10 Things You Didn’t Know about the Gordon Setter

The Gordon Setter is a breed of gundogs meant to be used for hunting game-birds. However, it is important to note that while these dogs are bold and resolute out in the field, they are also very affectionate animals. As a result, it isn’t unheard of for interested individuals to keep them as canine companions as well. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about the Gordon Setter:

1. It Is a Setter

Given its name, it should be obvious that the Gordon Setter is a setter. As for setters, well, they are a kind of scent hound that has been bred for hunting game-birds, named thus because of a very recognizable stance or “set” whenever they see their target. In total, there are four setter breeds with the Gordon Setter being one of the four.

2. Once Called Black and Tan Setters

There was a time when the Gordon Setter was called the Black and Tan Setter, which is a reference to their black coats matched with a rich shade of brown on their throats, their muzzles, their paws, their lower legs, and elsewhere on their form.

3. Named for a Nobleman

The Gordon in Gordon Setter refers to a nobleman named Alexander Gordon, who was the 4th Duke of Gordon. Unsurprisingly, Gordon owned a number of Black and Tan Setters, though he was far from being the sole owner of the breed. For that matter, it should be mentioned that there is some evidence that Gordon’s dogs had three colors rather than the two.

4. Used to Be More Common in Scotland and Northern England

There was a time when the Gordon Setter was more common in Scotland and northern England. This is because the breed was better-suited for hunting the game-birds that could be found in said regions. Nowadays, the breed sees less use for that particular purpose, which is why its distribution throughout Great Britain is much more even.

5. Biggest Setter

Generally speaking, Gordon Setters are the biggest of the four setter breeds. However, it is interesting to note that there can be a range of sizes because of differing opinions between field enthusiasts and bench enthusiasts. As a result, there is more variation in the breed than what a lot of people might expect.

6. Good Companion

Most Gordon Setters are very friendly towards their human masters. Combined with the fact that most possess a strong sense of loyalty as well as a sweet temperament, it is no wonder that Gordon Setters often make for excellent canine companions.

7. Not Necessarily a Good Choice for a First-Time Dog Owner

With that said, Gordon Setters are not necessarily good choices for first-time dog owners. This is because they can be rather independent-minded, which makes sense because they were trained to be so. As a result, if they don’t get strong, stable human leadership, they can get a bit overbearing. Something that will be particularly problematic if they are expected to share a household with other animals.

8. Reserved with Strangers

Gordon Setters are not famous for being particularly friendly towards strangers. However, they are not particularly aggressive either. Instead, Gordon Setters tend to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to strangers, which should come as welcome news for people who are concerned about how their dogs will behave when introducing them to other people.

9. Needs Exercise

Like most breeds, Gordon Setters can benefit a great deal from getting regular exercise. In its case, a brisk walk should be the bare minimum, though letting them run free in an enclosed yard is another good option if that is available. Be warned that Gordon Setters that don’t get enough exercise can wind up becoming restless, which will make them much more difficult to handle than under normal circumstances.

10. Needs Regular Combing and Brushing

The Gordon Setter can benefit from receiving regular combing as well as regular brushing. They are not particularly heavy shedders, but shedding is nonetheless an issue for this particular breed. On top of this, it should be mentioned that bathing is an option that can prove useful from time to time but only when the Gordon Setter needs it.


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