The English Springer Spaniel is a breed that was originally used as a gun dog to flush out game in a field. Energetic and athletic, these pups are often still found in this profession, but are now more commonly found as companion dogs. While they’ll certainly keep you on your toes with their lively and excitable nature, the English Springer Spaniel is also a loving and affectionate breed that will want to spend their days by your side.
If you’re interested in learning more about the English Springer Spaniel and seeing whether this intelligent breed is for you, keep reading below.
History Of The English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel was named after the way they “spring” at game to flush it for the hunter. Nowadays, you might find that if you put two English Springer Spaniels next to each other, they don’t look alike at all. This is because some dogs are bred to work in the field, while others are bred primarily to be show dogs and over the years this has caused a variation within the breed.
The English Springer Spaniel is a purebred dog that has been recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Today they are ranked at 26 in terms of popularity out of all breeds recognized by the AKC.
It is thought that Spaniel type dogs probably originated in Spain which is where they got their name from. Dogs that look similar to the English Springer Spaniel can be found in artwork from the 16th and 17th centuries. They were originally used to flush out game for hawks to catch before guns were invented and then, when firearms were invented in the 17th centruy, were used to flush out game for hunters to shoot.
In the 19th and 20th century, these Spaniel type dogs were distinguished by their hunting abilities rather than breeds. Smaller dogs that could hunt woodcock were called Cocker Spaniels and larger dogs that could flush out game were called Springers.
The English Springer Spaniel was granted a special place in the English Kennel Club’s Stud Book in 1902. Shortly after, in 1913, the English Springer Spaniel was imported to the United States and less than 10 years later it had become one of the most popular dog breeds registered by the AKC.
The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association was formed in 1924, at a time when gun Springer Spaniels and show Springer Spaniels were still used for both activities. This changed in the early 1940s when breeders began creating dogs that had qualities to either excel in the field or excel as a show dog. These two categories are still seen within English Springer Spaniels today.
Characteristics Of The English Springer Spaniel
As we have mentioned above, the English Springer Spaniel can be either field-bred or show-bred. While they are the same pup, they do have slightly different needs, particularly when it comes to exercise, so it will be up to you to decide which breed of this dog you will want.
The English Springer Spaniel is normally born in litter sizes of between five and six. An English Springer Spaniel puppy can cost between $700 and $1000, but it will depend on the breeder and on the parent dogs.
The English Springer Spaniel is a medium sized dog that normally weighs between 45 and 55 pounds and stands between 18 to 22 inches tall. You will find that field-bred Springers are normally a little bigger than those bred for show.
The Springer has a compact body that is a little longer than it is tall. These dogs are well proportioned and have muscular legs that allow them to run quickly. They have drop ears and a super cute expression, with medium sized eyes that are normally hazel in color. Their tail is normally docked and can usually be found wagging!
The English Springer Spaniel has a medium length coat that is a double coat. The top coat is normally flat or wavy and the undercoat is short, soft, and dense. Their coat helps to keep them warm but is also waterproof, weatherproof and thornproof. There is also normally feathering on the ears, chest, legs and belly.
Unfortunately, these dogs do shed a lot and need regular grooming and clipping. We will go into more detail about grooming the English Springer later.
The Springer Spaniel can come in a range of colors and combinations. The most common colors are black or liver with white markings or white with black or liver markings. Springer Spaniels can also be blue, liver roan or tri-color.
Tri-colored Spaniels are normally black and white or liver and white with tan markings on the eyebrows, cheeks, inside of the ears and beneath the tail. You will find that show-bred Springers usually have more color than white, whereas field Springers tend to have more white so hunters can see them easily in the field.
The Springer Spaniel is an active and friendly breed that loves their owners. They are very people orientated and will benefit from being around humans all the time. This means that they are better suited to a busy home rather than individuals, and also will not tolerate being left alone. They can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long which can lead to destructive behaviors.
