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With its big floppy ears and bright friendly nature, the English Springer Spaniel is the perfect mid-size companion dog, for those that enjoy an active lifestyle.
Originating in Britain, this breed was recognized in 1902 by the Kennel Club. Bred to find, flush and retrieve game, its hunting instinct is still very apparent today, with this being a sporting bird dog; easily the largest of all the land Spaniels.
Originally, the Springer Spaniel (also formerly known as the Norfolk Spaniel) was bred to work with hunters to catch birds, and later as gundogs with the introduction of the hunting rifle. Its name is a reflection of it ‘springing’ in to action, to flush out the game in nests.
After successfully being bred in the UK, the Spring Spaniel found its way to North America in the early 1900s, and has since become a household favorite. Highly intelligent, today the Spaniel is often used in K-9 detection work, as well as a loyal family companion.
This is a medium-build muscular dog, that combines beauty with agility. It has a compact body that has great sporting capability and athleticism. Their chiseled faces feature dark intelligent oval eyes, and long drop ears that are soft to touch.
It is most commonly known for its liver and white color coat, although black and white, as well as tri-colors are also apparent – sometimes with tan markings and flat or wavy coats.
The Springer may have freckles on the muzzle and legs.
Gallant in posture, they are alert and sprightly in appearance, offset by a constantly wagging tail!
Gentle and aware, the Springer Spaniel is a loyal and loving breed that is sincerely affectionate. Highly intelligent, this is a dog that is keen to learn and very easy to train.
He has a high demand for being active and benefits well from plenty of daily exercise.
Sociable and friendly, he loves the company of others and is good around children, the elderly and other animals, including other dogs. At times, he can be shy and sensitive. That said, the Springer requires consistent positive dog training from puppyhood.
The Spaniel still echoes some of its hunting traits, notably its hardworking nature and enthusiasm to sniff out birds in the wild! As such, this breed does well with plenty of outdoor activities. With plenty of stimulation and exercise, it can be suited to apartment living.
Long hikes combined with games of fetch are recommended together with canine sporting activities like dock diving, agility and obedience. Swimming activities are a must for this fabulous breed, if you don’t mind lots of baths!
As an outdoorsy dog, the Springer Spaniel needs plenty of exercise, and should not be left alone for long periods of time.
In the early days, this is a dog that benefits well from dog training to temper some of its traits. As it grows, he should engage in canine sporting activities like agility, rally, tracking, and obedience.
Possible Health Concerns
Overall, this is a healthy breed, prone to a few health concerns:
Hip dysplasia: An abnormal development of the hip joint, characterized by a loose joint, and degenerative joint disease. Springers should be fed a high-quality diet since both nutritional and hereditary factors come in to play with this condition.
Elbow dysplasia: The abnormal development of the elbow joint; notably in young, large and rapidly growing dogs. It is also the most common cause of osteoarthritis of the canine elbow.
Other general conditions to be aware of are ear infections, which can be prevented with frequent ear cleaning, and congenital eye problems – an unfortunate inherited condition, along with progressive retinal atrophy.
If you are concerned that your dog may be suffering or prone to any of these, consult your veterinarian for the right treatment approach.
With boundless energy, your Springer needs as much exercise as it can get – plenty of daily off-leash and on-leash walks and runs to satisfy its needs. This breed needs to participate in canine sporting activities, and loves swimming. Agility, rally, tracking, and obedience are best options for this friendly and fun-loving gun dog breed!
The Spaniel has no specific food requirements, but should follow a healthy, protein-rich diet to maintain its physical needs. Known to beg for scraps, try to avoid overfeeding your Spaniel, as he is intended to be a lean and muscular dog. Roughly speaking, they should enjoy no more than 1,000 calories a day.
As this is a breed that loves to chew, dry food may be beneficial and helps to keep their teeth clean too.
Although relatively easy to care for, your Springer is an active dog, running in and out of puddles, and rivers, as well as roaming free in the great outdoors. The result is a dog that might need daily bathing. This is great news to your canine, who enjoys it!
When it comes to routine grooming, a daily brush will keep your Springer’s smooth coat in prime condition. Use a short-bristled brush or mitt to maintain a shiny and healthy coat, or a slicker brush for tangles. You will also need to brush his teeth daily with twice yearly visits to the veterinarian for dental hygiene maintenance.
Ears need to be regularly wiped out and nails trimmed. Professional groomers are recommended for this breed.
The delightful English Springer Spaniel is the perfect companion for those that like company and plenty of exercise. If you enjoy long hikes and can accommodate off-leash walks, swimming in the great outdoors and lots of running free, this is the perfect breed for you!
A doting family dog, the Spaniel has a loving and gentle nature with an unwavering bond to its owners.
Don’t overlook the importance of training from a young age, and ensure that this dog has plenty of company, and you’ll have a friend for life!