Gordon Setter

The Gordon Setter, the black avenger of the Highlands, is a substantial bird dog named for a Scottish aristocrat.

Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Gordon has a long, thick coat with feathering on the ears, legs, belly, and tail. Depending on the type of terrain your Gordon is out in every day, you will probably need to brush and comb him one to three days a week to prevent or remove tangles and mats, remove dead hair, and distribute skin oils. In addition to brushing, you’ll need to trim the hair on the bottom of his feet and between his toes.
That’s just the basics. Look here for more details on how to keep your Gordon looking like the stylish setter that he is. If you want to give him a clip for the summer, look here for advice.
The Gordon Setter sheds moderately. The more often you brush him, the less hair you will find on your floor, furniture, and clothing.
Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear down the toenails naturally.

Exercise Tips

All setters need a daily long, brisk walk or they will become restless and difficult to manage. While out on the walk make sure the dog heels beside or behind the person holding the lead, never in front, as instinct tells a dog the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. In addition, they will also enjoy running free in the safety of a fenced yard.
The Gordon Setter is a high energy dog and they are very smart with it. As such they need to be given a ton of mental stimulation and physical exercise on a daily basis to keep them happy and healthy. A minimum of 2 hour’s daily exercise is essential for these dogs or boredom might set in which can dog developing some unwanted behavioral issues which include being destructive around the home.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep a Gordon Setter in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
Early socialization is a must, and puppy training classes are recommended. The Rat Terrier has a strong prey drive, and they should never be allowed off lead, as most will not be able to resist the urge to chase when faced with a strange cat or squirrel.
Caution: To preventbloat, never exercise the dog one-half hour before or one-half hour after feeding.

Feeding Tips

A good, healthy diet with an aim at providing a healthy coat should be provided. Meats, including poultry – remember, this is a bird-seeker – and other cuts like beef and lamb can be provided to provide protein, nutrition, and flavor to many meals.
If you get a puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it’s important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy’s diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don’t develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it’s best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It’s best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it’s good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements.
Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Like many large breeds, Saint Bernard can experience bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach distends and twists. The causes of bloat aren’t fully understood, but experts agree that multiple, small meals per day and preventing vigorous exercise around mealtimes may help reduce the chances of it happening.

Health Tips

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
The average life span of the Gordon Setter is 10 to 12 years. Prone to eye diseases common to dogs, such as cataracts, the Gordon Setter is an otherwise healthy dog that probably won’t require too many trips to the veterinarian. This is good if you’re in the market for a breed that is generally healthy.
Breed health concerns may includeallergies,bloat (gastric dilatation and volvulus),cataracts, combinedentropion-ectropion(“diamond eye”),hip dysplasia,hypothyroidism, andprogressive retinal atrophy.


These dogs are renowned for their obedience and willingness to please, and its strong instinct for scent should be taken advantage of when these dogs are taken outdoors. They love a good task to complete and are great retrievers.
A puppy or dog must be trained to know the command “come,” and to come when called; to know his name and respond, and to obey the word “no.” Gordons are stubborn yet very soft and loving, and they live to please their owner. They are very smart and learn quickly.
The best training is for them to have a job to do, and the best job they can have is spending time with their owner—whether being trained or having fun. They are closely bonded to their family and live to be with them, but they are fine being alone when the family is away. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended for Gordon puppies and help to ensure they grow into well-adjusted, well-mannered.


Generations of Scots huntsmen bred hounds and “collys” into setter lines, thus producing a large, rugged bird-dog suited to working in difficult conditions. Alexander, Fourth Duke of Gordon (d. 1827), the master of Castle Gordon on the craggy Scottish Highlands, maintained a keen interest in these dogs. By the early 1800s the duke’s kennel was producing setters recognizable as the breed that today bears his name. Between litters, the duke found time to play a key role in the development of the Scotch whiskey industry.
Gordons were imported by Americans George Blunt and Daniel Webster in 1842, and the dogs were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1884, making them one of the original AKC breeds. Today the Gordon appeals to a special subset of hunters and dog lovers who appreciate him for his noble good looks, scenting ability, and mild manners. He ranks 98th among the breeds registered by the AKC.