Everything you need to know to buy or adopt a Gordon Setter puppy or adult dog.


BE PREPARED

For Your New

Gordon Setter!

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Raise and train your dog the RIGHT way and he will live a long, healthy, well-behaved life – and both of you will be happy!

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Gordon Setter dog breed

Buying or Adopting a Gordon Setter

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Is a DOG really the right pet for you?

I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.

Pros AND Cons of Owning a Dog


Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?

Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:

The Truth About Purebred Dogs

The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs


Is a Gordon Setter the right breed for you?

Gordon Setters: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Gordon Setter Health Problems


Are YOU right for a Gordon Setter?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (6-8 feet high, not an electronic/underground fence)
  • No dogs of the same sex in the household
  • Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your Gordon Setter stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, musical freestyle, tracking, field trials); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • Brushing – moderate
  • Trimming/clipping – every few months
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a small dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems Gordon Setters are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with moderate shedding
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your Gordon Setter to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior
  • Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your Gordon Setter, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Should you get a male or female Gordon Setter?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?


Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new Gordon Setter be?


Where can you buy or adopt a Gordon Setter?

Gordon Setters are not very common in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, Gordon Setters rank 104th. It's easier to find an Irish Setter or English Setter than a Gordon.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
You might find a Gordon Setter available from a Dog Rescue group. Gordon Setters may be turned over to Rescue because they need too much exercise or perhaps there are dominance issues, or aggression toward other dogs. You would need to provide these dogs with the exercise, training, and socialization that they are lacking. Other Gordon Setters are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
Gordon Setters are seldom found here. Gordon Rescue groups keep their eyes peeled on shelters and humane societies across the country. On the off chance that a Gordon Setter turns up at a shelter, the rescue group typically moves in quickly to take the dog.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy a Gordon Setter from a show breeder, who breeds Gordon Setters to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring.

Or you can buy a Gordon Setter from a performance breeder, who emphasizes an energetic temperament and strong working drives for hunting or field trials. Some breeders are a combination of show/performance, though how they prioritize those two goals can vary greatly.

You might also be able to buy a Gordon Setter from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of a Gordon Setter puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal elbows

Also, at least ONE PARENT of a Gordon Setter puppy should have:

  • a DNA test proving they are Normal/Clear of a severe hereditary eye disease called rcd4-PRA.

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your Gordon Setter ends up blind and crippled.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
Gordon Setters are not seen very often in pet shops, but it's possible. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!


Related Articles

Girl holding up a puppy and looking at him How To Choose a Good Gordon Setter Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of Gordon Setter puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.


Pedigree parchment AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered Gordon Setter puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.