Gordon Setters are tall and slender, with a feathered black and tan coat. They are the most distinct breed of all setters, as they are only setter breed to come in black and tan, and they are also the heaviest of all setters. The head is long, chiseled, and large, with a pronounced stop. The muzzle is square and ends in a large black nose with well developed nostrils. The ears of the Gordon are long, somewhat pointed and hang flat, while the eyes are deep brown and oval in shape. The feet are round and cat-like, and covered with hair. The coat is either straight or wavy, but should always be shiny. Feathering appears on the legs, underbelly, ears and tail. The tail is carried low, but when the dog is alert or excited, the tail will be carried higher.
Size and Weight
Gordons are the heaviest of all Setter breeds. Males should ideally stand from 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 55 and 80 pounds. Females are a bit smaller, standing 23 to 26 inches and weighing between 45 and 70 pounds.
Coat and Color
The coat is part of what makes a Gordon a unique setter. While they share the medium to long feathering of other setter breeds, Gordons are the only breed with black and tan coloration. The coat is either straight or slightly wavy – but should never be curly. It should appear shiny and glossy. The base coloring is black with either mahogany or chestnut on their paws, lower legs, vents, throat and muzzle. They also spots above each eye, resembling eyebrows. The markings should be clearly defined and not run together. A small amount of white is permitted on the chest.
Sometimes puppies are born red, the result of a recessive gene. These red Gordons are extremely rare and are ineligible for showing and should not be used for breeding. All-buff colored Gordons are also ineligible for the show ring. These rare colors, however, do not prevent a Gordon from being a loving family companion.
The Gordon's coat needs to be brushed and combed two to three times per week in order to prevent tangles and mats from forming. The hair on the feet should be trimmed regularly to keep the dog from picking up debris when outdoors. To keep the coat clean and shiny, baths should be given every 1-2 weeks. Because they are bathed frequently, Gordon Setters require special shampoo so that their skin and hair do not become too try.
The long, hanging ears of the Gordon Setter do not allow for air to circulate through the ear canal, making this breed prone to ear infections. Check the ears weekly for signs of irritation, infection, or wax buildup. Clean ears with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and a cotton ball only. Never stick a cotton swab into the dog's ear canal.
Weekly tooth brushing helps prevent dog breath and keeps harmful tartar from building up. Monthly nail trimmings are also in order if the dog does not wear down the toenails natually.