Gordon Setters have the smarts of a first grader — they don't color in the lines either, but they sure do love to play memory games! This breed is an excellent birder and can show you where they found birds out in the field a year later. Maybe you can train yours to remember where you put your car keys?
The Gordon is the largest and heaviest setter, with a black and tan coloration that's unique to the breed.
Despite their size, they are elegant and graceful. These dogs have beauty, brains, and a boisterous personality that keeps them playful throughout their lives.
Popularized by the Scottish lord, Duke Alexander Gordon (thus the name), this large-sized and high-energy breed can grow to between 45-80 pounds and lives an average of 12-13 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Sporting group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Retrieving
Origin: Great Britain
Breed Group: Sporting
Average Lifespan: 12-13 years
Bark Factor: I love to talk!
AKC RANKING 87
FAMILY gundog, setter, pointer
AREA OF ORIGIN Great Britain (Scotland)
DATE OF ORIGIN 1600s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION bird setting and retrieving
TODAY'S FUNCTION pointing, pointing field trials
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 24-27 Weight: 55-80
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 23-26 Weight: 45-70
OTHER NAME none
Energy level High energy
Exercise needs High
Playfullness Moderately playful
Affection level Very affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Shy
Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Shy
Ease of training Moderately easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Moderately protective
Grooming needs Moderate maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A GORDON SETTER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
These dogs are all business when they're working: courageous, confident, and dedicated in the field. But once they're home, they're happy to lounge around with you and watch Animal Cops.
Gordon Setters can be a family-friendly breed, so long as that family doesn't mind keeping this dog's busy body and active mind engaged and will supervise play with children and other dogs. With early socialization, Gordons can also get along just fine with the family cat.
WHAT IS GORDON SETTER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
The sturdy Gordon Setter is a working dog and will be happiest when given a job to do. They're not a great match for homebodies — these bundles of energy need to be part of an active family and spend time with people on the move. Plan for vigorous daily exercise—swimming is always a welcome activity for retrievers! Be sure your lively, furry friend has plenty of space to spread out. Also, not everyone appreciates their singing voices, so Gordon Setters are better off not living too close to the neighbors.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A GORDON SETTER?
These smarty-paws have very good memories and are definitely people-pleasers, so this is absolutely a biddable breed. They respond well to gentle, patient training. Gordon Setters excel at agility, obedience, rally, dock diving, and tracking.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO GORDON SETTERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Gordon Setters have medium-length single coats with long, thick hair. They need moderate grooming, including frequent brushing to prevent mats and tangles.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO GORDON SETTERS HAVE?
Gordon Setters are a robust breed. Like many large dogs, some Gordons are prone to eye ailments, hip dysplasia, and bloat. Bloat is a condition that requires immediate attention from your veterinarian. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) and contact your vet at once if you suspect your dog might be suffering from this ailment.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE GORDON SETTERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Gordon Setters among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Gordon Setter! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S A GORDON SETTER'S BEST DAY?
How many memory games do you know or own? This pup will go all day strutting her mental stuff!
SHOULD I ADOPT A GORDON SETTER?
These dogs will be happiest in a suburban or rural environment where they get to hike, swim and run on a regular basis. If you can keep up with their needs for regular brushing, mental challenges and extended daily romps, the Gordon Setter makes a loving and devoted canine companion.
Have you decided that a Gordon Setter is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.