Photo by iPhaty

Gordon Setter - Breed Profile:

Origin: Scotland
Colors: Black with tan markings
Size: Large
Type of Owner: Novice
Exercise: Vigorous
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
Combativeness: Can be a bit dog-aggressive
Dominance: Moderate
Noise: Average barker

Physical characteristics

The Gordon Setter is a tall slender dog with a well-feathered coat. The long head is somewhat more massive than in most setters, with a very pronounced stop and a large-nostrilled black nose. The muzzle should be the same length as the skull from occiput to stop. The top of the muzzle is parallel to the line of the skull. The strong white teeth should meet in a scissor or level bite. The body is short from the shoulders to the hips. The long, slightly pointed ears hang down beside the head. The oval eyes are dark brown. The topline is slightly sloping from the withers. The deep chest should not be too broad. The tail is thick at the base and tapers to a fine point. The front legs are well-boned and straight. The gait is strong and free-swinging.
Gordon Setters weigh 45 to 80 pounds. The height is 23 to 27 inches. Females tend to be smaller.


Devoted, polite, gentle and sensible. Although the Gordon is usually calm and dignified, with a wise and noble expression, it does have a silly side as well as a demanding side. Intelligent and courageous. A good hunter that seldom errs about a scent. Affectionate and loyal to the family, although tends to be reserved with strangers. Gordon Setters need a lot of exercise, both physical and mental, or the dog may become hyperactive, destructive, or high-strung. The owners should be firm, confident and consistent, otherwise the dog may develop a wilful streak and disobey. Gordons are capable of adapting to a variety of living situations. May be jealous of other pets and aggressive toward strange dogs, but proper human leadership should prevent this. Early training and early socialization are necessary.

Coat and grooming

The soft glossy coat may be straight or slightly wavy, with longer hair on the ears, under the belly and on the chest. The back of the legs and the tail are well-feathered. The tail feathering should create a triangular silhouette. Gordon Setters come in black colour with tan markings. Black pencilling is allowed on the toes.Regular brushing is necessary to keep the coat in an excellent condition. Extra care should be given in shedding periods.


A fairly healthy and robust breed. Hip dysplasia may be a problem in some individuals, although this is common in all large and extra large breeds. The ears should be checked regularly. The lifespan is 10 to 12 years.

Other interesting facts

the Gordon's ancient lineage traces back to the early 17th century. Popular among Scottish hunters, the black-and-tan Setter came into prominence in the kennels of the fourth Duke of Gordon in the early 19th century. Over time, the Gordon's popularity waned in favor of Pointers and other faster breeds.