The only black and tan setter, the Gordon is a sturdy, yet slender dog of square proportion with a thick feathered coat. The head is long, chiseled, and more massive than most setters, with a very pronounced stop and a large-nostrilled black nose. The long muzzle is squared off, is not pointed, and should be approximately the same length from nose to stop as the skull is from stop to occiput. The teeth may meet in a scissors or level bite, but a scissors bite is preferred. The long, slightly pointed ears hang flat beside the head. The oval eyes are dark brown. The topline slopes gently downwards from the withers. The deep chest should reach to the elbows, but should not be too broad. The well-feathered tail is thick at the root, tapering to a fine point. The front legs should be large-boned and straight. The feet should be catlike, with arched toes well furnished with hair. Dewclaws may be removed. The soft, glossy coat may be straight or slightly wavy, with profuse feathering on the legs, underside, ears, and tail. The tail feathering should create a triangular silhouette, with the hair gradually growing shorter as the tail tapers. The color should always be black with clearly differentiated tan markings. The location of the markings is important and clearly specified in the official standard.
The Gordon Setter was originally developed in Scotland in the 1600s and was later made popular by Duke Alexander the 4th of Gordon in the late 1700s. It was one of the first breeds recognized by the AKC, in 1892. This breed has an outstanding sense of smell and makes a fine bird dog, pointing when he finds a bird scent and then retrieving the felled bird to hand. The Gordon Setter is not fast compared with other hunting dogs, but he has good stamina and can hunt in adverse weather on both land and water. The Gordon Setter is a methodical, dependable hunter, and a fine one-man shooting dog. The beautiful and loyal Gordon Setter has also achieved success as a show dog and home companion.