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Gordon Setter

...is a breed of dog, closely related to the better-known English Setter and Irish Setter. They are mostly black, with tan markings on chest, lower legs and eyebrows. They are big dogs - males are often 25-28 inches tall at the shoulder, females usually slightly less. They are by far the heaviest of the setters.

Gordons were first bred in Scotland during the 19th century (the name comes from Gordon Castle). They, like the other setters, were originally intended to be used as gundogs during shooting, primarily for game birds. Their principle use was to indicate the presence of prey.

These days most Gordons are pets rather than working dogs. They are active dogs and best suited to life in country rather than urban areas.

The dark, heavy face and floppy ears of Gordons give the impression that they are soft dogs: they aren't! The males in particular are often very dominant and require firm handling. They are a working breed and need a high degree of mental stimulation. They also respond well to emotional stimulation too - a Gordon in company is a happy dog; one excluded will whinge and whine.

The scatterbrained reputation of Gordons is, in my view down to two factors: they are intelligent and if not given stimulation will find it for themselves, and their original working purpose was to act independently to find game - they are therefore quite capable of independent action if they think it better than the suggestion of their owner. This can be disquieting for people wanting an immediately responsive dog.

Good pets? Yes, if you're active, flexible and prepared to take your dog into every aspect of your life. No, if you're a couch potato and secretly prefer gerbils.

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