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The Gordon Setter Association (GSA)

If you are already a member of The Gordon Setter Association (GSA), or the owner of a Gordon Setter, you will need no introduction to this wonderful breed.


If you are new to Gordon Setters, please take time to read about this loyal and loving breed. Whatever your interest in Gordon Setters, we hope you find our website informative.


However, if you require further information on the GSA, or Gordon Setters in the UK, please email us. Comments and suggestions for our website are always appreciated, or if you experience any difficulties viewing our website, please let us know via the email contact page.


The Gordon Setter Association (GSA) has the declared objective of promoting the breed's interests, uniting those interested in the breed, and upholding the Standard of the Gordon Setter (as issued by the Kennel Club).

The GSA organises dog shows and social activities and provides help and advice to members on training, owning, showing, and working Gordon Setters

gordon setter GSA

Origins of the Gordon Setter

gordon setter GSA
gordon setter GSA
gordon setter GSA

Although it is often credited that the Gordon Setter was the result of the Duke of Gordon crossing his black and tan Scottish collies with his Setters, to quote from the definitive work on the breed - The Gordon Setter - History and Character by G St. G M Gompertz - published by the author in 1976:


“There are reliable records to show that the Black and Tan Setter was in existence as a separate breed long before it was taken up by the Duke of Gordon.”


In the first half of the 18th Century records show that there were several noted kennels of Black and Tan Setters in the Midland Counties well before the Duke took up the breed in the early part of the 19th Century - obtaining his original stock from Thomas William Coke, late to become the Earl of Leicester, and that some of this stock was maintained as pure-bred stock, without the introduction of outside crosses for many years. It seems to be clear that this was the reason that the Kennel Club, founded in 1873, classified the breed at this time as “The Black and Tan Setter.”

Some 50 years were to elapse before in the Kennel Club Gazette of 1924, it was announced:


“In the list of breeds ... dated 1st January 1924 ... [without any reason being given] ... the Setter (Black and Tan) ... is now officially designated ... “The Gordon Setter.”


... possibly in recognition that by this time most Gordon Setters, but not all, could be traced back to the Gordon Castle strain. Whilst it would be wrong to accredit solely the production of the breed to the Dukes of Gordon there is very little doubt that they played a very important part in the breed's development.


The breed was further developed and refined throughout the early 1900s to give us a stylish, good looking setter with the ability and strength to do a hard day’s work over heather on the moor.


But, like many other breeds, they faced hard times during the war years when numbers dropped alarmingly low. But for the courage and determination of a few dedicated breeders the Gordon Setter could easily have disappeared forever.Thankfully things improved after the war and by the 1970s there was a real expansion in numbers to put the breed on a firm footing.


Today around 270 are registered annually: not such a lot but enough to keep them out of danger and the breed is well represented at both shows and Field Trials, by and large without the same complete split between the two types that we see in many other Gundog breeds.

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