Gordon Setter

45-70 lbs
Scottish Setter, Black and Tan Setter, Castle Gordon Setter, The Gordon

These dogs have a beautiful, shiny and silky coat and are the largest breed in the Setter category. They originated in Scotland where they could be found in the kennels of Alexander IV, the fourth Duke of Gordon. Their place of origin also plays a role in how the breed obtained the name of the Gordon Setter. They were originally bred as a hunting dog as they have high endurance levels, but are not extremely fast. They are generally faithful pets, but can become stubborn if not shown proper authority by the owner. They do have a moderate drooling level and shed quite a bit, but with the proper maintenance, they can be beautiful companions. They have high energy levels and will need access to a large space to run around in, as well as regular daily exercise.

purpose Purpose
Hunting, Retrieving
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Setting Spaniel

Gordon Setter Health

Sketch of Gordon Setter
Average Size
Male Gordon Setter size stats
Height: 24-27 inches Weight: 55-80 lbs
Female Gordon Setter size stats
Height: 23-26 inches Weight: 45-70 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Gastric Torsion
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Otitis Externa
  • Hypothyroidism
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Elbow
  • Blood Test
  • Thyroid Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Gordon Setter Breed History

Gordon Setters have existed in Scotland since 1620 and were first known as the Black-and-Tan Setter. They became better known some 200 years later when they could be found in the kennels of Alexander, the fourth Duke of Gordon. They were known as the Castle Gordon Setters and were very successful as hunting dogs. They were excellent bird hunters, and could easily smell and retrieve the fallen bird. Their impressive stamina also allowed them to hunt well on land or in water and through any weather conditions. The first of the breed could be white, black, red, tan or tricolor, but the black and tan combination was the favorite of the Duke. Therefore, it is this coloring that has prevailed throughout the years and is most commonly seen today. Alexander IV, the Duke of Gordon eventually passed away in the year of 1827. After his death, it was his heir that took on the responsibility of running the kennels. It was only in 1924 that these dogs took the name of the Gordon Setter. This dog breed was eventually found in the United States in the year 1842 when two of the dogs, named Rake and Rachel were imported by a man named Mr. George Blunt. These dogs also came from the kennels of Gordon Castle. In 1924, the Gordon Setter Club of America was founded. Today they are known as faithful companions and stunning show dogs, but are still great one-man hunting dogs. They were eventually used in the development of the Irish Setter.

Gordon Setter Breed Appearance

This impressive dog will have a soft and shiny coat that will be longer around the ears, back of legs, chest, tail and belly. This fur can be either straight or have a slight wave. They will have short tails and triangularly shaped feathering with hair that shortens as it nears the end of the tail, giving it a flag-like appearance. The tails are carried low, except when the dog becomes excited whereas it will be carried up higher. The only Gordon Setters known today are black and tan with the possibility of mahogany markings around the bottom and sides of their muzzle, over the eyes, some large spots on the chest, the throat, the inside of the back legs, surrounding the vent and on the forelegs. There may also be a marking of a white spot found on the chest. The colors of black and tan will not mix together, but will instead be clearly defined. They are the largest of all Setter breeds, with big and deep heads. They have long, square-shaped muzzles with black noses that have developed nostrils. Their ears are somewhat pointed but are floppy, long and lie flat. Their eyes are oval shaped and a deep brown. The feet of this agile dog are round and can be described as cat-like. The front of the topline will slope to the back.

Appearance of Gordon Setter
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Gordon Setter eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Gordon Setter nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Gordon Setter coat
brown Gordon Setter coat
fawn Gordon Setter coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Gordon Setter wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Gordon Setter Breed Maintenance

 The coat of the Gordon Setter will require grooming two to three times each week if you want to avoid the formation of tangles and knots. You may also want to prevent the formation of ice balls and debris inside the paws by trimming the fur between the toes and on the bottom of the feet. Baths every week or two can also be beneficial, but can be done less frequently as long as the brushing occurs often enough. Due to their hanging ears, they may develop ear infections, which is why it is vital to clean your dog’s ears weekly and keep them clean by wiping the inside using a dampened cotton ball with a cleanser. These dogs can develop bad breath if they do not receive proper dental hygiene, which is why you must give their teeth a brushing at least twice a week. This will also help prevent buildup and gum disease. If they do not get worn down naturally and can be heard clicking on the floor, your dog will most likely require a nail trim. This can be needed one or two times each month.

