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Feeding, exercise, grooming, living quarters, vet/vaccinations, parasites, socializing and training, the elderly dog.


Gordons are an athletic breed and should be kept lean but not skinny. When you run your fingers over the ribs there should be a light layer of fat between the ribs and the skin, and when viewed from above should have an obvious waist. Gordons are usually good eaters.

With a young dog/puppy the goal is to produce slow, controlled growth that will not stress his skeleton while he is still growing. A puppy's growth will stabilize at about 18 months by which time he should be eating less than at his peak growth period. At about age seven, their metabolism slows, and they will probably need less food.


Always have plenty of fresh water in a clean bowl or bucket available for your dog (metal dog dishes such as stainless steel or aluminum are better than plastic).


Regular exercise is crucial for maximum health and happiness for your Gordon Setter. The ideal situation is a daily run off leash in a safe (no cars) park or country area for half an hour. If that is not practical where you live, then try to give your dog half an hour of some other form of vigorous exercise daily. Examples are trotting on leash while you jog or ride a bike or chasing a ball in a large fenced area. Walking on a flexi leash is better than nothing.

Before the age of two, do not force exercise on your dog as his skeleton is not fully calcified and his bones are not hard enough to sustain prolonged stress. Let him choose how long he runs and let him stop when he's ready rather than selecting an arbitrary distance to jog or cycle because that's how much YOU want to exercise. Take care to ensure that a youngster doesn't over exercise of get a hard knock if you are exercising him with an older dog.


A Gordon requires a moderated level of grooming. It is important to spend at least 30 minutes each week thoroughly brushing and combing through his coat to remove any knots or tangles. Pay particular attention to the friction areas such as the armpits to ensure matting doesn't develop. At the same time check his ears to ensure they do not have a discharge or unpleasant smell and also check his feet and between his toes for knots.

When washing a dog use a shampoo designed for dogs and ensure that the shampoo and conditioner, if you use one, are thoroughly rinsed out of the coat.

Living Quarters

A secure fenced yard is essential for a Gordon Setter. Tying or chaining is not an acceptable substitute. Gordon Setters are bird dogs, and they will explore as though hunting unless they are enclosed by a fence. Without a fence, your dog may be lost, run over by a car, or, at the very least, break the law and annoy your neighbors. The yard must have shade and shelter from the elements and fresh water at all times.

A crate is your dog's and your best friend as long as it is used properly. His crate is a GOOD place, so it's not where he goes to be punished. For more information about crates it is used properly. His crate is a GOOD place, so it's not where he goes to be punished. For more information about crates.

Vet Care/Vaccinations/Worming

We recommend a vet check-up once a year and a visit to the vet whenever your dog shows signs of serious illness.

External Parasites

Fleas can be a big problem if allowed to get out of hand. There are a number of very good flea prevention and treatment products on the market. If the problem crops up remember to treat the environment (especially the bedding) as well as the dog (and the cat) and to read the instructions carefully when using chemicals.

If you are in a tick area as well as prevention products you will also have to check your dog regularly especially when he has been out for a walk

Internal Parasites

The most common types of worms in dogs are round, hook, whip, and tape worms. If your dog loses weight, has loose and bloody stools, and has poor coat quality, he might have worms. The diagnosis can be confirmed by fecal examination by your vet, who will also give you medicine to get rid of the worms.

One type of worm is especially terrible - heartworm. This worm is carried from dog to dog by mosquitoes. It lives in the heart and grows so big that it can eventually kills the dog. This worm makes the dog so sick that it is much better to prevent it than try to treat it. If you live in an area with mosquitoes, there is undoubtedly heartworm in your area. Heartworm prevention treatment is available in daily, monthly or yearly doses. If your dog is not already on a prevention program you should consult your vet before commencing medication.

Socialising and Training

A Gordon grows into a quite large active dog so it is very important to socialise and train a Gordon from the time he is a very young puppy. Training continues all through the dog's life, but making a good start is essential for the pup to grow up to be a well-adjusted member of the family. Putting in the effort when the dog is young will bring the reward of a well-adjusted and well behaved animal that is a pleasure to be around for the rest of its life. The Club recommends Puppy Preschools for young puppies and Obedience Classes for older dogs. See longer article on Training Your Gordon.

The elderly Dog

Gordons are usually considered to be still in their prime at seven or eight when many other dogs are starting to really slow down.

As he gets older make sure your dog continues to get regular exercise and take care to ensure he does not start to put on weight If he starts to put on weight as his metabolism slows, cut back on his food or use a food designed for elderly dogs.

If you are concerned about the health or behaviour of your elderly dog see your vet sooner rather than later.