English Springer Spaniel

Table of Contents

english springer spaniel portrait
Introducing the English Springer Spaniel, a dog breed that's equal parts energy, affection, and charisma! These lovable pups are celebrated for their incredible agility, keen intelligence, and eye-catching looks.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The English Springer Spaniel is an ideal companion for active families, outdoor enthusiasts, and those seeking a versatile, trainable dog. With their boundless energy and sociable nature, these dogs thrive in environments that offer ample opportunities for physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEEnglish Springer Spaniel
OTHER NAMESSpringer Spaniel
ORIGINEngland
BREED GROUPSporting Group
BREED SIZEMedium
HEIGHT18-21 inches
WEIGHT40-55 lbs
LIFESPAN12-14 years
LIVING SPACESmall
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSModerate
EXERCISE NEEDSHigh
TRAINABILITYHigh
BARKING TENDENCYModerate
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK26th
english springer spaniel playing in a clover field
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Appearance

The English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized breed, well-balanced and athletic in appearance. They possess a sturdy and compact body, giving them the agility and endurance necessary for their energetic lifestyle.

Males typically stand 19 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder, while females measure slightly smaller at 18 to 20 inches. Their weight usually ranges from 40 to 55 pounds, with males being slightly heavier than females.

The body is characterized by a deep chest, well-sprung ribs, and a strong, slightly arched back, all contributing to their impressive stamina and agility. Their muscular legs enable them to move with grace and speed, while their compact, well-padded feet provide excellent traction on various terrains.

English Springer Spaniels have a moderately long and muscular neck that supports their well-proportioned head. Their broad skull features a defined stop, which is the point where the forehead meets the bridge of the nose. The muzzle is of medium length, and the jaws are strong and capable, with a scissor bite.

This breed’s expressive eyes are medium-sized, oval-shaped, and come in shades of hazel or dark brown, giving them an alert and friendly gaze. The ears are long and pendulous, which are set level with their eyes and covered in wavy, feathered hair.

The English Springer Spaniel’s tail is typically docked, though undocked tails are also accepted. It is carried horizontally or slightly elevated and is adorned with feathering that matches the rest of their coat.

Speaking of their coat, English Springer Spaniels boast a beautiful double-layered coat that is both functional and aesthetic. The outer coat is medium-length, straight or slightly wavy, and lies close to the body. The undercoat is dense and soft, providing insulation and protection from the elements. Feathering adorns their ears, chest, legs, and tail, adding an elegant touch to their appearance.

This coat comes in various color combinations, with the most common being liver and white or black and white, often accompanied by tan markings on the face, legs, and tail.

The English Springer Spaniel’s overall appearance exudes an air of grace and power, reflecting their athletic abilities and friendly disposition. Their expressive eyes, feathered ears, and wagging tail create an endearing look that has won the hearts of dog enthusiasts around the world.

english springer spaniel walking on a road
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Temperament

The English Springer Spaniel is a dog that embodies joy, energy, and an unyielding zest for life. Overflowing with warmth and love, they radiate an infectious enthusiasm that can brighten even the gloomiest of days.

These dogs are like the friendliest person you know, the one who’s always ready with a smile, a wagging tail, and a sparkle in their eyes. They have a unique ability to form deep, meaningful bonds with their families. Their love isn’t just confined to their “pack” either; their outgoing nature extends to just about anyone they meet.

At first glance, their boundless energy might give you the impression of a dog that’s all play and no work. But don’t let that fool you. Beneath that lively exterior lies a highly intelligent mind. English Springer Spaniels are quick learners, always keen to explore and understand the world around them. This makes them incredibly adaptable, able to thrive in a range of environments and situations.

However, what truly sets these dogs apart is their gentle nature. Despite their larger-than-life personality, they have a soft spot that melts at the smallest sign of affection. They enjoy nothing more than cuddling up next to their favorite humans, their soft snores a testament to their contentment.

Their gentleness also extends to their interactions with children and other pets. They’re patient and tolerant, always willing to engage in a game or simply offer a comforting presence. This makes them excellent family pets, able to provide companionship and fun in equal measure.

