The Gordon Setter originated in the UK and was bred primarily to hunt game birds. It was developed from the old Land Spaniel, yet it may have been crossed with Hounds or Pointers. In the 1800s, it was believed that the breed was originally produced by mixing a Spanish Pointer with the larger English Spaniel. The breed was first recognized in America in 1892.
The Gordon Setter, also called a “black and tan” typically has a deep black coat with chestnut or mahogany markings on their muzzles, eyebrows, throats, chests, paws and lower legs. Some Gordons are born with red, tan, or buff coats, but these are less common than the black coat. The coat has slight feathering and is usually straight or slightly waved. The Gordon Setter stands 27 inches high on average and weighs up to 80 pounds.
The breed is alert and fearless, and able to protect its family. It is also very affectionate and thrives on a loving relationship with its owner. The breed is very attentive and patient as well as eager to learn. Training and socialization are important early on. The Gordon Setter generally will not reach maturity until 3 years of age or more, giving it puppy-like characteristics for much longer than most other breeds. The Gordon Setter is extremely active and needs more than an hour of exercise every day.
The breed usually lives 10 to 12 years, but it may suffer from several health conditions. These include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, gastric torsion, progressive retinal atrophy, and cataracts.