Gordon Setter


The Gordon Setter, a large breed of dog, is a member of the Setter family that includes the Irish Setter, the Irish Red and White Setter, and the English Setter. The original purpose of the breed was to hunt gamebirds, particularly those that will sit to a dog, or will attempt to avoid a potential predator by concealing itself rather than trying to fly away at the first sign of danger. While a little bigger and heavier than the Irish or English Setter, he is nevertheless descended from the same genetic mixing pot that has its origins among setting spaniels. The Kennel Club applied the name Gordon Setter to the breed in 1924, but before that they were known as black and tan setters. They were found in many kennels beside those of Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon.

Physical Appearance

The Gordon Setter is a sturdily built, good sized, well-muscled, black and tan dog. They typically weigh up to 80 pounds as they are the heaviest of the setter breeds. Height of the Gordon Setter reaches up to 27 inches. The head is fairly heavy and finely chiseled and is deep rather than broad. His eyes are dark brown, of fair size, oval-shaped and neither too deep-set nor too bulging. The ears of the Gordon are set low on the head and are approximately on line with the eyes. They are fairly large and thin, well folded and carried close to the dog head. The muzzle is fairly long and not pointed. The tail of the Gordon is short and not reaching below the hocks. It is carried horizontal or nearly so. The coat is soft and shining, straight or slightly waved, with long hair on its ears, under its stomach and on the chest, on the tail, and on back of the fore and hind legs. The color of the coat is Black with tan markings, either of mahogany or rich chestnut.


This breed is described as alert, interested, and confident. He is loyal, affectionate, and strong-minded enough to withstand the rigors of training. They are intensely loyal to their owners, are good family dogs and thrive best in environments that are attentive and loving. They can be quite boisterous, and while patient by nature, may not be suitable for households with very young children. They need firm but gentle handling, but are eager to learn and are empathetic and sensitive. Because Gordons were bred to run, they require 60-80 minutes of daily vigorous exercise. This breed is best when kept in a fenced in area, and should not be allowed to roam freely as they have tendencies to wander into potentially dangerous traffic situations.


The life expectancy of the Gordon is about 13-14 years old. Some health problems that may potentially arise within the breed include, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, gastric torsion, progressive retinal atrophy, and cataracts.

Gordon Setter