- Breed group — Sporting group
- Height — 19-20 inches
- Weight — 40-50 pounds
- Coat length & texture — Medium-length fur with a double coat
- Coat color — This breed’s coat has three color combinations: black and white, liver and white, and either of these with tan, otherwise known as tri-color. The markings recognized by the American Kennel Club are ticked, spotted, and roan.
- Exercise needs — High
- Intelligence — High
- Barking — Loud barking to alert their owners of a visitor or new person.
- Lifespan — 12-14 years
- Temperament — Energetic, friendly, smart, curious
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — England
English springer spaniel fun facts
- An English springer spaniel rode into battle with Braveheart. William Wallace is said to have had a springer spaniel named Merlin MacDonald that was at his side in the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.
- They are great athletes. This breed, specifically the field type, is known for having a long gait or stride when they run. This gives them the speed and agility they need for hunting or field trials.
- Springers are the stars of the show ring. This breed does well under pressure, made obvious by the fact that the third most Best in Show winners at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show have been English springer spaniels.
English springer spaniel temperament and characteristics
An energetic, athletic, and friendly dog, English springer spaniels have made excellent companions to humans over the centuries. These pups were bred for their agility and used primarily as hunting dogs. They are incredibly smart and don’t like being left alone for long periods of time, but they thrive with near-constant human interaction.
If you are considering adding an English springer spaniel to your family with children, it’s important to integrate them as puppies so they can get used to being around kids. This advice also applies to bringing a springer spaniel into a home with other pets. Springers are very friendly, but their energy levels may lead to rough play with other animals. And while they are not known to be guard dogs, English springer spaniels often alert their owners to a knock at the door or a visitor with several loud barks before greeting the new person in a friendly manner.
Common English springer spaniel health problems
In general, English springer spaniels are considered to be a healthy breed with relatively few health concerns. However, there are a few issues potential owners should be aware of.
- Hip dysplasia. A common ailment in larger and older dogs, hip dysplasia occurs when a dog’s femur bone does not fit correctly into the hip socket. The AKC recommends hip evaluations for English springer spaniels to check for this condition.
- Progressive retinal atrophy. This breed can experience eye problems that may lead to poor vision and eventual blindness. Dogs with PRA should not be used for breeding, as it is an inherited disease.
- Skin problems. Active dogs that spend time outdoors can experience skin irritations such as allergies and rashes. Topical treatments or supplements can help combat these issues but always talk to your vet before trying a new product.
- Ear infections. English springer spaniels have long, soft ears that can trap debris, causing infection. Maintaining clean, well-groomed ears can help keep infections at bay.
- Rage syndrome. Otherwise known as sudden onset aggression (SOA), is a serious behavioral problem that affects springer spaniels more than other breeds. Aggression towards other animals and people can be serious, so always talk to your vet if your dog displays worrying behavior.
Cost of caring for an English springer spaniel
Unexpected health concerns can pop up, so English springer spaniel owners may consider investing in health insurance. Pet insurance providers can foot the bill for emergency vet bills and help reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Alternatively, some people use a pet savings account to budget the expenses that come with pet ownership. This provides more freedom when it comes to deciding how much money to set aside each month to cover these expenses.
History of the English springer spaniel
Bred in Great Britain for centuries, the English springer spaniel and the Cocker spaniel used to be the same breed. The two dogs often came from the same litter and were separated out based on their different abilities. Cocker spaniels were skilled at hunting woodcock, while springer spaniels were used to run through the brush and flush out any wildlife and game for hunters.
The two dogs eventually diverged with more intentional breeding practices, and English springer spaniels arrived on the scene in North America in the 1920s. The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association was established in 1924 and continues to uphold the breed standard and oversees official events and competitions.
Today, English springer spaniels are divided into two groups – the bench type and the field type. The bench type is bred to be a show dog, with a longer, fuller coat and a stockier build. This is the breed type recognized by the American Kennel Club. Field-bred springers are designed for hunting and athletic purposes, so they often have shorter fur and a docked tail.
Caring for your English springer spaniel
Caring for a new puppy of any breed can be overwhelming. You’ll need to make your first trip to the vet and schedule your dog’s vaccinations. We can even help you puppy-proof your home and prepare for teething. Because English springer spaniels are naturally curious and fast, they tend to explore far and wide if they are off-leash in open areas. Owners may consider FidoAlert, which provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared just in case your pup wanders too far. Here are some other basics specific to English springer spaniels.
English springer spaniels are high-energy dogs that require a lot of exercises and active time. Whether it’s running, hiking, or playing fetch, this breed will take any opportunity to be outdoors burning calories. Another favorite exercise of the breed is swimming. English springer spaniels love water, and will dive head-first into a lake, pond, or creek given the opportunity!
These dogs need daily outdoor exercise, so keep that in mind when considering an English springer spaniel. They will not thrive if they are cooped up indoors, and may even suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. A home environment with a large yard or nearby park where you can interact and play with your English springer spaniel is ideal.
English springer spaniels have a double coat, which sheds moderately year-round. Owners should brush out their coats at least once a week to keep shedding at bay and consider professional grooming once every 5-6 months. This breed has feathered fur on the legs, chest, and ears, which is longer and requires extra attention. Owners should also pay attention to their dog’s oral health and maintain regular teeth brushing to avoid infection.
Diet and nutrition
It’s important to feed your English springer spaniel high-quality dog food in the correct proportions so they can maintain a healthy weight. Always talk to your vet about how much and how often you should be feeding your pup. Because English springer spaniels are easily trained and respond to positive reinforcement, it may be easy to offer them treats for every positive behavior. But too many treats, along with the rewards of human food, can cause obesity so be careful to not overindulge.
Training your English springer spaniel
English springer spaniels are not only smart and athletic, they thrive with boundaries and rules, making them easily trainable dogs. Should you choose to train your springer, the pros recommend using positive reinforcement to teach new skills and commands. Positive reinforcement works well for this breed since they are intelligent and love to please their owners. Whether it’s training for a field competition, the show ring, or the backyard, English springer spaniels thrive in any situation where their skills are put to the test.
Breeds similar to the English springer spaniel
Not quite sure that an English springer spaniel is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Brittany spaniel. Similar in size and coloring to the English springer spaniel, the Brittany spaniel was also bred as a hunting dog but hails from France rather than England.
- Cocker spaniel. Closely related to the English springer spaniel, Cocker spaniels are known for being playful and fun family dogs. They tend to be smaller in height and weight than springers.
- English setter. Another member of the Sporting group, English setters were also bred to hunt game in England. They tend to be larger than springers and are a much less common breed according to the AKC.
Frequently asked questions
Are English springer spaniels hypoallergenic?
No, this breed sheds moderately year-round and has medium length fur that produces dander.
Do English springer spaniels like water?
Yes, springers are agile swimmers and love to jump in water any chance they get.
Are English springer spaniels good hunting dogs?
Yes, springers were bred for hunting purposes and possess traits that make them excellent trackers such as a keen sense of smell and agility.
Are English springer spaniels hyper?
Springers are a high-energy breed that require daily exercise and activity. If they do not get the exercise they need, they may resort to unwanted behavior such as whining or chewing.
Why are English springer spaniels called springers?
The springer’s name derives from their hunting days when the breed was used to “spring” birds from the brush so hunters could take their shot.