(The American Kennel Clubs Standard and Description)

General Appearance

The Gordon Setter is a good-sized,
sturdily built, black and tan dog, well
muscled, with plenty of bone and
substance, but active, upstanding and
stylish, appearing capable of doing a full
day's work in the field. He has a strong,
rather short back, with well sprung ribs
and a short tail. The head is fairly heavy
and finely chiseled. His bearing is
intelligent, noble, and dignified, showing
no signs of shyness or viciousness.
Clear colors and straight or slightly waved coat are correct. He suggests
strength and stamina rather than extreme speed. Symmetry and quality
are most essential. A dog well balanced in all points is preferable to one
with outstanding good qualities and defects. A smooth, free movement,
with high head carriage, is typical.

Size, Proportion, Substance

Size--Shoulder height for males, 24 to 27 inches; females, 23 to 26
inches. Weight for males, 55 to 80 pounds; females, 45 to 70 pounds.
Animals that appear to be over or under the prescribed weight limits are to
be judged on the basis of conformation and condition. Extremely thin or
fat dogs are discouraged on the basis that under or overweight hampers
the true working ability of the Gordon Setter. The weight-to-height ratio
makes him heavier than other Setters. Proportion The distance from the
forechest to the back of the thigh is approximately equal the height from
the ground to the withers. The Gordon Setter has plenty of bone and


Head deep, rather than broad, with plenty of brain room. Eyes of fair size,
neither too deep-set nor too bulging, dark brown, bright and wise. The
shape is oval rather than round. The lids are tight. Ears set low on the
head approximately on line with the eyes, fairly large and thin, well folded
and carried close to the head. Skull nicely rounded, good-sized, broadest
between the ears. Below and above the eyes is lean and the cheeks as
narrow as the leanness of the head allows. The head should have a
clearly indicated stop. Muzzle fairly long and not pointed, either as seen
from above or from the side. The flews are not pendulous. The muzzle is
the same length as the skull from occiput to stop and the top of the
muzzle is parallel to the line of the skull extended. Nose broad, with open
nostrils and black in color. The lip line from the nose to the flews shows a
sharp, well-defined, square contour. Teeth strong and white, meeting in
front in a scissors bite, with the upper incisors slightly forward of the lower
incisors. A level bite is not a fault. Pitted teeth from distemper or allied
infections are not penalized.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck long, lean, arched to the head, and without throatiness. Topline
moderately sloping. Body short from shoulder to hips. Chest deep and
not too broad in front; the ribs well sprung, leaving plenty of lung room.
The chest reaches to the elbows. A pronounced forechest is in evidence.
Loins short and broad and not arched. Croup nearly flat, with only a slight
slope to the tailhead. Tail short and not reaching below the hocks, carried
horizontal or nearly so, not docked, thick at the root and finishing in a fine
point. The placement of the tail is important for correct carriage. When the
angle of the tail bends too sharply at the first coccygeal bone, the tail will
be carried too gaily or will droop. The tail placement is judged in
relationship to the structure of the croup.


Shoulders fine at the points, and laying well back. The tops of the
shoulder blades are close together. When viewed from behind, the neck
appears to fit into the shoulders in smooth, flat lines that gradually widen
from neck to shoulder. The angle formed by the shoulder blade and upper
arm bone is approximately 90 degrees when the dog is standing so that
the foreleg is perpendicular to the ground. Forelegs big-boned, straight
and not bowed, with elbows free and not turned in or out. Pasterns are
straight. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet catlike in shape, formed by
close-knit, well arched toes with plenty of hair between; with full toe pads
and deep heel cushions. Feet are not turned in or out.


The hind legs from hip to hock are long, flat and muscular; from hock to
heel, short and strong. The stifle and hock joints are well bent and not
turned either in or out. When the dog is standing with the rear pastern
perpendicular to the ground, the thighbone hangs downward parallel to an
imaginary line drawn upward from the hock. Feet as in front.


Soft and shining, straight or slightly waved, but not curly, with long hair on
ears, under stomach and on chest, on back of the fore and hind legs, and
on the tail. The feather which starts near the root of the tail is slightly
waved or straight, having a triangular appearance, growing shorter
uniformly toward the end.

Color and Markings

Black with tan markings, either of rich chestnut or mahogany color. Black
pencilling is allowed on the toes. The borderline between black and tan
colors is clearly defined. There are not any tan hairs mixed in the black.
The tan markings are located as follows:
(1) Two clear spots over the
eyes and not over three-quarters of an inch in diameter;
(2) On the sides of the muzzle. The tan does not reach to the top of the muzzle, but
resembles a stripe around the end of the muzzle from one side to the other;
(3) On the throat;
(4) Two large clear spots on the chest;
(5) On the inside of the hind legs showing down the front of the stifle and broadening
out to the outside of the hind legs from the hock to the toes. It must not completely
eliminate the black on the back of the hind legs;
(6) On the forelegs from the carpus, or a little above, downward to the toes;
(7) Around the vent;
(8) A white spot on the chest is allowed, but the smaller the better. Predominantly tan,
red or buff dogs which do not have the typical pattern of markings of a Gordon Setter are
ineligible for showing and undesirable for breeding.


A bold, strong, driving free-swinging gait. The head is carried up and the
tail "flags" constantly while the dog is in motion. When viewed from the
front the forefeet move up and down in straight lines so that the shoulder,
elbow and pastern joints are approximately in line. When viewed from the
rear the hock, stifle and hip joints are approximately in line. Thus the dog
moves in a straight pattern forward without throwing the feet in or out.
When viewed from the side the forefeet are seen to lift up and reach
forward to compensate for the driving hindquarters. The hindquarters reach
well forward and stretch far back, enabling the stride to be long and the
drive powerful. The overall appearance of the moving dog is one of
smooth-flowing, well balanced rhythm, in which the action is pleasing to
the eye, effortless, economical and harmonious.


The Gordon Setter is alert, gay, interested, and aggressive. He is fearless
and willing, intelligent and capable. He is loyal and affectionate, and
strong-minded enough to stand the rigors of training.

Predominantly tan, red or buff dogs which do not have the typical pattern
of markings of a Gordon Setter.

Approved October 9, 1990
Effective November 28, 1990

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