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Scottish Setter - Gordon: Nature and Diseases [veterinarian's recommendations

Scottish Setter

Scottish Setter, next to the English Setter and the Irish Setter, belongs to the group of long-haired hunting dogs, whose homeland is Great Britain. The name "setter " comes from the word "to set ", which describes the characteristic crouching posture that these dogs adopt when displaying game. Gordon Setters have been known for approx. 200 years, when they were found mainly in Scotland as black and tan hunting dogs. Prince Alexander Gordon (Duke of Richmond and Gordon), who in the 1920s. In the nineteenth century, he bred them, crossing them, among others.in. with bloodhounds and pointers. The obtained specimens were characterized by a great sense of smell, great endurance and ease in arranging and training. Their main task was to display birds during hunting, which at that time was carried out with the use of a net thrown over the prey. Their strong build and love of water meant that the difficult, rocky areas of Scotland were not a challenge for them.

The first Gordons came to the USA in 1842 with George Blunt and Daniel Webster, and it was a couple - Rake and Rachel. The AKC officially recognized the breed in 1884. In 1982, the name was changed from the then applicable (Gordon Castle Setter) to the name we know today. The FCI accepted the standard in 1963.

Today gordon setters They are not only valued for their versatility dogs, but also cheerful and gentle companions for the whole family.

  • Scottish setter character
  • Scottish Setter breed description
  • Scottish Setter Grooming
  • Disease Scottish Setter
    • Black hair follicle dysplasia
    • Pattern baldness
    • Juvenile cellulitis
    • Atopy
    • Cerebellar abiotrophy
    • Primary ciliary dyskinesia
    • Dilation of the stomach
    • Hip dysplasia
    • Patellar dislocation
    • Diamond eye
    • Hypothyroidism
  • Is it worth choosing a gordon setter??

Scottish setter character

Gordons are very active and lively dogs that need a lot of exercise and interest on our part and this is their key trait that must be taken into account in the first place when we think about buying a representative of this breed. They love water and often can't resist jumping into the lake for a short swim. A highly developed hunting instinct can also push them to flee in pursuit of a potential prey, if we let them go freely in the open. Fortunately, these dogs are relatively easy to groom and obedient. They work well as family pets, also in contacts with young children, for whom they have a lot of patience, and if the toddler crosses the border, they simply leave. They are faithful, loyal, and they approach strangers with a certain reserve. They can be kept with other pets as well, but it is best if they are raised with them from the beginning. An adult gordon should not be either timid or aggressive, so you should take care of its early socialization. They can use their excess energy best on hunting, but if we are not hunting, it is worth taking an interest in dog sports in which the Gordon will work well and will be able to have fun, such as agility, obedience or dock diving.

Scottish Setter breed description

Scottish Setter size and weight

The Scottish Setter is a dog with a harmonious build and elegant silhouette. The height at the withers of a male dog is approx. 66 cm and the bitches 62 cm. The body weight of an adult individual is 26 - 30 kilograms.

The appearance of the dog

  • The head is strong, slightly rounded, with a distinct occipital tumor.
  • The muzzle is long and rectangular with a well defined stop.
  • The nose is large, black in color with wide nostrils.
  • Tight lips.
  • Jaws strong with a full set of teeth set in a scissor bite.
  • Dark brown eyes with a lively and intelligent expression.
  • Ears set low, thin and pendulous, close to the head.
  • Neck long, dry, slightly bent.
  • Deep chest with well sprung ribs, wide and slightly arched loins.
  • Straight back.
  • Tail set at the level of the back, relatively short, tipped with a feather.
  • Limbs straight and strong, well angulated. Feet tightly closed with well arched toes.

Color of Gordon Setters

The hair cover is soft, shiny and silky, longer on the ears, breasts, under the belly and on the inside of the limbs. Color: pitch black with chestnut tan. Flames are located above the eyes, on the sides of the muzzle, on the dewlap and paws in certain places.

Scottish Setter Grooming

Thick and long hair of gordons requires regular care. Depending on how much time the dog spends in the air, we will have to brush it 1 to 3 times a week. This is to remove dead hair, untangle tangled strands and spread the natural sebum along the length of the hair to keep it in the best possible quality. Since Setters also have a lot of fur between their toes, keep them trim if they become tangled or disturb your dog. Monthly baths are recommended. Periodically trim the claws, if necessary, clean the ears and teeth.

In nutrition, we can use ready-made feeds for large breeds or prepare properly balanced meals ourselves. A diet that is right in terms of nutrients and minerals is especially important for puppies. Adult dogs should have their daily ration divided over several administrations to reduce the risk of gastric torsion. For the same reason, you should also not feed your pet copiously shortly before exercise.

Disease Scottish Setter

Black hair follicle dysplasia

Black hair follicle dysplasia is a rare defect that manifests itself in the loss of only black-colored hair. The first symptoms are noticeable in puppies four weeks old. Follicular dysplasia is considered a cosmetic defect, without affecting the health and comfort of the animal's life. Histopathological examination of sections of the changed skin is used for diagnostics. There is no treatment.

Pattern baldness

Patterned alopecia is another cosmetic defect that manifests itself first in weakening of the structure and then complete loss of hair from specific areas of the dog's body. Alopecia is symmetrical and most often appears on the turbinates, temples, chest, back of the thighs and abdomen. A dermatopathological examination of the changed areas is used for diagnosis. There is no treatment.

Juvenile cellulitis

Juvenile cellulitis is a disease in which we observe alopecia as well as blisters and pustules appearing within the lips and eyelid margins. The auricles are often inflamed, swollen and covered with exudate. Lesions may also develop around the anus and foreskin of males. Symptoms are seen in puppies from 3 weeks to 6 months of age. The course of the disease may be mild or severe with lymphadenopathy, fever, loss of appetite, and soreness. The cytological and histopathological examination of the skin is used for diagnostics. Treatment consists of combating secondary bacterial complications and local therapy with the use of disinfectants. Immunosuppressants are not infrequently used. The prognosis depends on the stage of the disease.


Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common dermatological conditions in dogs. AD is a consequence of the body's hypersensitivity reaction to the presence of allergens, both inhaled and contact. Clinical symptoms are first observed in individuals aged approx. 6 months and older. Initially, the pruritus is seasonal, but over the years it may accompany the animal all year round. Skin lesions are most often severe reddening of various areas of the body - the face, axillary, inguinal and interdigital areas. The diagnosis of atopy is based on a detailed interview, clinical examination and, additionally, an allergological examination, which allows for the identification of the allergenic factor. Treatment of atopy is chronic, often for life. The therapy uses oral medications (most often glucocorticosteroids or new generation drugs), therapeutic baths and supplements improving the condition of the skin.

Cerebellar abiotrophy

Cerebellar abiotrophy is otherwise its underdevelopment, and the symptoms of this defect relate basically to disorders of the functioning of the nervous system. The first symptoms in Scottish Setters appear in puppies 6-10 months of age and progress to approx. 18 months of age. Head tremors, nystagmus, incoherence, limb hypermetry and behavioral disturbances are observed. There is no treatment.

Primary ciliary dyskinesia

It is a genetic condition. The disease consists of impaired function of the cilia of the snap epithelium lining the respiratory system, the testicular seminal canals, the auditory canal, and the ventricles of the brain. It can appear in dogs of any age, but the first symptoms may appear in puppies several months old. The most common clinical symptoms are chronic cough and runny nose that resolve after antibiotic treatment but recur after their discontinuation, hydrocephalus and inflammation of the ear canals. The males are sterile. The diagnosis of the disease is complicated and the treatment is symptomatic.

Dilation of the stomach

A sharp expansion of the stomach is a rapid increase in its volume as a result of overloading, e.g. too much food. Enlargement is also favored by too greedy eating and physical activity performed shortly after eating a meal. The first symptoms that suggest acute dilation of the stomach are:

  • anxiety
  • salivation
  • enlargement of the outline of the abdomen

If the stomach torsion additionally occurs, we observe:.in.:

  • ineffective vomiting
  • pallor of the mucous membranes
  • dyspnoea

As a result of worsening circulatory and respiratory disorders, shock occurs and the animal dies. Gastric probing or lavage is performed for gastric dilation, and emergency surgery is required for a twist, which is life-threatening. The prognosis is cautious.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia (HD) is one of the most common degenerative diseases in dogs, especially large and giant breeds. It consists in a defective shape and incorrect fit of individual elements of the pond. The disease has a poligenetic background, but additional factors also contribute to its occurrence, such as e.g. how the puppy is fed during the period of growth and the amount of exercise provided to him. The most common symptoms of dysplasia are seen in dogs 6-12 months of age.

Belong to them:

  • reluctance to move,
  • difficulty getting up,
  • rabbit jumping,
  • stiff gait.

The diagnosis is made on the basis of an interview, orthopedic examination and evaluation of an X-ray image taken under sedation. The methods of treating dysplasia depend on the dog's age and the severity of the degenerative changes. The most common surgical procedures are femoral head resection, pectinectomy and triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO). Pharmacological treatment uses anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, as well as innovative therapies, e.g. with the use of stem cells.

Patellar dislocation

Patellar dislocation is the movement of the patella to the lateral or medial side of the knee joint during a limb flexion movement. Self-limiting, recurrent lameness of the pelvic limb is a symptom suggesting a dislocation of the patella. There are 4 degrees of dislocation:

  1. Grade 1 - no or rarely lameness.
  2. Grade 2 - temporary lameness.
  3. Grade 3 - permanent lameness - the kneecap can be adjusted.
  4. Grade 4 - permanent lameness - the kneecap cannot be adjusted.

Mild cases undergo conservative therapy (e.g. physiotherapy), while significant lameness is an indication for surgery.

Diamond eye

A diamond eye is the name used to describe an eyelid defect composed of simultaneously occurring entropion and ectropion. The combination of these changes causes the eyelids to take the shape of a diamond or a diamond. This defect is often accompanied by lacrimation, conjunctivitis, and damage to the surface of the cornea. Treatment is based on surgical plastic surgery of the eyelids.


Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disease in which the production of thyroid hormones is reduced. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is lymphocytic thyroiditis, followed by idiopathic atrophy and neoplastic tumors. Symptoms are often vague and slow to develop. These include:.in.: apathy, recurrent skin lesions, recurrent ear infections, increased thirst and increased urine output, obesity and fertility disorders and others. The diagnosis of the disease is made on the basis of the determination of the concentration of thyroid hormones (T4, fT4) and thyrotropin (TSH) in the blood. The treatment is chronic and consists in oral administration of hormones in an appropriately selected dose, which is subject to periodic monitoring.

Is it worth choosing a gordon setter??

The Scottish Setter is a versatile dog that can be used both as a working and home dog. It will acclimatize in all conditions, as long as we provide it with an appropriate, i.e. solid, portion of daily movement. Run and happy gordons can lie the rest of the day on the couch in the apartment, although a house in the suburbs with a fenced property to which they will have free access will be a paradise for them. They are recommended rather for experienced people, because despite being obedient and skilful, you have to work a bit on training them. They are devoted to the household and love to spend time with the whole family, but they do not convince themselves of strangers that quickly. They are definitely not suitable for people who avoid movement, because these dogs are volcanoes of energy that must have an outlet somewhere. The runners will just be unhappy. The breed in Poland is becoming more and more popular, so finding a puppy shouldn't be too difficult.

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