The Gordon Setter is among the native breeds of Scotland and dates back to the year 1600, although it was in the late 1700’s the 4th Duke, Alexander Gordon was largely responsible for establishing the breed. His home was at Gordon Castle situated north of Fochabers, not far from the River Spey and this is where the famous strain of Setters gained their name.
True Gordon’s are accredited with being excellent dual purpose dogs suited to working in the field and exhibited on the show bench. They are alert, easily trained being quick to learn, but neither aggressive, shy or highly strung. Not typical kennel dogs they must have affection for proper development and that affection is returned in more than full measure with unwavering loyalty to their owners.
As a breed they are generally late in maturing, not in their prime until 4-5 years of age. Nevertheless apart from their wonderful ability to work in the field, they make excellent pets and are most companionable, and will adopt their owners attitude towards visitors.
To anyone about to acquire one of this faithful, intelligent and hard working breed, it is essential to realise that they require consistent training and affection to provide a lasting companion and friend.
The character of the Gordon Setter
To attempt to try to define the complicated character of the Gordon setter is perhaps the most difficult task any Gordoner can be asked to undertake.
The Gordon is an extremely intelligent dog of bold character and whilst he can be very outgoing, in most company he can be equally reserved. The deduction that can perhaps be made is that whilst you might be judging him, he has already made his mind up about you.
He is a leader and will nearly always want to be, in company of other dogs, the Alpha figure.
He has in most cases a very soft centre and subjected to physical correction can soon become subdued and lose that lovely outgoing personality associated with the breed. He can however, if not from the outset have a understanding, but firm and fair regime become willful, destructive and dominant.
To get the best out of the relationship with a Gordon you must challenge and channel its intelligence. If you do this you will have a handsome, loyal and loving companion.
The working abilities of the Gordon are often left underestimated, particularly by those who mistakenly believe his heavier build disadvantages him in the company of his more racy relatives. The discerning, however, have long recognised the Gordon’s outstanding attributes. He is a tireless and thoughtful worker. It has been estimated that a Gordon can cover upwards of forty to fifty miles in a days work on a grouse moor.
To see a Gordon doing what he was bred for, is to see him at his very best. To see for the first time a Gordon come on point when he scents game is a magic moment never to be forgotten.