Gordon Setter Breed Information

Gordon Setters are amongst a group of breeds classed as ‘Category Two’ by The Kennel Club. These are breeds of dog that have been highlighted as having ‘points of concern’ – visible features which, if exaggerated, might potentially affect the breed in the future and cause health and welfare concerns.

Gordon Setters are a member of the ‘Gundog’ breed group. Dogs in the Gundog group were originally trained to find live game and retrieve game that had been shot and wounded. The group is divided into four categories: Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters.

Gordon Setters are a friendly, intelligent breed, who like to be kept busy. Any activities that use their intelligence will be well-received by Gordons, and are vital for their mental wellbeing. They have a heavy coat which will require daily grooming to keep it free from debris and tangles. Their fur will take a long time to dry when wet but has a lovely shine when properly maintained. 

Breed-related health problems:

 

Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Gordon Setters are prone to include:

  • Hip dysplasia – hip joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis.  
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – often known as ‘bloat’, this is a condition where the stomach twists, trapping the contents and gases. This is an emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention. It’s often seen in large, deep-chested breeds. 
  • Elbow dysplasia - elbow joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis. 
  • Atopy – hypersensitivity to certain allergens, causing itching and skin trauma.
  • Hypothyroidism – a condition in which there’s a decrease in thyroid hormone production. 

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line. 

You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website

Exercise requirements:


Gordon Setters are highly energetic dogs requiring plenty of exercise – at least 2 hours per day, although they will happily enjoy more exercise if you have the time. They are a highly intelligent breed and so respond well to training. To learn more about reward-based training for your dog, visit our dog behaviour page where you can pick up plenty of tips to help you and your canine companion better understand each other.

Estimated lifetime cost:


The likely lifetime costs for a Gordon Setter are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:


The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.

Insure your Gordon Setter with PDSA:

 

1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Gordon Setters that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:

  • 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
  • 4 levels of cover to suit you
  • Monthly payment at no extra cost

    *Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.


By insuring your Gordon Setter with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.

For more information on taking care of your dog please visit our puppies and dogs section. 

Rehoming from a reputable source:


Where you get a dog from can have a big effect on how healthy and happy it is for the rest of its life. Find out where our PDSA vet experts recommend you get your dog from.
Energy levels
 
Overall grooming needs?
 
Compatibility with other pets
 
Easy to train?
 
How much exercise?
 
Suitability for children/families
 
Tendency to bark
 
Average lifespan 10-13 years
Coat length Medium
Possible health problems
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Gastric torsion

Average purchase cost £500-£800
Estimated cost over lifetime £27,100-£30,800
Average weight Male: 25kg-36kg. Female: 20kg-31.5kg.
Size Medium
Minimum garden size Large

Not sure the Gordon Setter is the right pet for you?