English Springer Spaniel
Friendly and trustworthy, English springer spaniels can be amazing family pets, but they require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They love getting down and dirty outdoors and require regular grooming. They are great choices for active people who are experienced at training dogs.
Which breed group is the English springer spaniel in?
Breed group: Gundog
Springer spaniel breed history
It is believed that all spaniels originated in Spain, hence the name. The dogs were introduced to other European countries by the Romans. It isn’t known how spaniels were bred in the succeeding centuries, but land spaniels are mentioned in records from as early as the 16th century. By the 19th century, these hinting dogs were characterised as either springer spaniels or cocker spaniels. They were produced in the same litters. The larger dogs in the litters were used to flush out game birds by springing. The smaller dogs were utilised to hunt woodcock.
Enthusiasts began evolving a pure strain of English springer spaniels in the 19th century. The foundation dog was a spaniel from Shropshire which had been bred by the Boughey family. The resulting springers were hugely popular with the hunting community. The English springer spaniel was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1903, just one year after the organisation was founded. The English Springer Spaniel Club was established in 1921 and by 2008, the springer spaniel was amongst the ten most popular breeds in the UK.
Springer spaniel breed characteristics
Of medium size and strong, English springer spaniels are outstanding gundogs. Show dogs are heavier than their working cousins and have longer coats and longer ears. Both types of springer have longer muzzles than those of cockers. Their eyes are almond-shaped and dark in colour. Ears are lobular, wide, long and feathered. They lie close to the dog's head. Springers have powerful shoulders, slightly arched backs, and muscular builds.
English springer spaniels boast soft, straight coats with feathering on their ears, body, front legs and hindquarters. The acceptable coat colours are black & white, Black, white & tan, liver & white and Liver, white and tan.
The friendly dispositions and extrovert personalities of springers have ensured that they are incredibly popular as family pets. These intelligent and energetic dogs need plenty of mental stimulation and exercise, otherwise, they can be destructive in the home. They need a firm hand during training, otherwise, they can become mischievous and dominating.
- Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Height: up to 51cm
- Weight: up to 25kg
- Long muzzle
- Almond eyes
- Long, pendulous ears
- Soft, straight coats
- Easily bored
- Can be destructive
Health issues with the springer spaniel
English springer spaniels are generally healthy dogs with long lifespans but are prone to the following conditions:
- Hereditary Eye Disease
- Progressive Retinol Atrophy (PRA)
- Goniodysgenesis/Primary Glaucoma
- Fucosidosis - an inherited metabolic disorder
- PFK - Phosphofructokinase deficiency
- Hip dysplasia
- Auto Immune Diseases
- Ear Disorders
What is the springer spaniel bred for?
Springers were bred to flush out game birds which were then captured by hawks.
What sort of owners does the springer spaniel suit?
Being incredibly friendly and trustworthy, springers are excellent family pets. They are fabulous with children of all ages and can be wonderful companions. However, they need regular grooming and they do have a tendency to get dirty when they are out and about. Springers require a great deal of exercise and must be trained well to prevent them from becoming overly dominant. They are not suited to first time owners or to households where they would be left home alone. Springers need active owners who can take them for long walks and who don’t mind them getting grubby. These dogs are best suited to life in the countryside where they can adventure in the great outdoors.