Gordon Setter

Gordon Setter

30 June 2023

Let’s talk about… Gordon Setters: what are they?

  • Gordon Setters are a Scottish breed of hunting dog known for their striking appearance and excellent scenting abilities.
  • They were originally bred for tracking and pointing game birds, such as grouse.
  • They are named after the fourth Duke of Gordon, Alexander Gordon, who played a significant role in developing and popularising the breed.
  • Gordon Setters have a long, flowing coat that is predominantly black with rich mahogany markings on the chest, legs, and face.
  • They have a regal and elegant presence, standing at an average height of 58-66 cm for males and 55-62 cm for females.
  • In terms of weight, males typically range from 29-36 kg, while females weigh around 25-32 kg.
  • Gordon Setters have a life expectancy of approximately 10-12 years.
Gordon Setter  Exercise Needs: 4/5 Grooming Ease: 3/5 Trainability: 4/5

What is the temperament of Gordon Setters like?

  • Gordon Setters are known for their friendly and affectionate nature.
  • They form strong bonds with their families and are generally good with children and other pets when properly socialised from a young age.
  • These dogs have a playful and energetic personality, often retaining their puppy-like enthusiasm well into adulthood.
  • Gordon Setters are intelligent and eager to please, making them trainable and responsive to positive reinforcement techniques.
  • It's important to note that Gordon Setters are active and high-energy dogs. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and potential behavioural issues.
  • Without proper outlets for their energy, they may become restless or engage in destructive behaviours.

Embers and Django, the Gordon Setters

How much exercise do Gordon Setters need?

  • Gordon Setters are an active breed that requires a significant amount of exercise on a daily basis.
  • They should receive a minimum of 1.5-2 hours of exercise each day to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
  • This exercise should include brisk walks, jogging, off-leash playtime in a secure area, and engaging activities such as fetch or agility training.
  • When it comes to Gordon Setter puppies, it's important to provide age-appropriate exercise. Puppies have developing bones and joints that are more susceptible to injury. It's crucial not to overexert them with excessive exercise or intense activities.
  • Full adult exercise levels can generally be reached around 12 to 18 months of age.
  • Your vet can advise on the exercise needs of you individual pooch.

Do Gordon Setters require grooming?

  • Gordon Setters have a beautiful, dense coat that requires regular grooming to keep it in optimal condition.
  • Their long, silky hair is prone to tangling and matting, so regular brushing is essential to prevent these issues.
  • Aim to brush their coat at least two to three times a week using a slicker brush or a comb with wide-spaced teeth.
  • A professional groomer can support and advise on your Gordon Setter.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Couper, the Gordon Setter

Are Gordon Setters easy to train?

  • Gordon Setters are intelligent and eager to please, making them generally easy to train.
  • They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods, including praise, treats, and rewards. However, they can be independent thinkers at times, so training should be approached with patience, consistency, and a calm demeanour.
  • Early socialisation is crucial for Gordon Setters to expose them to various people, animals, and environments. This helps them develop into well-rounded and confident dogs.
  • Obedience training and basic commands should be started from a young age to establish good behaviour patterns.
  • They thrive on gentle guidance, clear boundaries, and positive interactions with their owners.
  • Working with a professional dog trainer or attending obedience classes can be beneficial, especially for novice dog owners seeking guidance in training their Gordon Setter.
Garda, the Gordon Setter

What do Gordon Setters eat?

  • Gordon Setters should be fed a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. It's important to choose a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.
  • Most should be fed twice daily.
  • For Gordon Setter puppies, a specially formulated puppy food is recommended to support their growth and development. They should be fed 3-4 times a day until they are 6 months old when it can be reduced to twice daily.
  • Puppies have specific dietary requirements that differ from adult dogs. Follow the feeding guidelines provided by the puppy food manufacturer and consult with your veterinarian for personalised advice on portion sizes and feeding frequency.
  • The transition from puppy food to adult dog food usually occurs around 12 months of age. However, the timing may vary depending on the individual dog's growth and nutritional needs. Your veterinarian can guide you on the appropriate time to switch to adult dog food and provide recommendations on portion sizes.

Are Gordon Setters healthy?

Gordon Setters are generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they may be prone to certain health conditions. Some health concerns that can affect Gordon Setters include:

Bones and Joints

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis


  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!


  • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone


  • Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation.

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Gordon Setter is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Gordon Setters

BorrowMyDoggy has 133 Gordon Setter members.

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive.  If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

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