Scottish Setter

Scottish Setter
Other names: black and tan setter , gordon

The Scottish Setter is the largest in the setter section, bred for hunting steppe and swamp game. The ancestors of the breed include extinct species of spaniels, bloodhounds, pointers, as well as English and Irish setters.

Brief information

  • Breed Name: Scottish Setter
  • Country of Origin: UK
  • The time of the birth of the breed: 1860
  • Weight: males 25-36 kg, females 20-32 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): males 61-69 cm, females 58-66 cm
  • Life expectancy: 12-13 years


  • It is undesirable for people who do not have experience in raising and training hunting dogs to take Gordon as a pet.
  • Scottish setters know how to get along with children of all ages, but do not classify them as baby dogs. Representatives of the breed do not become full-fledged nannies, even if they are purposefully taught this.
  • The Gordons manage to build relationships with their fellow tribesmen with varying success. Many individuals like to lead among their own kind. It is worth keeping two males or bitches at the same time only if you are ready to resolve conflicts between them.
  • The Scottish Setter is an excellent hunter, but at the same time his character lacks such typical qualities for working dogs as viciousness and aggressiveness towards prey.
  • The breed is prone to escapes and vagrancy, especially if the owner neglects walks and does not physically load the pet.
  • Gordons are dogs of late adulthood, whose physiology and psyche finish forming in the third year of life.
  • All representatives of the family are not devoid of stubbornness, so do not expect that the training of the ward will go like clockwork.

Scottish Setter - a black and tan handsome man with spaniel ears and a taut silhouette of a cop. Representatives of this breed passionately love hunting. Having an almost painful attachment to the owner, the Gordons are too vulnerable to loneliness, so the best way for a dog to exist is side by side with the owner. Buying and maintaining a setter in today's realities is also, to some extent, a matter of prestige. There are not so many kennels engaged in breeding the breed, and the prices for puppies are high, which scares off some potential buyers looking for a four-legged assistant for hunting friends.

Breed characteristics

Aggressiveness ?
Low ( Rating 2/5)
Activity ?
Very high ( Rating 5/5)
Training ?
Very easy ( Rating 5/5)
Molt ?
High ( Rating 4/5)
Need for care ?
Very high ( Rating 5/5)
Friendliness ?
Very friendly ( Rating 5/5)
Health ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Cost of maintenance ?
Above Average ( Rating 4/5)
Attitude to loneliness ?
Short Periods ( Rating 2/5)
Intelligence ?
Very smart ( Rating 5/5)
Noise ?
Above Average ( Rating 4/5)
Security qualities ?
Excellent ( Rating 5/5)
*The characteristics of the Scottish Setter breed are based on expert assessment and reviews of dog owners.

History of the Scottish Setter breed

Scottish Setter

The breed was fully formed by the second half of the XIX century, while the inhabitants of Scotland and Foggy Albion tried to hunt with its representatives back in the XVIII century. As for the pedigree of animals, the British breeders have never hidden that the Scottish setter is a more "pumped–up" copy of the disappeared Land spaniel, famous for its outstanding abilities to detect hidden game.

Unlike extinct ancestors, setters are easier to climb and develop greater search speed, but they are guided by the same principles in their work. Since 1924, the name "Gordon" has been used for the first time in relation to the breed. This was done in order to perpetuate the name of Alexander Gordon, the Scottish Duke, who owned the largest setter nursery in the country and was the first to develop a breed standard for them. It is known, for example, that the majority of Gordon's dogs had a three- and not a two-color suit, as in modern individuals.

The black-and-tan setters owe their weighted constitution to the Scottish Major Douglas. In the 40s of the XIX century, the breeder decided to improve the exterior characteristics of the breed by pouring blood bloodhounds . Gradually, the plan got out of control, and each new litter of puppies began to differ in pronounced dampness of addition. As a result, I had to take a step back and cross the Gordons with Irish setters to facilitate the texture of the first.

