Gordon Setter


A medium to large sized Gordon Setter
Gordon Setter Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)23-27in (58-68.5cm)
Weight50-80lbs (23-36kg)
Hair Colour(s)Black
Lifespan10-12 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size7-9
Barking TendencyLow
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingHigh
Suitability for kidsHigh
Animal compatabilityHigh
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftLow

The Gordon Setter is a well built and muscular dog. The body has a strong, short back, a deep chest and a short and straight tail. The head is deep with a fairly long muzzle, a broad nose, drooping ears carried close to the head and fair sized oval eyes. The coat is soft and straight or slightly wavy, and the colouring is normally deep black with tan markings.


Gordon Setters are friendly, loving and sociable dogs with alert and pleasant dispositions. Highly loyal, these are highly intelligent dogs, ones that are quick to learn and spot any advantage. They love attention and to play and join in with any fun and family activities, yet are sensible and maintain a sense of dignity. These dogs can be strong minded and independent and so require confident and assertive owners that will remain positive during any training, although as they are quick to learn they are still suitable for novice and experienced owners alike. Their excellent memories can be an aid to training but can also make bad habits difficult to break. Gordon Setters get along well with older children due to their large size, and are fine with other pets too but they can often show dominance and jealousy. When it comes to strangers their reactions can vary from friendly to reserved. They will bark to raise an alarm if something is amiss, which makes them effective watchdogs, and often talk through various tones to express themselves.

History & Skills

Gordon Setters originate from Scotland and were developed by the Fourth Duke of Gordon in the 1700s, from whom they borrow their name. Bred as bird dogs, they are methodical hunters with excellent bird sense, and while not as fast as other hunting dogs, they display good stamina hunting in adverse weather conditions both on land and in water. These days they make popular companion dogs, show dogs and competitors for obedience and agility.

Breed Specific Ailments

Gordon Setters tend to live between 10-12 years and are a relatively healthy and hardy breed. Some of the health problems noted include gastric torsion or bloat, hip dysplasia, PRA and hypothyroidism.


Gordon Setters are medium shedders that also shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, and so are perhaps not suited to those with allergies. Grooming requirements are not high and the coat will require brushing two or three times a week to avoid matting, and more frequesntly during periods of heavier shedding. The hair on the underside of the feet and between the toes should be regularly trimmed, as should the hair around the bottom area for hygiene reasons. The ears should be kept clean and dry to reduce the chances of infection.

Exercise & Environment

Gordon Setters are adaptable but are not really suitable for small homes such as apartments. Although relatively inactive when indoors, they need plenty of exercise and love to run freely. They will need a daily walk and access to an outside area. This should be secure and any walks should be carried out on the leash, because this breed has a natural tendency to put its nose on the ground and follow scents and has very little traffic sense.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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