The Gordon Setter

descriptive textGordon Setter
Weight: 45 — 80 lbs
Height: 23” — 27”
AKC Rank 2008 #90
Life Span: 10—12 yrs
Group: Sporting
Origin Great Brittan

Dog Breed Info - Gordon Setter

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Breed Overview

Origin 1700’s. Original function: Setting, retrieving. Today, pointing.

The breed came from the Fourth Duke of Gordon in the 1700’s who kept a yard full of these dogs on hand at his Gordon Castle, thus the name of the breed. The Duke of Richmond tried to continue breeding these dog’s at Gordon Castle after the Duke of Gordon's death. The breed’s name was changed back to the Black and Tan Setter around the 1900’s but the name “Gordon Setter” was brought back when the English Kennel Club registered the breed. Gordon Setter's are the heaviest and slowest setters of the working breeds. These Setters first came to America in the mild 1900;s. They were some of the early breeds recognized by the AKC. They were registered in 1892.


Yes. Trainable breed. Not especially stubborn and willing to learn. Use clicker training and positive reinforcement and the Gordon Setter will learn anything quickly. Dogs love this type of training. It's easy and a clicker costs only around $3 at the pet store. Give it a try.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Gordon Setter puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Some Gordon Setter puppies can be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The Gordon is a runner and hunter. This dog can spend the day running and have energy leftover. The breed is known for it’s bird dog capabilities. She makes a good family dog and is kind and gentle with children as long as she gets her daily quota of exercise. This is a lively companion for the man on-the-go. The Gordon must be well socialized and trained from a young puppy. Besides bird hunting, this is a loyal family dog.

If you happen to get a Gordon Setter with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Gordon Setter
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Friendly Toward Other Dogs

No, can be aggressive toward some dogs. Picks her dog friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Generally accepting of household pets. May chase small pets like hamsters.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Wary and reserved with strangers; a little on the protective side.


Yes, quite playful, fun-loving dog.


Yes, very affectionate. Gordon’s need family interaction and can be protective.

Good with children

Yes. Known to be gentle with kids, especially older, well mannered children.

Good with Seniors over 65?

No. Needs too much exercise.

Living environment

House with a large fenced back yard where you can throw a ball or Frisbee, a farm or a ranch. Needs room to move around and run.

Energy level

High energy.

Exercise needs, daily

Jogging comes to mind. Take your Gordon Setter jogging. At least play a hefty game of fetch in the park. Or, two long walks a day and some training time for her exercise needs.


Good watchdog. Will alert to any unusual occurrences.

Guard dog

Fairly good. Not excessively aggressive but will try to protect her property.


Yes, moderate shedding.


Brush at least three times a week, more often when shedding to remove dead hair.
Comb frequently to remove any tangles and mats in the long coat.
Some scissoring and clipping is in order to maintain the shape.

Gordon Setter Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Gordon Setter puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Bordon Setter Breeders with puppies for sale.

Gordon Setter Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a B.T. and are looking for a rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Gordon Setter Rescue - (Nationwide)At the time of this writing, Petfinder is showing only 71 Setters available for adoption in the entire country! That figure is subject to change.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but this appears to be a hard breed to find. Go online and search for Gordon Setter Rescue groups or kennels or even try breeders. Sometimes breeders will have adult dogs available.

Dog Health Issues For The Gordon Setter
Below are the illnesses or medical problems listed for the Gordon Setter by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are the dog health or medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Dog Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem:
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Elbow Dysplasia—This, as with hip dysplasia, is something the dog is born with. Wear and time in the front legs (elbow joints) cause lameness by the time the Gordon Setter is roughly a year old. If you have a dog prone to this disease, have an early x-ray to see if surgery to the joints will stave off further damage to the joints. Typically, there has been no cure, but recently doctors have come up with some ideas. 1) Keep the weight of your dog down. 2) Use anti-inflammatory medication. 3) Look into injections of stem-cells to help regenerate bone-covering cartilage to cause the bones to line up properly again. (This is new research and some vets may not know about it so ask around.)

  • Cerebellar abiotrophy—Brain disorder with no known treatment. It’s a degenerative condition that indicates loss of necessary nutritional substances. Cerebellar nerve cells form normally and then degenerate and die off causing inability to control distance and speed. Loss of muscular control is not seen at birth of the dog but gradually appears over time until finally disabling completely. Cause, unknown. The diagnosis is made when there is increasing neurological dysfunction seen day to day in the dog.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the Gordon Setter's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Epilepsy - A serious seizure disorder that usually occurs from 2 to 4 or 5 years old.

Other health problems could occur with your Gordon Setter If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide

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