Gordon Setter

The dignified and graceful Gordon Setter is the largest of the Setters in the gundog group.

Gordon Setter Breed Group


Size of Gordon Setter

Large. A graceful, elegant and athletic dog.

Colour Varieties of the Gordon Setter

Black and tan is the only colour variation recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK, but the Gordon Setter also comes in liver and tan, solid red and black and white and tan.

Country of Origin


The Gordon Setter through history

This old breed can be traced right back to the 1620s when they were known as black & tans. They were a popular feature in the kennels of the Duke of Gordon, where they take their name.

The Gordon Setter is a competent and intelligent working dog with impressive levels of stamina and energy, the breed was originally bred to set game birds on the shoot.Gordon Setters are still used for working today, but more often kept as a loyal and dependable companion pet.

Gordon Setter introduction and overview

The Gordon Setter is the largest of the setter breeds in the gundog group.

The Gordon Setter is a striking dog with a noble and slightly mournful expression. The breed is tall, lean, with elegant long lithe limbs. The coat is long, silky and can be either straight or slightly wavy with featherings on the ears, chest, abdomen, legs, feet and tail. The most common colourings are black and tan, but other colour variations do exist.

Size and weight of the Gordon Setter

Height bitch 58-66cms

Height dog 61-69cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 20-32kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 25-36kgs

Exercise requirements of the Gordon Setter

High. The Gordon Setter requires at least 2 hours of exercise every day, ideally off the lead. It is not a dog that enjoys a sedentary lifestyle and is easily bored. This is a dog that needs a  physically fit and active owner.
Gordon Setter Temperament, socialisation with children, other dogs and other pets

The Gordon Setter has a placid, kind and loving temperament. It does tend to form a very close bond with his master, but mixes well in the family enviroment.

This breed is generally excellent with other dogs, children and other pets if socialised and introduced at an early age. Gordon Setter puppies can be rather boisterous, so may not be suitable for families with very small children.

It can be aloof and wary of strangers, making it a good guard dog around the home. Gordon Setters are known to be more vocal than the other types of setter.

Training should be in place at an early age as this breed has an incredible sense of smell and prone to roaming and straying.

Is the Gordon Setter a good dog for a first time dog owner?

Yes. The Gordon Setter is easy to train being intelligent, eager to please and a quick learner, but any prospective owner must be realistic about the necessary time commitment necessary to bring out the best in this athletic breed.

Gordon Setter coat length

Long and heavy coated. The coat is glossy, straight or with gentle waves with fine featherings on the ears, chest, stomach, legs and tail.

Grooming requirements of the Gordon Setter

High. The glossy heavy coat requires daily attention to prevent a build up of tangles and matts in the featherings which can grow quite long. Your setter should be dried after walks in bad weather and featherings gently combed through.

Pads should be checked regularly as they can easily conceal thorns and brambles.

Ears should be check on a regular basis for foreign bodies such as thorns, brambles and ticks and signs of infection.


No. Unfortunately this breed is not suitable for allergy sufferers as the heavy coat sheds throughout the year.

Health Issues in the Gordon Setter

There are a few health issues that prospective owners should be aware of. Consult your breeder for more information:

  • Hip dsyplasia - an inherited malformation of the hip joint. Although not common in this breed, hip dysplasia has been recorded.
  • Bloat (gastric torsion) - a potentially fatal condition in larger breeds. Care should be taken at feeding times to avoid bloat, by spreading smaller meals throughout the day, rather than offering one large meal. Uneaten food should be removed. If you are feeding dry foods, monitor the amount of water your dog drinks as dry foods expand when in contact with water.

As with all pedigree dogs, it is very important to obtain a puppy from a reputable source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding the inherent physical and psychological diseases of the breed.

Average lifespan of the Gordon Setter

A healthy Gordon Setter should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of 10-12 years, which is high for dog of this size.

Approximate Gordon Setter pedigree puppy price

Expect to pay around £600-900 for a puppy . There are usually between 6-10 puppies in an average litter, and puppies can be difficult to source, with only 234 puppies registered with the Kennel Club in 2015.

Insuring a Gordon Setter

The Gordon Setter is a large dog with quite a high cost value, so expect to pay a higher premium than an average sized dog. Remember that whatever your dog’s premium starts out at, dog insurance will always rise with
your pet’sage after about four years old and any on-going illnesses or conditions that the animal develops will also affect your annual insurance premiums from then on.

Estimating how much a Gordon Setter would need to be fed each day

A bitch weighing 30kgs requires 365gms of complete dry food per day.

A dog weighing 35kgs requires 402gms of complete dry food per day.

The weekly cost of feeding a 30kgs bitch is around £8.90

The weekly cost of feeding a 35kgs dog is around £9.90

Other necessary costs to consider when owning any dog

  • Worming treatments
  • Flea treatments
  • Annual vaccination boosters
  • Neutering and spaying
  • Dental treatment

Many veterinary practises offer monthly budget schemes to allow you to spread the cost over the year.

There are 3 other setters in the gundog group, the English Setter, the Irish Setter and the Irish Red & White Setter.

English Setter
Irish Setter
Irish Red & White Setter