In 1842, Gordon-setters reached the USA: two puppies named Rake and Rachel were bought in one of the European kennels and sent to conquer the New World. The breed arrived in Russia at about the same time, but it never got into pure breeding. And only after the exhibition in Newcastle in 1859, when the fashion for Scottish setters covered almost the entire continent, breeding pairs of dogs began to be imported into the country. For a long time, the place with the purest-blooded Gordons in pre-revolutionary Russia was the Caucasus, where the breed was bred according to all the rules of breeding in the kennels of the imperial viceroy Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich.

Video: Scottish Setter

Scottish Setter breed Standard

Gordon has a more impressive constitution than English and irish setters , although it does not differ in pronounced dampness of addition. Purebred dogs, especially males, look like muscular athletes, and their running on the hunt, accompanied by a deceptively heavy gallop, has long been a feature of the whole breed.


Scottish Setter Puppy

The overall massiveness of the skull with a voluminous parietal zone is compensated by the dryness of the outlines. The rounded forehead is divided by a longitudinal furrow into two parts. The occipital protuberance (falcon) is well developed, as are the brow arches. The relief of the foot is high. The Gordon's muzzles are wide, dry and practically do not taper to the nose lobe.


Round-shaped eyelid incision. The eyes themselves are quite large and set straight.


A large shiny lobe can only be black. Brown color is unacceptable for the Scottish Setter.

Lips, teeth, jaws

The upper lip does not hang down, but fits snugly along the entire jaw line. The lower corner of the lip has a light cut, which is especially noticeable in males of Scottish setters. Moderately hanging corners of the mouth are also considered an acceptable feature. The bite is scissor-shaped, formed by a bow of large white teeth.


The Gordons have very soft, wide, drooping ears that are planted just above eye level. The tip is gently rounded, the ear cloth itself fits well to the zygomatic area of the head. The outer side of the hearing organs is "dressed" in long wavy wool.


The breed is characterized by a long, dry outline and, at the same time, a very powerful neck. The angle of inclination relative to the back is no more than 45-50 °.

Me and my crazy friend


The developed convex withers prominently protrudes above the muscular back of the dog. The lumbar region is short but voluminous, the croup is slightly sloping, long and wide at the same time. A moderately deep chest with a steep rib bend smoothly turns into a tucked-up stomach.


The legs of the Scottish setter are massive and dry, when viewed from behind and from the front parallel to each other. Forearms are strong, pasterns are short, slightly inclined, shoulder angles are within 100°. With fairly long hips and shins, Gordon's metatarsals are rather short, set vertically. Paws are large, rounded, with a stiff "brush" of wool between tightly clenched fingers.


Very mobile, straight or with a saber-shaped bend. Usually black-and-tan setters wear a tail no higher than the level of the back.


Snatched a medal

Today's Gordons have a blue-black color with clearly defined tan spots located:

  • under the lower jaw and cheekbones;
  • on the eyebrows;
  • on the back of the ears;
  • in the lip area;
  • on the chest (triangle marks);
  • on the inside of the forearms – from the wrists to the tips of the paws;
  • on the inner side of the thighs, metatarsals (front), paws.

The underside of the tail forms a distinct spot. Allowed: small white marks under the neck, a small amount of black or white hair on the fingers – the legacy of Duke Gordon's setters.


The Scottish setters have a soft, slightly wavy coat of sufficient length. The head and the front of the legs are covered with short, adjacent hair. Feathering is present on the ears, the back of all four limbs, the lower abdomen and chest. The tail is decorated with a magnificent pendant, which smoothly shortens towards the tip.

Possible vices

Vices, the presence of which will not only affect the exhibition score of the Scottish setter, but may also lead to non-admission to the ring:

  • height at the withers above or below the approved standard by more than 2 cm;
  • too dry or rough constitution;
  • missing tan spots and brown color instead of black;
  • sharp muzzle;
  • depigmented nose lobe;
  • ears below the eye line, rolled up into a tube;
  • oblique cut of the eyelids, eyes of any tone except brown;
  • no incisors and straight bite;
  • neck suspension;
  • back with a "saddle" or a humped, shallow sternum;
  • eversion of the elbows and hocks, as well as their closeness;
  • loose, club-footed or in a sweep of paws;
  • tail sideways, piled on the back or crocheted.

