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Welsh springer spaniel lying on grass

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Sporting group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height — 17-18 inches (female), 18-19 inches (male)
  • Weight — 35-50 pounds (female), 40-55 pounds (male)
  • Coat length & texture — Medium-length, silky and naturally straight double coat
  • Coat color — Rich red and white in many patterns with possible red freckles on white areas
  • Exercise needs — High
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Life span — 12-15 years
  • Temperament — Affectionate, stubborn and energetic
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — Wales, United Kingdom

Welsh springer spaniel fun facts 

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Welsh Springer Spaniels Scout and Banjo. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Welsh Springer Spaniels love Alice and Lucy equally.

  • Welsh springers were bred with a specific purpose. The muscular, agile Welsh springer spaniel was originally bred to find game that liked to hide under cover — such as pheasants, rabbits, and partridges — and was trained to throw the animal toward a hunter’s net or where a hunter’s falcon might catch it.
  • Their origin is something of a mystery. The exact origin of the Welsh springer spaniel is unknown, but the ancient breed is believed to descend from the original land spaniels of Wales before they were crossed with other hunting spaniel breeds during the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Welsh springer spaniels have special waterproof coats. According to the American Kennel Club, their unique red and white coat is known to be waterproof, weatherproof, and thornproof, which helps the breed survive on a variety of terrains.
Welsh springer spaniel smelling flowers

Welsh springer spaniel temperament and characteristics 

Known to be rather affectionate and friendly “velcro” dogs, Welsh springer spaniels make great additions to a cuddly home with gentle, young children and other dogs or pets, but early socialization and exposure is key to a harmonious home for this ancient hunting breed. These pups can also be quite reserved with strangers; socialization and training can help a seemingly timid dog gain confidence.

The ideal home for a Welsh springer doesn’t necessarily require a large, fenced-in backyard; a small house or apartment will do just fine if you’re able to provide ample exercise and willing to take Fido on lots of outdoor adventures. These pups love their outside time!

Though Welsh springers don’t mind a little alone time, it’s important to know that they get incredibly attached to their people and are especially prone to separation anxiety when left alone for too long.

Common Welsh springer spaniel health problems

Welsh springer spaniels are generally healthy and resilient, but these dogs are still prone to certain genetic conditions. Knowing what you might expect with your pup can help you address and treat any medical conditions early on.

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia. Dysplasia is a chronic condition that occurs when joints — the hip or elbow joints in particular — develop improperly in growing dogs. Dogs with either condition are also more prone to developing osteoarthritis in the area.
  • Thyroid disease. Welsh springer spaniels are predisposed to autoimmune thyroiditis, a type of thyroid disease that occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. ​​
  • Eye disease. Welsh springers are prone to a type of glaucoma , which occurs when the fluid pressure inside a dog’s eye  becomes too high. Primary glaucoma is inherited and affects breeds like spaniels; secondary glaucoma is typically a result of injury or disease.
  • Epilepsy. Epilepsy,  the most common neurological disorder in dogs, is characterized by recurrent seizures that typically last between a few seconds to a few minutes. Though epilepsy itself is considered untreatable, the brain disorder can be managed with medication.

Cost of caring for Welsh springer spaniel

Diagnosis and treatment for common health conditions specific to the Welsh springer spaniel vary between $3,500 per hip to $7,000 for hip dysplasia, $1,500 to $4,000 per elbow for elbow dysplasia, approximately $20 to $50 monthly for thyroid disorder medication, $500 to $5,000 a year for epilepsy treatment and management, and $1,600 (one eye) to $2,000 (both eyes) for potential glaucoma treatment.

Pet health insurance, which is most beneficial to pet owners who sign up their pets early, is one way to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. You may also want to create a pet budget and set up a pet savings account to keep your finances on track.

History of the Welsh springer spaniel

The history of the medium-sized Welsh springer spaniel, which is quite mysterious, is believed to date back as far as 7,000 B.C., when the breed’s supposed ancestors — land spaniels known as Agassian hunting dogs, accompanied hunters along the coasts of Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that breeders identified dogs with red and white physical characteristics similar to that of the modern-day Welsh springer spaniel.

Welsh springers, often referred to as the Land Spaniel, Welsh cocker spaniel, Welsh spaniel or the Welsh Starter, were bred to hunt small game using falcons. When hunting pheasants, rabbits, partridges and other small prey that like to hide under cover, Welsh springer spaniels were trained to find, catch and throw their game toward a hunter’s net or up in the air for a hunter’s falcon to catch.

Welsh springers were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1906.

Welsh springer spaniels: part of a bigger family tree

Welsh springer spaniels, like many other spaniels, are believed to descend from the same original land spaniels that once found their way to Wales during the Dark Ages. Though their exact history remains shrouded in mystery, researchers believe spaniels go back to at least the 14th century , whereas others note origins dating back even earlier to 7,000 B.C.

Spaniels are considered “gun dogs,” hunting companions specifically bred to find, flush and fetch small game out of denser brush. They often share some physical features, such as their medium size, wavy fur and droopy ears.

Today, the American Kennel Club recognizes 15 specific spaniel breeds, including the Welsh springer spaniel, American cocker spaniel, Cavalier King Charles spaniel and the English springer spaniel.

Welsh springer spaniel running on leash

Caring for your Welsh 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. And while no one likes to think about losing their new dog, FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tag, so you’re prepared just in case.

Besides the basics of feeding and medical care, there are a few other things to keep in mind to be the best and most responsible dog owner you can be with your Welsh springer spaniel.


The highly intelligent and high-energy Welsh springer spaniel needs adequate exercise and especially loves long walks, romping around in a fenced-in yard, and outdoor activities like hiking and swimming. Avoid boredom-related destructive behavior by ensuring your pup is well-exercised, mentally stimulated, and not left alone for too long.

