Originally bred to be a gun dog for hunting, the English Springer Spaniel is an athletic and rather versatile breed that has evolved to become a loving companion.
The English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized breed that excels in many activities such as agility tests, tracking, obedience trials, hunting, and much more. They have plenty of energy and enjoy spending their days with their owners, going on hikes, or camping.
When they are not running around outside and trying to catch little pests in the backyard, these dogs love to cuddle up with you on the couch. Let's take a closer look at the English Springer Spaniel, its physical characteristics, personality, breed history, and much more!
English Springer Spaniel Characteristics [Physical]
The English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized dog from the sporting group. This dog breed is physically compact yet powerful, making them excellent in plenty of dog sports, hunting, and other events. The overall structure of this dog prepares them for agility and endurance.
The head of this breed is an impressive size without being too heavy. There is an overall balance between strength and refinement with the English Springer Spaniel. The length of the head is about the same length as the neck and blends seamlessly into the body. The eyes of this breed are oval and medium-sized with an alert and kind expression.
The ears are long and relatively wide. They hang close to the cheeks and do not stand up or out. The correct ear set is level with the eye and not too far back on the skull. The muzzle is about the same length as the skull and lies approximately parallel with the top-line of the skull.
The overall body is strong and compact. The chest is deep and reaches the level of the elbows. It is not too wide or round, providing plenty of range of movement for the front legs. The legs are muscular and provide plenty of range of motion for speed and agility. The tail is set horizontally or slightly above and is characteristically lively and merry.
English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed Size
The English Springer Spaniel dog breed is a medium-sized dog. Generally, males are 20 inches high at the shoulder, and female dogs are about 19 inches tall. Their bodies are well-built for plenty of agility and strength. The male English Springer Spaniel will weigh about 50 pounds, and the female will be approximately 40 pounds.
English Springer Spaniel Personality
English Springer Spaniels are friendly and always eager to please their owners. They enjoy learning new skills and tricks, and they are extremely obedient when it comes to training. It is a rare occurrence if an English Springer Spaniel is timid or aggressive.
Although each dog is unique and has its own personality, traits like timidness or aggression are not desirable and can be a sign of poor breeding. It is important to research breeders before committing to a certain dog to ensure they are well-tempered.
English Springer Spaniels are very curious and playful when they are puppies. When they are young, it is important to expose their Spaniel to socialization and training. This is important so they can be familiar with new people, other dogs and avoid showing signs of aggression towards strangers. Training at a young age is crucial to ensure that your Spaniel is well-behaved as an adult dog.
English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed Exercise
The English Springer Spaniel is a versatile breed that can find enjoyment in both indoor and outdoor activities. They are excellent companions on long walks or hikes, but they are no stranger to relaxing with you on the couch after a long day. Of course, having some exercise routine is important to maintain your Springer Spaniel's health. Without exercise, your Springer Spaniel may experience weight issues which can lead to other serious health problems.
With that being said, English Springers can live in either a small house or apartment due to their compact size. They will have plenty of space to roam around and feel free. They do not require excessive exercise, but they do enjoy play sessions of catch and tug-of-war. This same breed is also equipped to participate in dog sports and other activities such as obedience training, tracking, agility, rally, and more.
English Springer Spaniel Training
English Springers are a highly intelligent and obedient breed that enjoy pleasing their owners. They have a moderate amount of energy and are excellent at learning new skills and tricks. It is always best to begin training early to ensure that your English Springer Spaniel grows up to be well-behaved and calm.
Early socialization is crucial for English Springer Spaniels because this breed can be timid or aggressive towards strangers and other dogs if not exposed to new people. Providing opportunities to greet guests when they visit or bringing your dog to a park to meet other pets can help hinder these undesired behaviors.
Typically, the English Springer Spaniel is prone to separation anxiety when you leave them alone for too long. One way to combat this behavior is by using crate training. This helps by training your Spaniel to get used to being confined for a period of time. Another way to avoid separation anxiety is by providing your Spaniel with another dog or pet as a companion to feel less lonely when you're away.
English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed History
The English Springer Spaniel has an extensive history that goes back centuries ago, originating in Spain. The earliest mention of the Spaniel breed was in Welsh law as early as 300 A.D. The Spaniel breed that looks similar to the ones we know today was first depicted in 16th and 17th-century artwork. Early on, hunters used English Springers for flushing game birds and other small animals by springing at them and hunting them down. By the 17th century, when firearms were invented, this breed was especially useful in flushing game for shooters.
