Gordon Setter

Portrait of Breed

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Planned Litters

Actual Litters

Breeding History



Although it is often credited that the Gordon Setter was the result of the Duke of Gordon crossing his black and tan Scottish collies with his Setters, to quote from the definitive work on the breed - The Gordon Setter - History and Character by G St. G M Gompertz - published by the author in 1976: “There are reliable records to show that the Black and Tan Setter was in existence as a separate breed long before it was taken up by the Duke of Gordon.”
In the first half of the 18th Century records show that there were several noted kennels of Black and Tan Setters in the Midland Counties well before the Duke took up the breed in the early part of the 19th Century - obtaining his original stock from Thomas William Coke, late to become the Earl of Leicester, and that some of this stock was maintained as pure-bred stock, without the introduction of outside crosses for many years. It seems to be clear that this was the reason that the Kennel Club, founded in 1873, classified the breed at this time as “The Black and Tan Setter.”
Some 50 years were to elapse before in the Kennel Club Gazette of 1924, it was announced: “In the list of breeds ... dated 1st January 1924 ... [without any reason being given] ... the Setter (Black and Tan) ... is now officially designated ... “The Gordon Setter.”
... possibly in recognition that by this time most Gordon Setters, but not all, could be traced back to the Gordon Castle strain, whilst it would be wrong to accredit solely the production of the breed to the Dukes of Gordon there is very little doubt that they played a very important part in the breed's development.
The effect that Robert Chapman from the late 1870s to the end of the century, and Isaac Sharpe from that point to just before 2nd World War, exercised cannot be ignored. They possibly exerted a greater influence in the refinement and uniformity of the breed and produced a type better suited to changing needs.

Within this brief précis it is impossible to examine and come to a definitive conclusion on importance of the individual contributions made to the development of the breed.



ORIGIN : Great Britain.


UTILIZATION : Pointing dog.

CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. : Group                       7                           Pointing Dogs.
                                               Section                   2.2                    British and Irish Pointers and Setters; Setters.
                            With working trial.

GENERAL APPEARANCE : Stylish dog, with galloping lines. Consistent with its build which can be compared to a weight-carrying hunter. Symmetrical in conformation throughout.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : Intelligent, able and dignified. Bold, outgoing, of a kindly even disposition.

HEAD : Deep rather than broad. Length from occiput to stop longer than from stop to nose. Below and above eyes lean.

Skull : Slightly rounded, broadest between ears. Broader than muzzle, showing brain room.
Stop : Clearly defined.

Nose : Large, broad, nostrils open and black.
Muzzle : Long with almost parallel lines, neither pointed nor snipey. Muzzle note quite as deep as its length.
Flews : Not pendulous, clearly defined lips.
Jaws/Teeth : Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Cheeks : As narrow as leanness of head allows.
Eyes : Dark brown, bright. Neither deep nor prominent, set sufficiently under brows, showing keen, intelligent expression.
Ears : Medium size, thin. Set low, lying close to head.

NECK : Long, lean, arched, without throatiness.

BODY : Moderate length.
Loin : Wide, slightly arched.
Chest : Not too broad. Brisket deep, ribs well sprung. Back ribs deep.

TAIL : Straight or slightly scimitar, not reaching below hocks. Carried horizontally or below line of back. Thick at root, tapering to fine point. Feather or flag starting near root, long, straight, growing shorter to point.


FOREQUARTERS : Forelegs flat boned, straight, strong.
Shoulders : Shoulder blades long, sloping well back, wide flat bone, close at withers, not loaded.
Elbow : Well let down and close to body.
Pastern : Upright.

HINDQUARTERS : From hip to hock, the hindlegs are long, broad and muscular. From hock to heel short and strong. Straight from hock joint to ground. Pelvis tending to horizontal.
Stifles: Well bent.

FEET : Oval, close-knit, well arched toes, plenty of hair betweeen. Well paded toes, deep heel cushions.

GAIT / MOVEMENT : Steady, free-moving and true, with plenty of drive behind.


HAIR : On head, front of legs, tips of ears short and fine; moderate length, flat and free from curl or wave on all other parts of body. Feather on upper portion of ears long and silky; on backs of legs long, fine, flat and straight, fringes on belly may extend to chest and throat. As free as possible from curl or wave.

COLOUR : Deep, shining coal black, without rustiness, with markings of chestnut red, i.e. lustrous tan. Black pencilling on toes and black streak under jaw permissible.  Tan markings : Two clear spots over eyes not over 2 cms (3/4 ins.) in diameter. On sides of muzzle, tan not reaching above base of nose, resembling a stripe around clearly defined end of muzzle from one side to other. Also on throat, two large, clear spots on chest. On inside hindlegs and inside thighs, showing down front of stifle and broadening out to outside of hindlegs from hock to toes. On forelegs, up to elbows behind, and to pastern joints or little above, in front. Around vent. Very small white spot on chest permissible. No other colour permissible.

Height at the withers : Dogs       66 cm (26 ins.).
                                        Bitches       62 cm (24 ½ ins.).
Weight :       Dogs  29.5 kg (65 lbs).
                      Bitches      25.5 kg (56 lbs).

FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Requierements for enlistment of gordon setters into breeding in the Czech Republic (rules of ČPSK):
X-ray inspection of hip joints (displasia) with not worse result as 2/2.
Exterier classification Excellent or Very Good from official dog show in the Czech Republic. This classification as well as high, teeth and eye colour must be noticed in dog´s pedigree.
Working abilities must be certified by successful graduation of Field Trial (solo or couple) with minimally 6 points or by successful graduation of hunting exams organized by Czech-Moravian Hunting Union, where dog must obtains minimally grades as follows:

Criterion of performace






Inborn itch to work








Behaviour after shot