The same flaw, depending on the degree of severity, may be regarded by the commission as a slight or gross non-compliance with the standard. In the first case, the dog simply will not receive the title of champion, in the second – it will leave the exhibition and breeding distance.

Photo of a Scottish setter

The character of the Scottish Setter

On the same wave

Gordon is not only the largest representative of the Setter clan, but also the most balanced. It is very difficult to get the animal out of itself: even meetings with strangers are not considered by the Gordons to be a sufficient reason to include a snapper dog. Of course, some degree of alertness in behavior will be present, but a well-mannered and timely socialized Scottish setter will definitely not show open aggression. However, if the owner makes it clear that he does not mind hearing a warning "Woof!" from Gordon in relation to the stranger, he will get it.

Despite the outward equanimity, it would be a big mistake to consider Scottish setters innate goodies. The descendants of land spaniels are quite stubborn and, if they do not form a system of prohibitions, they quickly turn into delivery dogs. It is not difficult to list what awaits the owner of an ill-mannered pet: animal fights with fellow tribesmen, constant harassment of a person out of boredom, making "author's" changes to the interior of the dwelling like scratches on the wallpaper and holes on the curtains.

"I'm listening to you carefully".

However, experienced dog handlers claim that the Scottish Setter is one of those unique breeds whose representatives are extremely difficult to adjust to the standards. Among them, both phlegmatic individuals and restless hooligans are equally common. An important feature: black-and-tan setters like to gain experience on their own, and it doesn't matter whether it's positive or negative. It is easy to notice this: in the presence of the owner, the dog is obedient and reacts correctly to prohibitions, but, left alone, tends to try what the person does not allow. Gordon will learn to avoid danger only after he fills the cones on his own and realizes that curiosity does not always lead to a positive result.

The Scottish Setter is a sociable and active dog that categorically does not tolerate long loneliness. All these qualities are not corrected in any way, so either you put up with the peculiarities of the ward's temperament, properly loading him with work and communicating, or you abandon plans to get a representative of this breed. You should not buy a Scottish setter as a city dog either. Gordons are hunters and freedom–loving creatures, so the role of a decorative pet for them is not the limit of dreams at all, but something akin to punishment.

Hunting with Gordon

Gordons are considered the best helpers of novice hunters. With highly developed search instincts, the "Scots" are much more balanced than their relatives in the section, therefore it is easier to manage them. When hunting, the breed does not go far from a person, is ready to work in any weather and is practically tireless, which is valuable when working with swamp, forest and steppe game. The black-and-tan setter works with an upper flair, making a distinct, if not pictorial, stance when detecting prey. Individuals are capable of aerobatics – freezing in a stand, periodically looking back at the hunter, inviting him to join the process with a glance.

Education, training, nataska

Cunning, stubbornness, lack of guilt – character traits that Gordon will demonstrate in the first lessons of obedience. Almost all Scottish setters are proficient in the art of pretending and are able to make soulfully guilty faces when they are scolded, remaining in their hearts with their opinions. The intensity of resistance to learning largely depends on the methods used by the owner. It is quite possible to train a setter, the main thing is not to demand from him the diligence of a service worker and to be able to use encouragement in time, whether it is a treat or a caress.

One team

Opinions of professional hunters in matters of breed training are divided. Some specialists prefer to develop the dog's performance with the use of electric collars. The method is based on the fear of pain and is considered effective, but if you care about the mental health of your pet, it is better to abandon such devices. Whipping is also not the best way to wean the Scottish setter from bad habits. By the way, the breed is very poorly retrained, so it is better to correct behavior errors in hot pursuit.

It is necessary to start socializing a puppy at the age of 12 weeks. During this period, Gordon should memorize such commands as "To me!", "Place!", "Walk!", while the kid should know his nickname and respond to it. In the memory of three-month-old puppies, memories of maternal care are still fresh, so stroke and caress the little setter more often.