Brushes for Gordon Setter
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Gordon Setter requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Gordon Setter Temperament

You will discover that these beautiful and calm dogs will show intense loyalty to their family. They can, however, be suspicious of strangers, which means that they would serve well as watchdogs. They love to please their masters but can become dominant and take advantage if they do not have an owner that can show strict leadership. This alert canine is fearless, smart and alert and is a great hunting dog. When out hunting, your Gordon Setter will stick nearby as opposed to covering long distances. Although these dogs are not known to be speedy while on the hunt, they do have a fair amount of stamina and can work for longer periods of time. Between the ages of 6 to 9 months, these dogs will often go through a phase where they will be quite skittish and show fear. During this period, you should remain calm and reassure your pet that nothing is wrong, but do not baby them. They are generally happy to be around children and will become protective of them. They are calm and will endure the attention and teasing of younger kids, and when they need a break they will simply walk away. Other pets like dogs and cats should get along well with the Gordon Setter if they were brought up together and properly introduced. However, if any unknown dogs approach them they may not react as well and could be unfriendly. They can sometimes experience separation anxiety and will not enjoy being left alone for long periods of time.

Gordon Setter Activity Requirements

The Gordon Setter is an active breed that will require a daily dose of exercise in order to stay happy and healthy. Because of this, they can make good companions for people who enjoy going on runs or jogging. Long strolls around the neighborhood or a fun game of catch will also be enough to satisfy their exercise needs. The apartment life may not suit them as they will need a home with a big fenced in yard so that they can run freely. Although smart and simple to train, these dogs will need to have an owner that will show authority, or they may take advantage of the lack of leadership. You must be consistent and firm but without anger or force to get these dogs to respect you. Although they can be rambunctious as pups, they will calm down and become quiet as they enter adulthood. They can still be competitive and will excel at many canine sports.
Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
15 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Gordon Setter Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$2.00 - $2.25
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$60.00 - $67.50
food bag monthly cost

Gordon Setter Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Gordon Setter at six months
Male Gordon Setter size stats at six months
Height: 22.0 inches Weight: 40.0 lbs
Female Gordon Setter size stats at six months
Height: 21.0 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Gordon Setter at 12 months
Male Gordon Setter size stats at 12 months
Height: 23.0 inches Weight: 50.0 lbs
Female Gordon Setter size stats at 12 months
Height: 22.0 inches Weight: 40.0 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Gordon Setter at 18 months
Male Gordon Setter size stats at 18 months
Height: 25.5 inches Weight: 67.5 lbs
Female Gordon Setter size stats at 18 months
Height: 24.5 inches Weight: 57.5 lbs

Top Gordon Setter Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Gordon Setter breeders of 2024.
Top Gordon Setter breeder Saltire Gordon Setters
Saltire Gordon Setters
Mount Perry, Ohio
Top Gordon Setter breeder Pointsetter Farm
Pointsetter Farm
Palmyra, Indiana
Top Gordon Setter breeder Shadowfax Gordon Setters
Shadowfax Gordon Setters
Quincy, Florida
Top Gordon Setter breeder Setanta Setters
Setanta Setters
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Top Gordon Setter breeder Amethyst Gordon Setters
Amethyst Gordon Setters
Columbus, Wisconsin
Top Gordon Setter breeder Glen Oak Gordon Setters
Glen Oak Gordon Setters
Cottage Grove, Wisconsin
Top Gordon Setter breeder Tamdhu
Hartland, Wisconsin

Gordon Setter Owner Experiences

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