The Gordon standard goes into considerable detail both as to the gait seen going and coming, and from the side. What is wanted is a long, smooth stride, with the head up, tail flagging. The tail, by the way, should be carried horizontally. Describing gait as seen from the front or rear is a matter of semantics. The Gordon standard talks about the forefeet moving up and down in straight lines so that the shoulder, elbow and pastern joints are approximately in line. When viewed from the rear the hock, stifle, and hip joints are approximately in line.
It should be pointed out that a small dog is much better at this than a large dog who, because of his height, must tend towards a single track to keep his balance when gaiting.
The hackney gait is not wanted, and sickle hocks will create gait problems. Both hamper and cause lack of endurance.
CKC Standard States:
A smooth free movement with high head carriage.
AKC Standard Adds:
A bold, strong, driving free-swinging gait. The head is carried up and the tail “flags” constantly while the dog is in motion. When viewed from the front the forefeet move up and down in straight lines so that the shoulder, elbow and pastern joints are approximately in line. When viewed from the rear the hock, stifle and hip joints are approximately in line. Thus the dog moves in a straight pattern forward without throwing the feet in or out. When viewed from the side the forefeet are seen to lift up and reach forward to compensate for the driving hindquarters. The hindquarters reach well forward and stretch far back, enabling the stride to be long and the drive powerful. The overall appearance of the moving dog is one of smooth-flowing, well balanced rhythm, in which the action is pleasing to the eye, effortless, economical and harmonious.
Discussions taken with permission from The Complete Gordon Setter by Anita Lustenberger & Jean Sanger Look, Howell Publishing, 1984-1989.