Gordon Setter

Type: Gun Dog

Height: Females: 23 - 26 inches; Males: 24 - 27 inches.

Weight: Females: 45 - 70 lbs; Males: 55 - 80 lbs.

Life Span: 10 - 13 years.

Litter Size: 8 puppies is average.

Country of Origin: Scotland

Activity: Indoors - Medium. Outdoors - Very High. They are slower than other setters, but excitable.

Watch-dog: High. Having an excellent sense of smell as well as a protective personality, Gordon Setters are on alert for any kind of threat.

Guard-dog: Medium - High. They are suspicious of strangers, making them good guards.

Description: A good-sized, sturdily built, black and tan dog, Gordon Setters are well muscled, with plenty of bone and substance. The Gordon Setter is a tireless worker and enjoys abundant exercise and attention. They are a better watch dog than the other setters, making them a loyal and protective pet. They are lovable, friendly, intelligent dogs who are sensitive and gentle. They are, however, slower and heavier boned than the rest of the setter family. But what Gordon Setters lack in speed, they certainly make up for in protection and stamina. Gordon Setters are more suspicious of strangers, and better at guarding than other setters. They also have great endurance, able to go longer without water and work harder in intense heat, more so than their other setter relatives. They are excellent in finding birds, as was once recorded by an unknown writer in the 1700s: "Their noses are first class and they seldom make a false point or what is called at field trials a sensational stand...When they stand you may be sure there are birds." Their excellent noses, heavy bodies and slow moving ways may have been contributed by the Bloodhound. Gordon Setters are medium to large dogs with wavy black and tan coats, of which a red coat may pop up in a litter occasionally. They are excellent in their field skills, have great stamina and have remained a favorite among hunters who wish to fill their game bags. Gordon Setters are an ideal pet for the owner who desires quality and loyalty.

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Other Names: Gordon Castle Setters

Colors: Deep, shiny coal black, without rustiness, and with lustrous tan (chestnut red) markings; black penciling on toes and black streak under jaw is permissible. Muzzle, feet and points on the chest hold the tan markings.

Coat: Short and fine on head, fronts of legs and tips of ears; moderately long over rest of body, flat and free from curl. There is ample feathering on the legs, underbelly and tail.

Temperament: Gordon Setters are obedient, loyal and protective. They are friendly and loving, relaxed and relatively obedient. Gordon Setters good companions, but more suspicious of strangers than other setters. They make good guard and watch dogs, as they are loyal to their owners. They are a tireless worker, enthusiastic about a hunt. They are intelligent, fun loving and affectionate.

With Children: Yes, but may be too enthusiastic for younger children.

With Pets: Yes, friendly, but they like to take charge.

Special Skills: Family pet and field sports dog.

Care and Training: Moderate coat care is necessary. Check the Gordon Setter's ear passages on a regular basis. Trim the excess hair beneath the ears to avoid infection. Plenty of regular exercise is necessary to maintain a well-balanced, manageable dog. Long walks and runs are suggested, as this breed can withstand a lot of exercise. Gordon Setters can be stubborn on occasion, but if you are consistent and loving in your approach they are not difficult to train. Gordon Setters should be socialized early on, however, to avoid any confrontation with pets and children in the future. They are fine with children if socialized.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience- Medium. Problem Solving - Medium.

Special Needs: Exercise, socialization and training.

Living Environment: Gordon Setters can adapt to city living but will do much better in the country. A home with a fenced yard is essential, as Gordon Setters need their space and their exercise. Owners of a Gordon Setter should desire an active dog who requires a regular exercise and does not like to be left alone. The best owner for this breed would be an active family or individual living in a rural or suburban setting with a backyard.

Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), epilepsy. Other health concerns include bloat (twisted stomach or gastric torsion). Bloat is a health issue to most dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs other than cancer, but Gordon Setters can be particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests.

History: There have existed Black and Tan Setters in Scotland long before Gordon Setters were developed in the 1700s. It is believed they existed there for at least 350 years before that. Alexander, the fourth Duke of Richmond and Gordon in Scotland, is credited with the development of this breed. He developed the breed at his home estate in Banffshire, Scotland. He took the Black and Tan Setter, Scotland's only gundog, and in the 1770s bred it with Bloodhound and possibly Collie. They were bred to be a sportsman's dog that would have great stamina, as well as excellent scenting abilities. The first import to the United States was by George Blunt and Daniel Webster in 1842. The Gordon Setter went on to be exhibited at the very first dog show in Newcastle Town Hall, England, on June 28th, 1859. The winner of the setters was a Gordon Setter named "Dandy" owned by their own pointer judge. Although slower and less trusting of strangers, the Gordon's abilities of endurance outshined the other setters. They became a favorite of hunters who wanted more to fill their game bags than to get birds quickly. The Gordon Setter could go longer without water, as well as work better in the heat than other setters. They also served well as guard dogs and protector's of their master's estates. An unknown author in the 1700s described the Gordon Setters abilities: "The Gordon Castle Setters are as a rule easy to break and naturally back well. They are not fast dogs but they have good staying powers and can keep on steadily from morning until night. Their noses are first class and they seldom make a false point or what is called at field trials a sensational stand...When they stand you may be sure there are birds." Today there are more Gordon Setters in America than in Britain, which is sometimes credited as the place of development for this breed.

First Registered by the AKC: 1878

AKC Group: Sporting Group

Class: Gundog

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 7), KC(GB), UKC