What Dog Breeds Made The Gordon Setter? Breed History Explained!

Originally Gordon Setters were known as the Black and Tan Setters or Black, Tan, and White Setters to distinguish them from other Setters of that time.  Eventually, they received the name Gordon Setter after the Duke of Gordon, who helped shape their future as a breed. But what started it all?

What dog breeds made the Gordon Setter 1 What Dog Breeds Made The Gordon Setter? Breed History Explained!

What dog breeds made the Gordon Setter?

The Gordon Setter comes from not just two dog breeds but was originally a melting pot of breeds that made up all Setter dogs, including the Irish Setter and English Setter.  This melting pot is believed to have begun with a Spaniel, which was improved by various crosses with other dogs.

The original might have likely been known in its simplest of terms as a Setting type Spaniel who was a land Spaniel versus a Water Spaniel.  This Spaniel may have been crossed with various hounds, pointers, or even a sheepdog to create the lovely Setters we know today.

While two dog breeds certainly didn’t originally shape the Gordon Setter breed, the furry recipe probably included a bit of many dog breeds of that time.

During this time in history, it was a common occurrence to cross breeds to create a dog with superior qualities.  The sportsman of this time might have wanted a dog breed that had expert scenting abilities for a particular color to blend in with their environment.

What dog breeds made the Gordon Setter 1 1 What Dog Breeds Made The Gordon Setter? Breed History Explained!

Interestingly enough, the Gordon Setter was one of the first nine dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club and Westminster Kennel Club Show at that time.  They were originally known as the Gordon Castle Setter in the show ring during this time.

How many other Setters are there other than the Gordon Setter?

There are a total of four Setter dog breeds, that were introduced during various points in history.  There is the Irish Setter, the English Setter, Gordon Setter, and the Irish Red and White Setter.  Each of the different Setters will have its own unique characteristics that make them different from one another.

The English Setter includes two distinct types, the Laverack and the Llewellin.    The Llewellin is the smaller of the two English Setters, and the Gordon Setter is the largest of all the Setter dog breeds.

Each Setter dog breed thrives and performs best when active and sporting in the field.  They are all versatile in their hunting and sporting abilities.  

They all make wonderful companion animals and will enjoy being a part of a family.

The other Setters are more popular in the United States for individual reasons, with the English Setters having the sweetest and most gentle personalities of all four.  Irish Setters are noted for their stunning coloring but then again so are the Gordon Setters.

Is the Gordon Setter the most popular of the Setters?

What dog breeds made the Gordon Setter 2 What Dog Breeds Made The Gordon Setter? Breed History Explained!

No, the Gordon Setter is not the most popular of the Setters.   While at one time they were more popular, today they are not.  This could be due to their size and lumbering speed, which are the slowest of all the Setters.

Even though the Gordon Setter is not the most popular Setter, they still have a lot of qualities that make them great family and companion animals today.

Outside the United States, the Gordon Setters are popular in Europe, but so are other Setter dog breeds.  As puppies, they are slow to mature, which could be another reason for their lack of popularity.

What is the Gordon Setter’s strongest quality?

As a breed, the Gordon Setters strongest quality is their intelligence and endurance.  They have excellent stamina and endurance in the field, which lends them well to the long days of hunting beside their human companion.

They also have a good memory which aids their companion perfectly in the field during the hunt.  As they grow, so do their physical and mental abilities and strengths.   With maturity, they have exceptionally honed skills.  They are also versatile and adapt well to many different environments and situations.

The breed is strong yet sweet, with a serious nature.  They thrive most when they have a one-on-one connection with one person.  They are alert, which makes them good guard dogs due to their larger size.

They can be stubborn if not handled properly and should always be treated with love and kindness.  Their fur coat is exceptionally beautiful with feathering and stunning color.  Even though it sheds a lot and needs plenty of grooming they are gorgeous dogs.

This dog breed can suffer separation anxiety and does best in close contact with their loved ones.    Despite their Scottish heritage and ability to tolerate harsher climate conditions, they thrive best in an indoor environment.

While they are great with children and other pets, other dogs can sometimes be an issue, as Gordon Setters can be aggressive towards them.  Not all Gordon Setters display this behavior, but it is a possibility that it could appear.

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Gordon Setters must begin training as early as possible because they can have a strong mindset and sometimes rebel.  With this dog breed, the sooner they begin training, the more likely they will accept it as a part of their life.

Due to the Gordon Setter’s energy level, they need a lot of action and activity.  Gordon Setters will enjoy chasing a ball outside or games that challenge them.  They need at least two hours of exercise daily to feel content and behave their best.

This amount of physical activity will be a great asset to any family with children as it can help them spend more time outdoors and be more physically active.

Like every dog breed, Gordon Setters can suffer certain genetic disorders and health problems during their life.  If any of these qualities are too much there are cross-bred Gordon Setters including the Gordondoodle and Gordon Sheltie.

Final Thoughts

While Gordon Setters don’t hail from just two pure-bred dogs, it’s a mystery as to the exact origin and breed crossing that created them.

No matter their background and origin, they have a great number of redeeming qualities that any family will fall in love with them.