Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gordon Setter

The Gordon Setter is one of the most distinct of the setter breeds largely because of its unique coat coloration. This breed is the only setter that always has the black and tan coloration to it long, luxurious coat and furnishings. The coat may be slightly wavy but is never curly with longer hair on the ears, chest, undersides and the legs and tail. The tail is relatively long and is rather broad at the base and tapers to a very fine point. The tail is carried low naturally but will be raised higher when the dog is excited or working. The hair on the tail is longer at the underside of the base and gradually becomes shorter as the tail decreases in size. When viewed from the side the tail should resemble a pendant or flag. The body of the Gordon Setter is robust and sturdy without appearing heavy, cobby or clumsy. The chest is very deep and will reach down almost to the elbows of the front legs, but is typically narrow rather than broad and blunt. The ribcage is well sprung and developed, and there is a gradual concave appearance to the abdomen. The legs and long and give the dog a tall stance. They are straight and well boned but not heavy or overly muscular looking. The hind legs are slightly bent to give the impression of the dog being able to spring immediately into action. The feet are compact and well arched and provide this dog with a sure footed confidence in moving through brush and over rough terrain. The breed also has a significant amount of long hairs between the toes providing additional protection to the feet. The head of the Gordon Setter is much broader and larger than many of the other setter breeds. It is considered to be rather chiseled in appearance with a very pronounced stop between the muzzle and the eyes. The muzzle itself is long, broad and square looking and they will always have a very wide black nose with well developed nostrils. The muzzle does not appear to taper in anyway and is very blunt at the end. The lips are held close to the mouth and are not slack or pendulous. The ears are thin and are held slightly back and close to the head and are never carried erect. The eyes are oval in shape and are very dark with a look of intelligence and enthusiasm.
The coat is medium to long and is silky and flat in appearance. It may be wavy or straight or a combination of wavy on the furnishings and straight on the body. The coat is very shiny and flowing looking without being bulky or fluffy in appearance. The furnishings are moderately long and heavy and should appear in balance with the coat and size of the dog. The tail is well furnished with a flag like appearance when held horizontal.
Originally bred in Scotland in the 1600s the Gordon Setter has always been a popular breed with hunters. It was originally known as the Black and Tan Setter, but then with the interest of Duke Alexander the 4th the name changed to Gordon after the castle that he maintained his hunting dogs at. The Duke set out to improve the breed and encouraged others to do the same. Another important person in the development and popularization of the breed was the Duke of Richmond that took up the promotion of the breed after Duke Alexander's death. In the early 1900's the breed went back to the original Black and Tan name, but then was officially recognized as the Gordon Setter by the English Kennel Club. The Gordon Setter was also one of the first breeds to be recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Gordon Setter was brought to the United States in 1842 and was recognized as a breed in 1892. The Gordon Setter was bred as a one man hunting dog, not for speed but for a patterned and logical approach to finding game birds. It has been used as a pointer, for flushing out birds as well as for retrieving. This multilevel skill development has lead this breed to be one of the most intelligent of the setter breeds and a true asset to hunters. They have more recently become popular as a beautiful show dog as well as a faithful companion dog.
As with most of the setter breeds the Gordon Setter is a very even tempered dog that tends to get along well with almost anyone or anything that he or she encounters. They are somewhat aloof and independent around strangers until the dog decides if they are trustworthy or not, then the dog will either completely ignore the person or become very friendly. Often this breed seems to be studying people to make this decision. Early and constant socialization is required to keep this breed from becoming shy or highly reserved around other people. Overall a very loyal and loving breed the Gordon Setter makes an excellent dog both inside the house and outside. They are wonderful with children of all ages and have a great deal of patience with young kids. They do not react to sudden noises or fast movements in negative ways like some breeds, so can easily handle children. They are really a people breed preferring to be in the same area as the owner rather than along or isolated. The breed does need a significant amount of exercise either in the form of a large fenced yard to wander and play or in regular walks and romps. Without enough exercise they can become hyperactive and rambunctious and more challenging to handle. The Gordon Setter makes a wonderful companion dog for both canine and non-canine pets. They will quickly adjust to cats and other pets in the house provided they are properly socialized. It is always recommended to start the socialization process with other pets and dogs as soon as possible when the Gordon Setter is a puppy. They are not a dog aggressive breed and typically will do well even with dominant breeds of dogs. Male Gordon Setters will be somewhat more aggressive especially if females are present so early neutering is important. Females should be spayed early as well to prevent pregnancies and the challenging behaviors often displayed while they are in heat. The Gordon Setter does have a tendency to roam and wander so should be kept in a fenced yard. They do very well in hunting trials, obedience competitions and as watchdogs for the family. While not a problem barker they will naturally bark whenever someone or something approaches they are unfamiliar with. The breed is considered very easy to train but can be somewhat independent and requires firm, consistent and regular positive training and practice to stay highly obedient and cooperative.
Their litter size is 7-9 puppies.Needs space to exercise and needs a well fenced yard. Prefers indoor living and is not recommended for apartments.


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