While all Setter heads have the same basic outlines, the Gordon has more stop; a larger, rounder skull; more square, blocky look; and seen from the front, the muzzle is broader and blends into the skull without bulging cheeks. This is what is meant by the following:”…the cheek as narrow as the leanness of the head allows.” All this talk of lean does not imply narrow heads.
Standards for the English, Iris [and Irish Red & White] want the eyes to be dark brown and mild or soft in expression; the Gordon asks for dark brown, and bright and wise expression. We can go on to say that the expression of the eyes is also piercing and keen. As a breed they look into people’s faces and eyes most intently. More than the other Setters, Gordons are apt to have loose lids or rolled lids, though the standard makes no comment on these serious faults. Both conditions can cause endless trouble to a hunting dog and can lead to loss of vision.
Deep rather than broad, with plenty of brain room, nicely rounded good-sized skull, broadest between the ears. The head should have a clearly indicated stop. Below and above the eyes should be lean and the cheek narrow as the leanness of the head allows. The muzzle fairly long with almost parallel lines and not pointed either as seen from above or from the side. The flews not pendulous but with clearly indicated lips. The nose big, broad with open nostrils and of black colour. Eyes of fair size, neither too deep set or too bulging, dark brown, bright and wise. Ears low set on the head, fairly large and thin.
Head – Houndy, pointed, snipey, drooping or upturned muzzle, too small or too large mouth.
Eyes – Too light in colour, too deep set or too prominent.
Ears – Set too high or unusually broad or heavy.
AKC Standard Adds:
Eyes The shape is oval rather than round. The lids are tight. Ears set approximately on line with the eyes, well folded and carried close to the head. Skull nicely rounded, good-sized, broadest between the ears. Muzzle The muzzle is the same length as the skull from occiput to stop and the top of the muzzle is parallel to the line of the skull extended. Nose The lip line from the nose to the flews shows a sharp, well defined, square contour. Teeth strong and white, meeting in front in a scissors bite, with the upper incisors slightly forward of the lower incisors. A level bite is not a fault. Pitted teeth from distemper or allied infections are not penalized.
Discussions taken with permission from The Complete Gordon Setter by Anita Lustenberger & Jean Sanger Look, Howell Publishing, 1984-1989.