But remember, English Springer Spaniels are social butterflies. They need interaction and engagement to keep their spirits high. Extended periods of solitude can lead to sadness, so they’re happiest when they’re part of the action, sharing in the day’s adventures.

In essence, owning an English Springer Spaniel is like having a drop of sunshine follow you around. Their cheerful disposition, combined with their intelligence and loving nature, makes them a joy to be around. They have a way of making every day feel like a celebration, their wagging tails a constant reminder of the simple joys of life.

english springer spaniel's face up close
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Ideal Environment

The ideal environment for an English Springer Spaniel caters to their physical, mental, and social needs while ensuring their safety and well-being. This breed thrives in households that offer ample opportunities for exercise, mental stimulation, and interaction with their human companions.

Physical Environment

A home with a securely fenced yard where they can run and play is ideal, although they can also adapt to living in an apartment or smaller space, provided they receive sufficient exercise and outdoor time.

Climate Adaptability

In terms of climate adaptability, the English Springer Spaniel’s double coat provides some protection against both cold and hot weather. However, it is crucial to take specific precautions to keep them comfortable and safe in extreme temperatures.

In colder climates, ensure your dog has access to a warm, draft-free shelter and consider providing a dog coat for added warmth during outdoor activities. Keep an eye out for signs of frostbite or hypothermia, especially during extended periods outdoors.

On the other hand, in hot climates, it is essential to provide your English Springer Spaniel with adequate shade, fresh water, and opportunities to cool off when needed. Avoid exercising them during the hottest parts of the day, and be vigilant for signs of heatstroke or overheating.

Ideal Owner

English Springer Spaniels are well-suited for pet parents who lead active lifestyles and enjoy spending time outdoors. Their high energy levels and athletic abilities make them excellent partners for activities such as jogging, hiking, and swimming.

This breed’s sociable nature means they thrive in environments where they are part of the family and included in daily activities. They typically get along well with children and can be excellent playmates for kids who understand how to interact with dogs responsibly.

Other Pets

English Springer Spaniels are also generally friendly toward other pets, making them suitable for multi-pet households. However, early socialization and proper introductions are essential to ensure harmonious relationships between pets.

english springer spaniel walking on duckboards
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Grooming

Maintaining the English Springer Spaniel’s beautiful coat and overall appearance requires a consistent grooming routine. Proper grooming not only keeps them looking their best but also contributes to their overall health and well-being. This breed has moderate grooming needs, which include coat care, dental hygiene, nail trimming, and ear cleaning.

Coat Care

To keep their coat in optimal condition, regular brushing is essential. Aim to brush your English Springer Spaniel at least two to three times a week using a slicker brush or pin brush, which helps remove loose hair, prevent tangles, and distribute natural oils throughout the fur.

Pay particular attention to the feathered areas, as they are more prone to matting. Detangling spray can be helpful when working through any stubborn knots or mats.

In addition to brushing, the English Springer Spaniel’s coat may require occasional trimming, especially around the ears, feet, and tail, to maintain a neat and tidy appearance.

While some owners opt to do this themselves using grooming shears or electric clippers, others prefer to enlist the help of a professional groomer. Full grooming sessions, including a bath, trim, and brush out, can be scheduled every six to eight weeks, depending on your dog’s coat condition and your personal preferences.

Bathing your English Springer Spaniel should be done as needed, typically every one to three months or when they become dirty or smelly. Use a gentle, dog-specific shampoo to avoid stripping their coat of its natural oils. Ensure you rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue, as leftover shampoo can cause skin irritation.

Dental Care

Dental care is a crucial aspect of your dog’s grooming routine. Regular tooth brushing with canine toothpaste and toothbrush can help prevent plaque buildup, gum disease, and bad breath. Aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least two to three times per week, although daily brushing is ideal. In addition to brushing, dental chews and toys can help maintain your dog’s oral hygiene.

