Are Gordon Setters Hunting Dogs? Answered!

Gordon Setters are highly intelligent dogs that thrive when they have much to do, work or play and also have an abundance of energy that’s hard to manage without an occupation. Where does all of this energy come from? What were Gordon Setters bred for?

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Are Gordon Setters Hunting Dogs?

Yes, the Gordon Setter is a hunting dog. Historically the Gordon Setter hailed from Scotland and was used as a hunting and sporting dog. Today they are still popular in that region for this reason. While not the most popular Setter, they have a following.

Gordon Setters are hunting dogs; they have exceptional skill in this area and make great companions during the hunt. They are easy to train since they aim to please their human companion, but without a firm but loving handling, they can develop a stubborn mindset.

This dog breed was used in Scotland and England as a hunting companion as a bird dog. Bird dogs were and still are used to help hunt waterfowl such as ducks and other game birds. Quail, grouse, pigeon, and other birds were hunted depending on region and availability.

Today hunters still prize the Gordon Setter and other Setters for their skill, versatility, and abilities. Their confidence in skill and abilities make them favored by many who enjoy this sporting activity.

Gordon Setters is noted for being a strong, fearless dog breed that doesn’t cower away during the hunt. Their size, strength, and alertness make them excellent in this area and a guard dog in the home.

While their heritage and cross-breeding development mix are not completely known, they are believed to have begun as a mix of land Spaniel with pointers and hounds. Each breed is prized for its scenting, tracking, pointing, and retrieving abilities.

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Gordon Setters are excellent sporting dogs due to their history and beautiful appearance, which served many hunters well during that time. Hunting dog breeds were chosen for diverse reasons, many of which related to their skill and appearance.

As with any hunting dog of yesterday and today, training is essential, which is never truer than for the Gordon Setter. Highly trainable, they require the right handler who is confident in managing the nuances of their personality and breed traits.

Gordon Setters are highly intelligent and people pleasers, but they can also have a mind of their own with a bit of mischief if their energy isn’t effectively channeled. 

They are loyal and devoted dogs who prefer to bond with one human, making them the perfect hunting dog.

They can get bored with too much repetitiveness of the same thing during training, so it’s important to keep things interesting. 

During the hunt, there is diversity, the excitement of what’s around that corner, and so forth that keep this dog breed engaged and content.

This dog breed needs about two hours or more of exercise daily to feel content and behave at its best. The amount of exercise they need in a day lends them to hunting and other outdoor sports.

Regarding their appearance, like other Setters, Gordon Setters has more grooming needs than one might think. Their fur coat is silky and long; if they are outdoors hunting or doing other sports, they need daily brushing.

Brushing a Gordon Setter daily and bathing them every other week or as needed will help maintain their luxurious appearance and good skin health. 

Those Gordon Setters that spend a lot of time outdoors will collect an assortment of outdoor debris like burrs and may need extra grooming care.

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Since the Gordon Setter hails from Scotland and England, their fur coat is designed for the climate and atmosphere of that region. 

Therefore, trimming or cutting their fur is not a good idea as it can alter their fur coats’ protectiveness which helps keep their skin and body healthy.

Today this breed is adored by select individuals for its unique qualities and makes great family pets and companion animals.   Gordon Setters are the largest of the sporting group and move a bit slower than the other setters, but they have many beautiful qualities that lend them to hunting.

While Gordon Setters make great family pets, they need to be with an active and busy family as they have an overabundance of energy that needs to be exhausted, so they feel content.

What makes a good hunting dog?

What makes a good hunting dog is different for every hunter and their style or area of hunting. The basics would be a love of the outdoors and possibly water. The breed and dog should be athletic and strong and have good endurance, stamina, and the ability to be outdoors for long periods.

Of course, a good hunting dog should be intelligent and trainable. Gordon Setters should be able to focus, accept commands and training, and follow through.   They should be prey driven and have scenting abilities as well.

Dogs used for hunting should also be friendly and get along with others, but this depends on the hunter and their hunting style.

Locating a hunting dog breed is easy as The American Kennel Club and other clubs group dogs based on their breed background and abilities. Sporting dogs, including Retrievers and Setters, make great hunting companions.

For hunters just starting out and who want to select a dog but can’t go the route of a pure-bred dog, they can utilize rescues to find a breed designed for sport and hunting. They should be aware that with rescue dogs, you never know what you’re going to get; therefore, this could be a blessing or a curse.

Suppose a potential hunter has a mixed breed dog with some Setter, Retriever, or another sporting dog like American Foxhound or Coonhound. 

In that case, these dogs might also make great amateur hunting companions. Those serious about the hunt usually have experience and know exactly what they are looking for in a dog.

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In Conclusion

Gordon Setters are hunting dogs by breeding and background, but today they are also family pets and companions.

With a versatile arsenal of skills and an easily adaptable personality, this dog breed is a perfect hunting companion for many hunters.

While not the most popular hunting dog, they possess a perfect blend of beauty and skill that makes them endearing to many who hunt for sport!