By 1913, this breed was imported by a Canadian breeder to America. And a little more than ten years later, the English Springer Spaniel became one of the most popular breeds registered by the American Kennel Club. The breed was popular because of its competitive nature in field trials and other dog sports. Throughout the 1940s, breeders began developing new qualities for the English Springer Spaniel that had the "flash" factor in winning a show ring. These breeds were developed for winning competitions, while the original English Springer Spaniel was bred for its hunting abilities, endurance, and agility.
Common Health Problems Found in the English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniels are an overall healthy breed and have a life expectancy of about 12 to 14 years, but a few potential health problems may occur. Although not all English Springer Spaniels will experience these issues, it is important to be aware of these issues to know how to spot any symptoms.
Hip Dysplasia is a condition most common in larger dog breeds but is also possible with smaller breeds such as English Springer Spaniels. It occurs when the thighbone does not fit correctly into the hip joint. This can lead to extreme pain and potential lameness in a certain leg.
The cause of hip dysplasia is genetic, so it is important to see any medical records before adopting an English Springer Spaniel puppy. Although this condition is hereditary, it can also be influenced by environmental factors such as an injury or poor diet. There are a few potential ways to treat a dog with hip dysplasia, such as medication, exercise restriction, and in extreme cases, surgery.
Retinal Dysplasia is a condition where there is a malformation of the dog's retina. This condition can lead to a reduction in vision, but it is not typically painful. Like hip dysplasia, retinal dysplasia is genetically passed down. So it is always important to look at any puppy's medical records to ensure they are clear of these health concerns.
Although there is no current treatment for this condition, there are ways in which you can adjust your pet's lifestyle by setting barriers around the house so they do not bump into certain things. You can use verbal commands and other supportive methods when their vision is slightly impaired.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is a condition that affects the layers of the retina. PRA progressively and eventually leads to blindness. With English Springer Spaniels, this condition may arise between 2 and 6 years of age.
Although PRA is considered a rare condition, it is still possible and should be checked whenever possible. Like retinal dysplasia, PRA is not a painful condition, but it can affect the overall lifestyle of your English Springer Spaniel. There is also no treatment for this condition, but there are ways you can adjust their lifestyle so they can be comfortable and happy.
English Springer Spaniels are prone to ear infections because of their large, floppy ears. The best way to prevent ear infections is by keeping your Spaniel's ears clean and dry. Some symptoms your dog may have an ear infection is if you see them scratching at the infected ear, head shaking, odor, itchiness, and pain. It is best to check with your veterinarian for the best ear cleaning products or medication to treat an ear infection.
Phosphofructokinase (PFK) Deficiency
PFK is an important enzyme that the body needs to produce energy from sugar. There are instances when an English Springer Spaniel's PFK count is low, resulting in a PFK deficiency. Some symptoms you may see if your dog has this condition are lethargy, blood in urine, fever, and muscle wasting. You can visit your vet to test your dog's PFK levels through a blood sample. It is then that your vet may stabilize and rehydrate your dog to bring their PFK enzymes back up.
How to Care for an English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniels are very adaptable and versatile to many living situations. Because of their compact size, they do well in both small homes and apartment living. As long as you set time aside during the day to make sure they are doing some physical activity such as walking or playing, they should be content.
English Springer Spaniels are innate hunters and enjoy outdoor activities, but they also are very affectionate and enjoy cuddling up with you on the couch. When they are outdoors, they are avid diggers, so it is best to watch them when they are playing in the yard.
Like other dogs, English Springer Spaniels are prone to separation anxiety when left alone for too long. Crate training can be a way to combat this behavior or find another companion for your Springer Spaniel to bond with. Overall, English Springer Spaniels are easy to care for and are rewarding pets to bond with.
Nutrition and Feeding for an English Springer Spaniel
Nutrition and a specific feeding schedule are important aspects of an English Springer Spaniel's health and well-being. The recommended amount of food for a Springer Spaniel is between 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
Leaving your dog's food out all day can result in them snacking throughout the day, leading to weight gain. If your dog continues to gain weight, it may experience other health conditions such as obesity or bloat, which can be severe. It is also important to keep dog treats to a minimum.
Generally, a dog's diet depends on its size, age, metabolism, and activity level. The English Springer Spaniel is a moderately active dog and only needs two small meals a day. It is also a good idea to check in with your vet to determine the best diet for your dog.
Coat Color And Grooming
The English Springer Spaniel has a double coat meaning that the undercoat is for insulation and keeping the dog warm while the topcoat is used as a protection layer. They have a medium-length topcoat which can either be flat or wavy. The undercoat is short, soft, and dense. Both coats work together to provide overall weatherproof for your dog.