English Springer Spaniels were bred to be gun dogs and are therefore very energetic. They like to be outside running around and won’t want to be stuck inside! These dogs can be aloof with strangers when they first meet, but very quickly warm to everyone. For this reason, they don’t make good guard dogs or watchdogs because they will expect strangers to be affectionate with them!
The Springer Spaniel should never be aggressive or timid. They live to please their owners and, combined with their intelligence, this means they are very easy to train. These dogs are enthusiastic and like to be the center of attention, but their love of giving affection also means they will curl up with you at the end of the day for a cuddle.
The English Springer Spaniel dog has a relatively long life expectancy. These dogs can live between 9 and 15 years on average.
Known Health Issues
Springer Spaniels are generally a healthy breed, but, like all dogs, they can be prone to some health problems. We have laid out the main health concerns below.
– Hip Dysplasia — this is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
– Elbow Dysplasia — this is a common condition in medium to large breed dogs. It can be caused by different growth rates and can cause lameness. It can be fixed with surgery.
– Entropion — this is the rolling in of the eyelid which can irritate or injure the eyeball. It can be corrected with surgery.
– Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) — this is an eye disorder that eventually causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye.
– Retinal Dysplasia — this is the developmental malformation of the retina. It is not normally serious and sometimes isn’t even detectable, nor does it always affect their vision.
– Phosphofructokinase (PFK) Deficiency — this is a deficiency of the enzyme PFK that is needed for the body to use sugar for energy. Your vet can test for the deficiency measuring the PFK enzyme through a blood sample. Sometimes this deficiency can go for years without being detected.
– Ear Infections — these are common in Springer Spaniels because their ears are dropped. You should regularly check their ears for signs of infection and take them to the vet if you suspect something is wrong.
– Skin Issues — these include scaliness, greasiness, itching and pyoderma (infection). Take your dog to the vets if you suspect any of these issues.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the English Springer Spaniel, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these dogs on a day to day basis is really like. Daily life with this pup will vary slightly depending on whether your Springer Spaniel is show-bred or field-bred. Read on below to find out more about their food and diet, their trainability and their exercise needs.
Food And Diet
The Springer Spaniel needs around 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dog food every day. The exact amount you feed them should be based on their age, their weight and their activity level. You should also check the back of the food packet to see how much of a certain food you should be feeding them based on these factors.
Try to find a food that meets all their nutritional requirements. Springer Spaniels are active dogs and so a food tailored to this is often beneficial. Take a look at the dog food we recommend below.
Best Dog Food For The English Springer SpanielBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Extreme Athlete dog food from Diamond Naturals for the English Springer Spaniel. Formulated for very active dogs such as the Springer Spaniel, this food will ensure your pup gets all the nutrients they need. Included in the recipe is high-quality chicken that provides an excellent source of protein for strong and lean muscles.
There are also vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables and superfoods included in this formula, all of which are easily digestible. Even better, this food contains K9 Strain Probiotics which is bacteria that supports their immune systems and helps your dog maintain an active lifestyle.
Thanks to their history as a gun dog, the English Springer Spaniel is a very active dog. They will need adequate exercise every day otherwise they will become bored and destructive.
The amount of exercise your Springer Spaniel needs will depend on whether they are show-bred or field-bred. Show Springers will need less exercise than Field Springers. However, they are both still very active variations that need to be outside for a good amount of time every day.
A one to two mile walk every day combined with lots of time in the garden playing should be enough for the Springer Spaniel. Because they are an intelligent breed, they will also excel at dog sports such as agility and flyball. This will keep them both physically and mentally stimulated.
As a puppy, you should be careful not to overexercise your Springer Spaniel as this can be detrimental to their growing bones. Talk to your vet if you are not sure about the exercise requirements of your Springer Spaniel based on their age.
The English Springer Spaniel makes a wonderful family dog. These dogs are friendly and affectionate and will want to be by their owners side all day. This does mean they are not the pet for those who are out for hours at a time, but if you can take them to work with you or there is someone at home who can give the Springer Spaniel attention, they will thrive in your household!
