AKC Sporting Group
The Springer Spaniel gets his name from his method of flushing game; he springs forward to drive birds out of hiding. This breed hunts well both on land and water and is good at working in brush. He also is a fine retriever. The Duke of Norfolk was instrumental in developing he breed, to the point that at one time they were called Norfolk Spaniels. Initially bred in the same litters as smaller Cocker Spaniels, the breeds diverged in the late 1800s, and the Springer was recognized as a separate breed in 1902. The English Springer’s merry, gentle personality makes him an ideal family dog.
The English Springer Spaniel is a compact, medium-sized dog, slightly longer than tall but with fairly long legs. The English Springer Spaniel should be sturdy and neither too light nor too heavy. The dog should have a proud bearing, with a slightly sloping topline. The tail is generally docked (and wagging!), and is held horizontally or slightly upward. The front legs should be straight. The feet are compact. The head is impressive but not too heavy, and in good proportion to the rest of the dog. The length of the head should be about the same as the length of the neck. The stop is moderate with a groove rising between the eyes, gradually disappearing in the middle of the forehead. The topline of the skull and muzzle have approximately parallel planes. The eyes should have a kindly expression. The long, pendant ears are set on a line with the eyes. When pulled forward, the ears should reach all the way to the tip of the nose. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The English Springer Spaniel has a double coat. The medium-length outer coat is flat or wavy and feathered. The undercoat varies according to climate and season. Colors are liver and white, black and white (with or without tan markings), blue, or liver roan. The white might have flecks of colored hairs.
- Height: Averages 20 in. (male); averages 19 in. (female)
- Size: Medium
- Weight: 49 to 55 lbs. (male); 44 to 50 lbs. (female)
- Availability: Might take some effort to find
- Talents: Hunting, tracking, retrieving, watchdog, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.
Beware of hip dysplasia-buy only from stock with OFA, PennHIP, or another national hip-dysplasia clearance (both parents and grandparents should be certified if possible). This breed tends to gain weight easily, so don’t overfeed. Needs a lot of exercise to be happy. Train gently. Some skilled scissoring and clipping are needed about every three months. The ears must be cleaned frequently.
Most English Springers are great dogs for kids, although a few have had unexplained incidents of sudden aggression. Playful, gentle, and energetic. A tail-wagger. Merry, brave, and sweet. Best when with people as much as possible. Can get into trouble if left alone too long. Usually good with other pets with the possible exception of birds. Sometimes scrappy with same sex dogs. The English Springer breed has been experiencing a serious personality problem in some individuals: an otherwise normal dog goes into sudden rage, viciously attacking people. During the attacks, the dog does not respond to commands. This condition is generally not evident until the dog is 1 to 2 years old, and any dog exhibiting this problem must be humanely euthanized. Check with breeders about history of “rage” in the lines.
- Children: Good with children
- Friendliness: Loves everyone
- Trainability: Easy to train
- Independence: Needs people a lot
- Dominance: Moderate
- Other Pets: Might be aggressive with dogs of the same sex; do not trust with non-canine pets.
- Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
- Noise: Average barker
- Indoors: Relatively inactive indoors
- Owner: Good for novice owners
- Grooming: Regular grooming needed
- Trimming and Stripping: Skilled trimming or stripping needed
- Coat: Feathered coat
- Shedding: Average shedder
- Docking: The tail is customarily docked.
- Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise needed
- Jogging: An excellent jogging companion
- Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
- Outdoor Space: Best with at least an average-size yard
- Climate: Does well in most climates
- Longevity: Average (10 to 12 years)