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Gordon Setter Breed InformationSelect a Breed
Quick Facts
Life Span:10-12 years
Litter Size:7-9 puppies
Group:AKC Sporting, Gun Dog
Color:black and tan, specific markings only accepted.
Hair Length:Long
Shedding:Moderate Shed
Male Height:24-27 inches
Male Weight:55-80 pounds
Female Height:23-26 inches
Female Weight:45-70 pounds
Living Area:Needs space to exercise and needs a well fenced yard. Prefers indoor living and is not recommended for apartments.


The Gordon Setter has a long coat that is silky and flows. The coat color is always black and tan and can be smooth or wavy. There is longer hair on the ears, chest, stomach, legs and tail. The tail tapers to a point at its end and is long in length. The hair on the tail tapers.

The Gordon Setter is a sturdy dog, but has a light appearance. It is not a clumsy dog, but rather graceful in movement and appearance. It has a deep chest that is narrow. The Gordon Setter has long legs that are lean looking.

The Gordon Setter has a broad, large head with a pronounced distinction between the muzzle and eye area. The muzzle is long and squared with a wide black nose and a blunt end. The lips are tight and show no droop. The ears are thin and flop instead of standing erect. The Gordon Setter has oval shaped eyes that are dark in coloration.

Coat Description

The Gordon Setter has a beautiful coat. It is lengthy and silky. It can be wavy or straight or a combination of both. It flows easily without the look of heaviness.


The Gordon Setter comes from Scotland where it was bred in the 1600s. The original name was the Black and Tan Setter. The name was changed by Duke Alexander the fourth in honor of his hunting castle, Gordon. It was called by both names until recognition by the English Kennel Club as the Gordon Setter. It was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1892.

The Gordon Setter was bred as a hunting dog with a focus on the intelligence of the dog to be a good tracker. Today they are still used for hunting, but also can be found as pets and show dogs.


The Gordon Setter has a good natured personality. They are friendly dogs, but can be shy around strangers. They may often ignore someone until they feel they can trust them. They are an intelligent breed who often has a serious look, making it look as if they are thinking deeply about something. They are loving and loyal.

The Gordon Setter makes a great dog for indoor or outdoor living. They are very good with children and patient enough to be around small children. They are not jumpy or easily startled either. Being that the Gordon Setter is a social breed it will not do well if it is not around people regularly. They are not a good dog to be isolated away from the family. They are also fine around other animals and will be able to get along with any animal, even other dogs and cats.

The Gordon Setter will need some space for daily exercising. Although this breed is pretty laid back, without proper exercise it can become hyper and excited which can make it difficult to control.

The Gordon Setter is not aggressive, but males can be more aggressive when they are around females. This breed also needs to be watched carefully when they are not on a leash as they do like to wander away. They are not a noisy barker, but will bark at strangers. They are not difficult to train and are usually said to be quite obedient dogs.

Health Problems

The Gordon Setter is a relatively healthy breed. They do sometimes display common health problems that plague larger dog breeds. They may suffer from digestive problems, hip dysplasia, other joint problems and eye conditions. Most conditions can be treated and will not cause long term effects. Additionally, a good breeder is important to help ensure there is no predisposition for such conditions.


The long coat of the Gordon Setter can be deceiving when it comes to grooming. It may look difficult, but it is actually quite easy to manage. Grooming involves regular brushing to keep away tangles. The legs and underside should be brushed often to prevent tangles that can form there easily. The hair between the toes will need trimmed so it is kept clean of dirt. The nails should also be trimmed regularly.

The coat of the Gordon Setter repels weather and has natural oils that can be stripped with too frequent bathing. The coat stays rather clean on its own and bathing should only be done if needed. A special shampoo for dogs is needed to keep from stripping the natural oils from the coat.


Being a large breed, the Gordon Setter requires daily exercise. This breed normally lives indoors, but they need time outside to be able to run and play and expel excess energy. A lack of exercise can lead to destructive and hyperactive behavior. A long daily walk can be enough for this dog, but they should also be given time to stretch their legs and run.

They are a friendly breed that is the perfect dog for a dog park atmosphere. They will not become aggressive with other dogs and actually enjoy interacting and playing with other animals. However, they are prone to running away and if they catch a scent then they may ignore all commands and follow the scent, so they need watched carefully.

Most behavior issues with the Gordon Setter can be directly related to lack of exercise. If a dog is acting up then a good idea would be to allow for more exercise daily and see if that cures the issues.


The Gordon Setter is a natural at training. They are very smart and this can sometimes lead to them picking up less than favorable habits, so early training is important to install good behaviors. They can be resistant to training and may simply ignore any attempts at teaching them something new. They must be trained with an authoritive manner, but also handled gently. Positive reinforcement will get more done with this breed then punishment.

The approach of training should be a group effort. The dog should be made to feel as if they are working with the training not being bossed around. They are good with challenges and respond well to getting attention. Ignoring bad behaviors usually works with this breed since they are always seeking recognition. They do not respond well to repetition, so they should be taught one command at a time, which they should master rather quickly without need for repeating it more than a couple times.

In order to have a more productive training session the Gordon Setter should be exercised before training. This will increase focus and help them pay attention during training exercises.

If being used as a hunting dog they may require training in tracking, finding the scent and retrieving the prey. These traits usually come naturally, but an owner will want to match the natural instincts with their commands so the dog will be a better hunting dog.

Company Info
PO Box 15124
1316 Commerce Dr,
New Bern, NC 28562
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