The Gordon Setter can be traced back to 1620 when it was known as the "black and fallow setting dog." It owes its origins to the Spanish pointer and various early spaniel breeds. The breed owes its name to the 4th Duke of Gordon who set out to establish the breed officially at his castle in Banffshire, Scotland in 1827. The Gordon is the only native Scottish gundog and was bred specifically to hunt gamebirds, especially grouse. With more stamina than other hunting breeds, Gordons do well hunting on the moors and are reputed to bring home more birds than the other gundogs, though they may take longer in the field.



Of the setter breeds, the Gordon Setter is the sturdiest and most heavily boned. They have an overall look of elegance and dignity, coupled with strength and the obvious ability to hunt for long hours. Their coats are silky and straight, of a black and tan colour with heavy feathering on the legs, chest, stomach, ears and tail. These are large dogs with deep chests and muscular legs. They should exude stamina.

Size Large
Colour The main portion of the coat is coal black. The tan markings start out light in puppies and gradually darken with age to a rich chestnut colour. The tan markings usually appear as ovals over the eyes. Markings continue along the side of the muzzle below the base of the nose, at the throat, as two spots on the chest, insides the hindlegs, broadening out onto the toes. The forelegs are tan below the 'knees' to the toes and the vent is also tan. A small white spot is allowed on the chest of show dogs but it must be small.
Coat Length Medium Long
Weight/Height Range Bitches measure between 51 - 62cms at the withers and weigh between 21 - 30kgs. Dogs stand between 53 - 66cms and weigh between 25 - 34kgs. This is a heavy boned, solid dog.
 Ailments All deep chested dogs are prone to bloat or gastric torsion. Precautions should be taken with feeding regimes in order to prevent the sudden onset of this disorder. Most large dogs also suffer from hip dysplasia, which can sometimes be kept at bay with good quality nutrition and controlled exercise. Setters in general tend to have a problem with Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which can lead to blindness. This is a genetic disorder and carriers can be identified so they are not bred from. Prospective buyers should ask to see hip scores and eye certification of the sire and dam.
 Breed Classification The Gordon Setter was oiginally used to scent and find game, today they are used as gundogs and as companions.

Feeding & Ownership


This dog grows at an extremely slow rate so it can not be fed like other gundogs. It is best to consult with the breeder regarding feeding specifics. Meals should never be given directly before or after exercise. These measures must be taken to prevent gastric torsion, aka 'bloat' as deep chested dogs are prone to this problem.
Food Cost $15 to $20



This a gentle and sensitive dog which makes a lovely family pet if it gets its daily dose of exercise, otherwise it can become rather hyperactive and may inadvertantly knock over small children. Sociable and friendly, the Gordon will be devoted to its owner but may take a few minutes to acknowledge strangers. Nevertheless, you cannot rely on the Gordon to guard your property as it is as likely as not to decide that a burglar is a great playmate!. The Gordon will get along well with other dogs and may even tolerate cats if trained to do so at an early age. As with all breeds, early socialisation is essential for a well balanced dog. It should be remembered that a Gordon is more strong willed than other hunting breeds and will need firm and consistent training.


Intelligence This is an intelligent breed but it does have a mind of its own. Accordingly, training must begin early and the handler should be firm and consistent. However, Gordons are devoted to their owners and will do their best to perform well. Getting them involved in some activity that will utilize their hunting instinct is advisable. Scent training in obedience and field trials are good areas to work the Gordon without having to be involved in bloodshed.
Energy High
Suitability for Children High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Overall Exercise Requirement This dog was bred for strength and endurance and has the reputation of being the hardest and longest working gundog. As a result, the pet version needs a great deal of exercise to keep it healthy and happy. This breed needs a large, well-fenced garden and extremely long walks and runs twice a day. It is probably a lot easier to keep this breed in the country where it can find more wide open space to stretch its legs.
Suitability as a Guard Dog Low
Ease of Transportation Medium
Level of Aggression Low
Other Animal Compatibility Medium



As a semi-long coated dog, the Gordon needs to be brushed and combed regularly, at least twice a week. The ears should also be cleaned on a regular basis since they are long and pendulous, - the type that traps in air and can lead to infections. Excess hair under the ear can be trimmed away to allow more air circulation into the ear canal. The outside of the ear should never be trimmed though, although it is trimmed with other setter breeds. Hair between  the pads on the feet needs regular trimming and the feet should be inspected after walks for trapped grass seeds and burrs.

Grooming RequirementsOnce a week
Amount of Hair ShedLittle

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