Dog Health & More
Originally bred to hunt pheasant and quail, Gordon Setters are still fine hunting companions and field trial competitors. Canines of this dog breed also compete in obedience, conformation, and agility and are a terrific family and companion dog.
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"Brains, beauty, and bird sense" is a phrase often applied to the Gordon Setter. If you've ever had the privilege of seeing the breed in the field, you understand why. In art, he's often depicted as scouring the moors for a pheasant or other bird, and in life he does the same, pretty as a picture with his long, soft, straight black and tan coat, feathered tail, and noble, dignified stance.
The Gordon is the largest of all Setters. He's an active, well-muscled dog capable of working but who would also remain a puppy for his entire life if he could. Gordons are known for maturing late and tend to remain young at heart. The breed is intelligent, gentle, and loyal.
Gordons need daily exercise and do best in a home with a large fenced yard where they can expend their energy. The Gordon is not a backyard dog by any means, however, and should not live away from his family. He's prone to separation anxiety and can become destructive when left alone for long periods.
Gordon Setters need a firm hand when it comes to training but not so firm that their sensitive spirit is damaged. Consistent, firm, fair training using the techniques of positive reinforcement will prevent them from becoming dominant, wilful and stubborn. The mental activity provided by training will help keep them occupied and out of trouble.
Some Gordons can be aggressive toward other dogs, but it's not a common trait in the breed, and they should never be vicious. Toward strangers Gordons can be aloof, preferring the attention of their own people. They'll tolerate attention from strangers but don't actively seek it. To avoid any aggression or fear regarding strangers, it's important to socialize your Gordon Setter — expose him to a variety of people, sights, sounds, and situations — in puppyhood. A properly socialized Gordon is alert and fearless, an excellent watchdog.
The Gordon Setter is a loving companion and steady protector of the children in his life. Gordons are generally patient with children and tolerate much of their teasing and treatment, although of course they shouldn't have to. It's always important to supervise interactions between children and dogs.
Known for their vocal skills, Gordons can be verbal in conveying their likes, dislikes, and other feelings. When they're provided with the attention and exercise they crave, they're loving, protective, and intensely devoted to their families.