About the breed
A Gordon Setter is a gun dog and it mustn’t ever be forgotten. We strongly discourage buying a Gordon Setter if you are looking for a dog walking by your side or chasing after a ball during the strolls. Gordon needs a lot of activity, and jogging or a run alongside a bike are shabby substitutes. You don’t need to be a hunter to have a happy setter though. Even if the owner is not a hunter, and doesn’t really understand what is this dog’s field work about, Gordon in the field will work on its own.
However, it is worthy to control its work to be able to spend a good quality walking time with a dog. You can pace the meadows and fields together. This is exactly what your dog will be the most thankful for. Gordon is also a great long-distance swimmer, and there is nothing more pleasant than a shared dive and a swimming contest. Unless you don’t like to lose, as those dogs are faster than a motorboat.
Gordon also performs well in Dog Agility, but we won’t persuade anyone that this is an ideal breed for this sport. It’s not. Still Gordon for its owner can do a lot, and a shared run on a lane may also be a pleasure. So you can play Frisbee together, train obedience, and teach it some tricks.
You can’t forget what this breed was created for though and you have to always keep in your mind that sometimes your dog prefers to chase squirrels, and gets bored easily, thus distracted, during group training.
You need to remember, that buying a setter with sausages is fugitive, but if you establish a real emotional bond with your dog, it will just be happy that you do some cool stuff together.
The key element in training a little setter is an obedience training. The fact that your dog is a gun dog is a lame excuse for it being insubordinate. You can often hear that a setter isn’t a German Sheperd and it will never be equally obedient. Well, in our controversial opinion, it’s a nonsense, and it’s just a plea of people who didn’t manage to train their setter. Setter isn’t a German Sheperd, it’s true. And it doesn’t walk by your side like a German Sheperd does. It often disappears from a leader’s sight and acts on its own, especially if a leader isn’t a hunter, so may only be an obstacle. It’s just a fairy tale what the fashionable “positive dog trainers’ say that on the stroll the owner needs to be more attractive than an environment to a dog. It doesn’t work in case of Gordon, as even if the owner would do a headstand and would jump around with pockets stuffed with sausages he/she won’t be more attractive than a pheasant field. However with a bit of an effort, if you’ll work sensibly and consequently with your setter from the very beginning, and if you’ll establish the bonds not with cliquing devices or sausages, you’ll have an obedient setter, who, hearing a whistle, will come back to you in 10 seconds from whatever place it just have been, and it will run to you with a wild pleasure – as being together is just cool, and as hearing a whistle it knows that there is a coming-back mission to complete. Gordon is devoted to a human, created to help him. So how can you say that it’s a disobedient breed at all?
Our setters are not German Sheperds and no one expects them to be so. But they are obedient dogs, and the absolute obedience is demanded from them. Frankly speaking I know no Sheperd dog more obedient than our setters. An obedient setter is a safe and happy setter. It can run unleashed, it doesn’t need to be on a lead and above of all it is not a source of frustration for its owner.
Well-behaved, well-mannered Gordon may become
a wonderful company for an active family,
but it is not a good idea to buy a setter as a “dog for a child”.
An adult Setter is a strong dog and it may not obey a child, and this may be dangerous for both a child and a dog. However there are setters who are amazing in dog-therapy. The father of our Ronja was a certified therapy dog. A Gordon is a fairly patient dog and truly affectionate toward its family. It usually plays well with children. However you must be aware that it is a big size dog.
An exercised Gordon, with psychological and physical needs satisfied, mostly sleeps at home. Of course the most comfortable place for a nap is a sofa but you may try not to settle for this. We failed. In this breed’s case first of all you must consider if you are capable of satisfying all Gordon’s needs, and only afterwards you need to consider if your house or your flat is big enough. A big garden isn’t necessary, but no one, who lives in a city center, and needs a dog who will do its business in a city park, should take into account buying a setter. A setter kept on a leash, unexercised and frustrated is not only unhappy but it is also a burden for an environment.
Happy, well-mannered, obedient Gordon is an amazing dog, devoted to its owner in 100%. There is no breed of wiser eyes and a greater heart.
"A dog to hunt upland game, a dog to kiss my
wee children, a dog for a fireside companion
and a dog to brag about in the carriage house
on Sunday morn."
~The Duke of Gordon