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Gordon Setter Dog Breed Profile

Gordon Setter

Other Names
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
The Gordon Setter was oiginally used to scent and find game, today they are used as gundogs and as companions. 
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
£4-7.50 per week
Feeding Requirements
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. 
Other Expenses
The average puppy costs about £500. A show quality puppy would be considerably more expensive. 
9 - 15 years
This breed averages between 10 and 13 years in life span. 
Average Litter Size
The average litter size is between 6 and 8 puppies. It is rare to get into the double figures. 
General Physical Description
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.

Height Min Max
Bitch 51cm (20") 62cm (24")
Dog 53cm (21") 66cm (26")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 21kg (46lbs) 30kg (66lbs)
Dog 25kg (55lbs) 34kg (75lbs)
Size Category
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. 
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. 
Common Ailments

Cerebellar cortical abiotrophy - loss of coordination. Generally euthanized.
Susceptibility To Illness
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. 
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.< 
Show Characteristics
The Gordon has the heaviest head of the setter group and should display plenty of 'brain room.' There is a clearly defined stop and fine chiselling throughout the skull but the muzzle does not taper even though it is fairly long. The eyes are dark and should display a wise expression. The ears are set low and should be large and long. Hair on the head will be fine and close with the exception of the ears which display extensive feathering. The nose is black and broad with wide nostrils, as befits a dog that needs to use it for hunting. The neck is long and lean and blends into a moderately sloped spine that is strong and fairly short. The chest is deep and the ribs are well-sprung. The forelegs are straight and big boned. At the hindquarters, the hip to hock area is long, flat and muscular while the hock to heel is short and strong. The stifle and hock joints are well bent. Toes should be close and well arched and there should be plenty of hair between the foot pads. The coat should be shiny and silky with no waviness. Feathering should appear at the ears, chest, legs, stomach and tail. The tail is held horizontal or slightly below the level of the back. It is a short tail, not extending below the hock and should begin broad and taper  
Country Of Origin
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
60 - 80 minutes per day.
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. 
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
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. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
< Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
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. 
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 t 
Suffers From Allergies

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