The English Springer Spaniel may be lesser known than their popular cousin, the Cocker Spaniel. However, these dogs share many characteristics, and a close ancestor, with their higher-profile counterparts.
These dogs are great pets and still brilliant in the field. Adaptable and charming, they can be a good fit for many types of families. Read on to learn more about the English Springer Spaniel.
Description of the English Springer Spaniel
These dogs were bred to hunt. They were developed to accompany gunmen in order to track birds and alert their companions. Although they were bred out from the Cocker Spaniel, both breeds are quite similar for owners without specific hunting knowledge.
They are quite beautiful, with gentle eyes and flowing ears. Their coats are soft and silky, quite the treat to pet on a lazy afternoon. It comes in many colors including black and white, liver and white, liver and tan, and a tricolor.
Life Expectancy and Size
Most English Springer Spaniels live relatively healthy lives, and can be expected to reach 12 to 14 years old.
This breed is medium in size, typical of a spaniel. They stand 19 to 20 inches at the shoulder, and weigh 40 to 50 pounds.
This breed is a surprisingly good watchdog. Although he is generally friendly with strangers and quite steady, he may delight in pointing out new sights and sounds. The English Springer doesn’t have much interest in guarding, though. He is simply too friendly and sweet!
The English Springer Spaniel is a capable learner with a willingness to learn. However, these dogs can be distractible. For the best chance at keeping their attention, make sure to approach training sessions with joy. Maintain a fun, breezy attitude and change things up regularly.
It is important to never lose your cool. The English Springer will become sad if you become angry. Always be kind with these dogs, and make sure that you don’t resort to harsh words. A positive, rewards-based training plan is the best way to go with these dogs.
As sporting dogs, these spaniels do need plenty of exercise and should not simply be apartment dwellers. However, they are very adaptable and show some variation in energy between individuals.
Most English Springers will take exercise whenever they can get it, but they won’t become hyperactive without it. This dog does love to join in on family activities, though. They will become quite sad if they feel like they’re being left out!
What Living with an English Springer Spaniel is Like
The English Springer Spaniel is an enjoyable companion, especially for families. They are loving, calm, and have moderate exercise needs that should fall in line with most active owners. These dogs are also hard workers if you have a job for them to do.
This breed is usually polite with strangers and new dogs, if a bit reserved. If carefully introduced, they should be fine with children and other pets. However, some lines show surprising levels of aggression. Be sure to take socialization seriously and work with a reputable breeder to avoid any issues.
This breed has a relatively long life expectancy and no major health issues.
Care of the English Springer Spaniel
These spaniels have moderate exercise and grooming needs that is manageable for most families.
This breed was specifically built to hunt in Britain’s harsh environments. They are outdoorsy dogs, and are able to withstand most temperatures.
This social dog should be able to get most of his exercise by playing with the family. However, they also enjoy walks and outings. Of course, the English Springer is a capable hunter, and would be happy to join his owners in the field.
This breed loves to be outdoors, and might be your perfect hiking companion!
Shedding and Grooming
These dogs have a lovely coat that is very soft to the touch. It should be brushed at least once a week to avoid tangles. It’s not normally clipped, but is often trimmed in problem areas. For instance, long hair on the pads of the feet can cause the dogs to slip while excess hair around the eyes can be an irritant.
Expect some shedding, although it is usually not excessive.
Ideal Home Environment
Ideally, the English Springer Spaniel will find an active family that wants a steady companion. These dogs do fine with well-behaved children. In fact, they are quite sturdy, so they’re a good choice for a family pet.
Do be aware of the instability and aggression in some lines. This should not be an issue with a reputable breeder.
These outdoorsy dogs have moderate exercise needs, but do enjoy their time outside. They should have access to a green space, or at least places to go for long and varied walks. These dogs can be barkers, so it’s important that they don’t bother the neighbors too much. Many dogs are much more vocal.
These spaniels are hardy and healthy for the most part. They may have hip and eye trouble, especially as they age. Their floppy ears can also be probe to infection. Make sure to clean and check the English Springer Spaniel’s ears regularly to avoid infection.
Remember that the English Springer will only get along with other people and dogs if you teach them to. Begin socialization early to avoid any issues. These dogs are not prone to aggression when bred and raised in a responsible manner.
Generally, these dogs love their people and hate being separated from them. They may have some anxiety when left alone too long.
Finally, the English Springer has a lot of hair and is sometimes oblivious. Put these things together, and you can get a very messy dog!