top of page

Gordon Setter Health

Generally Gordon Setters are a healthy breed with an average lifespan of approximately 10-12yrs.  However there are some potential hereditary conditions which owners should be aware of. 


These are -

• Hip dysplasia

• Progressive Retinal Atrophy [PRA rcd-4] 


Health Schemes;

The GSA, along with the other Gordon Setter breed clubs have as part of their Code of Ethics that all breeding stock should be tested prior to breeding and should use the following official schemes (this advice should apply to anyone prior to their stock being used in a breeding programme);


•BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia Scheme

•BVA/KC Eye Scheme

•AHT PRA [rcd-4] DNA test []


The Kennel Club website  gives you links where you can go to get further information on the above schemes.


You can also log onto the Kennel Club ‘Health Test Results Finder’ at which gives you access to health test results for any dog who has been through the official Kennel Club schemes.


Other conditions owners may need to be aware of include;


•Gastric dilation volvulus [GDV/’bloat’]

A life threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and then twists causing shock and death if not treated immediately.  Any deep chested breed may be at risk of this.



The thyroid hormone is responsible for many metabolic processes so if deficient symptoms may include lethargy, weight gain and poor coat growth. This condition is treated with lifelong medication and blood tests will be required to test thyroid levels



A word of advice -  Gordon Setters and some other black and tan breeds occasionally do not take to the initial parvo vaccination [due to high maternal antibodies]  and there have been cases in recent times where vaccinated Gordon puppies have died of parvovirus. Be aware of this and talk to your vet about it. The dog will be covered when it has its booster at a year old but it may be at risk before that. You could either ‘titre test’ (A titer test is a blood test that measures the amount of antibody in the blood to a given disease agent. So, for example, a parvo titer would show the amount of antibody against parvovirus that a dog has in their blood) this usually takes place two weeks after second vaccination or you could give a third vaccination at 16 weeks of age [by this time maternal antibodies should have gone and allow the vaccine to work]. Ask your vet how much of a parvo risk there is in your area.


Health Survey;

The Gordon Setter Breed Council is currently working with The Animal Health Trust to produce a health survey. All Gordon owners, whether their dogs work, show or are family pets will be encouraged to participate.  The purpose of the survey is to monitor the health of Gordons and to gather information on the conditions which may affect the breed with a view to ensuring it remains as healthy as possible for future generations. Watch this site for further updates.


Please feel free to contact the Gordon Setter Health Co ordinator Kathryne Wrigley on -

bottom of page