The Spaniels are among the most long-established and recognized dog breeds in the Western world. Their history as hunting dogs goes back to the 1500s, when both Springer and Cocker Spaniels could be born within the same litter. The more agile Springers were used to flush game birds from the underbrush for the hunters to shoot, while the Cockers would retrieve small game birds like quail or woodcock.
Over time, breeding resulted in the Springer and Cocker Spaniels to be recognized separately. The Springer Spaniel was given official breed status by the English Kennel Club in 1902 and by the American Kennel Club in 1910. The breed currently ranks as the 26th most popular dog breed in the US.
Physical Characteristics of the English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniels are medium-sized dogs ranging in weight from 40 to 55 lbs., with males being slightly larger than females. Field dogs and show dogs differ in appearance and agility—field dogs possess a coarser coat, shorter hair, and lighter bone structure, while the show dogs are heavier, have longer hair, and often have docked tails. The breed is known for is feathered coat and long ears. Colors range from caramel brown to black with white (frequently the chest, shoulders, legs, or paws are white).
English Springer Spaniel’s Personality
English Springer Spaniels are friendly, gregarious, and eager to please. They are quick learners and are known to be easy to train. They are great family dogs and do well both with children and other dogs—though they may not do as well with cats. English Springers enjoy lots of human contact and tend to get bored (and can sometimes be destructive) if left alone for extended periods.
Grooming Your English Springer Spaniel
Springers have a double coat, with an insulating undercoat and medium-length topcoat that may be flat or wavy. The coat is waterproof, insulating against cold, and helps protect the dog from sharp underbrush while hunting. Regular brushing and grooming (at least weekly) is ideal to remove shed hair and keep the Springer’s coat healthy.
Fortunately, they love water so bathing isn’t a problem. The breed’s long ears give Springers a tendency to develop ear infections, so you’ll have to check remove any mats where bacteria can breed. Also, the breed’s leg “feathers” are magnets for mud, and many owners choose to keep them trimmed for this reason.
English Springer Spaniel Health Facts
There are some known genetic health conditions that may develop in Springers. Those conditions include epilepsy, heart disease, anemia, and eye problems—specifically glaucoma and cataracts. They may also develop a genetic condition known as Phosphofructokinase (PFK) deficiency. Without the PFK enzyme, after expending energy, Springers may become lethargic and experience muscle cramps, anemia, and dark colored urine. There is a DNA test that can be performed to identify the condition.
Fun Facts About the English Springer Spaniel
- Springers have been used for bomb detection and mountain rescue.
- They love to run and play, so they make great companions for hikers and sportsmen.
- Springers typically live for about 12 to 14 years.
- They are active, social, and highly intelligent.
- Springers love water and are great with kids.
- A Springer Spaniel was aboard the Mayflower.
- Celebrity Springer Spaniel owners include Duchess Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, former President George W. Bush, actress Tilda Swinton, and journalist Anderson Cooper
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.
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