English Springer Spaniel

Type: Gun Dog

Height: 19 - 20 inches. Males are generally 20 inches, while females are generally 19 inches.

Weight: 40 - 53 lbs.

Life Span: 10 - 15 years.

Litter Size: 6 - 10 puppies. Average litter size is 7.

Country of Origin: England

Activity: Indoors - Medium - High. Outdoors - High.

Watch-dog: High

Guard-dog: Low. English Springer Spaniels are generally friendly to all.


Description: The English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized sporting dog with a neat, compact body and an unnaturally docked tail. In countries where docking is illegal, the tail is medium length. They are one of the largest of the Spaniels. Their coat is moderately long and glossy with feathering on their legs, ears, chest and brisket. They are leggy creatures, having the name "Springer" for good reason. They have drop ears that can sometimes get mud and other substances stuck in their dangly locks. Handsome and robust, they excel in the field by flushing out game. They are of even temper and are intelligent. Springers remain loyal to their masters, retrieving the prey with a soft mouth eagerly and faithfully. They are need much exercise, and are hardy workers. Although beautiful in appearance, the Springer Spaniel is no choice for a meticulously clean house; they enjoy a good shake inside the house when they are wet. The Springer is active well into his older years, and is outgoing and entertaining as well. They are enthusiastic and easygoing for adults, but may be too excitable for young children. They are friendly and fun with family and friends. English Springer Spaniels make an excellent family companion as well as a good working dog. They must have human companionship and the freedom to exercise regularly.

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Other Names: Springer, Norfolk Spaniel (up until the 1800s, the breed was known by this name)

Colors: The coat colors may be liver and white, black and white, either variety with or without tan markings. They also come in blue or liver roan. Springer Spaniels often have freckles on their muzzle and legs.

Coat: Close, straight and weather resistant; never coarse. They have good feathering on the underbelly and legs.

Temperament: English Springer Spaniels are willing, active, faithful, and intelligent. They are generally good with other pets and older children. Springer Spaniels are good at working and eager, enthusiastic and fun. They love to be by their humans, and love to exercise. They are energetic, outgoing and friendly. They are generally easygoing in temperament, but may sometimes be foolhardy. They are affectionate with family and have a pleasant personality. An ideal gundog, they are loyal and reliable.

With Children: Yes, with proper socialization. May be too excitable for children.

With Pets: Yes. Good with other pets.

Special Skills: Field sports dog and family pet.

Care and Training: Regular grooming of the English Springer Spaniel coat with a stiff bristle brush. Bathe only when necessary. Occasional trimming of ears and pads of the feet. It is recommended they receive professional grooming once or twice a year. It is important to check for mud that may have gotten lodged in the ears and between the toes, as the ears may be prone to infection. English Springer Spaniels need long daily walks and the opportunity to run and play off leash, as they need a lot of exercise. English Springer Spaniels may be headstrong, but are intelligent, learn easily and have a desire to learn. They are very enthusiastic.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Exercise, grooming and training.

Living Environment: English Springer Spaniels enjoy living in the house with a fenced in backyard. Does not do well in small apartment or with people who live a sedentary life. Although the apartment would not be the best choice, the Springer Spaniel is very adaptable and would do okay if given enough exercise. The best owner for this breed would be someone who is an active family or individual living in the country or suburban environment.

Health Issues: Usually sound and healthy. May have eye abnormalities, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) or ear infections. Other health concerns include enzyme deficiency, PFK (Phosphofructokinase deficiency), hip dysplasia, allergies and possible temperament problems.

History: One of the oldest Spaniels in England save the Clumber Spaniel, they were originally known as the Norfolk Spaniel. Paintings of dogs resembling the Springer go back to the 1600s. They gained the title of "Springer" because of their usefulness in "springing" game for the gun. Springer Spaniels were also commonly used for flushing out game before shotguns were commonly used. Springer Spaniels actually came from exactly the same stock as the Cocker Spaniel, and are still very closely related. In the 1800s the breed was intermixed commonly with the Cocker Spaniel, Welsh Cocker and Field Spaniels. All could be conceived in the same litter, simply naming the bigger ones Springers, medium ones Field, and smaller ones Cockers. It is recorded that a red and white dog named Corrin of Gerwin was registered as a Welsh Cocker, then changed to be registered as a Welsh Springer, whose son initially became an English Springer. Flexibility in breeding was permissible back then, but when confusion began to mount (especially with the saying, "When is a Cocker not a Cocker? ...when it's a Springer!"), the breeds were finally separated and banned inbreeding between them, recognizing the English Springer Spaniel with official status in 1902. By 1900 the name "Springer Spaniel" was the official name instead of Norfolk Spaniel. Sir Thomas Boughey, who is credited with cultivating the modern standard for the breed, was known to have kept records of his English Springers back until 1812. The breed was brought to America around the 1920s, and AKC recognition was given in 1927. The breed standard for America was later rewritten in 1932.

First Registered by the AKC: 1927

AKC Group: Sporting Group

Class: Gundog

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 8), KC(GB), UKC, NZKC