Breed: English Springer Spaniel
Cost: from $600 (more for show dogs)
Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Recommended for: active people, teenagers
Maintenance: medium – regular brushing and exercise required
The English Springer Spaniel is a medium sized sporting spaniel – balanced, compact and powerful. It resembles the Cocker Spaniel, though larger with its approximate height being 51cm (20 inches).
Born predominantly white but changing colour after birth, English Springer Spaniels come in a variety of coat colours – liver (chocolate) or black with white markings, or either of these colours with tan markings on the eyebrows, cheeks, feet, inside of ears and under the tail. The coat is close, straight or slightly wavy. The eyes are either hazel or brown, depending on the colour of the coat. The Breed Standard is for the tails to be docked.
A member of the ancient family of spaniels, the English Springer Spaniel is the largest of the land spaniels and was originally used to find and spring game for the nets, or falcons, carried by hunters. The English gave the Springer official breed status in 1902.
An agile sporting dog, English Springer Spaniels are also affectionate and have a friendly, gentle disposition. Owners describe English Springers as playful, energetic and quick learners and say they are happiest when they are with people as much as possible, making them an ideal family pet.
The English Springer Spaniel is talented in the activities of hunting, tracking, retrieving, agility, and competitive obedience and performing tricks.
As illustrated in our segment, the English Springer Spaniel ranks low in terms of overall aggression, however there have been occasional reports of idiopathic or aggressive behaviour in the form of unwanted attacks on people by this breed. This characteristic appears to be a genetic aberration which can be avoided by reviewing a dog’s ancestry.
Health and Lifespan
Potential health problems to check for include ear and eye problems and inherited diseases. English Springer Spaniels can be subject to low grade ear inflammation but this problem is best avoided by regularly checking to see that ears are clean, especially after humid or wet weather.
In relation to potential eye problems, Retinal Dysplasia is a genetic defect present at birth in which the retina may be curved or irregularly shaped and may also be detached. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is another degenerative eye disease which can lead to blindness and a dog’s breeding history should be researched before purchase.
Inherited diseases such as Fucocidosis, hip dysplasia, and less commonly, Idiopathic Epilepsy can occur within the breed. Occasionally English Springer Spaniels may express a condition known as low threshold aggression – a personality problem commonly termed "rage syndrome".
Most of these problems can be avoided by thoroughly checking the dog’s history with the breeder before purchase.
English Springer Spaniels tend to gain weight easily so it is important to avoid overfeeding them. They have a lifespan of around 12 to 14 years.
English Springer Spaniels have an average litter size of 7.
Costs vary from $600 for pet dogs and more for show dogs. (Prices may vary from State to State).
English Springer Spaniels thrive on human companionship. They are relatively inactive indoors but owners say they do shed a little hair from time to time.
Space and Exercise
English Springer Spaniels need as much good hard exercise as they can get and thoroughly enjoy swimming. As with most members of the gun dog family, fencing is an important consideration for this breed because, if they do get out, they are apt to be feather brained when on the roads. Like any other breed, they can get into trouble if left alone too long.
Not a dog to be shut out in the backyard and left to his own devices, the English Springer Spaniel needs owners who have time to spend exercising and playing with him. English Springer Spaniels may be a safer bet as a family pet than the Cocker Spaniel, because of its lower ranking than the Cocker on snapping at children and dominance over owner.
English Springer Spaniels should be brushed daily and bathed once a week. Ears should be checked regularly and hair inside the ears as well as between the toes should be trimmed regularly.
Originally used as a gunning dog, suited for flushing birds such as pheasants. According to some texts the English Springer Spaniel is a favourite the world over, both as a family dog and as a consummate all round working sporting spaniel.
Breeders say that although a playful breed, the English Springer Spaniel ranks very high on obedience training. Due to the boisterous and excitable nature of the breed, obedience training is important to control the dog from jumping up at people.
ACT Canine Association Inc.
Phone: (02) 6241 4404
English Springer Spaniel Club
Secretary – Caroline Birch
Phone: (02) 9680 7224
The Northern Territory Canine Association Inc.
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
English Springer Spaniel Association of QLD
Secretary – Kaye McGhie
Phone: (07) 3824 4775
The Gundog Club of South Australia
Secretary – Kate Selley
Phone: (08) 8449 4132
English Springer Spaniel Club of Victoria Inc.
Secretary, Mrs Diana Winter – Phone: (03) 9241 4568
Puppy Enquiries, Peter Yuille – Phone: (03) 9369 4081
The Setter and Sporting Spaniels Society
Secretary – Mrs Crow
Phone: (08) 9497 4780
Tasmanian Canine Association Inc.
Phone: (03) 6272 9443