Nail Trimming

Nail care is another essential grooming task for English Springer Spaniels. Overgrown nails can cause discomfort, affect their gait, and potentially lead to injuries. It is advisable to trim your dog’s nails every three to four weeks using a guillotine-style or scissor-style nail clipper designed for dogs.

Be cautious not to cut the quick, the blood vessel inside the nail, as it can be painful and cause bleeding. If you are unsure about trimming your dog’s nails yourself, a professional groomer or veterinarian can assist with this task.

Ear Care

Lastly, the English Springer Spaniel’s long, pendulous ears require regular inspection and cleaning to prevent infections. Check their ears at least once a week for signs of redness, odor, or discharge, which could indicate an issue requiring veterinary attention. To clean your dog’s ears, use a gentle ear-cleaning solution and cotton balls or pads, taking care not to insert anything deep into the ear canal.

english springer spaniel running in a field
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Exercise

The English Springer Spaniel is an energetic and athletic breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. As a working dog with a strong hunting heritage, they have a natural desire for activity and stimulation, making consistent exercise an essential component of their daily routine.

Exercise Amount & Types

Expect to dedicate at least one to two hours per day to exercising your English Springer Spaniel. This can be divided into multiple sessions, incorporating various activities that cater to their instincts and abilities. Long walks, jogging, hiking, swimming, and playing fetch are all excellent ways to keep your dog physically active while also providing mental stimulation.

It is also essential to provide mental stimulation alongside physical exercise. Engaging your dog in training sessions, interactive games, and puzzle toys can help keep their minds sharp and prevent boredom, which can lead to undesirable behaviors.

Dog Sports

In addition to these activities, consider engaging your English Springer Spaniel in more structured forms of exercise, such as dog sports and competitions. Their intelligence, agility, and eagerness to please make them well-suited for disciplines like obedience, agility, flyball, and scent work. Participating in these activities not only helps meet their exercise needs but also strengthens the bond between you and your dog.

Exercise Precautions

When exercising your English Springer Spaniel, remember to take safety precautions, especially in extreme weather conditions. During hot weather, avoid exercising during the warmest parts of the day and ensure your dog has access to fresh water and shade. In colder weather, be mindful of icy surfaces and watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia during extended periods outdoors.

Finally, remember to adjust your dog’s exercise routine as they age or if they develop any health issues. Puppies and senior dogs may have different exercise requirements than their adult counterparts, and it is essential to tailor their activities to their individual needs. Always consult your veterinarian for guidance on appropriate exercise levels for your dog’s unique circumstances.

english springer spaniel playing in the sea
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Training

Training an English Springer Spaniel can be a rewarding experience, as they are known for their intelligence, eagerness to please, and innate desire to work alongside their human companions. These traits make them highly trainable and adaptable to various tasks and disciplines.

Positive Reinforcement

When training your English Springer Spaniel, expect a dog that is generally quick to learn and responsive to positive reinforcement techniques. Using praise, treats, and play as rewards for desired behaviors can help motivate and encourage your dog during training sessions. Consistency and patience are crucial, as these dogs respond best to clear, concise commands and gentle guidance.

Socialization

Socialization is a vital aspect of training for any dog breed, and the English Springer Spaniel is no exception. Exposing your dog to various environments, people, and other animals from a young age can help them develop into well-rounded, confident adults. Puppy socialization classes, visits to dog parks, and neighborhood walks are all excellent ways to provide your dog with diverse experiences and social interactions.

Basic Obedience

Obedience training should begin early in your English Springer Spaniel’s life, starting with basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and heel. As they master these fundamentals, you can progress to more advanced training or even introduce them to dog sports like agility, obedience trials, or scent work. Their natural hunting instincts and keen sense of smell make them particularly well-suited for activities that tap into these abilities.

Additional Training Tips

When training an English Springer Spaniel, it is crucial to keep sessions engaging and fun, as their intelligent minds require mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Incorporating games, puzzles, and new challenges can help maintain their interest and enthusiasm for learning.

