4 Fun Facts About Gordon Setters

gordon setter puppy playing with a toy in grass

The Gordon Setter is the largest of all of the setter breeds. With a muscular physique and silky, long black hair, they have a striking appearance. Here are some fun facts about Gordon Setters:

1. Gordon Setters Were Bred In Scotland To Hunt Birds

Although their ancient lineage can be traced back to 1620, it wasn’t until around 200 years ago that Gordon Setters were developed in Scotland to lay down, or “set”, when they located birds. This style of hunting showed hunters where the birds were without scaring them away.

Hunters could then throw a net around the area where their Gorden Setter signaled. With the net in place, they could flush out, capture, and harvest the birds easily. Sometimes, the net was even thrown around the dog too!

During the 19th century, the broad category of Setters diverged into specific Setter breeds. Specific Setter breeds were identified and developed based on location, terrain, and method of hunting. The Gordon Setter’s square frame and heavier bone structure compared to other Setters served them well on the steep terrain of Scotland.

2. They Are Named After A Duke

A predecessor to the Gordon Setter was the “Black and Tan Setter” breed. This breed was developed, in part, by Alexander Gordon. He was the fourth Duke of Gordon and owned a kennel at Gordon Castle.

Although his initial dogs resembled the English Setter, subsequent crosses of the flat-coated Black and Tan Collie, Black Pointers, Solid-Black Setters, and Bloodhounds helped create the Gordon Setter as the distinct breed we know today.

3. Gordon Setters Were One of the Original American Kennel Club Dogs

The Gordon Setter was one of the original nine dog breeds to be registered with the American Kennel Club. In 1872, the British Kennel Club officially recognized the Black and Tan Setter. The dog breed was registered in America in 1878. The AKC officially recognized the breed in 1884 as the Gordon Castle Setter.

In 1893, just eight years later, the American Kennel Club amended the name of the breed from Gordon Castle Setter to Gordon Setter. Although this amendment to the name occurred in 1893 for the AKC, the Kennel Club (British Kennel Club) did not officially accept the Gordon Setter name until 1924.

4. A Former Secretary of State Helped Introduce the Breed to the US

In the 1840s, Daniel Webster and George Blunt from New York brought the Gordon Setter to the United States for the first time. Webster served as secretary of state from 1841-1843 and again from 1850-1852.

Webster and Blunt purchased Rachael and Rake, a male and a female, from the Duke of Gordon Kennels and brought them to the United States. These two dogs became the cornerstone of the Gordon Setter dog breed in the United States.

These are a few fun facts about Gordon Setters. If you’re smitten by their slick appearance and wistful ears, consider learning more about them to make sure they are the right fit for you, and then checking out the available Gordon Setter puppies. You never know; this uncommon, well-tempered breed may be just what you need in your life!