The Gordon setter is the heftiest of all of the setter dog breeds, and is a large, heavy and handsome dog that stands up to 27” tall at the withers, and can weigh up to 36kg. Males of the breed tend to be larger than females. Originally bred to hunt for game birds with shooting parties, today, the Gordon setter can still be seen in some areas as a working dog, but they are more commonly owned as pets.
The breed is also sometimes known as the black and tan setter, and their coats are glossy and black in the main part, with points and markings in either chestnut or mahogany. A little white may be present on the chest too. Occasionally, a recessive gene for a red coat can present itself within the breed, leading to red Gordon setters being born to black and tan parents. However, this colour variant is not considered to be acceptable under the breed standard. The coat of the Gordon setter is long and silky smooth, and can be either straight or slightly wavy. They have longer hair and feathering on the legs, tail and chest.
If you are considering buying or adopting one of these handsome dogs, it is of course vital to do plenty of research into the breed before committing to a purchase. In this article we will look at the hereditary health and genetic diversity of the breed in more detail, to help you to make a decision on a potential purchase.
The average life expectancy for the Gordon setter breed as a whole is 10-12 years, which is around the low to average figure across the board for all breeds of a similar size.
The Gordon setter is a large, muscular and relatively heavyweight dog, which places them at a slightly higher risk of certain health conditions that can be caused in part due to this conformation.
The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the Gordon setter is 7.6%, which is slightly higher than the accepted ideal of 6.25% or lower. This means that breeders of Gordon setters should take special care to reduce the coefficient of inbreeding statistic within their own breed lines where possible.
The Gordon setter breed is known to be at risk of certain hereditary health problems, and many of these can be tested or screened for prior to breeding. Currently, screening programmes and tests are available for the following conditions:
As well as the testable conditions outlined above, the breed is also considered to have risk factors for various other conditions that may have a hereditary factor to them. These include:
In order to gather a full picture of health before making a purchase, it is wise to try to find out about the health of the parent dogs and grandparents dogs on both sides of the breed line, to try to ascertain a predisposition to any of these potential health issues.