By Heather Venkat, DVM, MPH, DACVPM
Rugged and handsome, it’s time to say hello to the stunning English Springer Spaniel!
These beauties are quick to make friends with their gentle expressions.
They are quick to love the whole clan and not just one person.
And they are the dream companion dog.
More specifically, today’s English Springer Spaniel carries a dashing combination of classy mannerisms and hunting dog hardiness.
She was bred to spend long days hunting in the field.
So naturally, she is resilient, carries uncommon stamina, and is all-around muscular.
Working closely with people is her sweet spot.
The English Springer Spaniel has an impressive history engaging in K-9 work too, thanks to her quickness to learn, her durability, and her super keen nose.
Today, you’re about to discover all you need to know before bringing your very own English Springer Spaniel home.
Together we’ll look at traits including appearance, care, and history so commonly associated with this breed.
Welcome! I’m glad you’re here.
Before we look too closely at the appearance of these beauties, there’s one distinction that needs to be made.
There are actually two varieties of the English Springer Spaniel.
First is the show-bred, or bench-bred variety.
The second is a field-bred option.
Specific to the show-bred pals, they typically weigh anywhere from 40 – 50 pounds (females are commonly 40 pounds, while males are closer to 50 pounds).
The male stands 20″ tall at the shoulder, and the female counterpart stands a grand total of 19″ tall at the shoulder.
In comparison to the field-bred English Springer Spaniel, the show-bred variety typically has longer ears, a longer and silkier coat, and a more barrel-shaped chest.
Not to mention, coat color is typically darker too.
The field-bred English Springer Spaniel, on the other hand, weighs approx. five pounds less and stands several inches shorter than the show-bred variety.
Field-bred Spaniels have proven to be more nimble in the grass and carry a shorter coat with a wiry texture.
Their undercoat is thicker and when it comes to coat color, they are predominantly white with patches of liver or black.
Look closely and you’ll soon discover there are a great many differences between the two varieties.
However, both enjoy the same average lifespan of 12-14 years, both have similar health issues, and both exude similar temperaments.
The coat color for English Springer Spaniels is a combination of black, white, and/or liver (a deep, reddish-brown).
Thanks to their history as a sporting dog, the English Springer Spaniel has rightfully earned itself a reputation for being smart and versatile.
He carries an unusual amount of stamina and is excellent with other dogs.
The English Springer Spaniel adores being with people and can be the best of companions.
Meaning, the guard dog is not a position these Spaniels should ever be dubbed with.
Sure, they will likely bark when a stranger approaches.
However, all too soon they will melt into a charming companion loving on the most foreign of strangers.
The English Springer Spaniel is quick to learn, he loves to please, and he adores time spent with people.
So yes, you’ll do well to stay one step ahead with lots of exercise and mental stimulation.
To keep the mind challenged, enroll your furball in both obedience training and competitions including tracking, agility, and rally.
On the physical side, keep your pal active with frequent outdoor exercise.
Expect at least one long walk each day.
In addition, toss in games of fetch in the backyard, visit an outdoor shopping center together, or scout out dog-friendly restaurants on the weekend.
Dog parks are a fun place where your pal can meet and make new friends, and exploring new running trails just might become a fast favorite too.
Try a variety of outdoor activities and see which ones you enjoy most with your English Springer Spaniel.
The key is simply to stay active and enjoy quality bonding time.
The English Springer Spaniel has proven successful at being versatile.
While he thrives in wide-open spaces, apartment living is never off limits provided he’s given adequate exercise each day.
When you are out and about, always keep your English Springer Spaniel either on a leash or inside a fenced area.
No matter how well he’s trained, you never know when he’ll spot a new bird and his hunting instinct will have him high-tailing in the wrong direction.
Thanks to her stunning double coat, the English Springer Spaniel does best having her coat brushed several times each week.
This will keep more hair on your brush and less floating throughout your home.
To remove mats and tangles, use either a slicker brush or a metal dog comb for best results.
When it’s time for a haircut, you can either groom your English Springer Spaniel at home (here’s how to do it), or you can drop by a professional dog groomer to get the job done.
Expect a haircut every three to six months.
Specifically, trim hair on the feet, under the tail, and around the head and neck area.
This will give your Spaniel a neat look and keep the coat looking sharp.
In addition to haircuts, keep the nails trimmed short.
If you hear nails clicking on the floor, you can be assured those nails are too long and can lead to discomfort and even injury in your pal’s paws.
Also, double-check that your English Springer Spaniel does not have rear dew claws, which can get caught when he is out and about in the field. Rear dew claws may need to be removed by a veterinarian, as they can get torn or injured easily.
Because her long, hanging ears can actually block circulation, check your Spaniel’s ears frequently for any signs of infection.
And always, brush the teeth frequently with a dog-appropriate toothpaste.
It’s true that English Springer Spaniels are unusually brilliant.
As such, it’s never too early to start training your little Spaniel puppy on the ropes of life.
