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Gordon Setter

Gordon Setter Breed


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Dog Size

Energy Level

Dog Energy Level


Dog Trainability

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Physical Characteristics:
Height: 24-27”
Weight: 45-80 lbs.
Energy Level: High
The American Kennel Club recognizes the Gordon Setter in the following color:

  • Black and tan

Health & Longevity

Average Life Span: 10-12 years
The Gordon Setter is mostly a healthy breed, but they are prone to a few health problems.

Like many dogs, Gordon Setters may be affected by hip and elbow dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is when the hip joint is malformed, resulting in the thigh bone not fitting correctly in place. This leads to limping, pain, arthritis, and sometimes lameness. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred, so ensure your puppy’s parents have no history of the condition. Elbow dysplasia involves degeneration or malformation of the elbow joint, and it can also progress to lameness. Surgery may be required in extreme cases.

Hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient amounts of hormones, can lead to issues such as infertility, obesity, hair loss, and lethargy. This disease can be treated with daily medication for the duration of the affected dog’s life.

Gordon Setters are also prone to Gastric torsion (bloat), which occurs when the stomach becomes overly full of gas, fluid, or food, causing the stomach to expand dangerously and put pressure on other organs. In some cases, the stomach twists, trapping blood in the stomach and preventing it from going to the heart and other essential areas. Bloat can be deadly, so get your Gordon Setter to a veterinarian right away if you notice pale gums, significant changes in appetite, shortness of breath, failed attempts to vomit, or a swollen stomach.

Lastly, some Gordon Setters experience Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). PRA causes the retina to degenerate and can ultimately result in failed daytime vision. Although there is no cure or medical treatment for PRA, vision loss occurs gradually, allowing for an adjustment period, and dogs with this condition can maintain a high quality of life.

On average, the Gordon Setter has a lifespan of 10-12 years.

Temperament & Train-ability

The Gordon Setter is a bold, confident, and energetic breed. They are also affectionate, loyal, and gentle. Bred as bird dogs, they are extremely active and love to hunt, swim, and play.

Any Gordon Setter owner must be prepared to meet his dog’s exercise needs. A one-hour minimum of walking, running, or playing is required daily. A home with a large yard would be best for a Gordon Setter, and they should not live in apartments. A home in the countryside with plenty of room to run would be the Gordon Setter’s ideal home, as they love the outdoors. Swimming and hunting are favorite activities, but be sure to clean and dry your dog’s ears any time he swims. Despite their passion for outdoor activities, they also love companionship and should live in the home, where they can socialize and bond with their family. They are prone to separation anxiety and may become destructive if left alone for extended periods of time. If properly exercised, the Gordon Setter is calm and well-behaved in the house. However, they are vocal dogs who express their emotions and opinions through barking. This is another reason Gordon Setters should not live in apartments, although they may be trained to be less noisy.

Gordon Setters are not aggressive with people, but some may become aggressive with other dogs. They are somewhat wary of strangers. Although they will allow a stranger to pet them, they do not seek attention or affection from unfamiliar people. Early socialization is required to ensure that they do not become fearful or timid. Gordon Setters prefer to spend time with their beloved families. This breed can coexist with cats if raised with them, but they will instinctually view smaller animals as prey. They are friendly, playful, and protective with children, but they might be overly active for toddlers and younger children. Intelligent, alert, and naturally cautious with strangers, Gordon Setters make excellent watchdogs for their families.

This intelligent breed is moderately easy to train. In some cases, they do have the potential to become dominant, willful, and stubborn without firm leadership. However, you should not be too firm when training a Gordon Setter, because they can be very sensitive. Gordon Setters will respond best to a gentle, patient trainer who is fair and consistent.


The Gordon Setter has a long, thick coat that should be brushed 1-3 times per week, depending on the activities and needs of your individual dog. He sheds moderately, but adequate brushing can help reduce the amount of hair that ends up on your furniture and floors. Bathe him as needed.

Be sure to keep your dog’s ears clean and dry, and check them regularly for signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or odor. Trim the Gordon Setter’s nails when they grow too long in order to prevent cracking, and brush his teeth 2-3 times a week to maintain healthy gums and prevent bad breath.


On average, the Gordon Setter should consume 2-3 cups of high-quality dog food daily. Dividing his food into at least two daily meals is recommended.

Remember that Gordon Setters are prone to bloat, and to take preventative measures. Do not let your dog eat too rapidly, do not let him drink too much water right before or right after eating, and wait at least an hour after eating before allowing exercise or strenuous activity.

Make sure clean, fresh drinking water is readily available for your Gordon Setter at all times.

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On average, a Gordon Setter will cost you $500-$1,000. Price varies according to factors such as breeder location, gender, and pedigree.

If you decide to adopt your Gordon Setter, expect adoption fees up to $175.

Paws ‘N’ Pups Ranking

Paws ‘N’ Pups ranks every breed out of 4 with 1 being easiest to integrate into your life and 4 being the toughest – The lower the ranking the better.

Ranking takes into account a few basic factors including cost, skill level needed, high vs low maintenance and how critical regular training is to success. The Gordon Setter ranks a 2. They are a mostly healthy breed who are loving, loyal, and make excellent watchdogs, and they are moderately easy to train. However, they do need plenty of space and exercise, they require some commitment to grooming, and they may be a bit loud. The ideal owner for a Gordon Setter would be someone with an active lifestyle who enjoys outdoor activities.


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