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Gordon Setter
Characteristics, History, and Health

Gordon Setter

The Gordon Setter breed traces its roots back to Scotland in the early 17th century and was developed as a bird dog to work in the harsh Scottish Highlands. The breed was initially known as the "black and tan setting dog". In the 19th century, the breed gained popularity under the 4th Duke of Gordon, Alexander Gordon, and was subsequently named after him. Gordon Setters were brought to the United States in the 1840s and were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1892.

Main Info
Scotland and England
Alternate Names
Gordon, Black and Tan
Life Expectancy
12-13 years
Average Male Height
24-27 inches
Average Female Height
23-26 inches
Average Male Weight
55-80 pounds
Average Female Weight
45-70 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Black & Tan, Red, Tan
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Gordon Setters are susceptible to bloat, also known as gastric dilation volvulus (GDV). This is a life-threatening condition that can come on suddenly, so it’s important to know the warning signs and get an affected dog immediate veterinary care. They can suffer from eye disorders including dry eye, progressive retinal atrophy, and cataracts. They may also experience inflammation of the face and lymph nodes as puppies, a condition called juvenile cellulitis. Other conditions that may affect the Gordon Setter seizures, cancer, thyroid issues, cerebellar ataxia, kidney and heart disease, and orthopedic issues such as elbow and hip dysplasia.

Personality and Behavior

Gordon Setters are known for their loyal, intelligent, and sometimes stubborn nature. They are usually good with children and get along well with other dogs if properly socialized from a young age. They are energetic dogs, requiring regular exercise and mental stimulation.

While Gordon Setters can be trained for obedience, they are known to have a stubborn streak and can be independent thinkers. This makes consistent, positive reinforcement training essential from a young age. They are sensitive dogs and respond well to gentle, consistent training methods.

Fun Facts

Gordon Setters are among the largest of the setter breeds.

They have an excellent sense of smell, second only to the Bloodhound.

Their coat color, black with tan markings, became standardized only in the late 19th century.

The Gordon Castle Setters, bred by the Duke of Gordon, were originally tri-color (black, tan, and white). The white was later bred out of the breed.

They are the only Scottish setter breed recognized by the American Kennel Club.