, and from which you should be able to acquire a basic knowledge on how to proceed.

Further reading:
Training Gordon Setters

Housetraining the Gordon Setter puppy is a fairly easy task, given the breed’s high level of intelligence and eagerness to please their owner.

Gordon Setter Health Info

The Gordon Setter is a relatively healthy breed, as purebred dogs go. However, like all purebred dogs, Gordon Setters can be prone to hereditary and congenital disorders that can be inherited through it’s breeding lines. The best insurance against acquiring a Gordon Setter puppy with health issues is to choose your breeder with great care, ensuring that you deal only with a breeder that follows a carefully selective breeding program and health tests their breeding dogs.

Recommended tests for Gordon Setters include Hip and Elbow screening (OFA), eye testing (CERF) and thyroid screening. A conscientious Gordon Setter breeder will have their breeding dogs tested and certified with the appropriate organizations, and will also offer a reasonable health guarantee on their puppies.

Conditions that can appear in Gordon Setter dogs include:

* Gastric Torsion
* Elbow Dysplasia
* Cerebellar Abiotrophy
* Hypothyroidism

Further reading about Gordon Setter health problems:

Gordon Setter Health Issues

Gordon Setter Right Breed Info

The Gordon Setter is a large, high-energy dog that needs plenty of space, exercise and companionship. If you are inactive or extremely busy and intend to stay that way, the English Bulldog or Pug would be a better choice. However, if you are active and enjoy getting outdoors, have plenty of time to spend with your dog, and don’t mind the moderate grooming requirements, the Gordon Setter makes a great choice.

More Information about the Gordon Setter Dog Breed

Gordon Setter on Wikipedia