Something About Us
Norman B. Sorby, owner of Springset Gordon Setters, has 40 years of breeding, training, and field trial competition with Gordon Setters.
During his 25 years as a "Pro” (professional trainer), Norm trained 3217 dogs of all pointing breeds. Norm has traveled and hunted throughout the US, Canada and in Europe. Sportswriters of America call Norm "the Guru of Gordons", and "the Father of the Field Gordon Setter". They claim Springset has saved this breed. Authors on both sides of the Atlantic have changed their statements of the 50's, 60's, and 70's from "Don't bother to try the Gordon," to “Wow, look what happened to the Gordon Setter!”
Springset made successful field competition a reality for Gordon Setters. From 135 field entries in 1960 to nearly 2000 per year in the 90's, field trialers across the US -- Belmor (VA), Smokerise (CT), Milomix and Ashcraft (MO), Blackhawk (IN) -- have had dogs that won time and time again!
The first Springset Gordon came about in 1955, Springset MacDuff. In 1962, Springset was started as a gene pool center, not just to improve the Gordon Setter but to make it superior to the other upland game bird breeds. In 1980 the computer shows that 39 of the top 40 Gordons in the USA were bred at Springset. Norm Sorby not only produced a gene pool of over 6,000 dogs, but he inbred his line to emphasize the positive aspects of the breed.
A Springset Gordon Setter is a hunting dog and companion, first and foremost. Nothing must change that objective. Never again will the breed be subjected to the scorn of the hunter.
Suzanne Sorby stays in the background at Springset Kennels but she’s a dynamic force in the business and Norm’s life. As co-author of their book, The Field Gordon Setter: The Black and Tan Bombshell, Suzanne does the lion’s share of the clerical and computer tasks. Somehow in her “spare time”, she has managed to write and illustrate a children’s book featuring the Gordon Setter, titled “Rosie with the Cold Wet Nose”. We are hoping to get it published someday soon. Her Gordon artwork is incredible and she is an expert China painter as well (you should see her Gordon Setter cookie jars!). We are trying to even develop a Gordon Setter coloring book with her artwork. Sue manages the house and finances plus much of the business itself. She is a wonderful help and of course adds valuable insight to the breeding program as well. It doesn’t hurt that like the Gordons, she too has an excellent memory. She is our walking Springset archive! Many people ask her where the name "Springset" came from. It actually came from a poem by Shelley that her mother remembered, "Ode to the West Wind". The last line in the poem goes, "The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" At the time, we had Setters and some Springers, so it just seemed that if Winter set, couldn't Spring as well? Yes it could!
The children of Norm and Sue have also donated to the cause. The oldest son, Scott is a great support and has fixed many a fence throughout the Springset years! He is an exceptional landscaping contractor these days and whenever we need him he is here to donate his time and experience to the cause. He put in many hours helping to build the new facility and develop and draw the plans for it as well (he is very good at that too). While he has had Gordons of his own in the past as his personal hunting pets, he feels drawn to his creative abilities elsewhere. Have we mentioned his incredible artwork?!