It is essential to be aware that some English Springer Spaniels may exhibit stubborn or independent streaks, which could present challenges during training. In such cases, remaining patient, consistent, and persistent is key to overcoming these obstacles and achieving success.

english springer spaniel on a dog agility trial
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Diet & Nutrition 

A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for the overall health and well-being of your English Springer Spaniel. Providing the right food in appropriate quantities can help maintain your dog’s weight, support their energy levels, and promote a healthy coat and skin.

What to Feed & How Much

When selecting a suitable diet for your English Springer Spaniel, consider high-quality dry, wet, or raw food options that follow the guidelines established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

These guidelines ensure that the food contains all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your dog needs for optimal health. When choosing a specific brand or formula, look for one tailored to your dog’s age, size, and activity level.

The amount of food you should feed your English Springer Spaniel depends on their age, weight, and activity level. Generally, adult dogs require around 1.5 to 2 cups of dry food per day, divided into two meals.

Puppies may need smaller, more frequent meals to support their growth and development, while senior dogs may require fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight. Always consult your veterinarian for personalized guidance on the appropriate portion sizes for your individual dog.

It is also crucial to monitor your dog’s weight regularly and adjust their food intake accordingly to prevent obesity, which can contribute to various health issues. Regular exercise, portion control, and routine veterinary check-ups can help ensure your English Springer Spaniel maintains a healthy weight and optimal health.

Treats

Treats can be a useful tool for training and rewarding good behavior, but it is essential to use them in moderation. Overfeeding treats can lead to weight gain and nutritional imbalances. Opt for healthy, low-calorie options such as lean meats, vegetables, or specially-formulated dog treats, and always account for treat intake when calculating your dog’s daily caloric needs.

Water

In addition to providing a balanced diet, ensure that your English Springer Spaniel has access to fresh water at all times. Hydration plays a crucial role in maintaining their overall health and supporting vital bodily functions.

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Health

The English Springer Spaniel is generally a healthy breed, with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. However, like any dog breed, they can be prone to certain health issues. Being aware of these potential concerns and providing proper care can help ensure your dog remains healthy throughout their life.

Some common health issues associated with the English Springer Spaniel include:

Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition in which the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and discomfort. Regular check-ups and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage this condition.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): An inherited eye disorder that causes gradual vision loss and can eventually lead to blindness. Responsible breeding practices and early detection through eye exams can help manage PRA.

Ear Infections: Due to their long, pendulous ears, English Springer Spaniels are more susceptible to ear infections. Regular ear cleaning and monitoring for signs of redness, discharge, or odor can help prevent and address ear infections.

Hypothyroidism: A condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, leading to symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, and skin issues. This condition can be managed with medication and regular veterinary monitoring.

Idiopathic Epilepsy: A neurological disorder causing seizures, which can be managed with medication and close monitoring by a veterinarian.

To keep your English Springer Spaniel healthy, provide them with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs, as recommended by your veterinarian. Regular exercise and portion control can help maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of obesity-related health issues.

Routine veterinary check-ups, typically once or twice a year, are essential for monitoring your dog’s overall health and detecting any potential concerns early on. These visits often include vaccinations, which protect your dog from various diseases and infections.

Following your veterinarian’s recommendations for vaccinations and booster shots can help prevent illness and keep your dog healthy throughout their life.

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History

The English Springer Spaniel is a breed with a rich history that dates back several centuries. This versatile and athletic dog was initially bred for hunting, specifically for finding and flushing game birds such as pheasants, partridges, and ducks. The breed’s name, ‘Springer,’ derives from their ability to spring or flush game from its hiding place, making them invaluable companions for hunters.

The origins of the English Springer Spaniel can be traced back to the 14th century in England, where they were selectively bred from land spaniels.

These early spaniels were grouped based on their size and hunting abilities rather than their appearance, leading to the development of various types of hunting spaniels. By the 17th century, these dogs became more specialized, and the larger Springer Spaniels began to emerge as a distinct breed.

During the 19th century, breeders started to focus on developing standardized appearances and traits, leading to the establishment of separate breeds within the spaniel family. The English Springer Spaniel, as we know it today, was first recognized as a distinct breed in the early 20th century. In 1902, the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom officially recognized the breed and published the first breed standard.

