• Gordon Setters
  • Gordon Setters in UK
  • Gordon Setter
  • Gordon Setter Dog
  • Gordon Setter Breed
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  • Gordon Setter Breed information
  • Gordon Setter Dogs
  • Gordon Setter Dog Breed
  • Gordon Setter Pet in the UK
Exercise Level:
Barking Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Height: 61 - 69cm M | 58 - 66cm F
Weight: 25 - 36kg M | 20 - 32kg F
Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 Years

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The Gordon setter originated in Scotland. This striking, compact breed is the most alert, stoic, and sensible of the setter breeds, and also the largest. The Gordon setter was highly favoured by the Duke of Gordon, the founder of the breed, for being an excellent sporting dog.

The Gordon setter is a sharp dog with a protective streak, making him a great watchdog. He loves being with his family, and despite his seemingly serious nature, the Gordon setter can be very playful and lively. Training a Gordon setter can be slightly difficult. Although he is highly intelligent, his stubbornness can make things a bit challenging to train.

The Gordon setter is an agile yet powerful dog that loves to engage in rigorous activities such as hiking, running, jogging, and fieldwork as forms of exercise. The Gordon setter is incredibly affectionate and thrives for the attention of his family.

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The Gordon setter is a sporting breed named after the Duke of Gordon of the Gordon Castle located close to Fochabers in Moray, Scotland. Originally referred to as the black and tan setting dog in the 1600s, it did not receive attention until two hundred years later when the Duke of Gordon introduced the breed to his kennels. Records suggest that the Duke highly prized the Gordon setter's stamina as it can work from dusk till dawn and rarely makes a ‘false point’ during a bird game.

In 1827, the Duke of Gordon passed away, and his son carried on the tradition of having Gordon setters in his kennels. It was in the mid to late 1800s that the first Gordon setters were registered with the Kennel Club. The then-called black and tan setter took part in dog shows and won first prize for setters. It was only in 1924 when this dog breed was given its name in honour of the late Duke of Gordon.

Today, the Gordon setter is recognised by international kennel clubs and is currently listed as a vulnerable native breed due to the low number of puppies registered annually.

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Appearance and Grooming

Handsome and proud, the Gordon setter is the largest amongst the setter breeds, weighing 45–80 pounds and standing 58–69 centimetres at the withers. It sports an attractive, shiny coat, which is considered one of its beautiful features. The Gordon setter has a head that is deep than it is broad, a dome-shaped skull, a well-defined stop, and a wide, long muzzle. The breed also has nicely defined lips and a black nose that is broad and large with wide nostrils. With dark brown eyes, the Gordon setter boasts of a gentle and intelligent expression. Its ears are moderate in size, set low, and lie flat on its head. It carries itself proud and noble with its long and lean arched neck. This breed has a nice compact body that is moderately long with a levelled topline.

The Gordon setter has an attractive coat that is soft, shiny, and may be straight or wavy. It wears long hair (feathering) on its ears, chest, belly, and back of legs. The tail has thicker feathering at the base, but tapering to a fine point as it reaches the tip. Accepted breed colour is only the classic black and tan colour, with some tan markings in rich chestnut or mahogany colour on its muzzle, eyes, throat, chest, hind legs, and forelegs. However, the Gordon setter can be seen in other coat colours such as black, tan and white, liver and tan, or solid red, albeit not acceptable in the breed standard.

The Gordon setter is a moderate shedder, so brushing and combing its coat two to three times a week will prevent or remove tangles and mats and dead hair, and will distribute skin oils on its coat. Also, make sure to trim the hairs at the bottom of its feet and between the toes.

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Temperament and Intelligence

The Gordon setter has an alert, playful, and agreeable character. It is quiet and dignified, but at the same time clownish and demanding. This dog breed is extremely loyal to its family, but wary and aloof with strangers. Both dispositions make it an excellent watchdog. The Gordon setter should never be shy or aggressive toward people. The Gordon setter is calm and well-behaved in the house, but when it's in the field, this breed transforms into an alert, fearless, and capable hunting dog. Although the Gordon isn't fast, it makes up for it with its tireless stamina.

The Gordon is intelligent and moderately trainable. However, its strong-mindedness will call for an early training by someone with a steady hand who knows how to stick to rules, patient, and persuasive. The Gordon setter does not respond well to harsh handling. With children, an adult Gordon setter is a gentle companion and a good friend and playmate. It knows when to walk away when it deems playtime to be too rambunctious. However, a young Gordon setter may not do the same and is not the best choice for families with a toddler. Then again, supervision is a must during play to avoid any mishaps.

When it comes to other pets, the Gordon setter gets on well with other dogs and household pets that were raised with it. However, this dog may exhibit aggression towards other dogs and will consider smaller animals outside of its household as fair game, so care needs to be taken. Also, the Gordon's hunting instinct makes it prone to wander off, especially when following a scent. With this said, this dog breed should not be allowed to roam freely unsupervised.

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Nutrition and Feeding

A typical serving for an adult Gordon setter is two to three cups of quality dry dog food per day. Nutrition is one of the biggest factors contributing to its overall health, so make sure that you know what and when to feed your dog. If you are not sure about its nutritional requirement, do not hesitate to consult a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist for a recommendation.

Here are the typical calorie needs of an adult, 60-pound Gordon setter per day:

  • Senior and less active: up to 1,340 calories daily
  • Typical adult: up to 1,500 calories daily
  • Physically active/working dog: up to 1,670 calories daily

The Gordon setter will require a high-protein diet for muscle growth. Brown rice mixed with vegetables is also a highly recommended home-cooked diet. On the other hand, wheat, corn, and other natural food fillers must be avoided.

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Health and Exercise

When given proper diet, exercise, and love, Gordon setter can live out its maximum lifespan of twelve years. However, like all dogs, it is predisposed to genetic health issues. These health issues include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidism, bloat, and some eye problems.

The Gordon setter is a sporting breed, which means it feel more at home outdoors where it can work. With this said, this dog will require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to make it happy. The Gordon especially loves to engage in rigorous activities such as hiking, running, jogging, and some field/hunting work.

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Cost of Ownership

If you are keen on purchasing a Gordon Setter, be ready to go on a waiting list and pay at least £900 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. It may take some time to get hold of one as not many puppies are registered each year. When it comes to feeding your dog, you would need to set aside £50–£60 a month on high-quality dog food considering the Gordon is a large canine breed. You also need to factor in the initial cost for dog accessories and equipment such as food bowls, leads, collars, and beds, which will likely be about £200 depending on the brand.

As to healthcare you need to be prepared in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. You can offset some medical bills if you get a pet insurance, which can range from £28 for a time-limited cover up to £68 for a lifetime one. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health and age, the type of cover you choose, and whether it has pre-existing conditions.

Other outgoings to consider are veterinary expenses that may not be included in a pet insurance coverage such as vaccinations, routine checks, neutering or spaying, and annual boosters, which can have a combined cost of £1000 annually. Roughly, you will be setting aside £80-£120 a month for recurring expenses, depending on the type of insurance cover you choose for your dog.

Gordon Setter Breed Highlights

  • The Gordon setter has an alert, playful, and agreeable disposition.
  • It is a moderate shedder, so brushing at least twice a week is a must.
  • It is intelligent and moderately trainable.
  • The Gordon loves to engage in rigorous activities such as hiking, running, jogging, and some field/hunting work.
  • Acceptable coat colour is black and tan only.
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