The English Springer Spaniel dog breed was developed as a gun dog to flush, or spring, game in the field, but he’s also a popular companion. Athletic and versatile, he’s been known to participate in agility, hunt tests, tracking, obedience trials and more, and he’s a great pal to have along when you go hiking or camping.
The English Springer Spaniel, named for the way he "springs" at game to flush it for the hunter, has long been a favorite with sportsmen, but this lively, beautiful dog also makes a wonderful family companion. if he receives the training and exercise he needs.
English Springer Spaniels are smart and eager to please, not to mention enthusiastic. They are happy dogs and seem to have a good sense of humor. They usually do well with children if they are brought up with them from puppyhood and are affectionate toward their families. They also are generally good with other pets in the household, even small ones, but might see pet birds as prey since those are what they're bred to hunt.
Because they're hunting dogs, English Springer Spaniels , keep them on leash in unfenced areas or they may decide to go hunting on their own. Because they are such good athletes, many non-hunting owners participate in activities such as obedience, agility,flyball and tracking with their English Springer Spaniels. They also make great therapy dogs, bringing smiles to people in hospitals and nursing homes.
English Springer Spaniels will bark if strangers come to your house, but if you're looking for a guard dog, keep looking. They are loving, gentle dogs who expect even strangers to give them attention.
Because of their affectionate nature, they aren't a one-person dog. They are very people oriented, and shouldn't be left home alone or isolated from people for long periods.
English Springers are medium-size dogs with the typical gentle spaniel expression and drop ears. Their compact body is protected by a dense, medium-length coat adorned with feathering, a longer fringe of hair, on the ears, chest, legs, and belly. The wag of the docked tail can only be described as merry. Their bodies are a little longer than they are tall. That's because a dog can tire easily when his body is too long — highly undesirable for a hardworking sporting dog!
If you were to put two English Springer Spaniels next to each other, they might look very different. That's because in many sporting (hunting) breeds, some dogs are bred to work in the field, while others are bred primarily to be show dogs. Eventually, they become two very different types, and that's what has happened with English Springer Spaniels. Why are we telling you this? Read on and we'll explain.
The gene pools of field and show dogs have been almost completely segregated for about 70 years. Field Springer Spaniels are athletes and they look the part. They usually have shorter coats, their noses are pointier, and their ears are not as long. Field Springers are bred for hunting ability, sence of smell, and train ability.
Show Spring Spaniels have longer hair, a squarer muzzle, and longer ears. They're prized for their good looks and showmanship. (A prime example of this type is James — more formally known as Ch. Felicity's Diamond Jim — who won Best in Show at Westminster in 2007.) Show dogs can hunt, but they're too slow and methodical to do well in field trials, which is where field-bred Springers shine.
The differences affect you when you're choosing a puppy. Both types need lots of exercise, but if you want a companion, a field-bred Springer may have more energy than you need or want. Look for a puppy from show lines. If you want a Springer who will be competitive in field trials, just the opposite is true.
Dog Breed Group:Sporting Dogs
Life span: 12 – 14 years
Temperament: Affectionate, Cheerful, Alert, Intelligent, Active, Attentive
Weight: Female: 40–50 lbs (18–23 kg), Male: 45–55 lbs (20–25 kg)
Colors: Liver & White, Black & White, Orange & White, Tri-color, Lemon & White, Red & White
Height: Female: 18–20 inches (46–51 cm), Male: 19–22 inches (48–56 cm)
The typical Springer is friendly, eager to please, quick to learn, and willing to obey. He should never be aggressive or timid. In recent years there have been reports of aggression or excessive timidity in the breed, as well as excessive separation anxiety. These traits aren't desirable and could be an indication of poor breeding. As with any breed of dog, it's important to research breeders and find ones who test their breeding stock not only for genetic diseases but also temperament.
Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who's beating up his littermates or the one who's hiding in the corner. Always meet at least one of the parents — usually the mother is the one who's available — to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you're comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.
Springers need early socialization, and training. Like any dog, they can become timid if they are not properly socialized — exposed to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Early socialization helps ensure that your Springer puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
English Springer Spaniels have a double coat, which means that they have an insulating undercoat that's covered with a topcoat, in much the same way that you might layer a sweater and a coat for warmth. Their medium-length topcoat is flat or wavy, and the undercoat is short, soft, and dense. Together, they're waterproof, weatherproof, and thornproof. They have a fringe of feathering on the ears, chest, legs and belly. A healthy Springer coat is clean and shiny.
English Springer Spaniels come in several color combinations. Perhaps best known are the Springers with black or liver (deep reddish-brown) with white markings or primarily white with black or liver markings. Some are blue or liver roan. Blue is a dilution of the black coat, and roan describes a fine mixture of colored hairs with white hairs.
Tri-color Springers are black and white or liver and white with tan markings, usually on the eyebrows, cheeks, inside of the ears, and beneath the tail. Sometimes the white parts of the coat are flecked with ticking, small, isolated areas of black hairs. Springers bred for the show ring usually have more color than white, whereas field Springers tend to have more white so hunters can see them easily in the field.
brush your Springer at least three times a week to keep him looking his best and to avoid mats, or tangles. Springers shed moderately all year long, and regular brushing will also help keep loose hair off your clothes and furniture.
You may also want to trim around the head, neck, ears, tail, and feet, just to give your Springer a neater appearance. Many English Springer Spaniel owners take their dogs to a professional groomer every two to three months for trimming.
Because his floppy ears block air circulation, they must be checked and cleaned weekly to prevent ear infections. Gently wipe out the ear — only the part you can see! — with a cotton ball moistened with a cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian. Never stick cotton swabs or anything else into the ear canal or you might damage it. Your Springer may have an ear infection if the inside of the ear smells bad, looks red or seems tender, or he frequently shakes his head or scratches at his ear.