Hailing from Gordon Castle in Scotland, the breed was first developed by the fourth Duke of Gordon around the 17th century; although dating its exact origin is uncertain, the breed is featured in literature from the early half of the century, renowned for its ability to point, retrieve, track and hunt. Falling within the 'gun dog' breed group, the Gordon Setter shares its classification with the Retrievers, Spaniels and Pointers, being officially recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1884. The breed's original forebears are believed to be the Spanish Pointer and the Portuguese Pointer which bear a striking resemblance to the Setter in appearance and structure. The Gordon Setter was introduced to the United States by Daniel Webster and George Blunt in 1842 where it has achieved great popularity.
A slightly larger variation of the English Setter and thought to have contributed to the development of the Irish Setter, the breed is distinctive in appearance, boasting a proportioned body with a long and square-cut muzzle, dark ovular eyes and long hanging ears. The breed coat is typically wavy and of a moderate length, with feathering on the underside, tail, ears and back of the legs. Commonly coloured tan and black, the Gordon Setter is infrequently seen in variations of red. The majority of the Setters owned by the fourth Duke at Gordon Castle were tri-coloured, rather than the common black and tan.
Alert and skilled, the Gordon Setter is a versatile working breed, well suited to active domestic living. Compatible with children and other house pets, the Setter boasts a gentle, friendly and fun-loving temperament, making a great addition to any home setting. Due to its acute intelligence and energy, regular exercise and mental enrichment is needed to promote the best from your dog. On average, a healthy Gordon Setter at full maturity will weigh 20-35 kg, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years when shown the appropriate love and care.
Breed-specific health complaints are limited in the Gordon Setter, a dog that is generally very healthy and resilient. Most breeds are susceptible to optical disorders, hip and elbow dysplasia and associated orthopedic complaints, and the Gordon Setter is no exception. Besides this, the Setter is typically a low maintenance breed choice for families or a dedicated sole owner.