|Edward Laverack, a big Setters lover and breeder inspired by Setters English, told the Setter that he was only an improved Spaniel, an appreciation which, in his mouth, had nothing derogatory for the breed, unlike.
But who was this former Spaniel? Some say it would be a Spanish hunting dog, hence its name. Gaston Phoebus, count of Foix, quotes for his part in his famous Treaty of the hunt, the Dog of Oysel, a kind of spaniel who went to bed as soon as he had spotted the bird to capture, which then allowed the hunters to throw a net on the dog and the bird, hence the name of Oysel. It is most likely that the Setters descend from this dog. Moreover, the word Setter itself comes from the English verb to set, which means to set up, in this case to lie down, or strengthen, to freeze, that is to say to take the stop for the dog.
From the first days of the shooting hunt, these dogs were imported, perhaps from France, to the British Isles and more particularly to Ireland, where they were a great success. The Setters could then present different dresses: red, white and orange, tricolor ... It seems that the dogs that developed in Scotland were frequently black and fire.
Thus, a painting of the seventeenth century shows King Charles II accompanied by two dogs, one is very clearly a Cavalier King Charles and the other a Setter, black and tan (black and fire).
At the end of the eighteenth century, Alexander of Gordon, Duke of his state, began to select in his kennels in Aberdeen a very particular lineage based on local black and tan and Irish tricolor. Legend has it that a bitch Colley with a black robe, admitted to the duke's hunts thanks to his admirable nose and his ability to stop the game, was covered by the stallions of the Duke of Gordon, and thus contributed to create the breed. Alexander de Gordon had set himself the goal of obtaining a rustic dog capable of hunting the grouse, a bird of extreme timidity, very difficult to approach. It is presumed that other crossings were made, perhaps with the Pointer and the Great Continental Spaniel (thus, again the Dog of Oysel), some even speak of Saint-Hubert. Others, and more likely, mention a new contribution from Irish Setter. The Duke of Gordon was not alone in searching for such a dog, and was soon followed by other precursors, such as Major Douglas de Broughty, Lord Penmure, and Mr. Thompson. All worked very well, and their dogs were soon very popular throughout the UK.
At the beginning of the 20th century, all Gordon Setters were black and fiery, but not all Black and Fire Setters were authentic Gordons. In fact, this dress had developed in other regions, apart from the carefully supervised lineages of the kennels of the Duke and his followers. The current Gordon Setter is said to come from a cross between these two strains, the noble and the other.
The story of the Setter Gordon can not be mentioned without mentioning the reappearances of the white color that occurred at the time and still occur in the dress of these dogs. Poetic spirits see in them the mark of the original Colley blood. Others, more pragmatic, are the responsibility of the Irish Setter ancestry. Indeed, this Setter was formerly white and red and many are the subjects of this race that present today white marks. Similarly, Gordons are sometimes marked with white on the chest. In general, beauty lovers try to eliminate these spots, because they prefer the aesthetics of a dress more united.
But the future would still bring other fluctuations in the destiny of this dog. The beginning of the nineteenth century marked, besides further spreading of Gordon in Great Britain, its export to other hunting areas. The breed arrived in France and Scandinavia, where it was very well received. It should be noted that the Scandinavian Gordon Setter Club has become the largest association of black and light lovers in Europe!
The breed also flourished in France and neighboring countries. The end of the Second Empire represented the apogee of Setter Gordon in France: Napoleon III himself used it in his drawings! Everything was going well for the Gordon in France when the defeat of 1870 came: it was the end of the great imperial hunts and the hour of decline for this dog.
The Gordon had to perform a "desert crossing" in the rules until 1905, the year that saw the formation of the National Breed Club. Imported primarily by Paul Caillard at this time, the Setter Gordon had fallen right. He was coming back to the moment when the French Spaniel, bastardized by an ill-realized selection, was no longer able to give satisfaction. The hunters leaned over the Setter Gordon, who was less impetuous than the Irishman, who was more rustic than the Englishman, and proved to be the ideal substitute. Become their favorite, the Gordon knew an unprecedented glory, which allowed, unlike many other races, to survive the war of 1914-1918.
During the 1920s, the selection of the Gordon Setter unfortunately led to a decline in its popularity among hunters. Indeed, it seems that very heavy dogs have been preferred to others, more athletic; As a result, the French no longer had anything but Gordons turned into oxen, obese, unable to "keep the distance" on a long day of hunting. The race was quickly discredited, and it would surely have lost even its most ardent amateurs if a certain Busnel Valley had not come into action.
In 1928, this Norman breeder, returning from an unforgettable grouse hunt in Scotland, decided to give back to the French cattle the quality that made him so badly lacking. After fifteen years of relentless effort, his breeding, "La Gordonniere", produced dogs as good as they were beautiful, of which the Duke of Gordon himself could have been proud.
Currently, the Setter Gordon remains perhaps the last of the Setters as far as the number is concerned, but in the field, he does not yield to anyone. Very athletic despite its large size and weight, • it hunts "French" and can suit anyone who wears the rifle. It adapts wonderfully to all territories, hunting all game, with a preference for the shy (and therefore the most difficult) such as woodcock and snipe, and does not fear a whole day's work. A superb breed that is also suitable as a companion dog, although its primary purpose is that of a born hunter. Beautiful, good, sweet and loving, the Setter Gordon is more and more loved by hunters and others. Because, never stingy neither of efforts nor of tenderness, it proves to us that one can be Scottish and know how to give.