History & Overview
The Gordon Setter, once known as Black and Tan Setter or Scottish Setter, dates from the early 17th century, in Scotland. Around 1800, the Duke of Gordon developed the present type from his own Black and Tan strain. This heavier and stronger dog was so highly regarded, not only in Britain but also abroad, that it was named after Gordon. The Gordon Setter is the largest and most powerful of the three setter varieties.
This handsome dog was built for strength and endurance rather than for swiftness. The Gordon excels at hunting on land and water, no matter what the weather. Hunters use this setter on stubble-covered fields because the dog has solid pads on its paws, which are impervious to thorns and twigs.
The Gordon is better than most dogs at tracking for long periods without getting thirsty. Their noses are first-class, and they seldom make a false point. They spot prey quickly and retrieve instinctively. Their favorite game birds are partridge, pheasant, and woodcock.
Although active, the Gordon setter makes an agreeable companion dog because it is gentle and affectionate. The even-tempered disposition is closer to that of the English Setter than that of its other cousin, the Irish Setter. It is loyal to its immediate human family but tends to be somewhat reserved with strangers.
According to the breed standard, the ideal height at shoulders should be 23 – 27 inches. The coat consists of short, fine hair on the head, and front legs; medium length and straight on the rest of the body, as flat as possible, without curl even in the feathering; nice feathering on the stomach, which may extend onto chest and throat; long silky hair on the ears; long and fine at the back of the hind legs.
The color is dark, shining coal-black without any rust, with tan markings of a vivid reddish-brown, or rich chestnut, or mahogany. The tan marks are clearly outlined over the eyes, on each side of the muzzle, on the throat, the chest, on the inner side of the hindquarters and thighs, on the forequarters, and under the tail. A very small white patch on the chest is sometimes seen in some dogs.