The Complete Guide to: English Springer Spaniels
Friendly and spirited, there’s nothing quite as fun as taking a Springer Spaniel for a walk. They are lovely family dogs, easy to train, and loyal. They are also bursting with energy, so you’ll need to give them plenty of exercise. Read on to find out what makes the Springer Spaniel a nation’s favourite.
There is, of course, more than one kind of Spaniel. And if we were going to trace the overarching breed back to its origins, we’d likely end up in a confusing debate. That said, due to the name, it’s generally considered that the breed originated in Spain, but they also made an appearance in Roman history. However, despite these ancient, and slightly hazy, origins, Spaniels have been a firm presence on mainland Britain from as early as 300 AD.
The English Springer Spaniel has more definite roots. It gets its name from the springing action it makes when it tracks game. It was used primarily for this purpose, as part of the Gundog group. Used to pounce and catch prey, they held it in place while the owner made their way over to it. After guns were invented, their purpose changed slightly. They were trained to flush game out, so hunters could have a clear shot.The Springer Spaniel has also been known as the Norfolk Spaniel - a reference to the Duke of Norfolk, who is said to have developed the breed.However today, Springer Spaniel is their go-to name. From the early 20th century, Springers were recognised as a breed in their own right by the Kennel Club.
Sweet, lovable and full of bounce, the Springer is a medium sized dog that exudes stamina and good will in equal measure. Their best feature has to be their excited, wagging tails, and their gentle expression.
Their muscular, well-balanced frame is what gives them physical power and prowess while out and about. In adulthood, they weigh between 20 and 25 kilos and stand at around 18 to 22 inches. That makes for a sizable dog,being the tallest of all the land spaniels, and a large, secure outdoor space is a must.Bred for outdoor life, their medium-long coat is packed with insulation. They are weatherproof and glossy, but this also means you’ll need to help them keep their longer locks in check. Brushing your Springer Spaniel at least three times a week is all part of being their owner. Colours range from blackand White, Liver and White or either of these colours mixed with tan markings
Their loving, good nature makes the Springer Spaniel an ideal family dog. Even if you have smaller children and other pets, you can feel safe in the knowledge that they’ll be gentle and kind to everyone in the household - provided you follow the right socialisation tips from an early age.
One possible downside to the Springer is that they can be sensitive. That means that they get lonely easily, and they can become stressed with the wrong handling. Patience, positivity and plenty of love are what English Springer Spaniels truly thrive on.With their bags of energy, you’ll need to keep your Springer happy with long walks and games. They need at least two hours of exercise a day, and to really keep their senses engaged, try mixing things up with activities like fetch. This is when you’ll notice the springing action they’re most famous for.
The characteristic for which Springer Spaniels are most famous is their intelligence. This, along with their eagerness to please and amiability make them a dog that’s easy to train. They can have wandering tendencies, and you can put this down to their desire to pursue prey.Yetwith the right approach, you can keep this instinct in check.
The best thing about Springers is that you’ll have lots of fun while training them. Here are a few things to bear in mind to keep them happy and healthy:
- Minimise stress – crate training and lots of human interaction will help this naturally sociable breed feel happy and at home. You can introduce a crate from puppyhood, and zone your home to give them a sense of security. You should always keep any alone time to a minimum.
- Keep them entertained – remembering that Springers are lively, playful and energetic will be the best guide for you when training. Varying games of fetch and chase, and giving them plenty of walks will help reduce boredom and stress.
- Give them jobs – this is partly in the games remit, but also basic obedience. A distracted Springer Spaniel isn’t unheard of, so you’ll need to be firm, patient and positive to repeat commands, engage their minds, and keep their focus.
- Socialise them early – naturally outgoing dogs like this need early and regular socialisation to help build their confidence and self-assurance. You can do this by introducing them to different people, animals and environments with a variety of sights, scents, and sounds,as early as possible. Preferably ensuring all this is started when they are still with the breeder.