Gordon Setter

Dog Breed Profile
Gordon Setter

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• High energy level
• High exercise needs
• Moderately playful
• Very Affectionate
• Shy towards other dogs
• Very friendly around other pets
• Shy around strangers
• Fairly easy to train
• Great watchdogs
• Very protective
• Moderate grooming requirements
• Medium tolerance to heat
• Medium tolerance to cold


Despite his sturdy build and bone mass this dog breed moves with an effortless and smooth appearance. The Gordon Setter’s coat is shiny and soft regardless of being straight or wavy, and it is also thicker than most setters. The combination of all of these traits makes him an ideal dog capable of a long and active day regardless of terrain or weather.

The Gordon Setters are bright dogs, but they can be stubborn and not as readily obedient as its owner may appreciate. This dog is a devoted family member, but without regular vigorous exercise he can become unruly in the home. He’s happiest with an owner who can devote himself to regular physical activity.

  • Best suited to being a part of the family as opposed to living only outdoors
  • Health conditions that need to be tested for include hips, elbows and eyes
  • Grooming needs include brushing every couple days and occasional trims
  • The Gordon Setter is a very affectionate and devoted animal that can be fairly easily trained
  • Has a great relationship with family members, young and old, moderately protective but do make decent watchdogs
  • The average size of a male is 55 to 80lbs and 24 to 27 inches tall
  • The average size of a female is 45 to 70lbs and 23 to 26 inches tall

Care & Health:

This energetic breed requires vigorous exercise to maintain his health and happiness. The Gordon Setter is always happiest when he can be indoors and outdoors and have plenty of time with his family.

Be sure to brush him every couple days to prevent matting and occasional trims to keep up his appearance.

Major Health Concerns:

–CHD, gastric torsion

Minor Health Concerns:

–PRA, elbow dysplasia and occasionally cerebellar abiotrophy

Test for:

–hips, elbows and eyes

Life Span:

– 10 to 12 years

Breed History:

Originally the Gordon Castle Setter, this breed had been in existence in Scotland from the 1600s, over 100 years before being given the name. Once the Duke of Gordon passed, the Duke of Richmond continued breeding these dogs, and changed the name to its previously known ‘black and tan setters’.

When the English Kennel Club registered the breed in 1900 the name was changed back to Gordon Setter. In America, the Gordon Setter was recognized by the AKC in 1892, and had been imported back in the mid-19th century.

He is known as the most prominent on-man shooting dog, even though he lost his popularity as a field trial dog.

  • Family history is gundog, setter, pointer
  • Originally from Great Britain (Scotland)
  • First bred in the 1600’s
  • Original purpose was bird setting and retrieving
  • Today they are used for pointing, pointing field trials