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Gordon Setter Information


The only setter that is black and tan, the Gordon Setter is also larger than the other setters and has a distinctive appearance. The Gordon Setter has medium long hair that can be either straight or slightly wavy. The coat is long on the legs, the tail and on the belly, giving a look of depth and strength to the body. The front shoulders are powerful and the legs are solid and straight. Overall the dog's body slopes down from the withers or front shoulders to the tail. The tail itself has beautiful silky furnishings that should look like a triangle or flag when held out from the body. The head is very strong and broad looking with open nostrils and a slight droop to the upper lip.


Like most of the setter breeds the Gordon Setter is an ideal family dog. The breed is very gentle even with small children and loves to be active with the family. They do need constant exercise and will get somewhat rambunctious if not allowed to run and exercise on a regular basis. They do tend to roam and hunt by scent, so require a well fenced yard or to be walked on a lead. The Gordon Setter is very easy to train although they can go through times where they are rather stubborn. They are good watch dogs and will bark to notify the family when strangers approach. When socialized and properly trained they are excellent pets, even with cats and other dogs in the house. They may occasionally be somewhat dog aggressive, especially males that have not been neutered.

Grooming & Shedding

The breed is an average shedder that will require grooming two to three times a week during the year. During the spring and fall shed additional grooming will be required to prevent matting of the soft undercoat. As with all waterdogs the Gordon Setter should only be bathed when absolutely necessary to prevent stripping of the natural oils from the hair.


The Black and Tan Setter (now the Gordon Setter) was first bred in Scotland in the 1600s. Duke Alexander the fourth of Gordon loved the breed and kept several in his castle, leading to the current name of the breed. In the early 1900s the name was briefly changed back to the Black and Tan Setter, but the Kennel Club reversed the name to the Gordon Setter when the breed was registered.

Health Issues

  • Major Concerns: canine hip dysplasia, gastric torsion
  • Minor Concerns: progressive renal atrophy (PRA), elbow dysplasia
  • Occasionally seen: cerebellar abiotrophy
  • Suggested tests: eye, hip and elbow




Males 24-27 inches (61-69 cm)

Bitches 23-26 inches (58-66 cm)


Males 55-80 pounds (25-36 kg)

Females 45-70 pounds (20-32 kg)


10-12 years







Young Children

Yes –with socialization and training

Need exercise space


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