Gordon Setter

A Black-and-Tan, Larger Version of the Irish Setter, This Sweet, Intelligent, Very Active Dog is Excellent for Children

If you’re looking for a family pet that’s loyal, intelligent, sweet, obedient, and great with children, you can't go wrong with a Gordon Setter puppy. Not as well-known as its "sibling," the Irish Setter, the Gordon Setter is commonly used as a gun or hunting dog, as well as a sporting dog. While the Irish Setter and the Gordon Setter both come from the same family, they are two separate breeds. These dogs are obedient, but not so blindly so that they will simply follow orders without question. Rather, as a gentle, extremely confident companion, this dog will work with you enthusiastically but will most definitely need your firm discipline to be a well-behaved dog.

Gordon Setter’s History

The Gordon Setter was first described in a book on dogs published in 1859 by Longman, Green & Company. However, it got its start in Scotland, in the early 17th century. These black-and-tan Setters were favored by the fourth Duke of Gordon, in the early 19th century. Although not fast, they had great endurance – and still do as gun dogs – and can stay on point exquisitely, holding prey at bay until the hunter arrives. Because they're so intelligent, Gordon Setters make excellent work dogs in just about any job they're trained for, and actually improve with age since they don't forget what they've already learned. Although they are broken into the categories of gun dogs and sporting dogs in other areas of the world, they are not distinguished that way in the United States where the AKC classifies them solely within the Sporting Group.

Gordon Setter’s Appearance

What do you think of when you think of the word "Setter"? Chances are, the first thing that comes to mind is the Irish Setter, with its flaming red coat and statuesque, slender, aesthetically beautiful build. The Gordon Setter is bigger than the Irish Setter, and its coat is black and tan instead of red, but it is every bit as beautiful and visually pleasing. The coat is a rich ebony, with mahogany or chestnut markings on the muzzle, throat, lower legs, paws, and above the eyes, as well as double markings on the chest. The coat can be slightly wavy or straight, silky and long with feathers on the tail, leg, ear, stomach, and chest.

These dogs stand between 23 and 27 inches at the shoulder, and weigh between 45 and 70 pounds. The ears are long and low, and hang close to the head.

Gordon Setter’s Temperament

This affectionate, loyal, exceedingly sweet dog is very devoted – but don't expect a pushover! This intelligent breed is also very confident, which means that it can appear stubborn. But looks can be deceiving since this is simply a manifestation of its unique personality and mind of its own, traits which you will find useful as it matures. You will nonetheless need to utilize strict discipline with your pet, who will be a joy to train because of its keen intelligence and eagerness to learn. Although this pet can misbehave as a puppy during its learning period, as long as you are clear and consistent with strong guidelines, the dog will mature into a well-behaved companion.

One of the most notable things about the Gordon Setter is that it commingles very well with other animals in the household, including cats. Although the dog is very friendly and gentle with family, your pet won't necessarily be that way with strangers. This is quite desirable, though, since this breed is also very protective of you and will keep an especially close watch on your children.

In fact, no dog bonds more closely with children than the Gordon Setter. An excellent family pet and trusted companion to your children, its natural instincts will let you know quickly if anything suddenly goes wrong.

Gordon Setter’s Proper Environment

The Gordon Setter is extremely active, meant to be outdoors and doing something that's very physically taxing much of the time. With endless reserves of energy, it will need to channel this vitality on a daily basis in order to be well-behaved. Small spaces like apartments are not particularly suited to the Gordon Setter, although if you as an owner provide plenty of outdoor exercise, the dog will always be calm indoors.

Therefore, in some cases, an apartment can work. It's important to note, however, that unless you give your dog a daily walk, it can become restless and difficult to control. Walking is the perfect way to teach your dog your alpha status, as well. When you walk your dog, make sure you teach it to heel either behind you or beside you as you hold the lead. Gordon Setters are also by their natures hunting dogs, so the ability to run free and off leash on a regular basis is also important for your dog's health and well-being. A fenced yard or a safe dog park that provides off-leash roaming spaces can take care of this need for you.

Gordon Setter’s Health

The Gordon Setter is a robust dog, with a lifespan of between 10 and 12 years – a long time for a dog its size. As with most large dogs, though, Gordon Setters are prone to bloat, which is very dangerous and can be fatal within an hour of onset. With bloat, the stomach becomes distended with gastric torsion, gas build-up that cannot be released. Symptom onset is very quick, so that it's imperative that the dog is treated once you know something is wrong. If you sense that your dog is uncomfortable (failing to vomit, becoming weak or depressed, salivating profusely, etc.), call your vet right away. One or two tablets of drugs like Pepcid or simethicone are often recommended, which can temporarily relieve gas until you can get treatment. This is not a substitute for veterinary treatment, but will buy you some extra time to get to the vet.

Once treatment has been given, your veterinarian may advise measures to prevent its recurrence, including feeding smaller meals, and keeping your pet from exercising too soon before or after eating. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend surgery so that the condition does not recur, which happens in up to 80% of dogs who have not had surgery.

Gordon Setter’s Grooming

Check your Gordon Setter puppy regularly for burrs, ticks, fleas, and tangles, and brush and comb regularly. This type of dog will shed liberally twice a year, and will need to be brushed more often during these times. They shed an average amount the rest of the time. Hair on the feet and feathers should be clipped in addition to the regular brushing you perform. Bathing is only rarely necessary.

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