by Wayne Adair,
Excerpt from an article featured in "Ontario Out of Doors" magazine. Jan/Feb 1965 issue...
It's been a challenge, but hard work and a sound breeding programme have paid dividends for both the Gordon Setter breed and Norm and Suzanne Sorby of Petaluma, California.
The high point in the breed's history was just before the turn of the century, when it gained prestige as a quail dog in the southern states. Upland game market hunters felt that it had no peer as a working dog, in both it's native Scotland and here in North America, has been one of more downs than ups.
Howard P. Davis, the dean of Pointing Dog writers, in the late 1940s edition of The Standard Book of Hunting and Shooting, expressed his remorse at the Gordon's fate, when he wrote:
"The wearer of the tan trimmed, ebony hued coat, once the darling of the ruffed grouse and woodcock covers and a fair favorite in the quail fields, has lost little in his imposing appearance, but many, probably the majority, of the breed members in this country today go through life without ever having enjoyed the intoxicating thrill of upland gamebird scent or hearing the cracking report of a fowling piece. Yet, there was a time when the Gordon Setter knew no peer as a cover-working gundog. It is indeed a rare day now when one comes across a fellow gunner depending upon a Gordon Setter to find his game."
Considering that the Gordon's fate as a hunting dog was almost sealed when Henry P. Davis wrote the above more than 40 years ago, one would have to believe that the Field Gordon would now be extinct.
More excerpts from this historically informative article to follow...