It is also necessary to point out to the animal the inadmissibility of destructive behavior "in a motherly way", that is, in the way it is accepted in the animal collective. If the puppy starts biting the fingers of family members or grumbling in response to a command, restrain him by taking him by the collar, and then shaking him slightly or pressing his neck to the floor. And of course, it is important not to take away the baby's childhood, so there should be room in the dog's daily routine for harmless pranks like collecting socks, gnawing toys and other emotional attacks.

At 6 months old, Gordon's puppy can be smoothly brought to Natasha. However, by this point he is obliged to execute basic commands on demand. When going out into the field, try to keep the dog as close to you as possible. If Gordon is distracted by birds and runs away, he must be returned to his leg by shouting or taking on a leash. If the pet is overexcited, let it go, let it chase the animals, and hide yourself at this moment. After playing enough, the setter will start to worry and look for you – a little "sink" the limitless one until he whines, and come out of his shelter. The fear of loss will wean the puppy from spontaneous chasing and discipline for further hunting.

In the field, the commands "Sit!" and "Lie down!", shuttle search, pull, as well as the rack and the correct supply of game from land and water must be worked out to automatism. Effective methods of mastering these skills are easy to find on breed forums. You can also spy on the techniques of experienced hunters working with any cops. The habit of the sound of a shot will also have to be formed gradually. The best option recommended by experts is a shot from under the rack when the dog is focused on the prey and reacts less sharply to external stimuli.

Maintenance and care

The Scottish Setter is not an apartment or an aviary dog, so if you want maximum comfort for your pet, put it in a country house where the ward will have free access to walks in the yard. It is necessary to take Gordon outside not only so that he has the opportunity to warm up, but also for mental balance. A dog that is constantly locked up, even in the largest yard, becomes suspicious of strangers and makes a fuss about trifling reasons.

Hygiene and grooming

Not... I'm not going for a walk today

The soft long coat of Gordon-setters is the best "net" for all kinds of garbage. When hunting, the animal is hung with blades of grass, thorns, dry seeds of plants, so in advance include in your budget the cost of combs (frequent, rare), as well as rubber mittens-brushes. Every three days, check the wool of the Scottish setter for the presence of tangles, which usually form near the elbows and behind the ears. It is better to disassemble the dog in these places with the help of conditioning lotions for combing – and it is more pleasant for the dog, and time is saved. It is advisable to comb the body with a rubber mitten once every couple of days to remove dead hairs. During the molting period, the procedure is recommended to be carried out daily.

It is allowed to mill the feathering on the ears and limbs, but do not overdo it – remove only the hair that interferes with the pet and looks untidy. Working dogs who do not need to attend exhibitions, before the hunting season, the wool on the neck and behind the ears is cut with a machine – it is on these areas that all the field garbage clings. The length of the remaining wool after shearing should be at least 1 cm, since a shorter hair will not be able to protect the pet from insect bites, which are always full in swamps and fields. The wool brush between the fingers and the anal area are also cut, so that it is easier to monitor the hygiene of the dog.

Breeders recommend bathing Scottish setters as they get dirty, and in the winter months they suggest eliminating this procedure altogether, replacing it with thorough combing and dry cleaning. You need to wash Gordon with professional dog cosmetics. If there is none, a regular shampoo for dry hair that does not contain aggressive surfactants will do. Individuals working on swamp game willingly take a bath in natural reservoirs, if the temperature allows. So in summer, you can go to any beach with your dog and refresh yourself together. A mandatory nuance after such bathing is not to forget to rinse the wool with clean water to wash away microscopic animals living in ponds and rivers.

What are you watching? Scratch your belly

Regularly trim Gordon's claws – they grow very quickly in representatives of the breed and do not wear off even in the most active individuals. Ear cleaning is carried out at intervals of 1-2 weeks. It is better to remove excess sulfur not with a cotton swab, but with a cloth wrapped around your finger moistened with a hygienic composition. Cleaning with lotions buried in the ear funnel is also acceptable. The breed's eyes are trouble-free, so just make sure that no garbage gets into them when hunting, and remove dust lumps with a cloth moistened with a decoction of chamomile or calendula.

