Gordon Setter Breed Information and Buying advice

Gordon Setter

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Gordon Setter?

Quick Gordon Setter Facts

Average Size of Adult
Large (4/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
10-12 years (4/8)
Exercise Requirements
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Gundog (1/8)
No (2/2)

Why Gordon Setters are great

The Gordon Setter is a beautiful mix of a sleek show dog and a stealth working dog. They fit into the Gundog category, using their intelligence and dependability to become devoted workers for their owners. Some highlights:
  1. This breed is known for its excellent health, making them long-lasting and a true, devoted companion to their owner
  2. Gordon Setters can live both outside and inside, able to withstand harsh weather. However, they do prefer to live inside with their family.
  3. They are gentle and careful when playing, and protect young children

Things to consider when looking at Gordon Setters for Sale

Gordon Setters need a very high amount of exercise to maintain their health, meaning they can be a time-consuming breed. Some downsides to the Gordon Setter:
  1. If they are not stimulated physically and mentally, Gordon Setters can be destructive when bored.
  2. Although they are mainly a quiet breed that doesn’t tend to bark very often, Gordon Setters do like to express their likes, dislikes and other emotions, for example when you leave them alone. Their separation anxiety makes them nervous when they are away from human contact for a period of time

History of Gordon Setters

Gordon Setters were originally bred in Scotland in the 1600s to find birds during a shoot, more specifically Pheasants and Quails. When they find a bird scent, they point at it, alerting their owners of the bird’s presence. If there is no one with them, they retrieve it and bring it to their owners. They were never known for their speed, but they have remarkable stamina which allows them to hunt in both warm and cold kinds of weather on land and in water.  


How big is the Gordon Setter?

Gordon Setters are large dogs, with males measuring in at 60-68cm and females being slightly smaller at 58-66cm.  

How heavy is a Gordon Setter?

Due to their size, Gordon Setters are relatively heavy dogs. Males are typically 24-36kg, whilst females are about 20-31kg.  

What Colour is the Gordon Setter?

The Gordon Setter is known for its gorgeous mixture of jet black and tan markings on its sides, the bottom of their muzzle, over their eyes, on their throat, chest and inside their legs. This stunning combination makes them stand out beautifully in both shows and shoots.  


Do Gordon Setters make good guard dogs?

Gordon Setters are said to be the more alert of the Setter breed, being standoffish and apprehensive of strangers which makes them a very good watchdog. It is important that they are able to get to know people though and are not wary of familiar faces. To help with this early socialisation and care is very important at a young age.  

Do Gordon Setters bark a lot?

Gordons will only bark when they want to express their emotions. For example, if they like something or are excited, they show this through barking. The same goes for when they don’t like something, or when they are trying to get your attention. Overall, they are quiet dogs and will not bark unnecessarily.  

Are Gordon Setters easy to train?

Although Gordon Setters are usually easy to train, they are also known for their stubbornness. They are both independent and determined, often testing their owners at a young age. It is recommended that this breed goes to puppy training classes to get rid of that stubbornness from an early age.  

Are Gordon Setters playful?

Gordon Setters are very playful with people that they know but do not enjoy playing with just anyone. They are very good with children, often becoming protective over them, gently playing or cuddling with them. They are excellent family companions and perfect for a family with small children. It should be noted that they are very exuberant jumpers. This is worse when they are a puppy, but if this behaviour is not changed early on they can still have it as an adult, which could be problematic for some families with children.  

Can I leave a Gordon Setter Alone?

Due to the Gordon Setter being such a loving companion, they suffer from separation anxiety when away from their owners for too long and will often bark to express this. Even though you can train them to get used to it when they are a puppy, they still do not enjoy it and require enough social time with their families to be comfortable.  

Do Gordon Setters like water?

Gordon Setters adore swimming and will never say no to jumping into a lake for a swim. Whilst working in shoots they regularly have to retrieve birds from the water, so swimming is an inherited trait that they are simply used to.  


How long do Gordon Setters live?

Gordon Setters typically live up to around 10-12 years.  

How much exercise does a Gordon Setter need?

This breed requires a very high amount of exercise, needing about 1-2 hours a day to be comfortable. This exercise can including playing in the garden, running or a couple of long walks a day. If bored or if they have not had enough exercise, they may become destructive and annoying for their families trying to get them to play with them.  

What are Gordon Setters Common health issues?

Gordon Setters are known for their excellent health throughout their lives, but there are always issues that could arise:
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Eye Diseases
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus


How much space do I need for a Gordon Setter?

Gordon Setters can live both outside and inside, although they prefer to feel like part of the family inside overnight. They are also not very apartment friendly. Even though they do not take up too much space inside, they need a large outdoor space with a secure fence around it.  

What should I feed my Gordon Setter?

Gordon Setters need about 2-3 cups of high-quality dry food twice a day. The amount of food that they get depends on their age, exercise levels, metabolism and size. Always ask your vet for their advice specifically for your puppy.  

How much grooming do Gordon Setters need?

Gordon Setters have a soft and shiny coat that ranges from straight to wavy. They have long hair on their ears, chest, tummy and the back of their legs. To keep it from getting matted, regular brushing is needed with combing every 2-3 days.  

Do Gordon Setters shed?

Gordon Setters do shed their coats to help them stay cooler in warmer months, and correct grooming will help limit the amount of shedding that occurs.  

Average costs  

How much does it cost to keep a Gordon Setter?

As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £700-£900  for a well-bred Gordon Setter puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £50-£70 per month  

Specific Buying Guide

You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your Gordon Setter Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Gordon Setter puppy buying advice:
  1. Gordon Setters commonly go through a period of fear between 6-9 months of age, where they are nervous around most people, sights and sounds. Without over-doing it, reassure the puppy and keep calm yourself – they will respond to your tones and emotions. Over this period of time, it is common to think that the dog will remain this way into their adulthood, but with correct socialization, they will pass the phase.
  2. As Gordon Setters are a popular breed, there may be scams online tricking people into buying a puppy. To make sure you don’t fall victim to this, make sure you see the puppy yourself before placing any money down. Whilst doing this be sure to check the breeder and look at all paperwork attached to the puppy to check that it is a legitimate and legal breeding.
  3. This breed needs firm and consistent training, but it is important not to be harsh as they will respond to that tone negatively.

Other reading, Adopting Gordon Setter Puppies and Rescue Organisations

A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: https://www.gsca.org/index.php/the-gordon-setter/rescue-adoption/ https://savearescue.org/breed/gordon-setter/