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BaxterBoo Blog
April 10, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Gordon Setter

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  • Height: 23"- 27”
  • Weight: 45-80 pounds
  • Historical function: Hunting, companion
  • Modern function: Hunting, companion
  • AKC classification: Sporting

Physical Characteristics:

The Gordon Setter is the largest of the setter breeds. He is the only setter breed with black and tan markings. There is long feathering along the legs, chest, and tail and ears. The soft, shiny coat is either straight or slightly wavy. He is slender yet sturdy.

History of the Breed:

The Gordon Setter was the favored hunting breed of Duke Alexander IV of Gordon in the early 19th century, though the breed had been developed in the early 17th century in Scotland. They were used as bird dogs with an excellent nose.The dogs would point toward the fallen bird, retrieve it and bring it back to the hunter. The Gordon had great stamina and could hunt in bad weather on both land and water, but was not as fast in comparison to the pointers and, as a result, started to lose popularity as hunters chose other breeds.


The Gordon Setter is stable, loyal, and affectionate. He is easily trained and will stick to it. Without a lot of exercise, he may become high strung. An excellent family dog that is friendly to everyone, including cats if raised with them. Mellow indoors with adequate exercise.

  • Best suited for: Active families and hunters. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This happy-go-lucky dog is adaptable to most living situations, except perhaps an apartment. Needs a large, securely fenced yard to roam  in and plenty of exercise.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The long, silky coat requires regular brushing to prevent mats. Bathe rarely. An average shedder.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk or jog.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to bloat. Feed three small meals a day rather than one large one. Also may prone to eye disease and hip dysplasia.

Breed Club Links: Gordon Setter Club of America Perfect Pairings: ProSelect Adjustable Black Diner, as elevated feeding stations may help prevent bloat.

Have any stories about a Gordon Setter? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Thomas Caspers.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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