You will need to be prepared to get exercising if you bring a Springer Spaniel into your home. These pups will benefit from an active household where they can accompany you on hikes and runs. They’ll need a back yard to run around in too, and won’t like to be cooped up in the house all day.
Springer Spaniels get on very well with children, especially those that they are brought up with. Their high energy level means they can make a wonderful playmate, although very young children must be supervised around them. The Spaniel can get overexcited and may end up hurting young children without meaning to.
These dogs can also get on well with other pets in the home. However, they do get on well with birds and will see them as prey, as this is what they were bred to hunt. If you do have birds in the home, you should certainly keep them separated.
Springer Spaniels live to please their owners. Combined with their intelligence, this means that they are very easy to train and will pick up commands and even tricks very easily.
Like all dogs, the English Springer Spaniel responds best to positive reinforcement techniques and reward based training. This includes verbal praise and treats.
You should never get angry or frustrated with your dog when training. They may not understand what is happening and this will cause them to not want to learn. You should ignore negative behavior and praise positive behavior so they learn which is more desirable.
Despite the fact the Springer Spaniel is a sociable dog that loves almost everyone they meet, you must make sure to socialize them from a young age. If you do not socialize them, they can become timid and will not adjust well to society.
Introduce your Springer Spaniel to new sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals in a calm and controlled way from puppyhood. You can take them to puppy obdeince classes to allow them to meet other dogs of their age. This will allow them to grow up to be an adjusted and well-rounded pup!
The English Springer Spaniel sheds moderately all year round and so brushing regularly will help to minimize the amount of dog hair you find on your clothes and furniture! You should be brushing these dogs at least three times a week to help prevent matting and to loosen any dead hair.
Many Springer Spaniel owners get their dogs clipped, especially around the head, neck, ears, tail and feet. This helps them to look neater and can reduce the chances of the fur knotting or tangling.
You should check your English Springer Spaniels ears every week to clean them and for any signs of infection. Trim their nails as and when is needed, too, if they don’t wear them down naturally. Don’t forget to brush your Springer Spaniel’s teeth every week too (daily is better!). This will help to prevent dental decay and disease.
English Springer Spaniel FAQ’s
How much does an English Springer Spaniel cost?
An English Springer Spaniel can set you back between $700 and $1000, although the exact price will vary depending on the breeder. Show Springers can often be more expensive because more attention is paid to how the pups look.
You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder who can show you health clearances for both parent breeds.
If this is out of your price range, you can always adopt. Check your local shelter as you may find an English Springer Spaniel waiting for their forever home!
What is the difference between a Show Springer and a Field Springer?
While Show Springers and Field Springers are both types of English Springer Spaniels with very similar characteristics and needs, there are some slight differences. Field Springers are, of course, bred to work out in the field as gun dogs, flushing out game. Show Springers are bred for dog shows, with more focus on the way they look.
Therefore, Field Springers generally need more exercise than Show Springers do. Field Springers are also more likely to have a higher prey drive and stronger hunting instincts. Appearance wise, they look very similar. Often, Show Springers are slightly smaller and will more closely represent the standard set out by the AKC. There is more variation within Field Springers because the attention is not placed on the way they look.
Despite these small differences, they are both still the same breed with many identical traits. It will be up to you to decide whether you are going to home a Show or a Field Springer and which is going to fit in better with your family.
The English Springer Spaniel is a wonderful dog that can make a fantastic companion and family member to many. While these dogs do need a lot of exercise and won’t tolerate being stuck indoors all day, they are an affectionate and loving breed that just want to be around their owners. These pups like to be the center of attention and can make an excellent playmate to children and others. They are friendly with strangers and even get on with other dogs, making training and socializing easy too. If you’ve got the time to spend exercising this dog or want a new running buddy, why not buy or adopt a Springer Spaniel?