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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Gordon Setter

Gordon Setter

Origin: Scotland

AKC Group: Sporting

Height: 23 - 27 inches (Male)

Weight: 45 - 80 pounds (Male)

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The Gordon Setter is a perfect one-man sporting dog. He is built on galloping lines, and has a thoroughbred appearance rather like that of a weight-carrying hunter.

Somewhat reserved with strangers, he is not the friend of every one that passes by, but instead, lives solely for the pleasure of being near his owners. This almost fanatical devotion to his master, and the love of home and hearth, is one of the Gordon Setter's most endearing characteristics. His quiet dignity, sheer fidelity and gentleness with children are legendary. In fact, he who acquires a Gordon Setter owns a rare combination: an aristocrat of ancient lineage and great beauty, a companion of keen intelligence and hunting ability and a loyal family guard.

Male height: 
23 - 27 inches
Male weight: 
45 - 80 pounds
Straight or wavy, with longer hair on the chest, stomach, legs and tail.
Black with tan marking above the eyes, on the muzzle, throat, and chest, legs and feet. He who acquires a Gordon Setter owns a rare combination: an aristocrat of ancient lineage and great beauty, a companion of keen intelligence and hunting ability and a loyal family guard.

In Scotland in the 1600s, setting spaniels were crossed with local dogs to create a breed that could persevere in the tough conditions of the Scottish terrain. It was the Duke of Gordon whose name finally came to be permanently associated with the breed, as he had many famous specimens in the 18th century. Writings from the time noted, "The Gordon Castle Setters are as a rule easy to break and naturally [hunt] well. They are not fast dogs but they have good staying power 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;[but] when they stand you may be sure there are birds." When Gordon Setters were first imported to the United States in the mid-1800s, they became popular hunting dogs. Soon enough, though, they were unable to compete with the faster English Setter and Pointer at top field trials, and this reduced their numbers but likely prevented the show dog/hunting dog split that occurred with many sporting breeds.

<div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"><span style="font-size: 10pt">Admirers of the Gordon Setter describe him as loyal, gentle, sensible, polite, obedient, cheerful, and affectionate. In the hunting field, he is steady and honest; at home, he is companionable and loving. He is faithful and absolutely devoted to his family.</span></div>
At home: 
The Gordon Setter is a large dog with a profuse coat who has a tendency to drool, but that doesn't stop him from winning hearts wherever he goes. While he can adapt to apartment life, he is much more suited to the country. He needs an active family with whom he can spend lots of time. Although he is energetic, with enough exercise, he usually settles down inside the home. A fenced yard is necessary for this active breed. He does well in just about any kind of climate.
The large, athletic Gordon Setter is in his element when allowed to hunt or otherwise explore the great outdoors. Without a few vigorous outings daily, he will become restless and bored, channeling that energy into potentially destructive and harmful behavior.
The Gordon Setter enjoys his food, and he requires a high-quality diet. Watch how many treats you are giving him each day, as he will gain weight with too much snacking.
The Gordon Setter is a well-mannered dog who learns the house rules quickly and easily - as long as they accommodate him. To that end, he needs a gentle but firm hand when being taught something new. He can be stubborn, and he will not respond to harsh training methods. Socialization from puppyhood is important.
The Gordon Setter is slightly reserved with strangers, but he enjoys and is great with children. He may be jealous if he sees the ones he loves doting on other pets, but in general he is happy to share his home.
The average life span of the Gordon Setter is 10 to 12 years. Health problems include bloat; hip dysplasia; hypothyroidism; and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Fun fact: 

The motto of the Gordon Setter is "beauty, brains and bird sense."

Grooming blurb: 
The Gordon is a relatively easy breed to groom. His fine coat of moderate length needs only a going-over with bristle brush and metal comb every so often to look its best. The feathering should be kept free of tangles, and long hair around the ears and between the toes should be trimmed for health and comfort. His long, pendulous ears can harbor infection and so must be cleaned thoroughly.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.