The Gordon Setter's ancient lineage dates back to 1620, but the
Gordon Setter Club of America wasn't formed until 1891. The Gordon
Setter first started to hunt game birds in the U.S. almost 200
The dark coat of the Gordon Setter aborbs heat very quickly, so
owners should watch for signs of overheating while in the fiedld.
Gordon Setters are protective of their family and children but are
not aggressive unless they, or someone they love, is being threatened.
They love a good long run, but daily walks will suffice if field time
is not available.
Below is the breed standard, as recorder by the
American Kennel Club:
The Gordon Setter is a good-sized, sturdily built, black and tan
dog, well muscled, with plenty of bone and substance, but active,
upstanding and stylish, appearing capable of doing a full day's
work in the field. He has a strong, rather short back, with well
sprung ribs and a short tail. The head is fairly heavy and finely
chiseled. His bearing is intelligent, noble, and dignified, showing
no signs of shyness or viciousness. Clear colors and straight or
slightly waved coat are correct. He suggests strength and stamina
rather than extreme speed. Symmetry and quality are most essential.
A dog well balanced in all points is preferable to one with outstanding
good qualities and defects. A smooth, free movement, with high head
carriage, is typical.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Size Shoulder height for males, 24 to 27 inches;
females, 23 to 26 inches. Weight for males, 55 to 80 pounds; females,
45 to 70 pounds. Animals that appear to be over or under the prescribed
weight limits are to be judged on the basis of conformation and
condition. Extremely thin or fat dogs are discouraged on the basis that
under or overweight hampers the true working ability of the Gordon
Setter. The weight-to-height ratio makes him heavier than other
Setters. Proportion The distance from the forechest to the back of the
thigh is approximately equal the height from the ground to the withers.
The Gordon Setter has plenty of bone and substance.
Head deep, rather than broad, with plenty of brain room. Eyes of
fair size, neither too deep-set nor too bulging, dark brown, bright
and wise. The shape is oval rather than round. The lids are tight. Ears
set low on the head approximately on line with the eyes, fairly large
and thin, well folded and carried close to the head. Skull nicely rounded,
good-sized, broadest between the ears. Below and above the eyes is
lean and the cheeks as narrow as the leanness of the head allows. The
head should have a clearly indicated stop. Muzzle fairly long and not
pointed, either as seen from above or from the side. The flews are not
pendulous. The muzzle is the same length as the skull from occiput to
stop and the top of the muzzle is parallel to the line of the skull
extended. Nose broad, with open nostrils and black in color. The lip line
from the nose to the flews shows a sharp, well-defined, square contour.
Teeth strong and white, meeting in front in a scissors bite, with the
upper incisors slightly forward of the lower incisors. A level bite is
not a fault. Pitted teeth from distemper or allied infections are not
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck long, lean, arched to the head, and without throatiness. Topline
moderately sloping. Body short from shoulder to hips. Chest deep and not
too broad in front; the ribs well sprung, leaving plenty of lung room.
The chest reaches to the elbows. A pronounced forechest is in evidence.
Loins short and broad and not arched. Croup nearly flat, with only a
slight slope to the tailhead. Tail short and not reaching below the
hocks, carried horizontal or nearly so, not docked, thick at the root
and finishing in a fine point. The placement of the tail is important
for correct carriage. When the angle of the tail bends too sharply at
the first coccygeal bone, the tail will be carried too gaily or will
droop. The tail placement is judged in relationship to the structure of
Shoulders fine at the points, and laying well back. The tops of the
shoulder blades are close together. When viewed from behind, the neck
appears to fit into the shoulders in smooth, flat lines that gradually
widen from neck to shoulder. The angle formed by the shoulder blade and
upper arm bone is approximately 90 degrees when the dog is standing so
that the foreleg is perpendicular to the ground. Forelegs big-boned,
straight and not bowed, with elbows free and not turned in or out.
Pasterns are strong, short and nearly vertical with a slight spring.
Dewclaws may be removed. Feet catlike in shape, formed by close-knit,
well arched toes with plenty of hair between; with full toe pads and
deep heel cushions. Feet are not turned in or out.
The hind legs from hip to hock are long, flat and muscular; from
hock to heel, short and strong. The stifle and hock joints are well
bent and not turned either in or out. When the dog is standing with
the rear pastern perpendicular to the ground, the thighbone hangs downward
parallel to an imaginary line drawn upward from the hock. Feet as in front.
Soft and shining, straight or slightly waved, but not curly, with
long hair on ears, under stomach and on chest, on back of the fore and
hind legs, and on the tail. The feather which starts near the root of
the tail is slightly waved or straight, having a triangular appearance,
growing shorter uniformly toward the end.
Color and Markings
Black with tan markings, either of rich chestnut or mahogany color.
Black pencilling is allowed on the toes. The borderline between black and
tan colors is clearly defined. There are not any tan hairs mixed in the
black. The tan markings are located as follows: (1) Two clear spots
over the eyes and not over three-quarters of an inch in diameter; (2)
On the sides of the muzzle. The tan does not reach to the top of the
muzzle, but resembles a stripe around the end of the muzzle from one
side to the other; (3) On the throat; (4) Two large clear spots on the
chest; (5) On the inside of the hind legs showing down the front of
the stifle and broadening out to the outside of the hind legs from
the hock to the toes. It must not completely eliminate the black on
the back of the hind legs; (6) On the forelegs from the carpus, or a
little above, downward to the toes; (7) Around the vent; (8) A white
spot on the chest is allowed, but the smaller the better. Predominantly
tan, red or buff dogs which do not have the typical pattern of markings
of a Gordon Setter are ineligible for showing and undesirable for
breeding. Predominantly tan, red or buff dogs are ineligible for showing
and undesirable for breeding.
A bold, strong, driving free-swinging gait. The head is carried up
and the tail "flags" constantly while the dog is in motion.
When viewed from the front the forefeet move up and down in straight
lines so that the shoulder, elbow and pastern joints are approximately
in line. When viewed from the rear the hock, stifle and hip joints are
approximately in line. Thus the dog moves in a straight pattern forward
without throwing the feet in or out. When viewed from the side the
forefeet are seen to lift up and reach forward to compensate for the
driving hindquarters. The hindquarters reach well forward and stretch far
back, enabling the stride to be long and the drive powerful. The overall
appearance of the moving dog is one of smooth-flowing, well balanced
rhythm, in which the action is pleasing to the eye, effortless, economical
The Gordon Setter is alert, gay, interested, and confident. He is
fearless and willing, intelligent and capable. He is loyal and affectionate,
and strong-minded enough to stand the rigors of training.
Predominantly tan, red or buff dogs.
Scale of Points
To be used as a guide when judging the Gordon Setter:
- Head and neck (include ears and eyes): 10
- Body: 15
- Shoulders, forelegs, forefeet: 10
- Hind legs and feet: 10
- Tail: 5
- Coat: 8
- Color and markings: 5
- Temperament: 10
- Size, general appearance: 15
- Gait: 12
- Total: 100
This standard was approved October 7, 2002, effective November 27, 2002
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