The Gordon Setter is a unique dog and as such, has certain characteristics, which are unique to the breed.
Very often judges who are not specialists in a breed may not be aware of the particular idiosyncrasies of that breed. The first and general impression they get from a breed is that instant sighting in a ring, a limited time to get the general appearance details. This should convey many vital and important qualities. The viewer must know what to look for, and it helps to have a simple and efficient way to assess the dog.
The whole shape and outline of the dog should be considered, while trying to ignore possible distortion by a luxurious and profuse coat.
One of the most important features of the Gordon is its distinctive build. A Gordon that looks like a black and tan Irish or English Setter is not built correctly and therefore is not typical of the breed.
It is important to get the "feel" for the correct shape and proportions of the Gordon, to "know" just what balances and what is a little extreme, or perhaps "out of balance". A dog that is totally satisfying aesthetically, and which meets the requirements for the breed, is indicative of true TYPE.
The Gordon should have a noble elegant head carriage. His head should have refined chiseling. The neck is long, arched, held at an angle of about the 10.30 position. His expression should be dignified, noble and intelligent. His movement should be agile. In no way should he be likened to a heavy, slow workhorse. The section of the Standard on General Appearance does not mention colour, which is left to another part, but it is necessary to know initially that the Gordon is a black and tan dog.