1889 & 1891 Gordon Setter Standard (U.S.)

I am sending a sincere Thank You to Anita Aronsson, Sweden for sharing copies of these historical breed standards.


The American Gordon Setter Standard

Adopted By The

American Gordon Setter Club

  Committee:  T Norris, Fred M. Bennett, H Malcolm 

Publicerad i: The American Kennel Club Gazette. Jan. 1889

Also published


Gordon Setter Club of America


James B. Blossom, President

Dr. J. Lordly, Vice President     L.A Van Zandt, Secretary-Treasurer

Executive Committee

The Above Officers and     Dr. Goodman       Geo. Bleistein      C.H.Peper             W.M. Tallman

List of members not furnished.


(Adopted July 7, 1891)


The Skull should be lighter than in the old type of Gordon Setters, as was usually seen at bench shows, must be clean cut, with occiput well defined, and a decided stop below the eyes; and from eye to occiput should be five to five and a half inches in length.


The Muzzle must be straight from eyes to end of nose, without any inclination to what is termed “Roman nose,” and without coarseness, it should be from corner of eye to end of nose four inches in length. Nostrils must be full and wide, and nose black in color. Jaws should be exactly even in length; a “snipe nose” or “pig jaw” is a decided blemish.

Eyes, Ears, and Lips

Eyes must be of medium size, and deep brown in color, mild and intellectual in expression.

Ears should be low on head and lie flat to the cheeks, without any tendency to prick, should be longer than in other breeds of setters. They must be thin in leather and must be well coated with fine, silky hair with as little wave as possible; the hair should extend an inch or two below the leather.

The Lips should be slightly pendulous; a trifle more so than in other breeds of Setters.


The Neck should be of good length, clean and racy, with gradual rise from shoulder to head, and slightly inclined to arch; should be almost free of leather, but is not expected to be as clean on under side as a pointer’s.

Shoulders and Chest

The Shoulders should be deep, with moderately sloping blades; should be strong and positively free of lumber, and showing great liberty.

The Chest must be flat between the fore legs, moderately deep and narrow, giving the animal a racy appearance in front. The ribs must be well sprung behind the shoulders, but not sufficient to give the animal the appearance of being too round in barrel, and should extend well back toward the hips.

Back, Loins, Thighs and Stifles

The Back should be short and straight, with Loins strong and slightly arched; any tendency to sway-back being decidedly objectionable.

Thighs must be strong, with the muscle extending well down toward the hocks.

The Stifles should be moderately well bent and set somewhat wide apart; they should be long from point of hip to hock joint.

Legs, Feet, Elbows, and Hocks

The Fore legs must be straight, and sufficiently strong in bone, with elbows standing close to the chest, but not under it.

Hind legs to conform in bone with the forelegs; they should be moderately bent.

Hocks must be straight.

The feet must be round, hard, arched, and well padded, with hair between the toes. The “cat-foot” should have the preference.

Stern and Flag

The Stern should be set on slightly below the line of the back and carried in very nearly a straight line from the body, the straighter the better; a “tea-pot” tail is a decided blemish. When carried down with the hand it should not reach below the hock-joint; should taper gradually from the body to a “sting-like” end.

The Flag must be fine and straight, any inclination to curl or ropiness being objectionable; it should taper to nothing at the end.

Color and markings

The Color should be rich, glossy, plum black, with deep senna or dark mahogany, tan markings, clearly defined, and without admixture of black, though a little penciling of black on the toes is admissible. The tan should show on lips, cheeks, throat, spot over the eyes, underside of each ear, on the front of the chest, on feet and legs, also at vent, but must not extend into flag more than three inches. The tan should show nearly to elbows on inside of forelegs, and to the hocks or above them on inside of hind legs. An American Gordon Setter with a white frill must not be cast aside; but aim to breed them with as little white as possible. A good dog must not be disqualified for having white as above described. Any white on feet or tail is a blemish.

Texture of Coat and Feather

The Coat should be fine and flat, any inclination to curl being objectionable, though a slight wave is admissible.

The Feather should be about the same in quantity as the English Setter, running down to feet on fore legs, and to hocks on hind legs, but only slightly feathered below the hocks.

Symmetry and Quality

The American Gordon Setter should display much character; the general outline must look the thorough workman all over, and must absolutely be without lumber. He should be very blood-like in appearance, combining great quality with symmetry.

Value of Points

15…..Head including Muzzle and Nose

  5…..Eyes, Ears, and Lips


15…..Shoulders and Chest

15…..Back, Loins, Thighs and Stifles

15…..Legs, Feet, Elbows, and Hocks

 8…..Stern and Flag

 8…..Color and Markings

 6…..Texture of coat and feather

 8…..Symmetry and quality

Total – 100

For a copy of the current Gordon Setter Breed Standard follow this link Gordon Setter Breed Standard – U.S.

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

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