The English Springer Spaniel made its way to the United States in the early 1900s, where it gained popularity as both a working dog and a companion.

The breed was first registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1910, and the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association was founded in 1924 to promote the breed’s working abilities. The first field trial for the breed took place in 1927, demonstrating the English Springer Spaniel’s exceptional skills in retrieving game.

In popular culture, the English Springer Spaniel has been featured in various forms of media, including literature, television, and film.

One notable example is the children’s book series “Flush: A Biography” by Virginia Woolf, which tells the story of a fictional English Springer Spaniel named Flush. Additionally, the breed has made appearances in movies such as “The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep” and the television series “Downton Abbey.”

Over the years, the English Springer Spaniel has earned numerous accolades in dog competitions, particularly in field trials, obedience, and agility. The breed has also been successful in the show ring, with several English Springer Spaniels winning prestigious titles at events like the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and Crufts.

Today, the English Springer Spaniel continues to be a popular choice for hunters and families alike, thanks to their versatility, intelligence, and friendly disposition. While their hunting instincts remain strong, they have also proven themselves to be loving and loyal companions, making them well-suited for various roles, from working dogs to family pets.

Parent Club

The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association (ESSFTA) is the parent club for English Springer Spaniels in the United States. Founded in 1924, the organization is dedicated to promoting the breed’s working abilities, as well as preserving its heritage and encouraging responsible breeding practices.

The ESSFTA provides resources, information, and events for English Springer Spaniel enthusiasts. For more information about the club, its activities, and membership, visit their official webpage.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed.

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the English Springer Spaniel’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

english springer spaniel puppy standing on a bench
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Acquiring

When considering acquiring an English Springer Spaniel, it’s essential to be prepared for the responsibility of caring for a high-energy, intelligent dog. Ensure you have the time and resources to provide consistent exercise, training, and attention.

If you decide to buy a puppy, choose a reputable breeder who follows ethical breeding practices and prioritizes the health and temperament of their dogs.

Alternatively, consider rescuing an English Springer Spaniel in need of a loving home. Both the AKC and the ESSFTA can provide information on rescue organizations and available dogs. Adopting a rescue dog can be a rewarding experience, giving a deserving animal a second chance at a happy life.

FAQs

Are English Springer Spaniels good family dogs?

Yes, English Springer Spaniels make excellent family dogs. They are known for their affectionate, friendly, and gentle nature, making them great companions for families with children. However, it’s essential to teach children how to interact with dogs safely and supervise interactions to ensure both the child and the dog feel comfortable.

Do English Springer Spaniels bark a lot?

English Springer Spaniels may bark occasionally, especially when excited or alerting their owners to potential intruders. However, they are not considered excessive barkers. Proper training and socialization can help manage barking behavior.

Are English Springer Spaniels quiet dogs?

While they are not overly vocal, English Springer Spaniels are not considered a quiet breed due to their high energy levels and enthusiasm. They thrive on physical activity and mental stimulation, which can make them quite active and lively in their daily routines.

Are English Springer Spaniels very smart?

Yes, English Springer Spaniels are highly intelligent dogs. Their innate problem-solving abilities and eagerness to learn make them quick to pick up new commands and excel in various activities, such as obedience, agility, and scent work.

Do English Springer Spaniels require a lot of exercise?

As an energetic and athletic breed, English Springer Spaniels require one to two hours of regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Daily walks, play sessions, and engaging activities like fetch or hiking will help keep them fit and content.

Are English Springer Spaniels easy to train?

English Springer Spaniels are generally easy to train, thanks to their intelligence and desire to please. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise, treats, and play. Consistency, patience, and engaging training sessions are crucial for success.

Do English Springer Spaniels shed a lot?

English Springer Spaniels have a moderate shedding level, which can be managed with regular grooming. Brushing their coat several times a week will help remove loose hair, prevent matting, and maintain a healthy, clean appearance.

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