Gordon Setter

Gordon Setter: Excellent Family Dog

Did you know the Gordon Setter is among the oldest and most distinguished dog breeds? With a history of over 400 years, this majestic breed has captivated dog lovers with its striking appearance and loyal nature.

The Gordon Setter, named after the Duke of Gordon, who played a significant role in its development, is known for its distinctive black and tan coat, elegant build, and intelligent expression. But there’s more to these dogs than just their good looks. They possess an engaging personality and a gentle temperament that makes them excellent companions for families of all sizes.

Origin and History of the Gordon Setter

This remarkable breed has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century when they were first developed by the Duke of Gordon, Alexander Gordon. Known for their distinctive black and tan coat, these graceful dogs were bred for their exceptional hunting skills.

The Gordon Setter’s lineage can be traced back to various breeds like the Irish Setter, Bloodhound, and English Setter, all contributing to its unique characteristics. The Duke of Gordon had a keen eye for breeding and carefully selected dogs with desirable traits such as endurance, intelligence, and an excellent sense of smell. These traits made them perfect companions for hunting game birds such as grouse.

The Gordon Setter gained popularity not only for its hunting prowess but also for its striking appearance. With their sleek bodies, long ears, and expressive eyes, they quickly became a favorite among nobility and hunters alike. Their ability to work tirelessly in harsh terrains further solidified their reputation as top-notch hunting dogs.

As time passed, the Gordon Setter thrived in Scotland and beyond. They eventually traveled across the Atlantic to America, where they succeeded in field trials and dog shows. Today, this magnificent breed is cherished by many as a loyal family companion and remains highly regarded in both sporting and show circles.

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

The Gordon Setter is a large, muscular dog with a well-balanced body. Standing around 23 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 45 to 80 pounds, they make quite an impression.  Their deep chest and strong neck give them a regal appearance, while their long, feathered tail adds to their overall gracefulness.

One of the most distinguishing features of the Gordon Setter is its beautiful coat. They have a dense, silky black coat. It is not just their color that sets them apart, though; their coat also has unique markings known as ‘tan points.’ These tan patches can be found on their muzzle, eyebrows, chest, legs, and under the tail. This combination of black and tan creates a stunning contrast that captures attention.

To fully appreciate the physical beauty of the Gordon Setter, here are some key features:

  • Muscular yet graceful build: Their well-muscled body allows for agility and endurance.
  • Long ears: Hanging close to their head with beautiful feathering, these ears add elegance to their overall appearance.
  • Intelligent expression: With dark brown eyes that reflect intelligence and alertness, they possess an engaging gaze.

In addition to their captivating looks, Gordon Setters are known for being active dogs with boundless energy. They require regular exercise to keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated. So if you’re looking for a dog that not only catches your eye but also loves outdoor activities as much as you do – look no further than the magnificent Gordon Setter!

Personality Traits and Temperament

Gordon setter in Christmas timeGordon Setters are energetic and enthusiastic, always ready for a new adventure. They love to explore their surroundings and have a natural curiosity that drives them to investigate everything they come across. Whether chasing after squirrels in the park or following an attractive scent during a hike, these dogs bring excitement wherever they go.

Despite their playful nature, Gordon Setters also possess a gentle and affectionate side. They form strong bonds with their family members and enjoy spending quality time with them. Whether cuddling on the couch or joining in on family activities, these dogs thrive on human interaction and are happiest when loved ones surround them.

This breed is also known for being intelligent and eager to please, which makes training relatively easy. They pick up commands quickly and are responsive to positive reinforcement techniques. However, it’s essential to keep training sessions interesting and varied, as Gordon Setters can become bored quickly if the same routine is repeated too often.

While they make excellent family pets, it’s worth noting that Gordon Setters do require plenty of exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Daily walks or runs and regular playtime in a secure area will help satisfy their activity needs.

Care and Training of a Gordon Setter

Scottish setter sitting in summer grassThe Gordon Setter is an active and intelligent dog that thrives on physical activity and mental challenges. They have a high energy level, so regular exercise is essential to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

To meet their exercise needs, plan daily walks or runs that are at least 30 minutes long. This will help burn off excess energy and keep them physically fit. Additionally, hiking, agility training, or playing fetch can provide mental stimulation while strengthening your bond with your Gordon Setter.

Training a Gordon Setter requires consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement techniques. Start with basic obedience commands like sit, stay, come, and heel. Use rewards such as treats or praise to motivate them during training sessions. Establishing yourself as the pack leader early on is essential to prevent dominant behaviors from emerging.

Socialization is also crucial for a well-rounded Gordon Setter. Expose them to different people, animals, sounds, and environments from an early age to ensure they become confident and friendly dogs.

The Gordon Setter has a beautiful coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting. Their feathering around the ears, legs, belly, and tail should be checked regularly for tangles or debris.

Are They Right for Your Family?

Consider if the spirited and active nature of the Gordon Setter aligns with your family’s energy level and lifestyle. This breed is known for its high energy and needs for daily exercise, so if you’re a couch potato or have limited time to devote to physical activities, a Gordon Setter may not be the best fit for your family.

Here are three key points to help you determine if a Gordon Setter is suitable for your family:

  1. Exercise requirements: The Gordon Setter is an energetic breed that thrives on regular exercise. They enjoy long walks, runs, and playing fetch. They can become bored without proper training and develop behavioral issues such as excessive barking or chewing. A Gordon Setter could be a great companion if you have an active lifestyle and enjoy outdoor activities.
  2. Training needs: Like any dog breed, the Gordon Setter requires consistent training from an early age. They’re intelligent dogs but can be stubborn at times. Positive reinforcement works best with them as they respond well to praise and rewards. A Gordon Setter can become a well-behaved family member if you invest time in training and socialization.
  3. Family compatibility: The Gordon Setter is typically good with children and other pets when properly socialized from a young age. However, they have a strong prey drive due to their hunting background, so caution should be exercised around small animals like cats or rabbits. Additionally, their size might not make them suitable for families with very young children who may unintentionally knock them over during playtime.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common health issues that Gordon Setters are prone to?

Gordon Setters are prone to several common health issues. These include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, and bloat. It is essential to monitor their weight, provide regular exercise, and schedule routine veterinary check-ups to ensure their overall well-being.

How much exercise does a Gordon Setter require daily?

Gordon Setters require a good amount of exercise daily. They are an active breed that thrives on physical activity, so plan for at least 1-2 hours of training to keep them happy and healthy.

Are Gordon Setters good with children and other pets?

If properly trained and socialized, Gordon Setters can be great with children and other pets. They are known for their friendly and gentle nature, making them a good choice for families with kids and other animals.

Do Gordon Setters tend to bark excessively?

Gordon Setters have a moderate tendency to bark, but it can be managed with proper training and socialization. They may alert you to strangers or unusual sounds, making them excellent watchdogs.


In conclusion, if you’re searching for a sensational and spunky addition to your family, look no further than the magnificent Gordon Setter.


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