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Gordon Setter Dog Breed Origin and History

The Gordon Setter dog breed originates in Scotland although its history extends back many hundreds of years throughout the British Isles. Containing both the genetic ancestors of the Irish and English Setter, the Gordon Setter is a distinct and unique dog breed.

Originally called a Black and Tan Setter and extending back to the 16th century, the Gordon derives its name and primary characteristics from Alexander Gordon, the 4th Duke of Gordon in Scotland during the 1820s.
Near the beginning of the 1800s, it is clear that the Black and Tan Setter was distinct from both the English and the Irish, and it was Gordon that developed the dog in his kennels, raising a group of setters that would become called the Gordon Setter. This new breed differed from its other Setter cousins as it was larger and not as fast and agile, but stronger with good endurance and stamina. The breed was long called the Black and Tan Setter but the name was changed by the British Kennel Club in 1924.

Gordon Setter Breed History Following the Gordon Setter breed’s inception and development by the Duke of Gordon at his kennels in Scotland, the breed was brought to the United States in 1842. George Blunt and Daniel Webster bought two Gordon Setters from the kennels of the Duke and these two served as the foundation for the breed in this country. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1878, and the Gordon Setter Club of America was later founded in 1924. In England, the British Kennel Club recognized the breed much earlier, in around 1862, and the British Gordon Setter Club was founded in 1891.

The Gordon Setter breed history indicates that the dog has long been a favorite hunting dog and an adept breed at field trials, obedience and agility competitions. With the development of quicker Pointer dog breeds, the large breed Gordon Setter has fallen out of favor for field competitions though remains a favorite as a one-man hunting or shooting dog.

The Gordon Setter has also exhibited some success as a show dog and there is no distinction in the breed between a field and show dog. The Gordon Setter is not a particularly popular breed based on the AKC statistics (86th most popular in 2005), but among loyal fans of the breed, the Gordon Setter has no rival.

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