Gordon setter

So my friend if I may Angela Moyse administrator of a Facebook group she said ‘’far from an expert on Gordon Setters but since owning my first Gordon in 2011 and second Gordon in 2018 I have done ALOT of reading on the breed. I will not call it research as I firmly believe research is science based, being either qualitative or quantitative. But after pouring over articles related to the breed I have come to some of my own conclusions’’:

All About the GORDON

1) Gordons were bred as hunting dogs right from the very beginning in their homeland of Scotland.

2) Somewhere along the line Gordons were split into two lines Field and Show.

3) At the end of the day whether show or field they are first and foremost a working breed, specifically a sport dog used for hunting.

4) Historically Gordon Setters are the largest of ALL setters and they are big dogs. They were not small dogs when they were originally bred in Scotland. Breeders who are attempting to maintain the heritage of the breed are breeding to standard.

5) I believe in the maintenance of breed standards as the bench mark for the breeding of all purebred dogs. Anything less then this is messing with and watering down the breed lines into something it was not intended to be.

6) the Gordon Setter Club of Canada and the Canadian Kennel Club are aligned in the maintenance of the breed standard as are the AKC UKC and the Gordon Setter Club of Scotland, the home of our beloved breed.

7) this is the best damn description of this amazing breed that I have ever read. It is taken from the Gordon Setter Club of Scotland:

“To attempt to define the complicated character of the Gordon Setter is perhaps the most difficult task any Gordoner can be asked to undertake. While it can be said that if there was a room full of Gordoners from all over the world, the stories they would tell about the exploits of their dogs would be much the same, this is equally true of any breed. These are perhaps characteristics, but not a reflection of the breed's true character.

The Gordon Setter is an extremely intelligent dog of bold character and whilst they can be very outgoing, in some company they can also be equally reserved. The deduction that can perhaps be made is that whilst you might be judging them, they have already made up their minds up about you. However, when they have made up their mind that they like you, then the roles are quickly reversed and they will soon become your owner.

Whilst in most cases the character - or perhaps a better word to use would be temperament - of the Gordon Setter is with people excellent, with other dogs they can have their moments, but after all do we always like everyone we meet?

They are leaders, and will nearly always want to be, in the company of other dogs, the Alpha figure.

Despite the outward bold impression they give - that they look the world in the eye without fear of anything - they have in most cases a very soft centre and subject to physical correction can soon become subdued and lose that lovely outgoing personality associated with the breed. They can, however, if not from the outset subject to an understanding but firm and fair regime, become wilful, destructive and dominant.

To get the best out of your relationship with a Gordon Setter you must challenge and channel their intelligence; if you do this, you will have a handsome, loyal and loving companion.

If you can not get them to do your bidding by the strength of your personality and their respect for you - a Gordon Setter is not for you.

In a family situation, a Gordon Setter is always ready for as much exercise as their owner is able to give them. With children they can be a loyal and protective friend - but be warned, no dog should be left on their own with a small child, in the best interest of both the dog and the child.

Gordon Setters can be determined to find out, and make up their own minds about situations. Once told not to do something, they can appear to observe their owners wishes. However, the chances are that sometime in the future (be it a day, week or a year later) it is more than probable that you will catch them trying again to find out for themselves. It's not that they are disobedient, just very curious by nature.

To encapsulate the Gordon Setter's character: they will never be sorry for their actions although at the time they will make a good show of being so. Sorry is not a word they understand, or pretend not to. They will only be sorry if you have managed to catch them before they were able to complete their actions.

What is for sure is that if you like the great outdoors and the company of an interesting and interested companion, you will never be sorry for becoming a member of that select band who are proud to say they are owned by a Gordon Setter.

The working abilities of the Gordon Setter are very often under-estimated, particularly by those who mistakenly believe the Gordon Setter's heavier build disadvantages them in the company of their more racy relatives.