Ideally, setters need to brush their teeth, but not all owners do this. If your dog is not used to having a brush in its mouth, teach it to hard treats from an early age. Let's give the puppy a carrot to chew, vein bones. You can also add special compounds to the drinking water to dissolve tartar, however, the expenses in this case will be an order of magnitude higher than if you bought a brush and toothpaste. The item of mandatory purchases will have to include funds from ectoparasites. This is especially true for representatives of working lines that catch ticks during each hunting trip. The type of remedies against fleas and ticks is chosen by the owner, with the exception of tablet drugs, which must be approved by a veterinarian.


Fans of the breed still cannot agree on which kind of feed is optimal for Scottish setters – industrial "drying" or natural products. Each breeder solves the issue of feeding based on his own experience. It is necessary to use dry food not only with an eye on its class and the amount of meat component, but also on the age of the animal. A puppy weaned from a bitch for up to 5 months should eat only natural food, namely: milk, cottage cheese, low-fat boiled meat, fish fillets, boiled vegetables. Meat broths with a small amount of cereals are also allowed. At the age of 5 to 9 months, Gordons are allowed to introduce junior varieties of "drying" into the diet. The transition to "adult" feed is carried out only at the 10th month of life.

There is no need to be sophisticated and come up with a special menu for an adult Scottish setter. The simpler the dog's diet, the better for its health. In fact, adult Gordons can do everything the same as half-year-old puppies, except for milk. It is no longer recommended to boil meat, and it is better to give fruits and vegetables raw, finely planed and flavored with low-fat yogurt. To reduce the cost of a portion of food will help cereals – buckwheat and oatmeal, which can be boiled in broth, mixed with scalded boiling water meat. Useful additives in the diet of the Scottish setter: dried kelp, corn or sunflower oil (unrefined, a tablespoon every few days), quail egg or egg yolk.

Health and diseases of Scottish Setters

Epilepsy, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism can be inherited from the ancestors to the Gordons. Scottish setters are also susceptible to eye diseases, which include:

  • cataract;
  • eyelid inversion (in puppies under the age of 1 year);
  • keratoconjunctivitis Sikka (lack of tear fluid).

You should pay special attention to dogs who have noticed vomiting. This behavior may be a sign that the animal has developed a stomach inversion, leading to a fatal outcome. Another genetic pathology characteristic of Scottish setters is juvenile cellulite. The disease manifests itself in swelling of the cervical and submandibular lymph nodes, which causes the muzzle to swell greatly.

How to choose a puppy

Mom with a puppy
  • Decide what exactly you are getting a dog for. If it's for hunting, it makes no sense to spend money on high-breed puppies from show producers. In such lines, the reference exterior is always a priority, and the working makings are pushed into the background.
  • Carefully study the manufacturers' working documents. If a female or a male Scottish setter can only boast of third-degree diplomas, hunters from them will be so-so, and the abilities of parents will most likely pass to the offspring.
  • Gordon's puppies from unscheduled mating are cheaper, but it will not be possible to shine with them at the exhibition due to the lack of documents. Such animals are also not allowed to breed, which does not prevent them from achieving good results in their work.
  • The living conditions of puppies are an important aspect. Choose nurseries that practice suburban cultivation. If dogs are kept in cramped conditions and locked cages, there is a chance to buy a weakened and sick baby.
  • It is better to go to the breeder for the first inspection when the puppy turns 2-3 weeks old. By this point, it is already possible to make predictions about the future exterior of animals.
  • It is good if the seller can provide evidence that manufacturers do not suffer from genetic ailments in general and joint dysplasia in particular.

The price of a Scottish setter

For more than 150 years, interest in Scottish setters in Russia has been increasing, then reduced to a minimum. Today, the breed is again far from what is commonly called popularity, so there will most likely not be a quick purchase of a puppy. First of all, the purity of the pedigree, as well as the exhibition and working diplomas of the parents, have an impact on the cost of the Scottish setter. Usually prices for puppies from working producers start from $300. The cost of offspring from show Gordons is $500 and above.

Add cuteness to your feed. Share photo collections and send photos of your favorite pets
2023 © «». Made with for animals. Copying materials with a link to the source.