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Gordon Setter

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Gordon Setter
A sitting Gordon Setter
A sitting Gordon Setter
Alternative names
Country of origin
United Kingdom
Common nicknames
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 7 Section 2 #6  
AKC: Sporting  
ANKC: Group 3 (Gundogs)  
CKC: Group 1 - Sporting Dogs  
KC (UK): Gundog  
NZKC: Gundog  
UKC: Gun Dog Breeds  
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

Gordon Setters are a medium sized breed of dog, a member of the setter family that also includes the more-common Irish Setters and English Setters. Physically and behaviourally these three breeds are similar.


Gordon setters are coal-black with tan features, in comparison to Irish setters, which are red, and English setters, which are white with speckles. Gordons have tan on their feet and lower legs, vents, and muzzles, and two distinctive tan spots on their chests. Their coat is long and silky on chest, ears, stomach, and leg feathering, and slightly wavy. They are the heaviest of the setter breeds, and the slowest, with males reaching 27 in at the shoulder.

Historically, Gordon Setters did not have the long, flowing coat as seen today. In the early 1800s, a Gordon Setter was not necessarily black and tan. Dogs from the Duke of Gordon kennel were found in black and tan, black and white, and black, white, and tan.


Setters are often said to be stupid. In reality, however, they are very intelligent in being able to figure out how to get out of enclosures and the like. The perception of stupidity probably relates to their fairly contemptuous attitude towards conventional dog obedience. Gordon Setters are intensely loyal to their owners but can take a few minutes to warm to strangers. They are good family dogs, laid-back and loving, though not recommended with small children as they can be boisterous.

They are usually quite passive and seem happy lying around sleeping all day. However, when out on a walk they are frisky and in the countryside seem to be able to run for hours. They require 60 to 80 minutes of exercise a day, though care must be taken not to over-exercise young dogs (under 18 months) to avoid joint problems in later life.

Gordons in particular are sensitive but kindly, and need gentle but firm handling. Any nervous tendencies can be cured by early socialization, which is very important.


This breed generally lives about 10 to 12 years.


  • Cunliffe, Juliette (2004). The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. Parragon Publishing. ISBN 0-75258-276-3.
  • Fogle, Bruce, DVM (2000). The New Encyclopedia of the Dog. Doring Kindersley (DK). ISBN 0-7894-6130-7.

External links

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