Focus on early socialization. Welsh springer spaniels are gentle and friendly dogs, but they have a stubborn streak. These dogs, like most breeds, will greatly benefit from early training and socialization. Early exposure is key to avoiding overexcitement or aloofness with strangers, visitors, young children, and other pets. Remember to prioritize positive, reward-based reinforcement when training and consider agility-based training with this muscular pup.

Welsh springer spaniel puppy


Though Welsh spaniels don’t shed much, regular grooming and trimming can help prevent matting and keep your pup looking sharp. The breed does need some extra attention in the spring and fall. Aim to brush your dog’s coat weekly, especially during those heavy-shedding seasons. Keeping up a regular grooming routine can help keep your pup looking good and avoid issues like matting down the line.

Don’t skimp on regular brushing — Brush and trim your Welsh springer spaniel at least weekly (or more often during shedding season) to keep Fido free of tangles, mats and overgrowth. You’ll also want to get your pup comfortable being touched early on to avoid behavioral problems during routine grooming sessions, whether that’s with a professional groomer or at home.

Bathe as needed — A general rule of thumb for bathing your dog is to stick to a routine at least every couple of months, unless of course your pup’s been romping around in the muck and the mud. Be sure to massage a dog-friendly shampoo and conditioner — preferably products that are soap-free and hypoallergenic — onto your Welsh springer spaniel’s silky locks using lukewarm water and avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. You can follow up with a gentle towel dry and give your pup’s coat a comb-through to slick it down.

Towel dry after bathing — Using heat will actually dry out your dog’s silky coat, so opt for towel-drying, followed by a comb-through to slick down your Welsh springer spaniel’s coat.

Get your puppy used to being touched — As with any dog breed, it’s essential that you get your pup accustomed to being touched and brushed early on, especially when it comes to handling feet, mouth, nails and ears. Positive reinforcement is a great tool to incorporate in training.

Don’t neglect other essential grooming regimens, such as ear cleaning and teeth brushing. A complete and comprehensive grooming routine is the best way to keep your dog looking fit and fresh.

Diet and nutrition

Welsh springer spaniels, like many other breeds, may experience obesity and potentially increase their risk of diabetes if overfed. Opt for a high-quality, vet-approved diet to maintain a healthy weight and avoid overfeeding treats, as well as foods and scraps.

🚨Feeding your dog cooked bones or even leftover scraps can lead to serious damage. It doesn’t matter if the bones are boiled, baked, fried, smoked, or steamed — consumption can result in choking and irreversible internal damage.

In general, your Welsh spaniel should eat about 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of high-quality dry dog food each day, depending on the caloric density of their daily diet, as well as their particular size, age, metabolism, and activity level. If your pup gets picky or isn’t getting enough water, you can mix in some canned food or a tasty topper. As always, refer to your pet’s vet for questions related to diet and nutrition, including food portioning.

Training your Welsh springer spaniel

The highly intelligent Welsh springer spaniel may be adaptable and agile, but the breed also has quite a stubborn streak, which can make training a challenge for first-time pet owners. As always, consistency, patience, and early socialization is key.

Because Welsh spaniels were bred to be hunters, chasing small game and birds just comes with the territory. However, early obedience training — including puppy classes — can help teach your spaniel to respect other dogs or cats in the home.

When training your Welsh springer, use their natural skills and love of the outdoors to your advantage with agility training. This strengthens your bond and boosts their confidence and their focus. To avoid injury, be sure to speak with your vet about what kinds of motions — jumping, weaving, and other repetitive acts — to teach your spaniel and at what age. A professional training center can also help your dog navigate agility obstacles while encouraging a positive relationship between you and your pet.

Welsh springer spaniel training

Breeds similar to the Welsh springer spaniel

Not quite sure that a Welsh 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:

  • English springer spaniel. Highly intelligent, friendly, and energetic English springer spaniels are considered stars of the show ring. Similar to Welsh springer spaniels, these dogs were bred for their agility.
  • English cocker spaniel. Another highly intelligent breed, English cocker spaniels enjoy a dip in the water and are beloved for being kid-friendly dogs.
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel. This Toy group dog, known for their irresistible brown eyes, has major royal connections. Cavalier King Charles spaniels also make for great therapy and companion dogs due to their gentle, affectionate nature.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between a Welsh springer spaniel and an English springer spaniel?

Though they have similar names, the Welsh springer spaniel and English springer spaniel are two entirely different breeds and are not varieties of a springer spaniel. Welsh springers tend to be smaller, with ears slightly higher set and its well-known red-and-white coat. English springer spaniels are often a couple of inches taller and their coats may come in a variety of combinations: black or liver with white, blue or liver roan, and tricolor.

Is a Welsh springer spaniel a good family dog?

Though Welsh springer spaniels can have a stubborn streak and may not be ideal for first-time pet owners, with early socialization and training, these affectionate dogs can be great with children and other pets.

Can Welsh springers tolerate extreme temperatures?

With a unique coat with waterproof, thornproof, and weatherproof qualities, the Welsh springer spaniel can adapt to both hot and cold weather.

Can Welsh springers be left alone?

Welsh springer spaniels are especially prone to separation anxiety and destructive behaviors when left alone for too long. It’s not recommended to leave your active pup alone for more than four hours at a time.

Do Welsh springer spaniels need a lot of exercise?

Healthy, active Welsh springer spaniels will need a relatively high dose of exercise every day to keep behavior and anxiety issues at bay. About two hours of daily physical activity is ideal and may include long walks, agility training, fetch, hiking, or other outdoor activities.