Description & History

The Gordon Setter comes from the Highlands of Scotland and was evolved by the fourth Duke of Gordon at Gordon Castle in Banffshire in the early 1800's.

The ancestors of the breed are said to have originated from one of the Duke's gundogs and a collie belonging to a worker on the estate. It is more likely that a black Pointer and a Castle dog -a Black and Tan - was the forerunner of the present day dog. Strains from the Irish Setter were added later, giving the breed its rich tan markings.

The Gordon, which is the biggest and the heaviest of the three setter breeds, is a handsome, graceful dog and was bred for stamina.

They are capable of hunting all day in all weather. Their excellent scenting power enables them to track, point and flush but not retreive. Although setters can and will retrieve, they were bred as setting dogs and not as retrievers. In competition work they are not required to retrieve.

The Gordon was a popular breed on a number of estates in Scotland and the north of England in the late nineteenth century. Unfortunately their numbers declined in the first half of the twentieth century and by 1962 only 28 dogs were registered with British Kennel Club. By 1990 they were regaining their popularity - registrations with the British Kennel Club show their numbers had increased to 528.

The Gordon Setter has great endurance, therefore like all sporting dogs they should be allowed to lead an active outdoor life preferably in the country.

Rosamund Walters.

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