A Gordon Setter? My husband and I are thinking of getting one and would love your input or knowledge on them. Thanks so much....Stacy
A GREAT breed of dog. Not overbred. There are some issues of course as with any pure bred dog. They can be a bit hyper especially as puppies. So lots of walkies and good structure is in order. Any dog with a big chest is prone to bloat so small meals throughout the day is better than a couple of large ones. Their coat is beautiful but can attract anything with a sticker on it. If you go out into the tall grass or weds, apply some conditioner to your dogs coat before you go out, give a bath after you get home, then whatever is attached will come out easier.
As with any pup, start socialization as soon as all the shots are done, find a positive reinforcement trainer to help socialize your dog and help you all with obedience.
You need to remember this is a working or hunting dog, they absolutely need daily stimulation and should be on leash due to its intstinct to follow its nose. Good luck, let us know if you get one or have any other questions..
What attracts you to this sporting breed? Is someone in your family a hunter?
All the setters are beautiful, flashy dogs. The coats are fairly easy to care for as long as you perform a short daily maintenance brushing and combing (10 minutes)to prevent tangles and remove debris.
Gordon Setters are, of course, quite similar to English and Irish Setters. Generally MUCH healthier than the Irish (which is plagued by cancer and epilepsy) but like all setters, they bloat easily and can be prone to dysplasia and PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) so a good breeder is a must.
If you aren't going to hunt, look for a dog from show or "bench" lines. Field lines, as with other sporting breeds like pointers and retrievers, tend to be smaller and much, much more active. I prefer to call them high-spirited rather than hyper ;-) but mazer is correct .... exercise and structure are a must.
They need more than a walk..or several walks. They need to be able to r-u-n, especially when they are under age 7. If you aren't particularly active, I suggest working with a rescue to find a suitable older dog because until they are at least 4-5, the activity level can be overwhelming. they are very calm and quiet when they get adequate exercise. They are very destructive and "barky" if you are dedicated to tiring them out. This is true of all the sporting breeds (and I daresay many other classes of dogs as well..at least the herders), so if you have previous experience with retrievers or pointers, it's certainly nothing exclusive to a Gordie.
As a sporting breed bred specifically to work off-lead in the field with a hunter, they can most certainly be trained to be reliably off-leash, but you must put in the time necessary to train them to a high degree of reliability.
As hunting dogs, they are generally friendly to people/other dogs, but cats can be a problem and they will certainly self-hunt, spending hours planning and executing(ha!) the eviction of every squirrel and rabbit on your property.