English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniels live for 12-15 years. Puppies are born in litters of 5 to 7. The male English Springer Spaniel grows up to 21 inches tall. Females usually reach only 20 inches tall. The males can weigh up 55 lbs. Females reach a maximum weight of 50 lbs.
The English Springer Spaniel was bred as a hunting dog, and turned out to be a remarkably successful one. It was capable of spending a long day in the field with the hunter, and worked well as a retriever, gun dog, and tracker. The English Springer Spaniel as a hunting breed is faithful, trustworthy, and trainable. The English Springer Spaniel still experiences great success in field trials.
As a family dog, the best word to describe the breed is “happy.” The English Springer Spaniel is lively, joyful, sociable, and gentle. The breed loves to be with its people, and is great with kids. They bond closely with their humans, and are just as happy to cuddle on the couch as they are playing outside. While they will bark to let their owners know a stranger is approaching, they are more likely to greet the person with a friendly sniff and wagging tail then aggression.
English Springer Spaniels get along with kids, other dogs, cats, and even smaller pets, though owners may want to keep in mind that they are still instinctual hunting dogs, and may want to give chase. The breed is extremely playful, and happy to play with other dogs and people. The English Springer Spaniel is another breed that will remain puppy-like well into adulthood, so it will require lots of play sessions, walks, and activities to keep it entertained.
The English Springer Spaniel is considered to be a high energy dog. Bred to spend their days in the field chasing down birds, this dog needs to run every day. It is the ideal companion for those who love to jog, run, hike, or go on long walks. Typical of a spaniel, this breed also loves the water. The English Springer Spaniel has been known to go for a swim when it feels inclined to, so families with pools, ponds, or living near water may want to keep this in mind, as a soaking wet dog may suddenly appear at the door.
The English Springer Spaniel loves to play. They are perfectly content chasing a stick or ball into the water, but they also excel at canine sports such as agility and Frisbee. The breed is also excellent at tracking, and does extremely well in field trials and hunting contests.
The English Springer Spaniel is considered relatively easy to train. The dog is typically bred for two distinct purposes: field trial competition and the show ring, so training comes naturally. Highly intelligent, the English Spring Spaniel benefits from mental activity as well as physical. The breed does well with higher level training.
English Springer Spaniels that do not experience enough activity or exercise will begin to exhibit negative behavior, including chewing, barking, digging, and other destructive tendencies. They can also become excitable, nervous, and possessive of their people. The breed also experiences separation anxiety, and should not be left alone for long periods.
Due to less than ideal breeding practices, there are some behavioral traits that have shown up in some English Springer Spaniels. The main behavioral concern is an uneven temperament, or what is described as “rage syndrome” which shows up as a short burst of aggression. There is no proof that this tendency is a result of poor breeding practices, and its cause is still unknown. There are some theories that “rage syndrome” is caused by brain seizures, and other theories say it is an inherited trait or genetic problem. Regardless, it is something to watch out for.
The English Springer Spaniel has a double coat that is thick underneath and medium long on top. The outer coat is medium length and can be wavy or straight. It is considered to be somewhat waterproof. The English Springer Spaniel is a heavy shedder, and will require frequent brushing to control tangles, prevent mats, and remove any debris or dirt that is picked up outside. Trimming of feathering and some general neatening up are recommended for this breed, and regular visits to a professional groomer can accomplish this. The dog also requires regular nail trimmings and teeth brushings.
Ear health is extremely important for this breed, as it is prone to infection. Ears should be checked frequently for irritation and waxy build up. The ears should be cleaned with an ear wash purchased from a veterinarian. Regular vet care is recommended.
The English Springer Spaniel can be prone to obesity as it ages, as well as some other health difficulties. Ear ailments and skin ailments are fairly common. The breed can also experience some eye problems as well as miscellaneous joint ailments. Epilepsy is another concern.
Because of the breed’s tendency toward obesity, regular exercise is essential to its health. Attention and activity are also important. Training should begin when the breed is young, though it is possible to train older Springer Spaniels who have been re-homed.
The English Springer Spaniel does not do well in an apartment or condominium setting. It does do well with a fenced in yard, or in an open yard with proper training. As the dog was bred to hunt and retrieve far from its master, it is capable of staying within boundaries without a leash or fencing.
Owning an English Springer Spaniel
It is very important for potential owners to make sure that they can accommodate the breed’s attention and exercise needs before deciding to purchase an English Springer Spaniel. In order to ensure that the dog has optimal behavior and health traits, only reputable breeders who can provide health histories and bloodlines should be used. Older dogs can be re-homed successfully, though it is important find out as much as possible about the dog being adopted.