You can hire a professional trainer, enroll your pup in a puppy obedience class, or put in the work yourself and train your little pal at home.
Whatever the case, be sure to start training your English Springer Spaniel while he’s still just a pup.
Remember, he’s a sporting dog with lots of energy.
So be proactive in keeping control at all times while training.
Look for positive ways to channel your pup’s energy, rather than merely letting him call the shots and run all over you.
Consider yourself the pack leader.
Your yes means yes, and your no is always a solid no.
When you remain firm and consistent with your puppy, he will soon catch on that you’re in charge.
And always, while being firm and consistent, remember to be kind.
Training really can be fun.
Not only can it include learning fetch in the backyard, but it’s also the perfect time to deepen the bond between you and your pup.
Consider it quality time together, and training may soon be your favorite part of the day.
English Springer Spaniels are generally healthy dogs.
You’ll hear few health complaints from these energetic fur balls.
However, they are not immune to catching an illness here and there.
Occasional health conditions for the English Springer Spaniel include:
- Elbow and hip dysplasia: a deformity of the joints that occurs during growth.
- Eye conditions: these can be present at birth or can develop over time.
The first Springer-type Spaniels made their initial debut centuries ago.
They were created to excel at hunting game birds.
When hunting, the English Springer Spaniel would first detect game birds among tall grasses.
Next, they would flush, or “spring” birds from their cover.
Once the game was killed, it was then the duty of the English Springer Spaniel to point and retrieve the downed bird.
Prior to the use of firearms, after the English Springer Spaniels would flush game birds and small animals from their cover, hunting hawks, hounds, or nets were employed to harvest the game.
After the invention of the hunting rifle during the 17th century, the English Springer Spaniel morphed into an eager, competent, and reliable gun dog.
Included in the English Springer Spaniel’s job description was the need to work closely with a hunter.
So it’s no surprise that today, these pals continue to thrive when doing life alongside favorite companions.
Being alone was never favored by the healthy English Springer Spaniel.
After originating in Spain (or so it is believed), the English Springer Spaniel was eventually recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1902.
A few years later in 1907, the English Springer Spaniel first arrived on American soil.
In 1910, they were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and went on to enjoy charming popularity across America during the 1920s.
Where Can I Find an English Springer Spaniel
If an English Springer Spaniel is born with elbow or hip dysplasia, it sometimes isn’t obvious until years down the road.
Because of this, it is important to purchase only from trusted breeders who are regularly testing and carefully selecting breeding stock.
You want to know your puppy is coming from good breeding stock and is 100% healthy.
So yes, you’ll do best by avoiding pet stores when looking to purchase your new puppy.
In place of pet stores, purchase your English Springer Spaniel directly from a quality dog breeder.
No one knows a puppy better than its breeder.
After all, it’s the breeder who has been with your puppy since birth.
He/she knows the parent dogs, understands your puppy’s demeanor, and knows exactly how your puppy is being socialized.
You can ask the breeder any questions you have, knowing he/she is the real expert on your new little pup.
Get started with this list of dog breeders.
Or browse our very newest puppies for sale from breeders across the United States here.
Q. Are English Springer Spaniels easy to train?
Thanks to being smart plus wanting to please their people, English Springer Spaniels are quick to learn new things. Remember to reward often and always be kind and consistent.
Q. How do I keep my English Springer Spaniel happy?
Action is key! Spend lots of time together and include a long, daily walk. Provide outlets for frequent exercise, whether it’s shopping together or visiting a local dog park.
Q. Are English Springer Spaniels sensitive?
While the English Springer Spaniel is a hardy and resilient hunting dog, she also has a gentle side that expects to be loved by everyone – even complete strangers.
Q. Do English Springer Spaniels like to cuddle?
Yes! They adore being up close with their favorite people. Whether it’s filling your lap or leaning against your leg, English Springer Spaniels always love a good cuddle.
Q. Do English Springer Spaniels have hair or fur?
Their coat is made of two layers. The undercoat is soft and thick, while the outer coat is straight or wavy. Together, the two types of fur provide protection.
And there you have it!
You now have your bases covered on what to know before getting your very own English Springer Spaniel.
If you are looking for a handsome pal with athletic powers, this dog is your match.
Cheering you on,
P.S. Still looking for your perfect puppy? Meet the newbies right here.
AKC (n.d.). English springer spaniel. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/english-springer-spaniel/.
English Springer Spaniel (n.d.). Dogtime. Retrieved from https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/english-springer-spaniel#/slide/1.
Taylor, C. (n.d.). English springer spaniel. Retrieved from https://www.dailypaws.com/dogs-puppies/dog-breeds/english-springer-spaniel.
Dr. Heather Venkat has been a veterinarian since 2013, working in companion animal medicine with dogs and cats, as well as veterinary public health. Her passion is in prevention, One Health, and strengthening the human-animal bond. A bonafide animal-lover, she competes in dog sports and currently shares her home with a border collie mix named Luna, three cats, and two leopard geckos.