The Gordon Setter is a good-sized, sturdily built, black and tan dog, well muscled, with plenty of bone and substance, but active, upstanding and stylish, appearing capable of doing a full days work in the field. He has a strong, rather short back, with well sprung ribs and a short tail. The head is fairly heavy and finely chiseled. His bearing is intelligent, noble, and dignified, showing no signs of shyness or viciousness. Clear colors and straight or slightly waved coat are correct. He suggests strength and stamina rather than extreme speed. Symmetry and quality are most essential. A dog well balanced in all points is preferable to one with outstanding good qualities and defects. A smooth, free movement, with high head carriage, is typical.
Gordon Setter Temperament
The Gordon Setter is distinguished both for its loyalty and obedience. A polite, sweet-tempered, devoted dog, making enjoyable companions that are excellent with children. Intelligent and willing, they are a skilled hunter who is seldom wrong about a scent. Brave, cheerful and affectionate. This breed needs lots of exercise or it may become high-strung. Very loyal to the family, but can be distant with strangers. Generally good with other pets but may try to dominate if it is lacking in human leadership. Proper human to canine communication is essential. This breed likes to roam, so it is a good idea to have a fenced-in yard. Puppies may be clumsy. Train early with good leadership before bad habits set in, while not impossible, it is easier to prevent negative behaviors than it is to fix them. Training these dogs is certainly not difficult, provided the owners are firm, but calm. Regular combing and brushing of the soft, flat, medium-length coat is all that is required to keep it in excellent condition. It is important to check for burrs and tangles, and to give extra care when the dog is shedding its coat. Bathe or dry shampoo only when necessary. Trim the hair on the bottom of the feet and keep the nails clipped. This breed is an average shedder.If they sense the owners are meek or passive they will become stubborn. This dog should be introduced to all situations (people, animals and things) as a young pup to produce a well-balanced dog. A Gordon Setter who has been introduced as a puppy to cats will get along well with them. If strangers visit they adopt a wait-and-see attitude. In general they get along well with other dogs and with children because they are friendly to everyone.
You should brush the coat of this breed once or twice a week to keep in good condition and to minimize on shedding. For show dogs the coat may need to be stripped every few months, where the dead coat is stripped off. The coat may also require some clipping to keep in looking its best.
The Gordon Setter was developed in Scotland in the early 17th century. This black and tan setter became popular by Duke Alexander the 4th of Gordon in the early 19th century. They were used as bird dogs, having an outstanding sense of smell. The dogs would point towards 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 were not as fast in comparison to the pointers and as a result started to loose popularity as hunters chose other breeds. The Gordon Setter was one of the breeds that was used in the development of the Irish Setter. The Gordon makes a good one-man shooting dog. The Gordon Setter was recognized by the AKC in 1884. Some of the Gordon Setter's talents include guarding, watchdog, hunting, tracking, pointing and retrieving.
With high intelligence and a willingness to please, the Gordon Setter is relatively easy to train. However, this breed tends to have a mind of their own, so early socialization and obedience is crucial. They occasionally display stubbornness, and may be difficult in housebreaking. The crate method is recommended. They will not respond to harshness, but do best with firmness, fairness, love, and consistency. They excel in tracking, pointing, and hunting.
Generally healthy, but some are prone to hip dysplasia, eye diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts. These dogs are prone to bloat and should be fed two or three small meals a day rather than one big one. Their life expectancy is about 10-12 years.