English Springer Spaniels have a clean and shiny coat that comes in several color combinations. The most common combination is a black or liver (deep reddish-brown) with white markings or the opposite with black or liver markings. Some Springer Spaniels are a blue (dilution of a black coat) or a liver roan (fine mixture of colored hairs with white hairs).
There are also Spaniels that are tri-colored with black and white or liver and white with tan markings. This coloring is usually on the eyebrows, cheeks, inside the ears, and under the tail. The typical Springer Spaniel bred for shows have more color than white in their coat, while field Spaniels are more white, so hunters can easily spot them in the field.
Keeping your Spaniel's hair clean and healthy is important as you should brush their coat about three times a week. Brushing will help avoid mats and tangles from forming. Generally, Springer Spaniels shed all year long, so regular brushing can help pick up any loose hairs accumulating on your furniture or clothes.
English Springer Spaniels are prone to ear infections, so it is crucial to regularly check for any blockage or signs of infection. To clean their ears, gently wipe the inside with a moist cotton ball with a cleaning solution. Avoid using cotton swabs or anything that can damage your pup's ears.
Another crucial part of your dog's grooming is brushing their teeth. Brush your Spaniel's teeth about two or three times a week to remove any tartar buildup and to keep their breath smelling fresh. Finally, keeping your dog's nails trim is also important, so you don't have to constantly hear them clacking around the house on the floor. Having trimmed nails also ensures that they do not get ingrown nails or scratch up your legs or furniture.
Children and Other Pets
English Springer Spaniels are wonderful with children. They are extremely playful and are not overbearing with small children. If they are brought up with children from puppyhood, they will fit in perfectly with the family.
To ensure they get along with each other, it is best to teach children how to interact with dogs. Sometimes children can be too rough or may annoy the dog in some way, so it is important to teach them how to respectfully approach and play with a dog to avoid aggressive behavior. As far as other dogs, Springer Spaniels are well-behaved with them in the household. Although they might see pet birds as prey, they are fine with other dogs, even smaller ones.
English Springer Spaniel Dog Rescue Groups
If you are ready to bring home the friendly and loving English Springer Spaniel, there are a handful of rescue groups to help you find the perfect dog for you.
The English Springer Rescue America is an organization dedicated to rescuing the English Springer Spaniel and finding the perfect home for them. With over 20 years of experience, the ESRA is a trustworthy and exceptional rescue group to support.
Another reliable organization to adopt is the Springer Spaniel Rescue Inc. The SSRI is dedicated to finding forever homes for the beloved English Springer Spaniel, no matter their life stage. Whether they have been through life-altering events, are older, or their original owners can longer care for them, any Springer Spaniel is welcomed at the SSRI.
English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed Organizations
There are a few breed organizations dedicated to keeping the English Springer Spaniel breed alive and well. The first one is the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association. The ESSFTA is comprised of dedicated individuals who love the English Springer Spaniel breed. There is plenty of information on their website regarding the breed, different events, and how to become a member.
The American Kennel Club recognizes the ESSFTA as the only sanctioned organization to the English Springer Spaniel breed. Specifically, this distinct breed organization is focused on preserving the fieldwork of the Springer Spaniel.
The other organization for this breed is the Eastern English Springer Spaniel Club. The EESSC is devoted to the well-being and interest of the English Springer Spaniel. This club prides itself on being a network to help share information about this breed to those who appreciate it. The members of the EESSC participate in many competitions such as obedience, agility, rally, hunting, and tracking.
More About the English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed
The English Springer Spaniel is an incredibly popular dog, ranking 26th among all the breeds registered with the American Kennel Club. These dogs are excellent sniffer dogs that have worked throughout police, military, and civilian rescue operations. There were two English Springer Spaniels, Buster, and Theo, who helped detect bombs in the Middle East. They were both awarded the Dickin Medal for "Conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving in military conflict."
There have also been a few notable English Springer Spaniels on television, such as Merlin, in the 1995 film Braveheart. Merlin was William Wallace's companion as he rode off to the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.
Another notable Springer Spaniel includes the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush's dog, Millie. Millie was so famous that she was featured in television episodes of Murphy Brown and The Simpsons. One of Millie's offspring continued to reign in the White House with George W. Bush. Spot Fetcher was the 43rd President's first pet for the first four years of his administration. This made Millie the first dog to serve time in the White House under two non-consecutive terms.