Identify a Gordon Setter

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How to Identify a Gordon Setter

Gordon setters are intelligent and loyal sporting dogs. Originally bred in Scotland in the 17th century to hunt game birds, these dogs have a keen sense of smell, an excellent memory, and are very eager to please their owners. Gordon setters can be easily identified by their lean and muscular build, their long, unique black and tan coat and markings, and their loyal and alert personalities.

Noticing a Gordon Setter’s Build and Coat

Identify a Gordon Setter

1. Notice the breed’s size.

Gordon setters are a considered to be large dogs, and they are the heaviest of the setters. When measured from its feet to its withers, or to its shoulder blades, a male Gordon setter typically stands 26 in tall (66 cm) and weighs around 65 lbs (29.5 kg). A female typically stands around 24.5 in (62 cm) and weighs around 56 lbs (25.5 kg).

2. Pay attention to its lean, level build.

The Gordon setter has a sturdy and substantial build. It has a long, well-arched neck, and its chest is muscular but not broad. Its back is relatively level and only slopes downward toward the rear slightly. The length of its body is considered to be short from the shoulders to the hips.

3. Observe its well-angled shoulders.

This breed has well-defined angles between its shoulders and the upper arm. The blades are close together, which makes the neck and shoulders fit together seamlessly. When the dog is standing with its foreleg perpendicular to the ground, there should be a 90-degree angle where the shoulder blades met the upper arm bone.

  • Gordon setters have lighter bones and a leaner build than similar-sized dogs, such as German shepherds.

4. Look for a glossy black and tan coat.

Gordon setters have a long, wavy coat that can sometimes be straight. They have a distinguished, recognizable coal-black coat and tan markings that sets them apart from other setters. They have tan markings on the throat, chest, on the inside of the hind legs and thighs, and on the forelegs up to the elbows.

  • A Gordon setter can sometimes have a small white spot on its chest.
  • This breed should be brushed two or three times each week to prevent its long coat from matting.
  • A Gordon setter puppy will have these typical tan markings.

5. Check for its signature tan facial markings.

This breed has two recognizable tan spots above the eyes that resemble eyebrows. These spots should be around .75 in (1.9 cm) in length. A Gordon setter also has a tan stripe that sweeps around the muzzle.

Observing Its Features

Identify a Gordon Setter

1. Pay attention to the leanness of its head.

This breed has a rounded, narrow head. Its broadest point is between its ears. Its cheeks are lean and narrow both above and below its eyes. A Gordon setter’s muzzle is long and is similar in length to its skull.

2. Notice this breed’s eyes.

Gordon setters have dark brown, bright eyes. Their eyes do not bulge or sit too deeply, and they are oval-shaped instead of round. Their eyelids are prone to ectropion and entropion, which describes the outward or inward drooping of the lower eyelid, respectively.

3. Look at its long ears.

Gordon setters have large, thin ears that are usually level with its eyes. They are folded and lay close to the head. In addition, its ears are long, pendulous, and hang loosely, framing its face.

4. Observe the nose.

A Gordon setter has a black, broad nose. It has open nostrils, and it has a well-defined square shape.

5. Study its cat-like feet.

A Gordon setter has well-arched, close-knit toes that resemble the shape of a cat’s paws. They have deep cushions on the heels and full toe pads. Hair grows between the Gordon setter’s toes as well, so it will need to be trimmed regularly.

Assessing a Gordon Setter’s Temperament

Identify a Gordon Setter

1. Notice this breed’s intelligence.

The Gordon setter is an intelligent, alert breed. They are skilled hunters and have an excellent memory and scenting ability. They are considered to be of above-average intelligence and will typically obey a first command 70% of the time.

2. Note that they can be wary toward other dogs and strangers.

Gordon setters can be wary of newcomers and may seem distant at first. This breed can also be aggressive toward other dogs, particularly if you are not paying adequate attention to them. They can be possessive and have issues with separation anxiety.

3. Exercise this breed every day.

These dogs are very active and energetic, and they should be exercised every day. They need lots of room to roam and run, and they are not recommended for families who live in a city. Take this breed on a long walk or run, or train your dog to participate in agility or tracking courses.

4. Listen to its vocal expressions.

The Gordon setter is a talkative, expressive breed. Although they do not necessarily bark often, they will use their voice to communicate with you. They have a range of sounds, and they will use them to let you know when they are hungry or when they want to go on a walk.

Testing Your Dog's DNA

Identify a Gordon Setter

1. Purchase a canine DNA test online or at a pet store.

Most of the over-the-counter tests use saliva swabs that you can easily take from inside your dog's mouth. The tests are very accurate, especially if the dog is purebred.

  • Kits cost from $60 and up.
  • You can also talk to your veterinarian about DNA testing. If you want to try a blood test, you'll need to go through the vet anyway.
  • A DNA test may not provide clear results if the dog is a mixed breed.

2. Swab the inside of your dog's cheek.

Use the cotton swab included in your kit to collect a sample of your dog's saliva, which contains its DNA. Then put the swab in the container provided in your kit.

3. Send your kit in for testing.

Make sure you follow the kit's packaging instructions to ensure that the swab can be tested. Mail the kit to the lab as instructed by the brand.

4. Wait 2-4 weeks for results.

Most results are available within a month of sending off your test. The company will send you a report via either mail or email.