Gordon Setter: Dog Breed Facts and Information

Country of origin: Great Britain
Shoulder height: 62 – 66 cm
Weight: 25 – 29 kg
Age: 10 – 12 years
Colour: black with red markings
Use: hunting dog, sport dog

The Gordon Setter is a very active, intelligent, athletic hunting dog that needs a lot of exercises and meaningful work. Ideally, a Gordon Setter should be used for hunting. The agile and hard-working outdoorsman is not suitable for comfortable people or life in the city.

Origin and history

The Gordon Setter descended from Scottish Pointers that were specifically specialized in tracking down game birds. “Pointing” is an innate behavior whereby the dog, once it has scented the scent of game birds, will remain tense, signaling the game to the hunter without shooing it away.

British pointers were all long-haired and inconsistently colored at the time. In the middle of the 19th century, certain color variants began to be taken into account in breeding. The black and tan Setter was recognized as a separate breed by the British Kennel Club in 1924 under the name Gordon Setter. The name comes from the breeder Alexander Gordon, who specialized in the black and tan breed.


The Gordon Setter is an elegant, well-proportioned large dog. It is essentially similar to the much better-known Irish Red Setter. He has a narrow, slender head with dark, expressive eyes and a dark, broad nose. The ears are set low, of medium length, and hanging. The tail of the Gordon Setter is straight to slightly saber-shaped, long, and well-feathered.

The Gordon Setter’s coat is moderately long, silky shiny, and smooth. It is shorter on the head and front of the legs, longer on the belly, chest, tail, ears, and back of the legs, and may be slightly curled. The coat color is a deep, glossy black with maroon markings over the eyes, cheeks, chest, throat, and paws.


According to the breed standard, the Gordon Setter is an intelligent, capable dog with a gentle, relaxed personality. He is considered courageous, open, friendly, and even-tempered. It has strong nerves and gets along well with its peers. The Gordon Setter is naturally alien to being aggressive or particularly sharp.

As a hunting dog, he reliably points the way, rummages around, fetches, loves water, and is a surefire bringer. Because of these innate abilities, its quick wits, and its willingness to work, a Gordon Setter should preferably also be used for hunting.

The Gordon Setter has a great need for exercise and needs meaningful employment. It loves being in the great outdoors – no matter what the weather – and needs a challenge. Therefore, it is only suitable for sporty, nature-loving people who can deal intensively with their dogs. A large yard alone will not be enough to keep a Gorden Setter happy. In addition to hunting, dog sport activities such as agility, obedience, or dummy and tracking work can also be useful occupations for the Gordon Setter.

The strong Gordon Setter requires very sensitive, consistent training and clear leadership. The sensitive dog does not tolerate rough treatment or excessive harshness. A close family connection is also important because Gordon Setters are very people-oriented and form a strong bond with their caregivers.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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