Gordon Setter

Breed Details


Exercise Requirements:

Grooming Requirements:


25-29 kg (approx)

Life Span:

10-12 years (approx)


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 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.

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.


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 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 inadvertently 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 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.


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.