Gordon Setter

Lifestyle Needs

Gordon Setter

The Gordon Setter is a large, glamorous dog with a heavy, silky coat.  This will need to be properly groomed and maintained to keep it free of dirt and debris.  He is a dog with a lot of stamina who will need more than two hours exercise every day.  Ideally he should live in a  house with a garden, preferably with easy access to the open countryside.  He is very trainable and will benefit from purposeful activity which engages his brain.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 7.6% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

  • Medial canthal pocket  syndrome (upper and lower eyelids in the inside corner of the eye roll outwards in which irritating substances can collect)  Due to head shape.
  • Bloat/torsion (stomach fills with air and twists, requiring urgent vet treatment)  Common in deep chested breeds

BVA/KC Health Schemes: www.bva.co.uk/chs

  • Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 13.6 (parents should be lower)
  • Elbow dysplasia (malformation of the elbow joint causing pain and disability): ideally O:O
  • Eye disease: Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (gradual loss of vision)  (annual testing)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:

DNA Tests Available

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA – rcd4) (causes progressive loss of vision)
  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipfuscinosis (NCL)

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

Bitches under 21 months not to produce a litter.

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Atopy (hypersensitivity to pollens and other protein particles – causes intense itching)
  • Hypothyroidism (autoimmune disease with a variety of clinical signs, including, dullness, weight gain, lethargy, skin changes)
  • Symmetrical onychomadesis (acute claw disease where the dogs lose all claws during 3-4 months)
  • Onychodystrophy (painful nailbed disorder)
  • Cancer: squamous cell carcinoma (nail bed)
  • Juvenile cellulitis (cell inflammation – usually skin cells)
  • Lethal astrocytosis (neurological disease)
  • Cerebellar degeneration (progressive weakness and tremors)

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):  www.puppycontract.org.uk

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds