Gordon Setter

The Gordon Setter is the largest of all the setter breeds, but these dogs are one of the breeds that lives up to the “bigger is better” mantra. They are excellent hunters and have big personalities.

These Scotland natives are a rugged breed that is perfect for the outdoor adventurer or avid hunter. If you are looking for a dog that is up for anything, whether this is getting out on the trail or curling up next to you on the couch, this is the perfect breed for you. Read on to learn more about the Gordon Setter.

Description of the Gordon Setter

With a long face, long ears, a long coat, and long legs, the Gordon Setter really lives up to his status as the biggest setter around. But this is a great quality in the breed and makes them a durable and agreeable companion for almost any activity.

Though they are setters and a member of the sporting group, these hunters have almost hound-like qualities, which comes as no surprise given that their original breeding was from hounds. They are tenacious on the trail and mellow and loving at home.

However, the Gordon does tend to be livelier than a hound and this makes him a great choice for active families. People often say that this breed remains a puppy at heart, so if you are looking for an energetic and fun breed, then the Gordon Setter may be a perfect choice for you.

The coat of the Gordon Setter is both beautiful and functional. It protects them from harsh weather and is colored black with tan markings.

Life Expectancy and Size

Though the Gordon Setter often lives a full life of 12 – 13 years, certain health conditions may shorten this. Working with a reputable breeder and bringing your dog in for regular checkups can help lower his risk.

These large setters make hardy companions. Males stand 24 – 27 inches tall and weigh 55 – 80 pounds; and females stand 23 – 26 inches tall and weigh 45 – 70 pounds.

Protective Ability

The Gordon Setter is a loyal and vigilant breed. They can make god watchdogs and tend to be wary of strangers, but are often too sweet to be a good guard dog.


As a hunting breed, it is important to train your dog so they always listen. This will keep them safe in the event they run off into a dangerous situation. When training, be consistent and patient to help your pup learn as quickly as possible.

The Gordon Setter is a very sweet and gentle breed. Using positive rewards-based techniques is the best way to train them. Treats and games go a long way in motivating your dog and making training sessions fun and efficient.

Early socialization is also important to helping ensure your dog grows up to be well-mannered and open to new situations.

The Gordon is a great choice for canine sports. They are intelligent, quick to learn, and very active so things like agility or rally are perfect for this breed. This will also allow them to work with you, which is something they absolutely love!

Energy Level

Able to work all day, the Gordon Setter has plenty of endurance and energy. These dogs love to play and be active with you. If you want a companion for adventures, this is a great breed.

Sedentary families can find a good pet in the Gordon Setter, as long as they provide them with enough outlets for their energy. The Gordon loves to be close to his family and enjoys lounging around with his humans, but will need considerable daily exercise to remain happy and healthy.

What Living with a Gordon Setter is Like

This is an all-around kind breed.

These dogs absolutely love being around their families, but are also great working dogs. Whatever your lifestyle, you can find a great companion in the Gordon Setter. These alert and affectionate souls are adaptable and enjoy living in any home and with any family that will provide them enough exercise and attention.

Care of the Gordon Setter

The Gordon Setter is a truly adaptable, all-purpose dog. Apartment living or country living, these dogs don’t care as long as they get physical activity and bonding time with you.

Environmental Needs

Bred to withstand the often-nasty weather of the Scottish Highlands, the Gordon Setter can deal with most climates very well. Just be sure to provide your dog plenty of cool water and shade if you live somewhere extra warm, as they can be prone to overheating.

Exercise Needs

Strong and steady is the name of the game for this breed. The Gordon Setter can go forever and enjoys being active with his humans. But these adaptable dogs are also happy to be homebodies, as long as they get enough daily exercise.

Long walks, backyard playtime, hunting, and canine sports are all great ways to get your dog moving and allow him to spend some time with you.

Shedding and Grooming

Through regular grooming you can limit the amount your Gordon Setter sheds. Their coat is relatively low maintenance and easy to maintain with frequent brushing and bathing.

This breed sheds moderately

Be sure to regularly trim the hair between your dog’s toes and keep his nails short to prevent discomfort. Regular ear cleaning is also important to prevent infection.

Ideal Home Environment

These sweet and affectionate dogs are a great choice for families, but their tough and bold attitude on the trail also makes them ideal for hunters or outdoorspeople. Any home that can provide their Gordon Setter with love and exercise will be a great place for this breed.

It is important to acknowledge that this breed has potential health issues that may be expensive or time consuming to deal with.

Health Concerns

Hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, cancer, and bloat are the main concerns for this breed. Working with a reputable breeder and bringing your dog in for regular checkups are the best ways to catch, treat, or prevent these issues.

Behavior Problems

Bred to follow prey, the Gordon Setter may be quick to bolt if he sees an opportunity. Keeping him fenced in or on leash can help protect him.