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Pictorial Comparison


Another point of difference is the croup which in the Gordon is supposed to be nearly flat, with loins short and broad, and not arched, with slight slope to tailhead. English are to have loins strong and slightly arched. Hipbones should be wide apart and without to sudden a drop to the root of the tail. Only the Irish Setter is to have a top line which slopes slightly downward, yet he should not have a sharp drop at the croup.

When discussing the hindquarters, the Gordon and English [and Irish Red & White] standards settle for having them “well bent.” The Irish standard speaks of hind legs well angulated at stifle and hock joint. [Irish Red & White calls for “hock to heel of moderate length and strong.]

CKC Standard States:

Hindquarters: The hind legs from hip to hock should be long, flat and muscular, from hock to heel short and strong. The stifle and hock joints well bent and not inclined either in or out. Both fore and hind feet should have close knit, well-arched toes with plenty of hair between full toe pads and deep heel cushions.

The CKC Standard does not make reference to the croup or tail carriage whereas the AKC Standard does (see below.)

Tail: Short and should not reach below the hocks, carried horizontal or nearly so, thick at the root and finishing in a fine point. The feather, which starts near the root of the tail should be slightly waved or straight and have a three square appearance growing shorter uniformly toward the end.


Legs and feet – Crooked legs, out-turned elbows. The toes scattered, flat-footed.
Tail – Too long, badly carried or hooked at the end.

AKC Standard Adds:

Feet are not turned in or out.

When the dog is standing with the rear pastern perpendicular to the ground, the thighbone hangs downward parallel to an imaginary line drawn upward from the hock.

Loins short and broad and not arched. Croup nearly flat, with only a slight slope to the tailhead.

The placement of the tail is important for correct carriage.  The tail is important for correct carriage. If the croup is nearly flat, the tail must emerge nearly on the same plane as the croup to allow for horizontal carriage. When the angle of the tail bends too sharply at the first coccygeal bone, the tail will be carried too gaily or will droop. The tail placement should be judged in its relationship to the structure of the croup.

Topline – moderately sloping.


Discussions taken with permission from The Complete Gordon Setter by Anita Lustenberger & Jean Sanger Look, Howell Publishing, 1984-1989.