The discerning, however, have long recognised the Gordon Setter's outstanding attributes: they are tireless and thoughtful workers. It has been estimated that a Gordon Setter can cover upwards of 50 miles in a day's work on a Grouse Moor.

To see Gordon Setters doing what they were bred for is to see them at their very best and, to see for the first time a Gordon Setter come on point when it scents birds, is a moment never to be forgotten.”

Breed Standard of the Gordon Setter as per CKCstandards. Remember this dog is bred to be a hunting dog:

Setter (Gordon)

General Appearance

A good-sized, sturdily built dog, well muscled, with plenty of bone and substance, but active, upstanding and stylish, appearing capable of doing a full day’s work in the field. Strong, rather short back, well- sprung ribs and short tail, a fairly heavy head, finely chiseled, intelligent, noble and dignified expression, showing no signs of shyness; clear colours and straight of slightly waved coat. A dog that suggests strength and stamina rather than extreme speed.

Symmetry and quality are most essential. A dog well balanced in all points is preferable to one with outstanding good qualities and defects.


Shoulder height for males, 24-27 inches (61-69 cm); for females, 23-26 inches (58-66 cm).

Weight: Males, 55-75 lb. (25-34 kg); Females, 45-65 lb. (20-29 kg).

As a guide, the greater heights and weights are to be preferred provided that character and quality are also combined. Dogs over and under these heights and weights are to be discouraged.

Coat and Colour

Coat should be soft and shining, resembling silk, straight or slightly waved - the latter preferred - but not curly, with long hair on ears, under stomach, on chest, and on back of the fore and hind legs to the feet. Deep, shining coal-black with tan markings, either of rich chestnut or mahogany red colour. The tan should be shining and not dull, yellowish or straw colour and not mixed with black hairs. Black penciling allowed on toes. The borderlines between black and tan colours should be clearly defined. There should not be any tan colours mixed in the black.

Tan markings:

(a) Two clear spots over the eyes not over 3/4 inch (2 cm) in diameter.

(b) On the sides of the muzzle, the tan should not reach above the base of nose, resembling a stripe around the end of the muzzle from one side to the other.

(c) On the throat.


  Canadian Kennel Club Official Breed Standards


(d) Two large, clear spots on chest.

(e) On the inside of the hind legs and inside of thighs showing down the front of the stifle and broadening out to the outside of the hind legs from the hock to the toes. It must, however, not completely eliminate the black on the back of hind legs.

(f) On the forelegs from the knees or a little above downward to the toes.

(g) Around the vent.

A white spot on the chest is allowed, but the smaller the better.


Deep rather than broad, with plenty of brain room, nicely rounded good-sized skull, broadest between the ears. The head should have a clearly indicated stop. Below and above the eyes should be lean and the cheek as narrow as the leanness of the head allows. The muzzle fairly long with almost parallel lines and not pointed either as seen from above or from the side. The flews not pendulous but with clearly indicated lips. The nose big, broad with open nostrils and of black colour. Eyes of fair size, neither too deep set nor too bulging, dark brown, bright and wise. Ears set low on the head, fairly large and thin.


Long, lean, arched to the head and without throatiness.


Shoulders should be fine at the points, deep and sloping well back, giving a moderately sloping topline. Forelegs big-boned, straight, not bowed either in or out, with elbows free, well let down and not inclined either in or out.


Chest deep and not too broad in front; the ribs well sprung, leaving plenty of lung room.


The hind legs from hip to hock should be long, flat, and muscular, from hock to heel short and strong. The stifle and hock joints well bent, and not inclined either in or out. Both fore and hind feet should have close knit, well-arched toes with plenty of hair between with full toe pads and deep heel cushions.

  January 2004



Short and should not reach below the hocks, carried horizontal or nearly so, thick at the root and finishing in a fine point. The feather, which starts near the root of the tail, should be slightly waved or straight and have a three-square appearance growing shorter uniformly toward the end.


A smooth free movement with high head carriage.